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

On 2/9/06, Christopher Martin <chrsmrtn@debian.org> wrote:
> To impose the 3:1 requirement requires, beforehand, a judgment concerning
> the DFSG. Since no one has found a Secretarial basis for that power, it
> follows that to arbitrarily impose 3:1 supermajorities (when doing so on
> the basis of a personal interpretation of the DFSG) is not proper. That the
> 3:1 bit is mentioned in the constitution is quite irrelevant.

All debian developers are required to understand and apply the
DFSG -- the DFSG is critical to Debian.

You don't need special powers to understand and apply the DFSG.

Package maintainers are supposed to make judgements about the
DFSG in the context of their packages.  The same goes for the
Secretary in the context of preparing the ballot.

> You can't argue that since the constitution doesn't explicitly forbid the
> Secretary to take it upon him/herself to interpret the DFSG for everyone
> else, that therefore he/she must do so, in order to discharge the
> constitutional duty of placing 3:1 supermajorities on amendments, etc.
> That's backwards. Essentially you'd be asserting that any delegate has _any
> power_ he or she deems necessary to fulfill his or her view of their own
> constitutional duties, unless explicitly forbidden, item by item, by the
> constitution.

That's not my argument.

And, likewise, you can't argue that the secretary must treat an option
as accepted when preparing the ballot.  Treating controversial
general resolution proposals as if they'd already won the vote before
the vote begins would be the very abuse of power you're alluding to.

>  Because that's the only way I can see for getting from "the
> constitution mentions that some votes should require 3:1 supermajorities"
> to "therefore the Secretary must be the constitutionally ordained arbiter
> of DFSG correctness for all votes." And this despite other constitutional
> verbiage that suggests that developers have that power. Huh.

The Secretary is a developer.

> > > Indeed, section 4.1 states that the developers, by way of GRs or
> > > elections, have the power to "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." The GFDL sounds like an
> > > "issue of the day" to me.
> >
> > Sure, and the constitution goes on and lists the procedure the
> > developers follow when doing these things.
> >
> > And we're following those procedures.
> >
> > So where's the problem?
> The problem is that in the course of this procedure, the Secretary
> overstepped his authority, as I've explained above. You may not agree with
> that view, but I don't see why you should be so confused about my
> complaint.

I've yet to see any description of your complaint that doesn't require
me to accept that Anton's proposal is universally accepted by the

But if I accept that Anton's proposal is universally accepted by
the project, then the "barrier" you're talking about does not exist.

So I'm faced with a contradiction: how can the Secretary be mis-using
his power if this "mis-use" of power can only be a mis-use if it is
not a mis-use?


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