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Re: supermajority options

On Wed, Nov 20, 2002 at 12:12:03PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 19, 2002 at 05:54:30PM -0500, Raul Miller wrote:
> > [1] The simplest: discard supermajority entirely.  Nothing special is
> > required to override "important decisions".  This has some elegantly
> > simple mathematical properties but I don't know of any other argument
> > for it.
> I support this.  I'd rather see whether or not we screw up in the
> absence of supermajority requirements instead of just assuming that we
> will.

``I'd rather see us screw up majorly, than implement protective measures
  in the first place.''

> In my opinion, if Debian's developers are so militantly, determinedly
> "wrong" about something that they force it to a vote and win a majority
> of the votes cast, then hope is lost for the "old guard" anyway,

Branden, does *everything* have to be case in an us-against-them fight
between the right-thinking forces of enlightenment and the crusty old
hacks stuck forever back in the dim dark ages of the late 90's?

The issue isn't whether "hope is lost" for anyone, it's whether the
advocates for change have made an appropriately convincing argument
for change. Without a voting mechanism, the requirement is to either
convince *everyone* with a stake in the issue that you were right, or
to make it so that it didn't matter whether you were right or not. With
a supermajority, you have to convince all but a small proportion. With
a majority, you have to convince slightly over half.

Likewise, supermajority requirements protect changes once in
place. Allowing the "new regime" to make a change while the "old guard"
wasn't paying attention and without a significant majority just invites
the losers to do a little recruiting and change things back. Unless, of
course, the new regime sets the new regime up so that a supermajority
is required in future, of course. But that would be hypocritical,
wouldn't it?


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

 ``If you don't do it now, you'll be one year older when you do.''

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