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Re: Reforming the NM process

On Tue, Apr 25, 2006 at 01:14:55PM +0000, Thaddeus H. Black wrote:
> The fallacy in the argument, in my view, is in the implicit proposition
> that votes build productive communities.  This simply is not so.  You

I agree totally and I don't think I ever claimed otherwise.  Most things
are better settled with discussion.  Given that anyone can participate
in the discussions of Debian, it would seem sensible that anyone could
participate in the votes.  For me, the point of broadening the voting
rights is to increase the openness of the project, which I expect to
increase contribution.

> 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.

They also prevent extremities in decision-making.  Sometimes extreme
solutions are needed, and inability to deal with these situations is a
weakness in voting.  But the big majority of cases (where voting is
needed) is handled well.

> 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.

I don't know.  Firstly, voting rights are not only a reward -- they are
also a means to make people committed.  So it's a zero-sum game only
from the point of view of influence fights.  Secondly, if votes were
expected to always arrive at the "right solution", we would do better to
leave them to the most informed people.  Sadly, in a situation where a
vote is needed, that's exactly what we don't have: a clear picture of
who the most informed people are.  So are we really better off to put it
into the hands of DD's, or in the hands of anybody interested?


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