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Counter-Counter-Proposal-draft: Changing constitution to define SC better



On Fri, Apr 30, 2004 at 04:55:41PM -0500, Chad Walstrom wrote:
> I'm also not comfortable with adding verbose documentation for solutions
> that can be succinctly implemented.

What about actually saying in the constitution what the meaning of the
Social Contract is? Also, DFSG is according to the constitution a
similar document, while it's in a certain POV a piece of the SC
(addendum, clarification, as the SC itself says, and Bruce in his
announcement mail also implies[3]).

How about something like this:

Replace constitution 4.1.5, currently reading:

| Issue, supersede and withdraw nontechnical policy documents and
| statements.
| 
| These include documents describing the goals of the project, its
| relationship with other free software entities, and nontechnical
| policies such as the free software licence terms that Debian software
| must meet.
| 
| They may also include position statements about issues of the day.
| 
| 1. A Foundation Document is a document or statement regarded as
|    critical to the Project's mission and purposes.
| 2. The Foundation Documents are the works entitled Debian Social
|    Contract and Debian Free Software Guidelines.
| 3. A Foundation Document requires a 3:1 majority for its
|    supersession. New Foundation Documents are issued and existing ones
|    withdrawn by amending the list of Foundation Documents in this
|    constitution.

with

> Issue, supersede and withdraw nontechnical policy documents and
> statements.
> 
> These include documents describing the goals of the project, its
> relationship with other free software entities, and nontechnical
> policies.
> 
> They may also include position statements about issues of the day.

(dropping the second part of the second paragraph, and dropping the
three enumerated points)

And adding the following as a new chapter two, shifting the current
chapters 2-9 one position further:

> 2. Goals
>
> The goals of this project are written down in the document entitled
> 'Social Contract'[1], as was ratified on April 26, 2004[2].
>
> It is required that all Debian Developers agree by and promise to
> uphold the Social Contract to the best of their ability.

[1] Social Contract is including the DFSG, which is technically more
    like an addendum, as the SC itself already says: ``We provide the
    guidelines that we use to determine if a work is "free" in the
    document entitled "The Debian Free Software Guidelines".''
[2] This is why those three points in 4.1.5 can be dropped, you change
    the SC by changing the constitution, which already required 3:1, in
    a kind of cleaner way than before. Unfortunately, the most recent
    vote didn't treat the DFSG that way, although in [3] you can see
    that it was originally intended that way.
[3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-announce/debian-announce-1997/msg00017.html

Rationale: 
- This explicitely says that all developers are supposed to promise to
  uphold the SC, as is currently asked from NM's.
- By means of a versioned reference to the SC from the constitution, no
  need for the enumeration in 4.1.5 which is a bit out-of-style at that
  place
- It explicitely says 'to the best of their ability', meaning that if it
  is not possible due to time-constraints because a release is upcoming,
  that is not a too bad a problem. My wording could still be improved
  though.


I'd like some opinions and possible editorial improvements before
seeking seconds.

Especially since there are some issues with this proposal still:
- Unknown what Anthony Town's opinion on this one is
- What to do with the fact that the last vote replaced the SC which
  included the DFSG with a SC that did not include the DFSG?
- What about the requirement of DD's to uphold the SC, should that be
  more formally phrased? How to practically implement that?
- I dropped the second part of the second paragraph, because the example
  was too much like it was referring to the SC. It could also be
  replaced with simply a better example.
- That enumeration I propose to drop was only recently added, I didn't
  have the time to look through the whole threads at that time whether
  there maybe was a good reason for that, rather than solving the same
  issue in a different way

--Jeroen

-- 
Jeroen van Wolffelaar
Jeroen@wolffelaar.nl (also for Jabber & MSN; ICQ: 33944357)
http://Jeroen.A-Eskwadraat.nl

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