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Re: Technical committee resolution

OK, here is a go at some personal observations:

The main symptom of the TC's brokenness is that it is not making
decisions, or not making them fast enough.  I haven't heard anyone
suggest that the TC is actually making wrong decisions.

The causes seem to include:

 * Some TC members not being very active at all
 * Some TC members not being interested in particular issues
   or not available at particular times

 * A feeling that it is generally more right to defer a decision
   than to make a wrong one, resulting in many votes of FD
 * Getting distracted by details of proposed resolution texts
 * Inability to respond quickly in situations where that is
   necessary (eg, to preserve the status quo, or to give maintainers
   a quick answer) because the resolution process is cumbersome

 * Getting distracted by arguments over procedure and principles
   - when is it right to overrule
   - how should the TC enforce its judgements (eg, who if
     anyone may NMU)
   - may the TC legitimately set out a process for dealing with
     consequences of its decisions - for example, if the TC
     decides that a disputed name belongs to one package or
     to another or to neither, may or should the TC get involved in
     how the new name(s) are chosen and/or approved ?
   - chairmanship rotation thing

 * Inactive members don't want to retire because they will give up
   something which they can then not get back without great effort.
   (This is a problem common to many of Debian's institutions.)

And we can't fix any of these easily because:

 * There is no easy way to change the way the TC makes its decisions

I think we could fix these by

 * Increasing the size of the committee to provide more available
   energy and effort
 * Writing some guidelines for the basis of decisions
 * Making it easier to remove people
 * Making it easier to change the processes

So I would like to suggest something radical.  The decisionmaking
processes of the TC should be taken out of the Constitution.  Instead,
the TC and the DPL should decide between them a Charter which says:

 * How the TC chair is appointed
 * How big the TC is
 * What the TC's resolution process is
 * How TC members get appointed and removed
 * Guidelines/principles for TC decisions
 * How the Charter itself is changed

The only thing which has to remain in the Constitution is some
backstop about the process for overruling a maintainer.  And I think
reducing the supermajority to 2.5:1 seems fine to me; or some other
number.  e, the base of natural logarithms, perhaps :-).  The quorum
should be sqrt().

If we do this then we will be able to experiment with the TC's
processes until it is working properly.


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