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Re: Position statements short of a GR - DPL statements

On Tue, Jan 08, 2013 at 04:24:16PM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> A little while ago I wrote this:
> > I think it would be useful to add a new category to this list:
> > 
> >   - Formal policy document from the DPL
> And I would hope that a decision to publish such a statement would be
> a decision by the DPL and therefore subject to overturn by GR.
> Some people have suggested that such an action by the DPL would need a
> constitutional change.
> Can you please confirm your interpretation of the constitution ?

So I think the question is on how to interprete 3.1.1:
[An individual Developer may]
       make any technical or nontechnical decision with regard to their
       own work;

[The Developers by way of General Resolution or election may]
       Issue, supersede and withdraw nontechnical policy documents and statements.
       These include documents describing the goals of the project, its
       relationship with other free software entities, and nontechnical
       policies such as the free software licence terms that Debian
       software must meet.
       They may also include position statements about issues of the day.

And 5.1.4:
[The Project Leader may]
       Make any decision for whom noone else has responsibility.

Only 4.1.5 talks about nontechnical policy and position statements,
the other 2 talk about decisions.

I think the constituion is written to imply that if someone has
a right to do something, that nobody else has it.  So I would say
that we can only make position statements of the type meant in
4.1.5 by way of General Resolution.

The question then is what kind of position statement are they,
and how is that different from a decision.

I think the intention is that it's about the position of
Debian, it talks about the goals of the project.  So I
think it can't be about the goal some package or group
of packages.  I think that would not fall under 4.1.5
and so not covered at all by the consitution.  So
I see no problem with such statements.

If it's clear that it's not an official Debian position
but the individual's position I also see no problem with

> If in your view formal statements from the DPL are not permitted, can
> you please comment on which of the following prospective web pages
> setting out position statements are permitted and which are also
> unconstitutional ?

I think it all depends on what the statement says, and how it
can be interpreted.

For instance, if we end up with a policy on how to deal with
incomming trademarks I think that would fall under 4.1.5
and would need a GR.  But you could also interprete is as just
a decision of the DPL, and I guess it all comes down on how
you write it down.


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