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Re: Amendment to GR on GFDL, and the changes to the Social Contract



On Wednesday 08 February 2006 23:58, Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:
> It's not about honor; it's about decision-making.
>
> If a majority sincerely believe that their proposal does not run afoul
> of the 3:1 requirement, does that mean that it therefore does not?
>
> I think that it is possible for people to disagree about such a
> question, and it seems crazy to me to say that anytime they disagree,
> it can be settled by majority vote.

A vote after extensive public debate, I might add.

If the developers are (as a whole) too untrustworthy to be able to vote on 
such matters without 3:1 training wheels attached by their elders, then who 
should be trusted? Apparently you think our Secretary is up to the task. 
But if in some hypothetical distant future Debian were to acquire a 
Secretary with a rather different interpretation of the DFSG - say one 
radically different from the interpretation which you yourself believe to 
be so utterly self-evident - would you be quite so happy then?

Because ultimately this is a question of Debian's constitution, and of 
legitimacy. The constitution does not endow the Secretary with the power to 
interpret the DFSG. It does grant the Secretary limited power to adjudicate 
in small disputes of constitutional interpretation, but the DFSG is not the 
constitution. I think it wholly appropriate that when there is a dispute 
over DFSG interpretation of major importance the developers should vote. I 
believe this to be in keeping with both the letter and the spirit of the 
constitution. While I may not always agree with the decision that results 
from a vote, I respect it far more than an Olympian decree.

> Moreover, while I think a majority of the developers are surely
> honorable, this is not true of everyone.  Now that this is the *third*
> time we are being asked to vote on essentially the same question

I'm getting sick and tired of hearing this over and over again. The last two 
votes were not about the GFDL. They were about changes to our foundation 
documents. You believe them to have been about the GFDL only because, 
again, you believe that the GFDL's unfreeness follows with inescapable 
obviousness from those changes, but that is clearly not a view which 
everyone holds. That some people had the GFDL in mind when crafting the 
"editorial changes" is their problem, not the Project's problem.

> I suspect that many of the proponents of the measure are simply
> unwilling to let it drop, and will continue to pester the rest of the
> project forever.  This is not honorable behavior.

No, we'd like the issue settled in a _legitimate_ fashion. And I take 
umbrage at your insinuations.

If an issue is highly controversial, then I can think of no better way of 
settling it in a way that most developers will accept than a vote. People 
respect votes much more than decrees, even if they don't agree with them.

Christopher Martin

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