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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:
> > > > The constitution says that people may not actively work against
> > > > rules made under the constitution (which includes those in
> > > > foundation documents),

On Tue, May 25, 2004 at 11:25:35PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > > The problem is that your bracketed comment is purely invented.

On Tue, May 25, 2004 at 12:24:40PM -0400, Raul Miller wrote:
> > Are you claiming that it's inaccurate?  I don't see the basis for
> > that claim.

On Wed, May 26, 2004 at 06:32:49AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> Yes, I am claiming it's inaccurate. The basis for claiming it's inaccurate
> is that there's _no_ basis for it in the constitution.
> The claim "We're required to do our Debian work wearing pink tutus"
> is inaccurate for the same reason. I'm not sure how you'd prove that,
> except to say "There's no basis for that claim in the constitution" --
> the onus of proof is on whoever's claiming that there is such a rule
> (which they should do by demonstrating the basis).

Except the constitution doesn't say anything about pink tutus, and while
it does explicitly mention the social contract.

I think the problem I'm having with this argument is that the argument
is totally independent of the meaning of the words of the claim.

Do you have any such arguments which have anything to do with the meaning
of those words?

> > > Having folks not read it at all,
> > > or choose to follow some different rules, otoh, isn't forbidden at all.
> > Not reading it at all is dealt with by NM.
> > Following different rules is obviously ok.
> > Following different rules which conflict is not at all obviously ok.
> Well, you'd think so, but people evidently disagree. How we follow the
> social contract isn't spelt out at all; that we follow it at all isn't
> even spelt out.
> Let's put it differently. I think most people in the US would happily
> agree that the Bible has been very important to the US historically and
> it's very important to many today. They could decide that "the Bible
> is critical to America's mission and purpose" -- on the presumption,
> perhaps, that its the basis for the morality of a large chunk of the
> population -- and declare it a "Foundational Document". Maybe throw in
> the Koran or The Art of War too for a bit of variety.

This isn't a good analogy because the U.S. constitution doesn't make
any such claim about the bible.  Instead, we have Article VI, Clause 3
(and the first amendment) which indicates that it shouldn't be used in
such a fashion.

> > > > In what way has it "not been made under the constitution"?
> > > There's no specification of what we'll actually do with the social
> > > contract.
> > Except that we're not supposed to work against it.
> No, we're not meant to work against the specifications that are there.

Why "No"?

> > > > 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."
> > None of this means that the social contract isn't currently in the set of
> > "decisions properly made under the rules of the constitution".
> Well, you can't prove a negative in that sense, so if that's what you're
> demanding, you won't ever be satisfied.

Eh?  Are you claiming that I cannot prove that I'm not a marshmallow?

Ok, granted, proofs are "convincing explanations" and a person can simply
refuse to be convinced regardless of any relevant evidence, but someone
who isn't dedicated to utter nonsense can probably be convinced without
too much problem that I'm not a marshmallow.

> But consider it this way: each one of the above, if written into the
> constitution explicitly, would result in different ways of looking at
> the social contract. Some would be stricter than others. Some mightn't
> be that much different from not having a social contract at all. Which
> one does the constitution imply? Why doesn't it imply the others?

It's a bit more complicated than that.  [[For example, the guidelines
in the social contract used to be the debian free software guidelines
-- a recent constitutional amendment changed that (by removing those
guidelines into a separate document).]]

I think you're trying to argue that the social contract should be looked
at as a goal we've never achieved (and there's plenty of evidence that
we've never fully followed it).

I also think you are trying to say that our relationship with the social
contract is not clear.  I think I disagree, there.  To me, it's pretty
clear that we are not supposed to actively work against the social
contract.  [[Though, of course, any statement that allows us to do
anything is going to have some ambiguity about what it is that we
actually do.]]

> > > 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.
> > That makes sense to me -- a position statement which appears to
> > conflict with an obvious interpretation of the social contract
> > and which avoids talking about social contract issues at all
> > doesn't seem to be well formed.
> Really? On what basis do you think that? I can't see anything in the
> constitution that forbids such a resolution, which means it'd be a valid
> decision, which means working against it isn't allowed...

And as long as that position statement doesn't cause the social contract
to be displaced as inferior or antiquated, I agree that there's nothing
in the constitution which says the decision is not valid.

However, if there are some parts of the position statement which are
intended to replace some aspect of the social contract, then there's
very definitely a clause in the constitution limiting our ability to
issue such a statement.

> > > 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.
> > Probably because the constitution says that supersession of foundation
> > documents is possible with a 3:1 majority.
> People can think all sorts of things, but they're not necessarily right.
> Ignoring a clause in a document doesn't mean replacing that document.

Ignoring a clause in a document means we are setting aside that part of
the document.

> > > 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; [...]
> > Hmm... this sounds sensible, but I'm having trouble grappling with
> > what it really means.
> What other options are there, other than ignoring the SC?

Um... I guess the answer to that one would have to be: not ignoring
the SC.  But this line of argument gets us into the land of almost
entirely ignoring the point of discussion.

> How do these options make it harder to build a good OS?
> How do these options make it easier to build a good OS?

Which gets us back to the concept of "a good OS".  A decent chunk of
our definition for that being tied up in the social contract and dfsg.

> Which of these difficulties are least cumbersome? 
> Which of these benefits are most useful?
> Which of these options is therefore the best for Debian to adopt?

Best in what sense?  Oh, wait, social contract... hmm...

> (Should that option be adopted project wide, or should maintainers be able
> to adopt different options? Is there a minimum that should be adopted?)
> At the moment, you're apparently assuming, with no basis that I can see,
> that there's precisely one way of dealing with the SC that's allowed at
> present, and that doing otherwise would require a 3:1 vote of some sort.

I've assumed that we shouldn't be working contrarywise to the social

I've not assumed that the social contract itself has only one relevant
thing to say about this issue.

I do recognize that the social contract, as it's currently written, has
some extremely specific things to say about our handing of "what can we
release", and that's probably the bit that you think I'm assuming is true.

> It's not clear to me which way that is, though. And I haven't noticed any
> substantial discussion of why one alternative should be preferred over
> the other: just folks declaring that the alternative they've adopted is
> the only plausible one for one reason or another, and proposing a scheme
> they think would work based on that.


It's hard to talk (and think) in the mode of "here are some conflicting
points of view, and here's some sensible ways we can compare and contrast
them".  Basically, you need further points of view to let you notice
the other points of view.

That said, there are some things we should probably assume in any point
of view in this release management discussion (a basic grasp of english
being one).


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