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Short descriptions of GR proposals on ballot

The ballot for the current proposals is shaping up to be rather
complicated. There are currently 5 proposals, plus at least one
in the making, plus "further discussion".

In the interest of reducing the risk of somebody voting for something
they did not intend to, simply out of confusion, I (meta)propose that
the actual voting part of the ballot should contain ultra-short
summaries of which option is which, rather than just "Option A:
Steve Langasek's proposal" and so forth.

This was discussed on IRC, and the project secretary agreed in
principle but added that in order to stay strictly neutral he does not
want to be involved in drafting the actual summaries. I therefore
volunteered to write a first draft and try to gather a consensus about
how the actual ballot should look.

The ideal outcome would be that we find a set of summaries such that
*each* proposer agrees that *all* the summaries are fair and neutral
descriptions of the proposals they apply to. If such a consensus
cannot be reached, we will probably have stick to using proposer's
names instead of descriptions on the ballot, and everybody will lose.

The following is my initial draft of a set of descriptions. It will
surprise me if everybody is immediately happy with it, but at least it
will give us a target to shoot at. I follow the enumeration of
proposals used on <http://www.debian.org/vote/2004/vote_004>.

[###] Choice A: Postpone changes until September 2004  [needs 3:1]
[###] Choice B: Postpone changes until Sarge releases  [needs 3:1]
[###] Choice C: Add apology to Social Contract         [needs 3:1]
[###] Choice D: Revert to old wording of SC            [needs 3:1]
[###] Choice E: "Transition Guide" foundation document [needs 3:1]
[###] Choice X: Further discussion

The space for descriptions is rather limited - the vote-taking
software wants each choice to fit on one line, and if the lines get
longer than 72-73 characters, MUA's will begin to wrap them,
invalidating the vote being sent. This implies an absolute maximum
length of 45 characters for the short description.

There's a tradition of having "[3:1 majority needed]" on the ballot
lines, but in this case that would probably leave too little space to
differentiate easily between the proposals. Does anyone think that
"[needs 3:1]" is too terse?

Another option would be to omit the [3:1] markers from the ballot
lines entirely. It could be argued that it is more important to be
able to understand what one is voting, than knowing which options need
what kind of majority (at least I cannot imagine how anybody's
*ranking* of the proposals would be influenced by the kind of majority
each needs to pass).

Of course, it is still expected of developers that they read the
actual, full, text of each proposal before deciding how to rank them.
The short descriptions are a tool for remembering which proposal is
which while filling in and cross-checking one's ballot. This will, I
hope, be emphasised elsewhere in the calls-for-votes.

I solicit comments about the above from -vote in general, but I would
especially like to hear reactions from the proponent of each proposal.

Henning Makholm                   "The great secret, known to internists and
                         learned early in marriage by internists' wives, but
               still hidden from the general public, is that most things get
         better by themselves. Most things, in fact, are better by morning."

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