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Re: Reforming the NM process

On Tue, Apr 25, 2006 at 02:29:56PM +0300, Panu Kalliokoski wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 22, 2006 at 10:15:20PM -0500, Peter Samuelson wrote:
> > Besides, there is no value in a wide-open voting system.  This is
> > called an "Internet poll" and the results generally reflect whatever
> > websites or blogs happen to publicise it.
> Not if those people have to be properly identified via their PGP keys.
> Such a simple requirement will already cut off the "casual Joes" that
> only vote once because they saw the announcement somewhere.  It also
> prevents most ways of abuse.

Yes, but was this Peter's point?  There is already an inherent
unfairness in Debian's voting system when the vote of a relatively
modest contributor and less-than-one-year DD like me counts exactly as
much as each of the votes of Javier Fernandez-Sanguino Pen~a, Christian
Perrier, Manoj Srivastava, Ian Jackson or Joey Schulze (to name a few
examples)---each of whom is tenfold voteworthy next to me.  What
salutary effect, what benefit to our users and free software, would
opening Debian's official voting rolls even wider bring?

The fallacy in the argument, in my view, is in the implicit proposition
that votes build productive communities.  This simply is not so.  You
and I could go and open an Internet poll right now, inviting those
properly identified by PGP keys to participate.  Would a productive
community somehow result?  If one did, it would be the first such in
history to my knowledge.

What votes accomplish---and it is all they accomplish---is to afford
existing productive communities a way of making the most important of
their communal decisions, in such a manner that productive members who
find themselves in the minority feel minimal discontent and maximal
desire to abide.

Except inasmuch as the new voter has contributed a substantial new share
to the Debian commons, Debian voting is a zero-sum game---for the voters
no less than for the voted.  You cannot bestow the vote on one, except
by fractionally taking it away from those who already hold it.  Putting
the vote in the wrong hands would be the death of the Project.

Thaddeus H. Black
508 Nellie's Cave Road
Blacksburg, Virginia 24060, USA
+1 540 961 0920, t@b-tk.org, thb@debian.org

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