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Re: supermajority options

On Thu, Nov 21, 2002 at 02:34:04PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> 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.''

Where "screw up majorly" is defined as "not permit minority veto"?

Supermajority requirements don't retard mistakes, just change.

> > 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?

Well, no, and I don't see where I said it did.  Can you please argue my
case instead of your caricature of it?

> 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.

I submit that, absent concrete evidence to the contrary, convincing just
over 50% of a herd of cats is sufficient.

> 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.

I'm not arguing against the a voting mechanism in any way.

> With a supermajority, you have to convince all but a small proportion.
> With a majority, you have to convince slightly over half.

Yes, I believe that's the common understanding of the terms.

> Likewise, supermajority requirements protect changes once in place.

More generally, they protect *against* change.  Because once a change
has been made, it isn't a change anymore.

> Allowing the "new regime" to make a change while the "old guard"
> wasn't paying attention

Those who don't pay attention don't deserve more consideration than
those who do.  I feel it is unfair to inflate the weight of the vote of
an inattentive Developer.  I prefer equal suffrage.

> and without a significant majority just invites the losers to do a
> little recruiting and change things back.

And if they're successful, more power to them.

> 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?

Looks like it already happened.  I notice the Consitution does not even
raise the concept of its own repeal.  Those who assert that we cannot
amend or withdraw non-technical documents, because the Constitution
countenances only the "issuing" of them (4.1.5) would logically have to
conclude that "amendment" of the Constitution (4.1.2) does not include
its own abandonment.

Even the stodgy old U.S. Constitution countenances the validly of a new
Constitutional Convention, bypassing the state legistlatures.

G. Branden Robinson                |     No math genius, eh?  Then perhaps
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     you could explain to me where you
branden@debian.org                 |     got these...       PENROSE TILES!
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- Stephen R. Notley

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