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Procedural rangling

>>>>> "Kurt" == Kurt Roeckx <kurt@roeckx.be> writes:

    Kurt> I always struggle with trying to understand that part, but my
    Kurt> current interpretation is different. The page shows the
    Kurt> discussion perriod starting at the 19th, which is when Ian's
    Kurt> proposal got enough sponsors.

My understanding is that you believe any formal amendment achieving
sufficient sponsors restarts the discussion period.
You may also believe that a sponsor of a formal amendment accepting a
change to that amendment resets the discussion period.
I argue below that is inconsistent with the constitution and introduces
significant strategic problems.

I claim that's bad on three grounds:

1) I assert that it is inconsistent with past practice.

I'll be happy to go on a dive and look at this issue in the past, but
I'm fairly sure we're diverging here from what we have done.

2) It is open to serious irreconcilable strategic abuse.
In particular, it means that any six developers can indefinitely block
us from voting by continuously introducing amendments and getting them
onto the ballot.
If it resets the discussion period each time that happens, then I see no
counter to that strategy.

(We can bring it up to 10 developers needed if you consider the counter
strategy of DAM expelling developers after they pull this a few times.)

3) I think it is textually inconsistent with the constitution.

To make this argument I'm going to make the argument that only the
proposer of a resolution can accept amendments.
That is, the person making a formal amendment is not a proposer of a
resolution in the sense of appendix A.1 (2).

I believe this is supported by the text.

Proposer defined (4.2 (1):
    1. The Developers follow the Standard Resolution Procedure, below. A
       resolution or amendment is introduced if proposed by any Developer
       and sponsored by at least K other Developers, or if proposed by the
       Project Leader or the Technical Committee.

That is, 4.2(1) acknowledges that both resolutions and amendments can be
proposed, but treats them separately.
  A.1. Discussion and Amendment
Section A.1(1) discusses discussion:

    1. Following the proposal, the resolution may be discussed. Amendments
       may be made formal by being proposed and sponsored according to the
       requirements for a new resolution, or directly by the proposer of
       the original resolution.

Again, resolution and amendments are treated separately.

    2. A formal amendment may be accepted by the resolution's proposer, in
       which case the formal resolution draft is immediately changed to

In this text an amendment may be accepted by the resolution's proposer.
No provision is made for an amendment to be accepted by an amendment's

    5. The proposer of a resolution may suggest changes to the wordings of
       amendments; these take effect if the proposer of the amendment
       agrees and none of the sponsors object. In this case the changed
       amendments will be voted on instead of the originals.

This continues the trend of treating amendments separately from the
That is, if amendments and resolutions were treated symmetrically, then
the text would talk about how proposers of amendments and the resolution
could suggest changes to amendments and the resolution.
Instead, this text goes out of its way to  treat the categories
    6. The proposer of a resolution may make changes to correct minor
       errors (for example, typographical errors or inconsistencies) or
       changes which do not alter the meaning, providing noone objects
       within 24 hours. In this case the minimum discussion period is not

Section A.2 (4) describes resetting the  discussion period:

    4. The minimum discussion period is counted from the time the last
       formal amendment was accepted, or since the whole resolution was
       proposed if no amendments have been proposed and accepted.

As a reminder, Section A.1(2) quoted above defines what it means for a
formal amendment to be accepted.  That's something that happens when the
proposer of a resolution accepts an amendment and integrates it; it is
not something that happens when a formal amendment receives enough
sponsors to be on the ballot.

In conclusion, I think the text of the constitution is very clear that
a proposal achieving k sponsors does not reset the discussion period.
Interpreting things otherwise opens up a significant opportunity for
strategic abuse.  I believe that it also is inconsistent with past
practice, although I have not substantiated that claim.


Unfortunately, under this interpretation, it is a lot less clear that
proposers of formal amendments can easily accept small changes to their
amendments without the cooperation of the proposer of the general
Here's recommended interpretation to allow us to continue to do that
while be consistent with the closer examination of the text above:

Section 4.2 (5) and (6) seem to give us wide latitude in determining
    what a sponsor is.
    5. Proposals, sponsors, amendments, calls for votes and other formal
       actions are made by announcement on a publicly-readable electronic
       mailing list designated by the Project Leader's Delegate(s); any
       Developer may post there.
    6. Votes are cast by email in a manner suitable to the Secretary. The
       Secretary determines for each poll whether voters can change their

I think it would be consistent with 4.2 (6) for the secretary to be able
to specify the form of a sponsorship and interpretations related to the
sponsorship, just as the secretary  defines the manner in which votes
are cast.

My recommendation is that the secretary should consider that sponsorship
continues to apply to formal amendments when the proposer withdraws and
proposes a substantially similar amendment unless doing so is clearly
inconsistent with the text of the sponsorship.

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