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Re: Opposing strict time limits

Hi Sam,

On Sat, Oct 23, 2021 at 12:49:57PM -0600, Sam Hartman wrote:
> However there is one area of agreement, and I'll focus there.
> I agree that if a sufficient part of the project wants to continue the
> discussion, we should be able to do that.
> I just don't see how to accomplish that in a way that is better than
> what Russ proposes without being open to abuse.

Thanks for this message. It caused me to reconsider what I think is most
important, and how to accomplish it.

To me, what matters most is that the ballot is built in a way that makes
it most likely that all the relevant options are represented on the
ballot. Not necessary all the *possible* options -- there will always be
fringe opinions that are not supported by a significant amount of
people, but for those it doesn't really matter whether they're on the
ballot; if you can't even convince a handful of people that an option
should be voted on (let alone whether you *agree* with it), then it's
highly unlikely that that option will carry the vote.

However, the problem I see with strict timings that cannot be extended
in any possible scenario is that we may end up with a situation where
one option cannot be fleshed out entirely due to lack of time. I think
it's unrealistic to assume that in such a case everyone can be convinced
to postpone the vote by two weeks, *at least*, rather than extend the
discussion time by a few days in order to allow the option that hasn't
finished gathering enough seconds to finish up and become acceptable to
enough people.

So what I think is important is to allow for a way to get a short amount
of extra time, *once*, in order to finish up a proposed ballot option.

This could be accomplished as follows:

- If you think you need more time to flesh out a ballot option, you can
  formally request, on the -vote mailinglist, for more time.
- A request for more time can be seconded, with the same requirements in
  terms of number of seconds to get an option on the ballot.
- If the request for more time achieves the required number of seconds,
  then the discussion time will last until a certain amount of time (as
  specified in the constitution) from when the request was made (i.e.,
  the count would *not* start from when the discussion time would
  currently expire).
- The process can be repeated as long as the discussion time has not
  expired; but, crucially, anyone who seconded a previous extension
  request cannot second another one (although you can *request* another
  extension if you want).

In practice this would mean that if you have a significant level of
support for extending the discussion time, you can probably get the
discussion time extended twice, and *maybe* three times if you're lucky,
but I think it highly unlikely you'll be able to extend beyond that.

The thought process behind requiring the same level of support for a
time extension as compared to adding an option to the ballot is that
this way, someone could say "I like this proposal, but there are some
details that I would like to see changed before I am prepared to
formally support it". If there's only a limited amount of people who
feel that way, then wordsmithing is unlikely to result in a text that
will satisfy enough people to result in an extra ballot option. However,
if there are, then such an option does have a fighting chance of making
it on the ballot, and I think we should give the people advocating for
that option sufficient time to get there.

In order to make this process work, the time of a single extension
should be long enough so that a person who requests the extension has
sufficient time to go to bed, wake up, go to work, come home, eat, draft
their proposed ballot option, post it to this list, and then have
sufficient time to allow for people to second it. That means that 24
hours is certainly going to be too short, but a full week is probably
going to be too much. I would suggest 72 hours at this point, but I'm
not married to that number.

With this process, we could also default the minimum discussion time to
be much shorter (say, one week or so); then if there is much to discuss,
after 6 days or so someone could suggest "we're clearly not there yet,
let's extend the discussion" and we can extend with this process.

If this process (or something similar) were to be incorporated in the
current draft, my objections to it would vanish.


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