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Re: Constitutional issues in the wake of Lenny

Dear all,

in my impression, the problem in the vote for the Lenny release is that at the
end it became an aggreagation of things of which nobody was satisfied, and of
which nobody was feeling responsible anymore. To avoid this, I propose three

First, establishing the impartiality of the Secretary by not letting him taking
the initiative of issuing constitutional statements. It may seem paradoctical
at first, but if there is a subject that is matter of interpretation, there
must be more than one person that feels that it is necessary. If the Secretary
himself can not be the one who ask for clarification, nobody can suspect him to
use his charge to push his personal opinions. That is the way many
constitutional courts work in western and westernized states. In the case of
the Lenny GR, it means that somebody else would have taken the blame for the
mess introduced by supermajority requests, which would have protected Manoj and
our institutions.

Second, not mixing simple GRs with formal modifications of our Constitution and
foundation documents. It is a very stressful situation if in the context of an
already difficult discussion the Project wakes up one morning with a clock
ticking for a constitutional amendment in two weeks. I think that modifications
to the constitution and the foundation documents should be announced in
advance, planned and discussed with a clear goal, and I would support
modifications of the constitution that clearly separate simple GRs with
supermajority GRs, where all the options except "None of the above" would
require supermajority. This means letting the DDs vote for unconstitutional
statements in simple GRs, just like our parliaments do with our laws everyday.
This said, there are multiple protections against this: we are benevols and
nobody can force a DD to do some work if he does not agree, and there are the
DPL, the Secretary and the Technical Comittee, who have the authority and in
some cases the power to block the implementation of blatantly wrong decision.

Third, giving more leadership to the GR proposer. I already proposed this last
year, and read Ian's answers with interest. After being convinced by his
arguments a few monthes, I reverted to my original opinion :) Each vote is an
investment of time and effort, and I think that it is important that somebody
feels responsible for its success, which means: takes the blame if the
situation is worse after the vote than before. By letting the proposer of a GR
refuse some amendments, we can make him feel responsible for the vote process
he started. What if he refuses one that has the favor of many? Probably a
"Further disucssion" result, followed by another GR, which means a personal

I have tried to keep things short, so it may look simplistic, but if there are
people intersted in refining the proposition or parts of it, we can work
together on a text that looks more like a patch.

Lastly, if there is some constitutional amendment, we can do some minor
clarifications by the way. For instance:

 - In A.2.1 there is "The proposer or a sponsor of a motion or an amendment may
   call for a vote", but nowhere defines what a "motion" is.

 - According to A.2.2, "The proposer or any sponsor of a resolution may call
   for a vote on that resolution and all related amendments." But then, what
   kind of vote can be called by the proposers of amendments in A.2.1 ?

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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