[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: RFD: amendment of Debian Social Contract

On Sun, Nov 09, 2003 at 02:47:40AM +0000, Dylan Thurston wrote:
> The Standard Resolution Procedure specifies that options requiring a
> supermajority need to defeat the default option by 3:1.

Yes, each one individually.  Not the options' common parts
interpretively taken together.

> Otherwise all options are treated equally.  Thus "splitting the vote"
> would only make a difference to the outcome if there is:
> * a significant percentage of developers who want to change the social
>   contract only on the condition that we keep non-free; AND
> * a significant percentage of developers who want to change the social
>   contract only on the condition that we drop non-free.

The percentages need not be significant if the vote is close.

> If neither of the first two options above actually defeats the default
> option by a 3:1 supermajority, it seems highly questionable to me that
> Debian should actually modify the social contract: if that is the
> case, then evidently the proposed change is too ambiguous.

> Someone who definitely wants to change the social contract and has
> only a mild preference about whether or not to keep non-free (for the
> moment) would rank both options above the default option, and
> "splitting the vote" would have no effect on supermajority
> requirements.

Ah, that's a good scenario to raise; thanks for bringing it up.

I offer this fresh new strategy for dividing and conquering through
sabotage of consensus:

[   ] Change social contract, venerate RMS as deity
[   ] Change social contract, condemn RMS as diabolical menace
[   ] Further Discussion

Some of our developers may violently agree with one of the first 2 options and
violently disagree with the other, and some developers may feel that Debian has
no place expressing opinions as a Project about a particular person.

Now, as the original proposer I might be tempted to see to it that:

[   ] Change social contract (express no opinion about RMS)

appears on the ballot, but this doesn't help as much as it should.  I have to
alienate the people who would support my proposition but for this crazy noise
about RMS.  They may passionately feel one way or the other about RMS,
and may just as passionately feel that the entire Project should issue a
position statment sharing their opinion -- but the simple fact is that
their opinion of RMS, or the Project's decision to issue a statement
about him, simply doesn't matter.

The issues don't have to be wholly irrelevent.  In fact, it's better
from a strategic, ballot-engineering perspective if they're not.  As
Anthony DeRobertis said, the alternative options just have to be
"orthogonal" in the relationship between their common and non-common

So while I would not argue that keeping or dropping non-free has no
conceivable relevance to whether or not we strike clause 5 from the
Social Contract, I *would* say that reasonable people can agree that the
clause should be stricken, and at the same disagree as to what we should
actually do about non-free.  That's orthogonality; that means the
options should not be presented as alternatives to each other.

> (BTW, in this proposed ballot, would the default option per the SRP be
> "Further Discussion" or "Don't change social contract"?)

How are they distinguishable, given that we cannot force people to stop
discussing it after the vote is over?

If they are not distinguishable, should both appear on the ballot?

G. Branden Robinson                |
Debian GNU/Linux                   |           If ignorance is bliss,
branden@debian.org                 |           is omniscience hell?
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: