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Re: GR: Change the resolution process (corrected)

On Thu, Dec 02, 2021 at 01:46:51PM -0700, Sam Hartman wrote:
> >>>>> "Wouter" == Wouter Verhelst <w@uter.be> writes:
>     Wouter> Hi Kurt,
>     Wouter> On Thu, Dec 02, 2021 at 06:45:24PM +0100, Kurt Roeckx wrote:
>     Wouter> It was always my intent that the discussion time can be kept
>     Wouter> alive as long as it has not yet expired, but that it cannot
>     Wouter> be revived once it has expired. But I now think it does not
>     Wouter> forbid someone from sponsoring an extension proposal when
>     Wouter> the discussion time has already expired.
>     Wouter> So I think I should add the following to my A.3:
>     Wouter> 6. Once the discussion time expires, any pending time
>     Wouter> extension proposals that have not yet received their
>     Wouter> required number of sponsors are null and void, and no
>     Wouter> further time extensions may be proposed.
>     Wouter> Or is that superfluous?
> Please say one way or the other so we don't fight about it later:-)

Heh :)

I first wanted to know whether other people think my reading makes
sense, or if I'm just overthinking it...

> Thanks for noticing this.

I'll take it you think I'm not overthinking things then.

> So, out of morbid curiosity about the current formal process.  If you
> propose this change, can Russ accept it for you, or could he only do
> that if he accepts your entire proposal as an amendment?

I could bypass the whole thing and claim a minor change. That's probably
cheating, but then again, it is what I had always intended, so from that
POV I guess it isn't.

So unless someone objects, the below is now the proposal:


Much of the rationale of Russ' proposal still applies, and indeed this
amendment builds on it. However, the way the timing works is different,
on purpose.

Our voting system, which neither proposal modifies, as a condorcet
voting mechanism, does not suffer directly from too many options on the
ballot. While it is desirable to make sure the number of options on the
ballot is not extremely high for reasons of practicality and voter
fatigue, it is nonetheless of crucial importance that all the *relevant*
options are represented on the ballot, so that the vote outcome is not
questioned for the mere fact that a particular option was not
represented on the ballot. Making this possible requires that there is
sufficient time to discuss all relevant opinions.

Russ' proposal introduces a hard limit of 3 weeks to any and all ballot
processes, assuming that that will almost always be enough, and relying
on withdrawing and restarting the voting process in extreme cases where
it turns out more time is needed; in Russ' proposal, doing so would
increase the discussion time by another two weeks at least (or one if
the DPL reduces the discussion time).

In controversial votes, I believe it is least likely for all ballot
proposers to be willing to use this escape hatch of withdrawing the vote
and restarting the process; and at the same time, controversial votes
are the most likely to need a lot of discussion to build a correct
ballot, which implies they would be most likely to need some extra time
-- though not necessarily two more weeks -- for the ballot to be

At the same time, I am not insensitive to arguments of predictability,
diminishing returns, and process abuse which seem to be the main
arguments in favour of a hard time limit at three weeks.

For this reason, my proposal does not introduce a hard limit, and
*always* makes it theoretically possible to increase the discussion
time, but does so in a way that extending the discussion time becomes
harder and harder as time goes on. I believe it is better for the
constitution to allow a group of people to have a short amount of extra
time so they can finish their proposed ballot option, than to require
the full discussion period to be restarted through the withdrawal and
restart escape hatch. At the same time, this escape hatch is not
removed, although I expect it to be less likely to be used.

The proposed mechanism sets the initial discussion time to 1 week, but
allows it to be extended reasonably easily to 2 or 3 weeks, makes it
somewhat harder to reach 4 weeks, and makes it highly unlikely (but
still possible) to go beyond that.

Text of the GR

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.

Sections 4 through 7

Copy from Russ' proposal, replacing cross-references to §A.5 by §A.6,
where relevant.

Section A

Replace section A as per Russ' proposal, with the following changes:

A.1.1. Replace the sentence "The minimum discussion period is 2 weeks."
       by "The initial discussion period is 1 week." Strike the sentence
       "The maximum discussion period is 3 weeks".

A.1.4. Strike in its entirety

A.1.5. Rename to A.1.4, and strike the sentence "In this case the length
       of the discussion period is not changed".

A.1.6. Strike in its entirety

A.1.7. Rename to A.1.5.

After A.2, insert:

A.3. Extending the discussion time.

1. When less than 48 hours remain in the discussion time, any Developer
   may propose an extension to the discussion time, subject to the
   limitations of §A.3.3. These extensions may be sponsored according to
   the same rules that apply to new ballot options.

2. As soon as a time extension has received the required number of
   sponsors, these sponsorships are locked in and cannot be withdrawn,
   and the time extension is active.

3. When a time extension has received the required number of sponsors,
   its proposers and sponsors may no longer propose or sponsor any
   further time extension for the same ballot, and any further sponsors
   for the same extension proposal will be ignored for the purpose of
   this paragraph. In case of doubt, the Project Secretary decides how
   the order of sponsorships is determined.

4. The first two successful time extensions will extend the discussion
   time by one week; any further time extensions will extend the
   discussion time by 72 hours.

5. Once the discussion time is longer than 4 weeks, any Developer may
   object to further time extensions. Developers who have previously
   proposed or sponsored a time extension may object as well. If the
   number of objections outnumber the proposer and their sponsors,
   including sponsors who will be ignored as per §A.3.3, the time
   extension will not be active and the discussion time does not change.

6. Once the discussion time expires, any pending time extension
   proposals that have not yet received their required number of
   sponsors are null and void, and no further time extensions may be

A.3. Rename to A.4.

A.3.6 (now A.4.6): replace 'A.3.4' by 'A.4.4'.

A.4. Rename to A.5.

A.4.2 (now A.5.2): replace '§A.5' by '§A.6'.

A.5. Rename (back) to A.6.


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