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2:1 majority for nontechnical policy documents (Was: Re: [CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT] Disambiguation of 4.1.5 )

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"BB" => Buddha Buck <bmbuck@14850.com>

    BB> I'm not sure you meant it, but a "2:1 majority"
    BB> requirement looks like a supermajority requirement --
    BB> twice as many supporters as opponents.

Right.  2:1 would be twice as many supporters as opponents.

    BB> Right now, a nontechnical policy document or statement can
    BB> be issued with a simple majority (modulo the fact that the
    BB> Condorcet method isn't as simple as "simple majority").
    BB> It does not require a supermajority.  Requiring a 2:1
    BB> majority is a major change, and one that does not tie in
    BB> well with Manoj's or Branden's proposals.

Yes, I know.  That was the problem.  I also agree that it's
probably a separate issue -- I just happened to notice it while I
was talking about the other stuff.  (And, I admit, I thought maybe
it would be easier to address it now than later.)

    BB> Did you mean to create a supermajority requirement, or
    BB> simply a majority requirement?

Mostly, I wanted to put the idea on the table, and see what other
people thought.  It seems to me that the range of policies that
could be defined in ``nontechnical policy documents'' ranges from
the innocuous all the way through some decisions that could result
in a schism.

With most policy statements, you won't see a lot of contention --
people will accept it or ignore it, and life will go on.  But if
something controversial came up -- say Microsoft buys Intel *and*
AMD, so some large group of developers think Debian should stop
supporting the i386 port -- the simple majority requirement might
not be enough to prevent such a document from being issued.
(Presumably that decision would lead to a split in Debian, and,
presumably, that would be a Bad Thing that we would want to

Obviously the chances of something that controversial being
brought up are fairly low, and the chances that the situation
could be defused in before actually causing a schism are pretty
high.  But the possibility exists, and I thought I should point
that out.

The main thing that led me to suggest the 2:1 majority is that it
takes a 2:1 majority to override a decision made by the Technical
Committee.  It seems kind of strange to me that it's easier to get
a controversial policy document accepted than it is to overrule a
decision made by a small group of (admittedly smart and
thoughtful) people.  After all, it only takes a simple majority to
override a Project Leader's decision.


 Behind the counter a boy with a shaven head stared vacantly into space, 
 a dozen spikes of microsoft protruding from the socket behind his ear.
   C.M. Connelly               c@eskimo.com                   SHC, DS
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