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Re: GRs, irrelevant amendments, and insincere voting

On Sun, Nov 02, 2003 at 08:18:33PM -0500, moth@magenta.com wrote:
> > > In other words:

> > > [1] if the proposer of some ballot option chooses to ignore some popular
> > > amendment

> On Sun, Nov 02, 2003 at 05:17:55PM -0600, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > "Popular" only in the sense that it expresses a view that is popular --
> > not that the idea of replacing the ballot option with the amendment
> > receives popular support.

> Are you making a meaningful distinction here?  If so, I don't see it.

> Popular means: can get enough votes to [be likely to] make a difference
> on the ballot.  The distinction between a view that's popular and support
> of the amendment which is popular doesn't seem to add anything meaningful
> to the discussion.

The point is that the options that can be used to exploit this
particular vulnerability are ones which a sincere voter would agree
with, but that people would not go out of their way to vote on if it
were the sole reason for holding the vote.

> > > [2] (and chooses not to provide an option which includes the most salient
> > > points of both),

> > Consider the "amendment" (in name only),

> >    Replace lines ^ through $ with the words, "Debian should continue to
> >    produce a distribution."

> Lines ^ through $ of what?  The social contract?  I can cheerfully
> predict that that's not going to be popular.

> And, any other interpretation of "Lines ^ through $" aren't going to be
> meaningful on the ballot.

It is an amendment to the original proposal -- the amendment of
"completely replace the proposal with:", which, once (sensibly) rejected
by the author of the original proposal, would seem to be eligible for
inclusion on the ballot as a stand-alone option (barring intervention by
the Project Secretary).  At that point, the ballot option would simply
be written as "Debian should continue to produce a distribution".

> > Such an amendment would only exist to subvert the original purpose of
> > the ballot, so there is no way to incorporate elements of it into the
> > original proposer's ballot option.  In many procedural systems, this
> > would nevertheless be considered an amendment, and our SRP does not
> > *systemically* prevent such an interpretation.

> Our resolution procedure doesn't systematically prevent wasted time.
> What we spend our time on is up to us.

It's more than a question of wasted time; there's no reason that "Debian
should continue to produce a distribution" couldn't be added to every
attempt to reconsider the original GR, if the Project Secretary were in
cahoots with the filibusterers.  The only ways out would be for voters
to vote strategically (by claiming to disagree with the statement
"Debian should continue to produce a distribution"), or for the GR's
proponents to concede defeat.  Now, I can understand arguing that this
isn't a serious enough flaw to be worth fixing, but that doesn't mean it
isn't a flaw.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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