[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Draft proposal for resolution process changes

Hello everyone,

Below is an initial proposal for a revision to the GR and Technical
Committee processes, offered to start a project discussion.

This is not a GR proposal.  Please do not second it at this time.  Since
this is a constitutional change that will require a 3:1 majority, it will
require broad consensus within the project.  My intention is to discuss it
informally until it appears to have rough consensus, or at least until we
have a clear idea of what alternatives we want on the ballot and at least
one of those alternatives seems likely to gain a 3:1 majority.

Nothing is yet set in stone, and changes and discussion are welcomed

This proposal attempts to address the following problems seen in GR and TC

* Ambiguous constitutional language (particularly "proposer") that leaves
  it unclear who can take which actions with a GR.
* Unclear rules for GRs with options proposed by different people.
* Unpredictable timing for starting a vote that's open to process abuse.
* Lack of clear waiting periods around significant process actions that
  may rob someone of the opportunity to respond to an action.
* A default option of "further discussion" that may imply the project
  wants more discussion, rather than only rejecting all ballot options.

It also addresses the following minor constitutional issues:

* The result of a TC Chair election with multiple options with no defeats
  in the Schwartz set (which is possible given the small number of voters)
  was undefined.
* Untangling the implications of accepted and unaccepted amendments in A.1
  was unnecessarily difficult.
* Members of the public with no relation to the project could in theory
  object to minor changes to a GR.

This proposal was already sufficiently complex that it does not attempt to
address the secret ballot.  I believe that should be a separate discussion
and a separate GR since it's substantially orthogonal to this one.

This proposal intentionally reduces the flexibility of timing of votes in
GRs in favor of predictability, given the project's experiences with
recent GRs and the controversies over how and when votes were called.  I
believe this is the correct trade-off to make, and the correct way to
adjust for the less-flexible schedule is to discuss GRs before proposing
them formally (as with this message).  But I acknowedge that it's a

An initial point for discussion: This proposal still pays a substantial
complexity cost to allow the discussion period to vary from one to four
weeks.  A far simpler (and even more predictable) alternative would be to
say that the discussion period for all GRs is two weeks, and all ballot
changes must be made within thirteen days.  Do we want to explore that
option instead?  Or do we want to explore finding some way to hold a quick
(24 hour voting period) vote to decide whether to close discussion, and
then relax the maximum discussion length?

Many thanks to Pierre-Elliott Bécue, Sam Hartman, and Wouter Verhelst for
their feedback and review of earlier versions of this proposal.  (That
review does not imply that they agree with this draft proposal in its

Proposed constitutional changes, showing only the constitutional points
that would be modified:

4.2. Procedure


4. The Project Leader has a casting vote. There is a quorum of 3Q. The
   default option is "None of the above."


6.1. Powers


7. [...] There is no casting vote. If there are multiple options with no
   defeats in the Schwartz set at the end of A.6.8, the winner will be
   chosen from those options by lot, via a mechanism chosen by the Project


6.3. Procedure

1. Resolution process.

   The Technical Committee uses the following process to prepare a
   resolution for vote:

   1. Any member of the Technical Committee may propose a resolution.
      This creates an initial two-option ballot, the other option being
      the default option of "Further discussion." The proposer of the
      resolution becomes the proposer of the ballot option.

   2. Any member of the Technical Committee may add additional ballot
      options or modify or withdraw a ballot option they proposed.

   3. If all ballot options are withdrawn, the process is canceled.

   4. Any member of the Technical Committee may call for a vote on the
      ballot as it currently stands. This vote begins immediately, but if
      any other member of the Technical Committee objects to calling for a
      vote before the vote completes, the vote is canceled and has no

   5. Two weeks after the original proposal the ballot is closed to any
      changes and voting starts automatically. This vote cannot be

   6. If voting is started prior to two weeks after the original proposal
      via a call for a vote by a member of the Technical Committee, but
      another member of the Technical Committee objects more than two
      weeks after the original proposal but before the vote completes, the
      vote is still canceled. All members of the Technical Committee are
      then given 24 hours to add new ballot options or modify or withdraw
      the ballot options they have proposed. During this period no one may
      call for a vote. Following that 24 hour period, a new voting period
      automatically starts and cannot be canceled.

2. Details regarding voting.

   Votes are decided by the voting counting mechanism described in A.6.
   The voting period lasts for one week or until the outcome is no longer
   in doubt, whichever is shorter. Members may change their votes. There
   is a quorum of two. The Chair has a casting vote. The default option is
   "Further discussion."

   When the Technical Committee votes whether to override a Developer who
   also happens to be a member of the Committee, that member may not vote
   (unless they are the Chair, in which case they may use only their
   casting vote).


A.0. Proposal

1. The formal procedure begins when a draft resolution is proposed and
   sponsored, as required. A draft resolution must include the text of
   that resolution and a short single-line summary suitable for labeling
   the ballot choice.

