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Further draft Social Committee text

See below.  This is not yet ready for promulgation by Sam but I think
it more or less reflects what was discussed in Edinburgh.  Sadly it
has come out _far too long_.  If anyone can produce a much shorter way
of saying these same things I'll be very pleased.  Failing that I
might have a go with a scythe myself.




 A. I consider it necessary that it would be beneficial to formally
    establish a Social Committee for resolving nontechnical disputes.

 B. I give notice that I intend to establish such a Social Committee
    as Delegates of the Project Leader, using the Leader's powers in
    Constitution 5.1(1).

 C. Please volunteer to work on this new committee - see sections
    15-17 below.  Send your application to leader@d.o; you have two
    weeks to make up your mind and apply, and a simple message saying
    that you're volunteering will do.


 1. The Social Committee's purpose is to promote constructive and
    agreeable relations between Debian Developers and others involved
    with Debian.

 2. To this end the Social Committee may:

    (1) Make a decision when asked to do so.

      Any person or body may delegate a decision of their own, or a
      class of decisions, to the Social Committee, or seek advice from

    (2) Offer advice.

      The Social Committee may make formal announcements about its
      views on any matter.  This includes but is not limited to both
      statements about particular cases and documents giving general
      guidance.  (Individual members may of course make informal
      statements about their views and about the likely views of the

    (3) Request Cease and Desist

      Where the SC thinks it necessary to avoid serious hindrance to
      constructive and agreeable relations, the SC may request that a
      person to refrain from certain acts and communications.  The
      nature of the acts to be avoided should be clearly stated in the
      SC's request.

      For example, the SC might ask a Developer not to NMU a
      particular package, not to contact a particular other Developer,
      or not to post to a particular mailing list or not to post
      discussing particular topics.

      Note that this power extends to any context where a person is
      using facilities intended primarily for Debian, and also to any
      context where a person would generally be taken by outsiders as
      representing Debian.

    (4) Make Access Control Decisions

      Provided at least two thirds of the SC positively agree,
      instruct Debian's mailing list administrators, IRC operators,
      and other persons in similar positions to make or remove access
      control arrangements which allow or prevent a person or persons
      from sending messages via communications facilities.

      For example, the committee may ban (temporarily or permanently)
      a person or people from posting to certain mailing lists or in
      certain threads.

      Where the access-controlled resource is not one maintained for
      and by the project as a whole, but is instead a private resource
      (including private resources hosted on project systems), the
      Social Committee may only make requests rather than giving

      For the avoidance of doubt no-one (the Social Committee not
      excepted) is permitted to prevent a Developer from posting to
      the formal decisionmaking mailing list mentioned in Constitution

    (5) Recommend suspension or expulsion from the Project

      Provided at least two thirds of the SC positively agree, the SC
      may make recommendations to the relevant Project Leader's
      Delegates that they exercise their powers to expel a Developer
      either temporarily or permanently.

 3. To the same ends, the individual members of the Social Committee
    should when they consider it appropriate:

    (1) Send informal comments about behaviour

      An SC member may send a private message to a person or group,
      pursuant to the SC's goals, giving that SC member's opinion
      about anyone's behaviour, and giving such informal advice as the
      member sees fit.

      Any private communication by a Social Committee member, on a
      matter which a recipient reasonably believes is made in the
      member's SC capacity (whether that capacity is explicitly stated
      or not) may be published by that recipient, without asking
      permission from SC member who sent it.

    (2) Send formal warnings

      A Committee member may send a formal warning to a person or
      group, giving that member's opinion, and such advice as the
      member sees fit.

      Such a formal warning from an individual SC member may be sent
      privately or publicly, but should be copied to the SC private
      mailing list.


 4. The DPL will aim for the SC to consist of 5 Developers.  The SC
    may not use its powers according to s2 above unless it has at
    least 3 members.

