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Re: supermajority options

On Thu, Nov 21, 2002 at 05:57:36AM -0500, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> On Thu, 2002-11-21 at 00:43, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > Where "screw up majorly" is defined as "not permit minority veto"?
> > 
> > Supermajority requirements don't retard mistakes, just change.
> Arguably, if the system you have mostly works (which it apparently
> does),

It does?  Having a General Resolution on hold for over two years
"works"?  Well, for those who prefer the status quo, I suppose it does,
but I would think it's better to have the process play out to its
conclusion, and advocates of the status quo can enjoy the satisfaction
of a resounding defeat of the propostion, if that's what happens.

> then retarding change serves as a reasonable proxy for retarding
> mistakes.

The paper that John H. Robinson IV posted a link to[1] makes a very
interesting argument that this isn't necessarily true, unless one
defines "mistake" as "change".

But presumably you intend to be uttering something slightly more
insightful than a tautology.

> I can't think of a better procedural method.

Failure of personal imagination is a pretty weak argument.

> And there is definitely something to be said for stability; I don't
> think you'd want the people with the left hand glued to their ---
> well, we both know where that goes --- yelling YEAH, BABY! FRESH
> COMMITS! of the Debian Constitution.

So, the decisions of individual package maintainers who have almost sole
discretion over their packages are to be equated with an election in
which a majority of the voters express the same preference?

Carrying your analogy farther, I see some "bugs" in the Debian
Constitution and/or Social Contract that I'd like to fix.  Should I be
unilaterally empowered to "sync them up" with the version on the head of
my debian-government CVS module?

Or shall we instead leave these issues to the discretion of the voters

> > 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.
> Straw man! Non sequitor! A bunch of other Latin words!

Those terms have meanings, and you're misapplying them.

> An amendment worded:
>    A) The entirety of the Debian Constitution is hereby struck and
>       replaced as follows in section (B)
>    B) "First post!"
>       1) Hot grits!
>       2) Natalie Portman!
>       3) L1n0X R0cK$!
>    C) Sections shall be renumbered as appropriate
> does indeed leave the "Debian Constitution," but in name only.

Is a repeal in everything but name a repeal or not?  When is a rose a

> Also, the IETF only issues new technical documents, but somehow manages
> to get along. We could, under the letter of the current Constitution,
> issue a Debian Social Contract, v2.0. And then change policy to comply
> with it.

I suggest you ask the Project Secretary's opinion before pursuing this
line of reasoning too far (7.1.3).

[1] http://www.democ.uci.edu/democ/papers/McGann02.pdf

G. Branden Robinson                |      The noble soul has reverence for
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      itself.
branden@debian.org                 |      -- Friedrich Nietzsche
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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