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

Stephen Gran <sgran@debian.org> wrote:
> This one time, at band camp, MJ Ray said:
> > Many DDs ignore -project and even most stuff on -vote
> > unless/until it looks likely to get enough seconds, don't they?
> You're the one making the assertion, I think the onus is on you to prove
> it.

Previously, I noted that fewer than 80 people participated in even the
hotly disputed lenny blobs GR discussion.  That suggests to me that
lots of DDs aren't participating until the vote.

It's hard to prove that a group is ignoring something, but disproof is
simple: please could all DDs reading this email mjr-possiblegr at
debian.org.  I'll count with from -f possiblegr.mbox | wc -l in a week.

> The discussion so far on this topic has, to my mind, suggested the
> opposite reading.  We've seen postings from several people who don't
> normally post to -vote (and they've been fairly uniformly in support
> of the ideas being proposed, at a glance), which suggests to me that we
> have more lurkers than you are assuming.

Cross-checking names of posters to this thread on -project with an
index of posters to -vote finds *no* new participants.  That comes
down to how one defines "normal" in "normally post to -vote".

> > > > Here's a summary list of concerns I mentioned in other emails:-
> > > > 1. 2Q is unjustified and excessive; [...]
> > Why 30?  Why not 130?  Why not 300?  The particular number is unjustified.
> I personally would be happy with a higher number, but 30 is a conservative
> first start.  Would you be happier if the suggestion was 4Q or 10Q?

Not if it's still unjustified.  If we're groping in the dark, let's
grope somewhere near to our current position, instead of leaping about
the room and possibly slamming into a brick wall.

If 10Q is ever seriously considered, it seems better to replace the
SRP with a different, more consensual, voting system.

> > I'm not good at interpreting complex constitutions, but [...]

Yep, I got it wrong, thanks to the unusual meaning of "quorum" in the
debian constitution - compare with

> > What about the other two concerns: the obvious spoiler effect; and
> > defending proposals during the discussion period?
> The 'obvious' spoiler effect - is that the idea that proposals with no
> supporters probably won't make it to a GR?  That's a feature.

In short, it's the idea that you can keep a compromise amendment off
of the ballot by proposing a similar-but-slightly-more-extreme one,
then letting the compromise amendment fail due to seconder fatigue and
the reluctance of some DDs to second multiple options.

We currently have two examples where options which didn't exceed 2K
seconds went on to win the vote.  Does a higher seconding requirement
risk of introducing something similar to the threshold effect from
elections (such as the German and Turkish national elections) into
getting onto a GR ballot?  I think the ability to second multiple
options (which Don Armstrong initially argued against) may reduce it,
but I also suspect seconder fatigue (similar to voter fatigue) means
it'll still exist.

> Why is defending an option you are proposing a problem, and how is it
> worsened by increasing the number of required seconds over the current
> situation?

It is a problem because it encourages division rather than
consensus-building.  It's much harder to develop a compromise when
many participants have already publicly announced their preferred
solution.  It is worsened by increasing the number of required seconds
because that increases the probability of uncompromising defenders
*before* many DDs are necessarily aware of the proposal.

> If anything, it seems like increasing the number of required
> seconds means an incentive to have a wider discussion before proposing
> the GR, which if anything will widen the opportunity to build consensus,
> and if consensus can't be reached, make it possible to create a few
> compromises that people could live with before pretending we can resolve
> our difference in 2 weeks with a vote looming.

So no compromises can be found in two weeks?  Does increasing the
number of required seconds mean that some proportion of DDs will be
probably spending even more time developing GRs and the rest of us
will have to spend even more time watching them?

How will the unannounced pre-proposal discussions be wider than the
GR discussion period which is announced to all DDs?

The 2 weeks is a minimum, not a requirement - but if the required
discussion period is essentially useless and just for filtering out
small errors, should it be shortened?

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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