 5. Each year, the SC membership will be reconfirmed as follows:

   (1) The Project Secretary will conduct a series of separate but
       concurrent votes, one for each member of the SC.  In each
       ballot, the options will be `Keep' and `Dismiss'.

   (2) SC members for whom the majority of voting Developers choose
       `Keep' will remain on the Social Committee.

   (3) SC members for whom the majority vote `Dismiss' will be
       immediately removed from the committee.

   (4) If there are then any vacancies the DPL will invite volunteers
       to apply, and then make appointments to fill those vacancies.
       The new appointments will not be voted on until the next
       approval round; however, the DPL will not normally appoint
       someone who was previously dismissed by the Developers.


 6. The Social Committee will have a private mailing list for its use;
    this will be used for all formal business.  Messages sent to this
    list will be available to the SC (including to future committees)
    but will not be published.

 7. When the SC takes a formal action according to s2 above, the
    notice it gives of this action will include:
     (1) a statement of the decision;
     (2) the reasons for that decision;
     (3) which SC members concurred with the decision; and
     (4) which (if any SC) members disagreed with the decision or the
       reasons, and those dissenting members views and reasons.

    This notice shall be sent at least to all of the parties to a
    dispute and to anyone expected to implement it.  Anyone who
    receives it may make it public.

 8. SC members will be given at least 1 week to state any
    disagreement and write a dissenting statement as discussed in
    s7(4) above.

 9. A decision of the SC is made by simple majority unless stated

 10. Appeal of any decision made by the SC is via General Resolution,
     only.  Decisions 


 11. When there is doubt or dispute as to whether a decision should be
     made by the Technical Committee or the Social Committee, the
     Project Leader will decide.

 12. If a jurisdictional dispute seems possible, agreement should be
     sought from the relevant parties as to which committee should
     deal with the matter.  If such agreement is not reached, or
     disagreement is evident, the Project Leader should be consulted.

 13. Someone who engages in a substantive discussion with one of the
     committees, without disputing that committee's jurisdiction
     regarding the matter at hand, shall be taken to have agreed to
     abide by the committee's ruling and should not later appeal to
     the DPL to shift the controversy to a different forum.

 14. For avoidance of doubt, this section is without prejudice to the
     Technical Committee's constitutionally mandated ability to
     request a ruling on constitutional interpretation, if the TC
     feels that a matter on which it is competent has been improperly
     assigned to the SC by the DPL.


 15. The DPL invites volunteers to come forward for consideration as
     potential members of the Social Committee.  The nomination period
     will be 2 weeks.

 16. If sufficient suitable candidates come forward, the DPL will then
     publish a proposed list of 5 members for the committee.  Any
     volunteer not put forward by the DPL but who achieves K sponsors
     within the next 2 weeks, will also be added to the list of

 17. Simultaneous but separate ballots will be held by the Project
     Secretary, as follows:
      * Yes/No/FD on this Social Committee proposal
      * Appoint/Reject for each candidate

     If No or FD wins the first ballot, the other votes are void.  If
     Yes wins the first ballot the Appointed candidates become the
     Social Committee.  If the resulting Committee has less than three
     people the DPL will consider what options are suitable to


 18. The DPL intends to keep the operation of the Social Committee
     under review and invites comment.

 19. The DPL retains the power to:
      (1) Abolish the Social Committee;
      (2) Change the size of the SC;
      (3) Interpret or clarify this charter;
      (4) Completely change this charter; and/or
      (5) Remove and appoint members regardless of elections
     but not to overrule any decision of the SC once made.

 20. However the DPL intends to exercise these powers only after due
     consultation according to the constitution and so as to give
     effect to the consensus of the Developers.

 21. The DPL encourages the Social Committee itself, and its
     individual members, to suggest improvements; the DPL
     will look very favourably on such suggestions.

Ian Jackson, at home.           Local/personal: ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk
ian@davenant.greenend.org.uk       http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~ijackson/
Problems mailing me ?  Send postmaster@chiark the bounce (bypasses the blocks).

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