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Re: First call for votes for the Lenny release GR


On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 09:28:27AM +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> No. The constitution doesn't say that the secretary's job is to interpret
> the DFSG and decide if the 3:1 majority requirement applies. And the job
> of the secretary (contrary to the job of most delegates and debian
> packagers) is expressly defined by the constitution.

Its not neccessary to interpret the DFSG in order to set majority

> The constitution says: 
> “A Foundation Document requires a 3:1 majority for its supersession. New
> Foundation Documents are issued and existing ones withdrawn by amending
> the list of Foundation Documents in this constitution.“
> Superseding a document is easily recognizable: it's when you explicitely
> say that you're going to change its _content_ (ex:
> http://www.debian.org/vote/2004/vote_003 ).

I wouldn't say that it is that easy. We do not have rules for temporary
overriding a foundation document, therefore we need to apply one of the
rules we have. Its not so easy as you make it: "Its no supersession, lets
just apply what is on our mood". In fact superseding a document means
abrogating it and yes its permanent. But if you abrogate it temporary
the effect is still the same.

> Any time that this is not the
> case, you should assume that we're not changing our common goal but that
> we're discussing the interpretation that we make of it or that we're
> discussing the compromise that we can currently accept in order to
> reach our common objective (as defined by the foundation document).

No, thats a inherently wrong way to work with a constitution. Somebody
earlier in one of the related threads brought a good example. He
compared the consitution of Debian with the consititution of a state.
The important thing about a constitution is that one has to be careful
with it. Its not a law that you change or interpret like you want if you
see fit. Its something you must interpret as carefully and conservative
as possible, so you don't break the basis of a society (e.g. human
rights). Now our consitution does not protect human rights, but still
they name consitution has been used, while we could have namd it.. hmm..
"Manifesto" or somewhat like that. That is, because people wanted to
have this document a special meaning. We should really act like that.

> And this is a prerogative of the project: we as a whole (as defined by a
> simple majority), should be able do make decisions on how Debian will
> achieve its goals without fearing to be blocked by the interpretation of
> one of its member (be it the secretary).

That is right, but consider your wording: You say that we as a *whole* should
be able to make decisions on how Debian will achieve its goals and thats exactly
why there are majority requirements. A whole project wouldn't have a problem
fitting the 3:1 majority if it were the decision of the whole project. This
argumentation therefore is kind of odd. Saying its one person who does block it
is not fair either. Manoj did not say "Our consitution does not allow to vote,
my opinion is binding according to our consitution" so your wording is a bad


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