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Re: RFC: General resolution: Clarify the status of the social contract

On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 12:18:01PM -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:
> If we're going to have a vote on this topic, I feel quite strongly that
> every option which states the social contract is binding should include in
> it a constitutional amendment specifying *who* decides for the project
> what those documents mean and what the procedure is to override that
> decision (can't be overridden, requires a 3:1 majority to override, etc.).

While formally I agree that this should be a requirement for such a system,
I will vote against any such GR because all this does is add another layer
of indirection to our decision-making process that we don't need.

The heart of the dispute over the current ballot is that the secretary has
assumed the power to intervene in the very process of how the project takes
decisions.  Regardless of whether this is acceptable under the constitution
(which I don't believe it is), I think it's a very wrong model, and that if
we're to make any changes at all they should be to *correct* this instead of
codifying it.

> * Each individual developer when doing their own work (advantage: what we
>   have now, according to my reading, but gives rise to lots of debate when
>   those scopes overlap, such as when a GR is proposed and the secretary
>   has to prepare the ballot)

Given the privileged position of the secretary (immune even to direct recall
by the developers), I think it should be made unequivocally clear that the
secretary should not be interpreting the SC at all as part of the ballot
drafting, and should be interpreting the constitution parsimoniously.  But
given that the constitution already calls for the secretary to engage in
consensus-driven decision-making, I'm not sure how the latter can be made
any more clear.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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