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Re: Opposing strict time limits

Thank you for raising this, Wouter!

I'm not going to reply directly to the substance of this argument right
now because Wouter already knows my opinion and I think having the rest of
the project weigh in would be much more useful.  Part of the goal here is
to come up with a system that's more predictable and fair for everyone, so
if having prolonged discussion periods is important to others, I'd like us
to have that discussion so that we can explore the nuances.

I did want to make one technical point, though:

Wouter Verhelst <wouter@debian.org> writes:

> I think introducing a fixed time limit on a GR is a bad idea, for
> various reasons.

It's fair to say that my proposal introduces a fixed time limit in the
sense that the current constitution *in theory* allows the discussion
period to be unbounded.

However, I think it's important to note that *in practice* the current
constitution also has a time limit on a GR, which can only be increased
(beyond the week allowed to the DPL) by either the original proposer of
the GR (not the proposer of any other ballot option) by regularly
accepting new amendments, or by the cooperative choice of every Debian
Developer to not call for a vote.  In practice, without the active
cooperation of the proposer of the GR, the current constitution imposes a
fixed time limit of two weeks on the discussion period (or three weeks
with a DPL extension).  It just doesn't automatically enforce this and
instead leaves it to any Debian Developer to enforce it, which means in
practice it sometimes runs a bit longer but generally not that much

Under the current constitution, once two weeks have passed, unless the
original GR proposer accepts an amendment to reset the clock, any Debian
Developer can force a vote by seconding the original proposal and then
calling for a vote.

This means that the discussion period could be unbounded in cordial cases
where no one is in any hurry and no one wants to force the issue, but as
soon as the proposal becomes controversial in some way, it's highly likely
that someone will impose the time limit and force a vote.  (Whether you
consider that a feature or a bug of course depends on your opinion about
extended discussion periods.)

To fully achieve what Wouter is calling for would therefore *also* require
a constitutional change.  It's not a preservation of the existing status
quo.  I know Wouter knows that, but I wanted to make sure it was explicit
for everyone else.

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

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