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Re: Another proposal.



On Mon, Nov 18, 2002 at 05:28:37PM -0500, Andrew Pimlott wrote:
> > But it's exactly what we're trying to achieve with the supermajority
> > requirement, isn't it? Allowing voters to vote strategically so as to
> > knock out candidates they don't like?
> 
> I confess I'm not sure what we're trying to achieve with the
> supermajority requirement.  Based on the discussion, I don't think
> I'm alone.
> 
> However, I don't see why you'd want to encourage insincere (ie,
> strategic) voting, ever.

I don't either, frankly.

But we're stuck with supermajority and quorum requirements for the
moment because the current Constitution mandates them; Ian Jackson wrote
it that way and apparently no one foresaw the difficulties they would
cause our voting system.

I personally have to wonder how justified the fear of the instability
bogeyman really is.  The added, and very difficult complications imposed
by the mechanisms of quorum and supermajority tempt me to propose
tossing quorum and and supermajority requriments from the Constitution
altogether.

The quorum requirement would be easier to keep if we just limited its
application to number of ballots received, and didn't worry about
specific options having to meet some sort of quorum requirement.

Still, I question the utility of a quorum requriment at all in a project
of Debian's size.  There have been irregularities in our application of
the Constitution in the past (e.g., with Project Leaders' terms of
office), but these weren't terribly problematic.  Debian has never
kicked out a developer on procedural grounds, and unlike a government we
have no power to really punish people for breaking our "laws".

Therefore in my opinion, quorum requirements in particular are a
solution in search of a problem.  Half a dozen people working
complicitly with a Project Secretary to hold some sort of rigged vote
that doesn't reflect the will of the Project simply aren't going to be
taken seriously.

I suspect the same is true of supermajority requirements.

> Now that was just one example; I'm not saying I proved anything.
> However, straight Condorcet/CSSD is known to be strategy-resistent,
> and variants with special rules are not.  So I think we should
> resist the temptation to introduce special rules, even if our
> intuition tells us the default option should be special.
> 
> To state my view directly, I strongly feel that in an election with
> no supermajority or quorum requirement, the default option should be
> treated as any other.

I concur with this.  However, unless things have changed a lot in the
past 2 years, this is going to be a *really* hard sell to certain
influential members of the Project.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |    A celibate clergy is an especially
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    good idea, because it tends to
branden@debian.org                 |    suppress any hereditary propensity
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    toward fanaticism.    -- Carl Sagan

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