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Re: Logo swap vote is bogus

On Mon, Jun 28, 1999 at 09:35:51PM +0100, Philip Hands wrote:
> I think we have a problem with the way the current vote came about.

I don't.

> [ I'm cross-posting this, because it seems that people managed to miss what is 
> going on what with messages being spread across debian-vote, and 
> debian-publicity.  Please follow up to -publicity]

I don't subscribe to -publicity, please CC replies to me if you want me to
see them.

> >From talking to people over the weekend at the UKUUG Linux conference, I get 
> the impression that there is a consensus that the plain swirl is nicer that 
> the with-bottle-swirl, and that if we must have two logos, then it would be 
> better to have the plain-swirl in the widest possible use (because it's nicer).

Okay.  The current progress of the vote seems to be fairly strongly headed
that way, too.  But last time I checked, it hadn't met quorum, so it is too
soon to count the chickens.

> If that's true, then we should be discussing it, rather than going to a vote 
> with practically no discussion whatsoever.  Decision making in Debian has 
> always previously been based on consensus, even if the consensus was simply 
> ``We should vote on it''.

We did discuss it, both on debian-devel and debian-vote.  It started on
-devel with my message, and at Darren Benham's request (in his capacity as
project secretary), folks generally tried to move the discussion to -vote.

> In this case, I seen no evidence that there was a consensus for a vote, so I'm 
> not convinced that there will be any validity to the result.

Consensus for a vote is determined by the seconding of the proposal to have
a vote in the first place.  See
<http://www.debian.org/vote/1999/vote_0005>, or my call for votes message
to -vote, for a list of people who seconded the proposal.

> >From reading the archives again, it seems that events happened like this:
>  Branden mentioned the vote idea (not sure which list).
>  I objected because (IIRC) it was too specific, and should allow for
>  other possibilities (such as alternatives that Raul could come up with).
>  Branden resubmitted his unchanged proposal to debian-vote and
>  debian-publicity
>  A bunch of people seconded it.
>  Later, on -publicity, Adam Di Carlo said that we shouldn't be voting on
>  this in the first place.
>  Raul followed up by saying that he agreed that discussions should continue
>  on -publicily, for a final decision, and that he'd come up with some more
>  versions of the logo.
>  Witchert said that in that case, he was against the logo swap.
> Then nothing more was said, as far as I can see.

Your timeline is more or less correct, as far as I can recall.  It should
be noted that Wichert has been wavering in his resolve against my proposal
(other people who frequent #debian-devel can confirm this); he thinks I
made a lot of sense in the CFV, but I don't know if I changed his mind.  So
I don't think he's the best authority to appeal to.

BTW, objections to a proposal don't mean it's automatically rejected.  All
509 developers do not have veto power over every resolution.  A general
resolution (vote) has to pass a consensus test twice:

  First, it must be seconded by enough developers to establish that it is
  an important enough issue to demand this kind of attention (a second need
  not imply that the seconder agree with the proposer, but simply that the
  issue merits input from the developer corpus).

  Secondly, it has to survive the actual vote (meet quorum and dominate the

> In the old days, that would have been the end of it, until we heard back form 
> Raul, but now we get automatically bulldozered into a vote, despite the fact 
> that there seems to be no consensus that we should even have a vote.

Bulldozed?  I made the proposal.  It received seven seconds.  After two
weeks (actually 2-3 days more than that), I proceeded to call for votes.  I
acted completely within my rights as a developer and abided by the policies
as laid down in the constitution.  I admit I had to ask Darren Benham for
help in confirming my interpretations though.  This is the first general
resolution we've had that didn't come from "on high".  (Guy Maor sort of
acted as iwj's proxy for the initial ratification of the constitution, the
election came about somewhat automatically, and Wichert called for the logo
license and logo selection votes.)

I reiterate: per the Constitution, there was sufficient consensus that we
should have a vote.

> The trouble is, that I think the majority of the people voting for ``Swap'' 
> are actually voting for ``Use the swirl, and forget the bottle'', which is 
> something different.

I believe you are being misleading.  Nowhere in my call for votes, or in
the ballot, does it suggest that we should revert to a single logo, or use
the same license on both logos.  Under my proposal, everything is exactly
as it was after the logo license and logo selection votes, except that the
open-use and official forms of the logo are exchanged.  I have yet to hear
anyone express any confusion on this subject, except you (and that on
behalf of unidentified people who may not actually exist).

> I can see this sort of thing happening again --- we need to stop people 
> proposing votes before there has been a chance to build a consensus (without a 
> vote).  Otherwise the minority of people who can be bothered to vote, will be 
> able to push through all sorts of drivel.

We have tools, we should use them.  The logo business is not a technical
decision and thus not the province of the Technical Committee.  It is also
not the personal domain of the Project Leader (Bruce Perens's precedent
notwithstanding, since his reign preceded the constitution).  Therefore it
is the decision of the developers in general.  Thus, general resolution.
Thus, vote.

I am unaware of any delegation of "logo power" to any particular developer
of group of developers.

> Do the right thing, and vote ``Further Discussion'' now!

Do the right thing, and disregard politicking.  People have every right to
vote "futher discussion" if that is what they honestly feel is the right
course.  But I don't think they should do so solely because of your veiled
accusations of impropriety on my part.

Believe it or not, I don't have much of a personal stake in the outcome of
this vote; I made the proposal because I thought it was a good idea and, as
far as I could determine, the general resolution/vote mechanism was the
best way to handle it.  Apparently you disagree, and that is your right.
But I don't think misrepresentation of my actions or intentions is the
correct way to express disagreement.

*) If there has been some kind of procedural error, please point it out.
   I've read the constitution and can find nothing amiss.  I invite others
   to do the same.
*) If you believe that decisions of this nature about the logo do not
   (as opposed to should not) lie with the developers as a whole but
   instead with a single individual or subset of the developers, please say
   so.  Such power would have to exist, as far as I can tell, as a
   delegation from the project leader, and because of its non-technical
   nature, may even require a vote to legitimize the powers of the "logo
   czar" or "logo oligarchy".  As far as I know, no such special
   investiture of power exists.  You are the first person to imply this
*) I personally feel that, insofar as the Debian logo "belongs" to anyone,
   it belongs to all of the developers as a form of community property, and
   must thus be handled democratically.  Hence this vote.  I did not
   attempt to act dictatorially to implement the logo swap myself, and I did
   not lobby the project leader or anyone else to do so.
*) In my call for votes I explicitly included an option for people that are
   opposed to the logo swap, rather than leaving only two options: "swap
   them" and "further discussion", as I would have been within my rights to
   do.  I'm interested in getting solid consensus one way or the other on
   this proposal, not in promoting some nefarious agenda of my own.
   (Today, a logo swap, tomorrow, the world?  Come on.)
*) Finally, I pointed out in my call to votes that the author of the logo,
   Raul Silva, might have had reservations about the swap (actually, all I
   have heard is his rationale for the original arrangement, which *may* be
   taken to imply that he prefers the logos the way they are, but I have
   yet to find a strong statement with respect to my proposal in and of
   itself from him.)

G. Branden Robinson              |     We either learn from history or,
Debian GNU/Linux                 |     uh, well, something bad will happen.
branden@ecn.purdue.edu           |     -- Bob Church
cartoon.ecn.purdue.edu/~branden/ |

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