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Re: GR: Change the resolution process (corrected)

Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org> wrote on 20/11/2021 at 19:04:07+0100:

> [[PGP Signed Part:No public key for 7D80315C5736DE75 created at 2021-11-20T19:04:07+0100 using RSA]]
> I propose the following General Resolution, which will require a 3:1
> majority, and am seeking sponsors.
> Rationale
> =========
> We have uncovered several problems with the current constitutional
> mechanism for preparing a Technical Committee resolution or General
> Resolution for vote:
> * The timing of calling for a vote is discretionary and could be used
>   strategically to cut off discussion while others were preparing
>   additional ballot options.
> * The original proposer of a GR has special control over the timing of the
>   vote, which could be used strategically to the disadvantage of other
>   ballot options.
> * The description of the process for adding and managing additional ballot
>   options is difficult to understand.
> * The current default choice of "further discussion" for a General
>   Resolution has implications beyond rejecting the other options that may,
>   contrary to its intent, discourage people Developers ranking it above
>   options they wish to reject.
> The actual or potential implications of these problems caused conflict in
> the Technical Committee systemd vote and in GRs 2019-002 and 2021-002,
> which made it harder for the project to reach a fair and widely-respected
> result.
> This constitutional change attempts to address those issues by
> * separating the Technical Committee process from the General Resolution
>   process since they have different needs;
> * requiring (passive) consensus among TC members that a resolution is
>   ready to proceed to a vote;
> * setting a maximum discussion period for a TC resolution and then
>   triggering a vote;
> * setting a maximum discussion period for a GR so that the timing of the
>   vote is predictable;
> * extending the GR discussion period automatically if the ballot changes;
> * modifying the GR process to treat all ballot options equally, with a
>   clearer process for addition, withdrawal, and amendment;
> * changing the default option for a GR to "none of the above"; and
> * clarifying the discretion extended to the Project Secretary.
> It also corrects a technical flaw that left the outcome of the vote for
> Technical Committee Chair undefined in the event of a tie, and clarifies
> responsibilities should the Technical Committee put forward a General
> Resolution under point 4.2.1.
> Effect of the General Resolution
> ================================
> The Debian Developers, by way of General Resolution, amend the Debian
> constitution under point 4.1.2 as follows.  This General Resolution
> requires a 3:1 majority.
> Section 4.2.4
> -------------
> Strike the sentence "The minimum discussion period is 2 weeks, but may be
> varied by up to 1 week by the Project Leader."  (A modified version of
> this provision is added to section A below.)  Add to the end of this
> point:
>     The default option is "None of the above."
> Section 4.2.5
> -------------
> Replace "amendments" with "ballot options."
> Section 5.1.5
> -------------
> Replace in its entirety with:
>     Propose General Resolutions and ballot options for General
>     Resolutions.  When proposed by the Project Leader, sponsors for the
>     General Resolution or ballot option are not required; see §4.2.1.
> Section 5.2.7
> -------------
> Replace "section §A.6" with "section §A.5".
> Section 6.1.7
> -------------
> Replace "section §A.6" with "section §A.5".
> Add to the end of this point:
>     There is no casting vote. If there are multiple options with no
>     defeats in the Schwartz set at the end of A.5.8, the winner will be
>     randomly chosen from those options, via a mechanism chosen by the
>     Project Secretary.
> Section 6.3
> -----------
> Replace 6.3.1 in its entirety with:
>     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 propose additional
>           ballot options or modify or withdraw a ballot option they
>           proposed.
>        3. If all ballot options except the default option 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 effect.
>        5. Two weeks after the original proposal the ballot is closed to
>           any changes and voting starts automatically. This vote cannot be
>           canceled.
>        6. If a vote is canceled under point later than 13 days
>           after the initial proposed resolution, the vote specified in
>           point instead starts 24 hours after the time of
>           cancellation. During that 24 hour period, no one may call for a
>           vote.
> Add a new paragraph to the start of 6.3.2 following "Details regarding
> voting":
>        Votes are decided by the vote counting mechanism described in
>        section §A.5. The voting period lasts for one week or until the
>        outcome is no longer in doubt assuming no members change their
>        votes, whichever is shorter. Members may change their votes until
>        the voting period ends. There is a quorum of two. The Chair has a
>        casting vote. The default option is "Further discussion."
> Strike "The Chair has a casting vote." from the existing text and make the
> remaining text a separate, second paragraph.
> In 6.3.3, replace "amendments" with "ballot options."
> Add, at the end of section 6.3, the following new point:
>     7. Proposing a general resolution.
>        When the Technical Committee proposes a general resolution or a
>        ballot option in a general resolution to the project under point
>        4.2.1, it may delegate the authority to withdraw, amend, or make
>        minor changes to the ballot option to one of its members. If it
>        does not do so, these decisions must be made by resolution of the
>        Technical Committee.
> Section A
> ---------
> Replace A.0 through A.4 in their entirety with:
>     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

Typo here.

>        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 or withdrawn.
>     A.2. Withdrawing ballot options
>     1. The proposer of a ballot option may withdraw. If they do, new
>        proposers may come forward to keep the ballot option 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 period.
>     4. 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 not be made
>        after or within 24 hours of the end of the discussion period unless
>        the Project Secretary agrees the change does not alter the meaning
>        of the ballot option and (if it would do so) warrants delaying the
>        vote. The Project Secretary will allow 24 hours for objections
>        after any such change 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 does not have
>        any supermajority requirements.
>     2. The votes are counted according to the rules in section §A.5.
>     3. In cases of doubt the Project Secretary shall decide on matters of
>        procedure.
> Strike section A.5 in its entirety.
> Rename section A.6 to A.5.
> Replace the paragraph at the end of section A.6 (now A.5) with:
>     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.  The default option must not have any supermajority
>     requirements.



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