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Re: GR: Constitutional Amendment to fix an off-by-one error and duplicate section numbering

I second the below text, for both changes.

Andreas Barth <aba@ayous.org> writes:


>    Constitutional Amendment: TC Supermajority Fix

>    Prior to the Clone Proof SSD GR in June 2003, the Technical
>    Committee could overrule a Developer with a supermajority of 3:1.

>    Unfortunately, the definition of supermajorities in the SSD GR has a
>    fencepost error.  In the new text a supermajority requirement is met
>    only if the ratio of votes in favour to votes against is strictly
>    greater than the supermajority ratio.

>    In the context of the Technical Committee voting to overrule a
>    developer that means that it takes 4 votes to overcome a single
>    dissenter.  And with a maximum committee size of 8, previously two
>    dissenters could be outvoted by all 6 remaining members; now that
>    is no longer possible.

>    This change was unintentional, was contrary to the original intent
>    of the Constitution, and is unhelpful.

>    Additionally, following discussion of the supermajority mechanism
>    within the project, it was realised that certain situations could
>    cause anomalous results:

>    * The existing rules might result in a GR or TC resolution passing
>      which was actually the diametric opposite of the majority view.

>    * The existing rules unintentionally privilege the default option
>      in evenly contested TC votes where no supermajority is required,
>      possibly encouraging tactical voting.

>    Therefore, amend the Debian Constitution as follows:

>    (i) Delete most of A.6(3) (which implemented the supermajority
>    by dropping options at an early stage).  Specifically:
>       - Move A.6(3)(1) (the definition of V(A,B)) to a new subparagraph
>         A.6(3)(0) before A.6(3)(1).
>       - Remove the rest of A.6(3) entirely, leaving A.6(2) to be
>         followed by A.6(4).

>    (ii) In A.6(8) replace all occurrences of "winner" with
>    "prospective winner".  Replace "wins" in "which of those options
>    wins" with "is the prospective winner".

>    (iii) In A.6(8) add a new sentence at the end:
>      + If there is no elector with a casting vote, the default option
>      + wins.

>    (iv) Add a new section A.6(9) after A.6(8):
>      + 9. 1. If the prospective winner W has no majority requirement,
>      +       or defeats the default option D by its majority
>      +       requirement, the prospective winner is the actual winner.
>      +    2. Otherwise, the motion has failed its supermajority with
>      +       the consequences set out alongside the majority
>      +       requirement (or, if unspecified, the default option
>      +       wins).
>      +    3. An option A defeats the default option D by a
>      +       majority of N:M if M * V(A,D) is greater than or equal to
>      +       N * V(D,A).

>    (v) In
>        * 6.1(4) (Technical Commitee power to overrule a Developer)
>        * 4.1(4) (Developers' use of TC powers by GR) (if another
>            constitutional amendment has not abolished that
>            supermajority requirement)
>    in each case after the "N:M majority" add
>      +   ; failing that, the prospective winning resolution text becomes
>      +   a non-binding statement of opinion.

>    (vi) In A.3(2) delete as follows:
> 	 2. The default option must not have any supermajority requirements.
>      -       Options which do not have an explicit supermajority requirement
>      -       have a 1:1 majority requirement.

>    For the avoidance of any doubt, this change does not affect any
>    votes (whether General Resolutions or votes in the Technical
>    Committee) in progress at the time the change is made.

>    The effect is to fix the fencepost bug, and arrange that failing a
>    supermajority voids the whole decision (or makes it advisory),
>    rather than promoting another option.  The fencepost bugfix will
>    also have a (negligible) effect on any General Resolutions
>    requiring supermajorities.  And after this change the TC chair can
>    choose a non-default option even if it is tied with a default
>    option.

>    Constitutional Amendment: Fix duplicate section numbering.

>    The current Debian Constitution has two sections numbered A.1.
>    This does not currently give rise to any ambiguity but it is
>    undesirable.

>    Fix this with the following semantically neutral amendment:

>     - Renumber the first section A.1 to A.0.


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

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