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Re: An ammendment (Re: Formal CFV: General Resolution to Abolish Non-Free)

On Thu, Jun 15, 2000 at 04:26:18PM -0400, Raul Miller wrote:
> > Please explain what part of the constitution allows for a GR to
> > amend the social contract.

On Thu, Jun 15, 2000 at 09:23:43PM -0400, Branden Robinson wrote:
> How is this a rebuttal? It's not even on point. If the constitution
> does in fact not permit amendement of the SC, then the relevant
> section of the GR is nullified. It doesn't rewrite itself to say "The
> Social Contract is hereby repealed."

I don't quite understand your logic here, but I think I understand
your point.

Anyways, I wasn't trying for a rebuttal.  I was simply using your post
as a platform to remind people of this issue.

> > > I see an amendement of its language, but no blanket repeal of the
> > document.
> >
> > As near as I can tell, the constitution gives debian developers the
> > power to issue new documents. I don't see anything in it that grants
> > debian developers the right to amend the social contract.
> So we are bound to all of the terms of the Social Contract
> in perpuity? The Constitution says only that we can issue
> documents...does that mean we can issue documents that supersede,
> amend, or repeal others?

Just that the constitution currently doesn't have a mechanism appropriate
for modifying the social contract.  That doesn't mean "in perpuity",
that just means "until we create such a mechanism".

> > (*) We could decide that the social contract is nothing more than a
> > document. We should probably rename it ("The Social Document" or,
> > more likely "Social Issues") in this case.
> I submit that it is in fact nothing more than a document. I do not
> understand why it is necessary to change its title. It is a statement
> of our goals, principles, and intents.

I agree with your third sentence.

And, the constitution currently doesn't have mechanisms for changing
our goals, principles and intents.

> The Constitution takes no particular cognizance either of the SC
> or the DFSG. It does not derive its governing authority from those
> documents; rather, being a constitution, its authority is grounded in
> the collective consent and ratification of its terms.

I'm not talking about authority, I'm talking about mechanism.

> If the Social Contract and DFSG are neither amendable, supersedable,
> nor revocable, then we have the interesting situation of a group of
> volunteers being bound to terms which they had, and have, no voice
> in determining -- for what is to happen when all the members of the
> Project who participated in the creation of those documents have
> moved on? Many have already, including some rather important ones.
> As new-maintainer reopens, we must take note of the fact that we are
> asking for agreement to terms of these documents which they took no
> part in helping to shape. I believe that all maintainers should be
> permitted to be one voice among many determining the ultimate goals
> of the project. If those change over time, so be it; so too does the
> world change.

And, I'm not saying that they're not amendable.  I'm just saying that
we don't have an appropriate method for amending them at this time.

> The most important thing about the Debian project is the people
> that comprise it; our governing documents are our tools, not our
> masters, just as software is a tool. The Social Contract, DFSG, and
> Constitution must reflect the goals and intentions of the people who
> are bound by them. While we ask each developer individually to conform
> to the standards, we must in return grant each developer the right to
> participate in democratic procedures for their amendment.

I agree completely.


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