Re: Debian Re-organization proposals (was: Re: so what?)
This post is a on the long side, and probably not of interest to many (sorry).
It comes up with the conclusion that Debian and Democracy don't mix.
> David> Voting by developers should be limited to the election and
> David> recall of leaders and the ratification of amendments.
> Why? Because even though we do all the work, the masses are
> too dumb to do their own masters? We need a all knowing, all
> powerful group of people to tell us how to act? What cventury are we
> in now?
No, because democracy is inefficient in our case.
Rather than give every passenger on the bus a steering wheel, let the
passengers vote for one of their number to be the driver, and let them decide
which tunings to take, based on the hubbub of ``lefts'' and ``rights''
heard from the passengers.
If the driver fails to keep the bus on the road, vote for a replacement.
Democracy is a tool for allowing people that are under the power of an
authority, to at least feel as though they have some power in the situation
(even if it is only the power to exchange one despot for another)
We developers are not under anyone's power, since we can always do our own
thing, or leave the project, so the protection democracy gives is unnecessary
and adds wasteful overhead to the decision making process.
> David> Developers should still be allowed to make proposals but the
> David> final decision making authority should rest with the leaders
> David> or their delegates.
> I refuse to let any opne have such power. Unless they pay
> me. Shall I make my rates know to the supposed leaders and delegates?
> What makes leaders and delegates so special that they can command the
> masses that do the work? When they bleed, does their blood run blue?
They are special, because they are willing to put their heads above the
parapet, and take that sort of thing from you. For that reason, I'm willing
to meander slightly away from the place I was going to anyway. The leadership
has no power, other than to suggest a direction.
Democracy doesn't work in this situation. Lets have a look at some
1) The vast majority of developers want something to happen:
It's probably going to happen then --- no need for a vote
2) The vast majority of developers don't want something to happen
It's probably not going to happen then --- no need for a vote
3) A majority believes that something should happen, but the people
required to do something about it disagree.
Chances are that you won't be able to make it happen, unless someone
decides to take over the difficult job and do it differently.
There is a very good chance that the disagreement rises out of the fact
that the majority has failed to notice a problem, that the few in the know
understand because they've been doing the work in the field.
Democracy would give the majority the feeling that they have the right to
tell the few what to do, which they absolutely do not have.
In this project, the act of taking on a difficult job gives you the right
to do it in any way you see fit. If that means that you annoy enough of
the developers, then you may get yourself expelled from the project, but
someone else is likely to stand up and do it another way, before that
The fact is, that in most cases there is one way of doing things that is more
technically excellent than the alternatives (this being a technical, rather
than a political project), so disagreements happen less often than in normal
life. Where this is not the case, it normally gets resolved by the fist
person that does something about it pleasing themselves, and the rest of us
not minding _too_ much.
Most of the more vocal arguments on these lists seem come from people claiming
to be supported by some sort of majority (often falsely) and drawing the
conclusion that they have the right to tell an individual what to do. Well I
don't think we have the right to tell anyone in this project what to do.
Please don't assume that I mean that I think developers should be allowed to
do random, destructive things. People that do random, destructive things are
unlikely to be attracted to being a Debian maintainer, and if they were I
think we should expel that from the project (after warning them that this
would happen, if they didn't modify their behavior ).
Most of us are here because we hold largely common beliefs about what Debian
should be. If changing your citizenship were as easy as changing your
hair style, democracy would be largely unnecessary, since people would be able
to move to a country that had a government system that matched their beliefs.
In a world like that, a vote by the majority against the interests of the few
would not work, because the few would just move countries. That is the
situation we are in.
I vote ``No Democracy for Debian!'' ;-)
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