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Re: Proposal - Statement that Sarge will follow Woody requirement for main.

On Tue, May 25, 2004 at 08:20:28AM -0400, Raul Miller wrote:
> On Tue, May 25, 2004 at 08:29:26PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > Foundation documents aren't required to be "rules". They're not required
> > to be anything more than a "document or statement regarded as critical to
> > the Project's mission and purposes." We could, if we wanted, regarded a
> > piece of complete propaganda that was full of lies and misleading truths
> > to be critical to the project's success because it's the best or only
> > way to get folks involved in Debian.
> But that's not relevant -- the Social Contract does contain some
> rules.

Yes, it does. However:

> > > I'm not sure in what way you think that "critical to the Project's
> > > mission and purposes" is not descriptive.
> > It's descriptive, but it's not prescriptive: it doesn't tell us how we
> > have to treat the document. [...]
> This is unnecessarily reductionist.
> The constitution says that people may not actively work against rules made
> under the constitution (which includes those in foundation documents),

The problem is that your bracketed comment is purely invented. Developers
are asked to read/agree with/support/obey the social contract as part of
the new maintainer process, but beyond that there's no requirement that
they treat the social contract with more respect than, say, debian-policy,
_except_ in so far as we're not allowed to change it except through a
3:1 vote. Having the webmaster, or doc-debian maintainer make some edits
would be violating the constitution. Having folks not read it at all,
or choose to follow some different rules, otoh, isn't forbidden at all.

> In what way has it "not been made under the constitution"?

There's no specification of what we'll actually do with the social

> It's explicitly mentioned in the constitution -- how much more "under"
> can you get?

Easy: the constitution could say "The guidelines in the social contract
will direct our activities at all times." Or it could say "Our activities
will at all times comply with the social contract." Or it could say
"We will use the social contract as a guide in deciding what activities
to pursue."

As it is, all we've got is "The social contract is crucial to the project".

> > Folks have advocated that course of action: Thomas Bushnell and Manoj have
> > both indicated they don't think the social contract needs to be followed
> > so strictly as to require the release policy in question. I don't think
> > it's reasonable to dismiss those arguments on procedural grounds, rather
> > than looking at their merits.
> I, for one, have not dismissed arguments that the social contract
> may allow us to follow the old release schedule, and that a strict
> interpretation of the social contract may not be correct. 

Other folks appear to have: Manoj has indicated that a simple position
statement won't suffice [0], assuming that mail wasn't being deliberately
misleading by not applying to the current situation. Others have indicated
[1] they think a position statement that passes with 3:1 majority would be
okay, though it's not clear exactly why that would be okay.

> I just haven't
> seen any such arguments, yet, that I'm comfortable advocating.

*shrug* If you're going to make an informed decision it's important to
consider all the possibilities; if no one else is advocating the issues,
then that means you've got to come up with the pro arguments yourself as
well as the rebuttals, and well, it's either that or make an uninformed

> In particular, I don't see that disregarding the social contract entirely
> is the right way to go.

It might well not be; as far as I know no one's suggested it. But
deciding that it's not the right way to go because other options have
better outcomes is surely a better path than choosing not to think about
the option, though; and working out exactly how strictly we expect the
social contract to be followed seems a perfectly on-point question,
even if "not at all" is ruled out as an acceptable answer from the start.


[0] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2004/05/msg00374.html
[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2004/05/msg00379.html

Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
Don't assume I speak for anyone but myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

``Like the ski resort of girls looking for husbands and husbands looking
  for girls, the situation is not as symmetrical as it might seem.''

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