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Re: Nov 19 draft of voting amendment

On Wed, Nov 20, 2002 at 03:44:03PM -0500, Buddha Buck wrote:
> Hmmm, so if I make a suggested amendment to the Debian Constitution 
> (such as "Replace all instances of the word 'Concorde' in connection 
> with the voting system with the word 'Condorcet'.  Rationale:  This was 
> clearly a misspelling or mistake in the original drafting of the 
> Constitution"), that no one on Debian-Vote appears to object to, the 
> ballot should look like this:
> --------------------
> Rank all options in order of preference.  Unranked options will be 
> considered equal to each other and ranked lower than any ranked options.
> [   ]  AMEND the Constitution as per Proposed Amendment I, above.
> Sign your completed ballot with your Debian PGP key, and send it to....
> --------------------
> My opinion is that that is a stupid ballot.

I disagree.  If no one bothered to propose an amendment opposing your
resolution, or it failed to acquire enough seconds to be added to the
ballot, then you've pretty much got approval by acclamation[1].

> There should always be a method to reject a proposal, unless there is
> some good reason not to.

There is.  See Constitution A.1.{2,3,4}.

Furthermore, if we retain quorum requirements in the sense of a minimum
number of ballots that must be counted for the result to be tabulated,
that's another way for the collective to express rejection.

> What would be a good reason not to?  Imagine the following resolution, 
> hypothetically enacted:
> ------------------------------------
> Be it RESOLVED, that the Debian Project shall adopt a mascot, and that 
> the Debian Project Leader shall appoint five Debian Developers to review 
> and select at least five candidate mascots by no later than three months 
>  from the date of this reolution.  The Debian Developers shall select, 
> by vote, a mascot from among the selected candidate mascots.
> -------------------------------------
> This is a case where I can see there being no default option, no 
> none-of-the-above, and no "further discussion" either.

Some might argue that there are ambiguities in the Social Contract that
need to be cleared up one way or the other.

> But that's an exception, because the decision to do something was 
> already made, the only thing remaining is a choice over what to do. 
> When the decision to do something hasn't been made, there needs to be a 
> "do nothing" choice of some sort.

I submit that there will always be a "do nothing" choice if enough
people actually want to "do nothing".  With the number of voters we have
on our rolls, it seems silly to have the quorum requirement we do and
at the same time expect controversial proposals to "sneak through".

The Debian Project is not the sort of environment where one expects
people to hesitate about speaking up if they disagree with you.

[1] or as close to it as Debian is likely to get

G. Branden Robinson                |      It doesn't matter what you are
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      doing, emacs is always overkill.
branden@debian.org                 |      -- Stephen J. Carpenter
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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