[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: [BALLOT] Social Contract Change Amendment

I'll get this out of the way for those following along at home:

On Mon, Oct 09, 2000 at 08:06:36PM -0700, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org> writes:
> > Also, it is still not clear to what question the ballot answers of "yes" or
> > "no" are being given.  It doesn't seem like that simple a matter, since a
> > person could disagree with both Anthony's amendment and John's GR.
> The question being presented for this vote is "Should the second vote
> be on John's proposal, or on Anthony's proposal".  The reason it's a
> "yes/no" question is because the formal nature of an amendment is "I
> propose to amend the proposal to read FOO", and you vote YES to
> substitute and NO to not substitute.

Eh?  No ballots need to be issued to "ratify" an amendment *AS* an
amendment to an existing proposal:

A.1.2. A formal amendment may be accepted by the resolution's proposer, in
which case the formal resolution draft is immediately changed to match.

A.1.3. If a formal amendment is not accepted, or one of the sponsors of the
resolution does not agree with the acceptance by the proposer of a formal
amendment, the amendment remains as an amendment and will be voted on.

I have provided A.1.2. as context.  John Goerzen has made it clear that he
does not accept the language of Anthony Towns's amendment.  Therefore
A.1.3. applies here.  Anthony Towns's amendment must be voted on
effectively as an independent GR.

Again, I must reiterate that under A.1.3; *NO AMENDMENT REQUIRES A BALLOT
SIMPLY TO BE ACCEPTED AS AN AMENDMENT*.  That cannot be what we are voting
on here.  As long as Anthony Towns's amendment has been proposed and
properly seconded (I have seen no reference to a message that enumerates
his required seconds, though I am confident anecdotally that he has them),
then it enjoys equal status to John Goerzen's General Resolution and
effectively operates as a GR on its own.  This should come as no surprise
to anyone who reads Anthony's proposed amendment.

Whether these two General Resolutions are presented as alternative options
on the same ballot is, ultimately, the decision of the Project Secretary

The complicating factor here is that the Project Secretary has asserted,
without any direct textual foundation in the Constitution[*], that John
Goerzen's GR will require a higher quorum to pass (3:1) than Anthony
Towns's de facto GR (simple majority).

I have not done any mathematical analysis of whether having options with
different quora on the same ballot effectuates any direct bias on the
result.  I'd be curious to find out; perhaps the folks from the
election-methods list can assist us.  (I do think it is quite possible that
it effectuates an indirect, psychological bias on the outcome due in part
to the confusion generated and which has been in strong evidence throughout
the history of this GR).

> You can vote either way here without liking the one you vote for
> today.  For example, you might think both are horrible ideas, but
> think John's is certain not to pass but Anthony's might.  In that
> case, you would vote not to accept the amendment, and then vote
> NO on the second ballot no matter what.

That's fine, but I still think the ballot is 1) confusingly worded and 2)
premature given that there are better (or, at least, more democratic) ways
to make decisions in this project than by appealing to the Project
Secretary to make a reaching interpretive decision.  Nothing in the
Constitution says that we can't table the issue of John's and Anthony's
competing non-free/Social Contract General Resolutions until the developers
have voted as a body on more procedural issues that will clarify some
issues in dispute that are orthogonal to the content of those Resolutions.

[*] The Project Secretary exercised his authority within the parameters of
7.1.3, and had to make it up as he went along since Debian doesn't really
have any jurisprudential tradition.  Given the pending General Resolution
by Manoj Srivastava, however, I think it would have been a better idea to
let the developers vote in such a way as to disambiguate the language of

G. Branden Robinson            |        "To be is to do"   -- Plato
Debian GNU/Linux               |        "To do is to be"   -- Aristotle
branden@deadbeast.net          |        "Do be do be do"   -- Sinatra
http://deadbeast.net/~branden/ |

Attachment: pgpYbpPPb6EC3.pgp
Description: PGP signature

Reply to: