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Re: [CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT] Disambiguation of 4.1.5

On Mon, Nov 13, 2000 at 06:34:38PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> If you look through the constitution, nothing anywhere gives any hint that
> distinct proposals may be voted on concurrently, so I hope you'll forgive
> me if I didn't take that interpretation.

Concurrently?  The consitution neither forbids nor mandates simultaneous
votes.  I would presume that the Project Secretary can schedule votes at
his discretion as long as he doesn't delay them so long that they expire.
Frankly, I'd like a few more ground rules than that, but there don't seem
to be any in the Consitution.

> And, again, it's explicitly stated that the final form of any resolution
> is voted on where the options are `Yes, No, and Further Discussion'
> (A.3.3), it's only when deciding on that final form that alternatives are
> able to be considered.

There is also A.3.6.

  In cases of doubt the Project Secretary shall decide on matters of
  procedure (for example, whether particular amendments should be considered
  independent or not).

Again, we see that the Project Secretary has a lot of latitude in the area
of resolution, ballot, and voting management.  Perhaps more than he should
have; feel free to propose constitutional amendment to address this issue.

People have the right to cry foul about unorthodoxies in his handling of
this vote, just as was done with respect to his handling of John Goerzen's
resolution and your amendment.  Would you like to do so?

At any rate, you seem to have a good point with the "Yes, No, Further
Discussion" issue.  It raises a problem, however.  Almost every vote we've
conducted under the Constitution has NOT had this form.  We've had DPL
ballots which had names instead of YES and NO, and things like "SINGLE vs.
DUEL" [sic].

What should be done about this?

  * Should all these previous irregular ballots be retroactively voided?
  * Should we interpret this language as being advisory, applying only to
    the case where a single yes/no question is being offered in a
  * Should we amend A.3.3 to clearly extend the scope of ballot questions,
    not limiting them to yes/no issues?

I don't think the first option is really going to get us anywhere.  The
second option might set a precedent for loose interpretation of other parts
of the consitution.  That leaves yet another constitutional amendment...

> > > If A.3.1 doesn't apply, surely A.3.2 still does, in
> > > which case the only permissable options for the final ballot are "Yes,
> > > No and Further Discussion".
> > This effort to create a unified ballot for Manoj's and my proposals is
> > obviously formenting confusion, 
> Nonsense. There's nothing confusing about what you're doing; the only
> confusing thing is trying to establish a constitutional authority for it.

I think A.3.6 more or less gives the Project Secretary a blank check in
this area.  I don't necessarily think that's a good thing, but it also
doesn't mean that it's being abusively stretched in *this* case.

> > * People think it's productive[2] to "amend" a General Resolution so as to
> >   completely reverse its meaning and/or effect.  
> Well, no. People (well, at least one of them) think the only
> constitutionally sound way of offering an alternative to be voted on
> is to amend a resolution, whether that alternative completely reverses
> its meaning and/or effect or not.

I guess voting NO is not a sufficiently vigorous way of registering one's

> I'm not sure why you think following the constitution rather than making
> up things that seem right is dishonest and disreputable.

It won't break my heart if Manoj's and my proposals have to be voted on
separately.  If doing anything else would be regarded by too many people as
playing fast and loose with the constitution, well, then it's not worth it
to me.  I value the disambiguation of 4.1.5 over the expediency of the
pending votes.

I would ask the Project Secretary to hold the votes simultaneously, if
possible, though.

G. Branden Robinson             |    I am sorry, but what you have mistaken
Debian GNU/Linux                |    for malicious intent is nothing more
branden@debian.org              |    than sheer incompetence!
http://www.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- J. L. Rizzo II

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