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Re: First call for votes for the Lenny release GR

Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> writes:
> On Sun, Dec 14 2008, Russ Allbery wrote:

>> * Why does releasing despite DFSG violations require a 3:1 majority now
>>   when it didn't for etch?  It's the same secretary in both cases.  What
>>   changed?  I didn't find any of the explanations offered for this very
>>   satisfying.
>         The proposal we used before is choice 5 in the current ballot,
>  and that does indeed have a 1:1 majority like we did before.

Yes, I withdraw this.  I found the title of that choice very confusing,
but the text is the same as the previous proposition and has the same
majority requirement.

>> * Bundling the vote against the open opposition of a fairly significant
>>   number of people, including some of the people whose amendments were
>>   grouped together, is within his power but comes across poorly.  There
>>   wasn't much attempt to compromise or discuss this, and I came away from
>>   that with a bad taste in my mouth.
>         Have we not been discussing this for weeks now? Related options
>  belong on the same ballot.  Not doing so allows for strategic voting to
>  game the issue. This is not really an opinion piece, this is a known
>  flaw of splitting votes where condorcet is used.

Yes, you've said this, and I understand your point and I understand that
you feel this is very important, but clearly a lot of people don't agree
with you and are willing to live with potential strategic voting in favor
of having separate ballots.  I don't think your concerns, while valid,
were a good justification for turning something into an amendment that
wasn't proposed as one.

I see why you made the decision.  I just don't think it's a good one.
(But it's someplace where I can see where reasonable people can disagree.)

>> * One role of the secretary is to interpret the constitution.  The
>>   constitution states fairly clearly the process of decision-making
>>   for decisions of this type, such as whether a given package violates
>>   the DFSG, or how to weigh the implications of the Social Contract.
>>   Yet that decision-making process is not reflected in the ballot or
>>   in the presentation of the options.  Option 1 is either meaningless
>>   or an override of a delegate decision, but the ballot doesn't
>>   reflect this.
>         While the options are not written by the secretary, and people
>  would consider it a gross abuse of power if I wrote things up as I felt
>  thy should be written; the proposer could have made the overriding the
>  decision of a delegate explicit.

Yes, sorry, that's a very good point.

>>   Option 4 looks equivalent to FD if you look at the decision-making
>>   process in the constitution, but the ballot doesn't reflect that.  I
>>   think some additional clarity around that would have been very
>>   helpful.
>         Again, the proposers or seconds could have improved the
>  proposal. What does this have to do with the secretary.

The 3:1 majority here is what has to do with the secretary.  Given that
this option is functionally the same as FD, and FD doesn't require a 3:1
majority, I think this is rather odd.  But this was discussed in more
depth in another message.

Basically, to declare this option as requiring a 3:1 majority assumes an
answer to precisely the question that's being disputed, and I don't think
that falls under the purview of the secretary.  The secretary interprets
the constitution, but not the DFSG or the SC.  It's one of those difficult
balancing acts: you do have to decide whether to require a 3:1 majority,
which partly requires interpretation, but interpretation may be the matter
under dispute.  In this particular case, I think the best approach would
be to take the word of the amendment proposers on whether they intend to
supersede a foundation document or whether they are only proposing a
non-binding resolution on the sense of the project (or possibly a delegate
decision override that doesn't change the foundation document).

To reiterate, I'm expressing disagreement with specific decisions, but not
with you personally, with your motives, or with your intentions.  I do not
agree with a lot of what's been said in these threads.  I personally think
you've done consistently solid work as secretary and have always been
willing to present a detailed rationale for your decisions.  I don't think
it's the end of the world if we don't find agreement on what should have
been done in this particular case -- I think we've at least gotten out of
it some clear ideas for how to handle similar votes in the future.

My personal hope continues to be that we manage to vote by a 3:1 majority
on one direction or another about this underlying issue so that we can
stop living in the ambiguous middle zone in our decision-making.

Also, after this message, I'm going to stop discussing what I think we
could have done with this ballot, since at this point it's rather late to
change it and I don't think withdrawing it and reissuing it would really
accomplish anything that useful.  So this becomes rehashing of decisions
already made, which can be done forever to quickly diminishing returns.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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