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Re: Question for Stefano: Length of the DPL term

On Sun, Mar 20, 2011 at 00:20, Stefano Zacchiroli <zack@debian.org> wrote:
> Now my question: What do you think about changing the constitution to
> extend the length of the DPL term to, lets say, two years?
I thought about this quite a bit in the past months. I've found it to be
a surprisingly complex problem.

Two thoughts on this, for your consideration.
I agree that a longer term will improve the status quo with respect to
the "bootstrap time" issue.

One way to improve the bootstrap time is to have people doing smaller leadership things before being DPL, so that the bootstrapping happens prior to the election, rather than in the weeks/months following. In theory, that could also help with showing people whether they're capable of doing the DPL job or not, and thus making them more confident of running or less eager to, as appropriate. The "2IC" idea doesn't seem to have gotten a lot of traction, but probably their are other ways than that of doling out parts of the DPL task to more than just one person.

Personally, I think it's to a DPL's credit if when their term finishes there are plenty of other people ready and willing to take on the job next time around. "Everyone thinks the current DPL is awesome and should continue" is certainly one of the better reasons for that not to happen, but still...
(Q for Stefano: what, if anything, are you going to do to ensure other people are ready and willing to run for DPL in future, either next year, or when you're no longer interested in running?)

- There are risks in lengthening the term, for instance the consequences
 of a DPL going MIA / burning out shortly after the terms begin get

So one way to mess with the status quo a bit with this would be to switch from having a fixed term to just a fixed term limit. Perhaps something like "Up until 18 months after being elected, the DPL can call for a new election. After 24 months, an election will be called automatically, and the outgoing DPL may not re-nominate." So if there are just a few things you want to do as DPL, you can get started, get them done in six months, and pass the job on to someone else; if you want to keep going forever, you still have to be re-elected; and if you find yourself disappearing eight or nine months in, you can direct the secretary to call an election with not much harm done.

No idea if it'd work, of course, but there might be merit in more inventive tweaks than just adjusting the term length.


Anthony Towns <aj@erisian.com.au>

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