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Re: Discussion: Possible GR: Enhance requirements for General Resolutions

On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 09:47:39PM -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:

> I'm not sure that I find it usefully different, unless what you're
> proposing is a compromise that you hope everyone will be able to agree
> upon.

I think that's a hugely important ability.  I'm also worried that
setting the thresholds too high for alternatives may skew the
available options in the direction of the opinions of those who spend
too much time following the political process and away from the
rank-and-file who are more concerned with making an operating system.

For this reason, while I support the idea of increasing the number of
supporters to _start_ a GR, I'd like to keep the number required to
add an _alternative_ at K!  Once we realize that there's really a
decision to make, I think we should make sure that as many options are
on the table as possible!  Otherwise we risk being forced to decide
between two extremist positions (one possibly represented by "none of
the above/further discussion") with no compromises available.

> Writing options that you don't personally agree with is full of problems.
> It's very difficult to be objectively fair in capturing an option that you
> don't believe in and wouldn't argue for.  I'd much rather see the people
> who really believe in an option step forward to propose it.

I think that too few people bother to track the active political
discussions (I'm  one who usually doesn't) to make that a viable
position.  Furthermore, it prevents those who support the status quo
from proposing _anything_, even a compromise they could live with.
And I think that's a _very_ bad idea!

Personally, I think that if you're willing to rank something higher
than at least _one_ of the available options (including further
discussion), you should be allowed to propose it.

> With Condorcet voting and Further Discussion, there seems to be little
> point in trying to flesh out a ballot with all possible distinct options
> just out of some sense of completeness.  If one of those options that no
> one seconded turns out to be what the rest of the project who wasn't
> participating in the proposal process wanted, that's what Further
> Discussion is for (and I expect that to be quite rare).

The problem is that because we don't have an official "none of the
above", "further discussion" is usually interpreted as "none of the
above".  And, as you say, voting for "further discussion" is fairly
rare, for exactly that reason.

Furthermore, if we're going to make it harder to get GRs started, I
think it's _vital_ that we make sure the GRs are done right, and IMO,
that means making sure that all the options are on the table.

> As far as I'm concerned, the ideal outcome of a GR discussion isn't a
> ballot with all options represented.  It's a project-wide consensus on the
> best course of action.

That sounds like a wonderful goal in a perfect world and absolutely
_terrifying_ in the real world we actually live in!  If this were an
ideal world, and we were all perfectly logical machines, we wouldn't
need to vote because the "ideal" solution to every problem would be
equally obvious to everyone.  But it's not and we aren't, so I think
it is _vitally_ important to offer options to help avoid the
dictatorship of the overly-political.

Chris Waters           |  Pneumonoultra-        osis is too long
xtifr@debian.org       |  microscopicsilico-    to fit into a single
or xtifr@speakeasy.net |  volcaniconi-          standalone haiku

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