2. This draft resolution becomes a ballot option in an initial two-option
   ballot, the other option being the default option, and the proposer of
   the draft resolution becomes the proposer of that ballot option.

A.1. Discussion and amendment

1. The discussion period starts when a draft resolution is proposed and
   sponsored. The minimum discussion period is 2 weeks. The maximum
   discussion period is 3 weeks.

2. A new ballot option may be proposed and sponsored according to the
   requirements for a new resolution.

3. The proposer of a ballot option may amend that option provided that
   none of the sponsors of that ballot option at the time the amendment is
   proposed disagree with that change within 24 hours. If any of them do
   disagree, the ballot option is left unchanged.

4. The addition of a ballot option or the change via a amendment of a
   ballot option changes the end of the discussion period to be one week
   from when that action was done, unless that would make the total
   discussion period shorter than the minimum discussion period or longer
   than the maximum discussion period. In the latter case, the length of
   the discussion period is instead set to the maximum discussion period.

5. The proposer of a ballot option may make minor changes to that option
   (for example, typographical fixes, corrections of inconsistencies, or
   other changes which do not alter the meaning), providing no Developer
   objects within 24 hours. In this case the length of the discussion
   period is not changed. If a Developer does object, the change must
   instead be made via amendment under point A.1.3.

6. The Project Leader may, at any point in the process, increase or
   decrease the minimum and maximum discussion period by up to 1 week from
   their original values in point A.1.1, except that they may not do so in
   a way that causes the discussion period to end within 48 hours of when
   this change is made. The length of the discussion period is then
   recalculated as if the new minimum and maximum lengths had been in
   place during all previous ballot changes under points A.1.1 and A.1.4.

7. The default option has no proposer or sponsors and cannot be amended.

A.2. Withdrawing ballot options:

1. The proposer of a ballot option may withdraw it. In this case new
   proposers may come forward to keep it alive, in which case the first
   person to do so becomes the new proposer and any others become sponsors
   if they aren't sponsors already. Any new proposer or sponsors must meet
   the requirements for proposing or sponsoring a new resolution.

2. A sponsor of a ballot option may withdraw.

3. If the withdrawal of the proposer and/or sponsors means that a ballot
   option has no proposer or not enough sponsors to meet the requirements
   for a new resolution, and 24 hours pass without this being remedied by
   another proposer and/or sponsors stepping forward, it removed from the
   draft ballot.  This does not change the length of the discussion

4. The default option cannot be withdrawn.

5. If all ballot options except the default option are withdrawn, the
   resolution is canceled and will not be voted on.

A.3. Calling for a vote

1. After the discussion period has ended, the Project Secretary will
   publish the ballot and call for a vote. The Project Secretary may do
   this immediately following the end of the discussion period and must do
   so within five days of the end of the discussion period.

2. The Project Secretary determines the order of ballot options. At their
   discretion they may reword the single-line summaries for clarity.

3. Minor changes to ballot options under point A.1.5 may be made up until
   24 hours before the call for a vote is issued. However, if they are
   made after or within 24 hours of the end of the discussion period, the
   Project Secretary must agree the change does not alter the meaning of
   the ballot option and allow 24 hours for objections before issuing the
   call for a vote.

4. No new ballot options may be proposed, no ballot options may be
   amended, and no proposers or sponsors may withdraw within 24 hours of
   the end of the discussion period unless this action successfully
   extends the discussion period under point A.1.4 by at least 24
   additional hours.

5. Actions to preserve the existing ballot may be taken within 24 hours of
   the end of the discussion period, namely a sponsor objecting to an
   amendment under point A.1.3, a Developer objecting to a minor change
   under point A.1.5, stepping forward as the proposer for an existing
   ballot option whose original proposer has withdrawn it under point
   A.2.1, or sponsoring an existing ballot option that has fewer than the
   required number of sponsors because of the withdrawal of a sponsor
   under point A.2.2.

6. The Project Secretary may make an exception to point A.3.4 and accept
   changes to the ballot after they are no longer allowed, provided that
   this is done at least 24 hours prior to the issuance of a call for a
   vote. All other requirements for making a change to the ballot must
   still be met. This is expected to be rare and should only be done if
   the Project Secretary believes it would be harmful to the best
   interests of the project for the change to not be made.

A.4. Voting procedure

1. Options which do not have an explicit supermajority requirement have a
   1:1 majority requirement. The default option must not have any
   supermajority requirements.

2. The votes are counted according to the rules in A.6. The default option
   is "None of the above," unless specified otherwise.

3. In cases of doubt the Project Secretary shall decide on matters of

A.5 is deleted.  A.6 is left unchanged.  (In the final, formal GR, A.6
will be renumbered to A.5 with corresponding changes throughout the rest
of the constitution.)

When the vote counting mechanism of the Standard Resolution Procedure is
to be used, the text which refers to it must specify who has a casting
vote, the quorum, the default option, and any supermajority requirement.

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

Reply to: