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Re: Constitutional, Parliamentary Issues (was Re: CFV: Non-freearchive removal)

On Fri, Jul 07, 2000 at 04:09:59PM -0500, Bolan Meek wrote:
> Craig Sanders wrote:
> > 
> > On Thu, Jul 06, 2000 at 10:03:26PM -0500, Bolan Meek wrote:
>  ...
> > > Craig Sanders wrote:
> > > >
> > > > On Thu, Jun 29, 2000 at 10:32:03PM -0500, John Goerzen wrote:
> > > > > The requisite discussion period having been entertained, ...
> > > >
> > > > your CFV is unconstitutional because nothing in the consitution allows
> > > > the Social Contract or DFSG to be amended.
> > >
> > > It's been pointed out plenty of times that the body of Developers
> > > do have this power, according to the DC:
> > 
> > it has been asserted by some that this is the case.  note: not proven, not
> > established, just asserted.
> It has not only been asserted, but proven through the quote of DC 4.1.5.

that is your assertion.  it also has not been proved.

> The problem is, then, that you have not accepted this quote as proof.

because it is not proof.

> But let's go further: there is no specific power delegated to anyone
> to declare this measure UC, nor to define whether "issue" includes
> "amend".  Therefore, by 5.1.4, it would fall to the Project Leader.

things don't have to be declared unconstitutional. they are either
permitted by the constitution or they are not. no need for any
declaration at all. modifying the DFSG and the Social Contract are NOT
permitted by the constitution so those activities are unconstitutional.

> Suppose that without the intervention of the PL, the proposal would
> carry by a majority vote.  Well, this same majority can override the
> PL, according to 4.2.2 , since there is no specific protection for
> already issued docs, nor any clarification that prevents amendment as
> part of the power to issue.  This is proof #3, and I think, somewhat
> stronger.

no, this is not a proof of any kind. the constitution is a list of
powers, whatever is not listed is not permitted. the constitution does
not list the ability to modify the social contract or the DFSG so those
actions are prohibited.

> You may continue to reject the assumed power to amend, being lexically
> included in the power to issue, but really, the judgment belongs
> to the majority, since there is, apparently, an ambiguity, or an
> incompleteness, in the DC.

no, that is not the case. if there is an ambiguity then it should be
cleared up by an amendment to the constitution.

> (maybe I ought to file a bug report..., and maybe, when I'm a
> Developer, I'll close the BR by issuing a CFV to amend the DC to
> clarify this.)

that is the appropriate way to deal with this situation.

> I notice that you didn't respond on the matter of the relative
> importance between the DC, and the DFSG & SC:
> [...]
> Does this mean I've posted something that makes sense?

no, it meant that i couldn't be bothered responding to the irrelevancies
(especially on this crappy keyboard i'm currently typing on)

> I'd like to further point out in this that Debian doesn't belong
> even _to_those_who_founded_it_ (only), but (also) to the membership
> whom they've admitted since the founding.  It is often the case
> that, with new membership, and the changes of sentiment and priorities
> that (may) come with it, that earlier members feel that new members are
> screwing things up.  That is a risk that founders must take when
> admitting new members in on an equal footing.

that is why all organisations have a charter and a list of enumerated
aims and associated founding documents, to clearly specify the aims of
the organisation AND to limit the possible future directions to those
acceptable to the founders.

> In any case, the DC is the charter, the contract between the members,
> and, absent any provision in the DC otherwise, any and all other
> documents belong to the body, the membership, and are subject to their
> collective will, as expressed by a majority vote.

you miss the point. the social contract is the promise we made to
our users and to the remainder of the free software community (and
incidentally to ourselves as we are both users of debian and members of
that community). whether or not there is a legal obligation to abide by
that promise is irrelevant - there is a moral and ethical obligation
to live up to the promises that we have freely made. we can not renege
on those promises without implicitly announcing to the world that we
are liars and cheats. honour is far more important than legalistic
quibbling. if we do not respect our own word, how can we expect anyone
else to do so?

> If you feel that the DFSG and the SC need special protection, propose
> an amendment to give them that, such as needing the same ratio as to
> amend the DC, and after the requisite discussion period, call for
> votes.

an amendment is not needed to protect them because the current
constitution does not allow modification of them.

if it is desirable to modify them, then an amendment to the constitution
must be passed to specifically allow that.


craig sanders

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