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Re: current ballot must be withdrawn per Constitution A.5

It scares me to no end that a single person in Debian, the project
secretary, can kill any proposal outright simply by ignoring it.

It also scares me that people seem to be extending the Secretary's
power to "interpret" the constitution to "amend the Constitution
whenever he feels like it."

I repeat again:


How can the Secretary interpret something that is absent?

Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org> writes:

> Per section A.5 ("Expiry") of the constitution, I must point out that both
> John Goerzen's General Resolution regarding non-free, and Anthony Towns's
> amended version thereof (which per A.1.3 stands on its own as an
> independent GR since John Goerzen did not accept it) have expired.
> The entirety of section A.5 reads as follows:
>   If a proposed resolution has not been discussed, amended, voted
>   on or otherwise dealt with for 4 weeks then it is considered to have been
>   withdrawn.
> <http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution>
> The Project Secretary has heretofore regarded debian-vote as the only
> mailing list or forum in which consitutional activity of this sort is
> recognized.  Quoting <http://www.debian.org/vote/howto_proposal>:
>   When you've completed your proposal, send it to the debian-vote mailing
>   list or directly to secretary@debian.org (who will bounce it to -vote
>   anyway). Proposals will not be recognized to any other mailing list or
>   email address. This is to prevent the Project Secretary from missing a
>   proposal in the huge volumes of mail generaged on some of our lists and to
>   prevent him from having to subscribe to each and every list created by the
>   Project. Sponsors must also be sent to the debian-vote list or to
>   secretary@debian.org in order to be recognized as valid.
> (I will concede for the sake of arguement that the wording in the paragraph
> above is not exhaustive vis a vis the kinds of "dealing with" that a
> resolution can receive per A.5, however my interpretation seems consistent
> with the Project Secretary's past practice.  I do not claim to speak for
> him here.)
> As evidence for my assertion of expiry, I submit:
> * John Goerzen's General Resolution saw a Call for Votes on 7 June.
> * Anthony Towns's (de facto) General Resolution saw a Call for Votes on 7
>   July.
> * Both GR's were discussed heavily on debian-vote through the month of June
>   and into early July, after which discussion was sporadic.  The last
>   message in July that was even modestly germane to the proposed GR's was
>   made by Hamish Moffatt on 19 Jul <20000719202623.A6554@silly.cloud.net.au>.
>   The rest of the month was fairly low traffic, involving only a very
>   off-topic flamewar between myself and Craig Sanders, and a couple of
>   messages discussing an unrelated GR proposed by Manoj to -project.
> * From 27 July to 23 August, there was no traffic on -vote at all.
> * The only messages in August had to do not with the subject matter of the
>   GR's, but rather when we were ever going to have a vote on them.
> * The list fell into silence again, broken by a message from the Project
>   Secretary on 22 September declaring his intention to release a ballot in
>   one week.
> The most generous (smallest) estimate of downtime is 20 July to 22 August,
> a period of 38 days.  More than 4 weeks any way you slice it.
> There are less generous (larger) estimates of downtime that would disregard
> extremely marginal posts made to -vote (including some by me, in all
> honesty).
> I therefore ask the Project Secretary to mark both of these amendments as
> expired.  I also humbly ask that, in the future, he designate someone to
> act in his stead if other obligations call him away from the project for an
> extended period, as happened this summer.
> It may be helpful to refer to
> <http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote-0006/maillist.html>
> <http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote-0007/maillist.html>
> <http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote-0008/maillist.html>
> to confirm my observations, or take issue with me if I have (inadvertently)
> misrepresented the factual record.
> -- 
> G. Branden Robinson             |      One man's theology is another man's
> Debian GNU/Linux                |      belly laugh.
> branden@debian.org              |      -- Robert Heinlein
> http://www.debian.org/~branden/ |

John Goerzen <jgoerzen@complete.org>                       www.complete.org
Sr. Software Developer, Progeny Linux Systems, Inc.    www.progenylinux.com
#include <std_disclaimer.h>                     <jgoerzen@progenylinux.com>

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