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Re: Informal Discussion: Identities of Voters Casting a Particular Ballot are No Longer Public

Am Mon, Feb 14, 2022 at 08:53:23AM -0700 schrieb Sam Hartman:
> >>>>> "Don" == Don Armstrong <don@debian.org> writes:
>     Don> We should also enable independent tabulation,[1] which you get
>     Don> automatically when votes are not secret. [Devotee enables this
>     Don> currently as well, but future non-devotee systems might not.]
> I think the following text already in the constitution is sufficient to
> get you independent tabulation; am I missing something?
> >Votes, tallies, and
> >       results are not revealed during the voting period; after the vote
> >       the Project Secretary lists all the votes cast. 
>     Don> I'd also appreciate hearing more specific examples of where
>     Don> someone wasn't able to vote their true preference because the
>     Don> vote was public. I currently plan to offer (or second) an
>     Don> amendment to this proposal which strikes the section making all
>     Don> votes private and rank that higher than one which struck it,
>     Don> but I'm open to be convinced otherwise.
>     Don> My personal reasoning is that I see my role as a voting project
>     Don> member as more of a stewardship role where I'm trying to decide
>     Don> what is best for the project, rather than what is best for me
>     Don> personally, and I want to be seen as being a good steward for
>     Don> the project.
> First, it looks like many participants in the discussion support your
> view.  Right now, I haven't seen sufficient support for this proposal
> that I would propose it as a GR.  If some of the people who advocated
> for this during the rms GR don't step forward, I think we can avoid a
> vote.

I support a GR making votes in Debian secret by default (with
"secret" meaning "as in DPL votes").

> So, I think the key question is the one you raise above.
> Are we acting as steward or are we acting on behalf of ourselves when we
> vote in Debian?
> In elections in my country, we have secret ballots.
> One of the main reasons for that is that we don't want to be held to
> account for our vote say either by our employers, or by a group of thugs
> with baseball bats unhappy about how we voted.
> That is, when we are making our own decisions as voters, we don't want
> to have to explain our vote to anyone, and we don't want people to be
> able to change their behavior toward us based on our vote.


For a long time, effectively all GRs in Debian were about either
technical or purely Debian-internal organizational issues, where
(although I would have preferred secret votes there as well)
having a tally sheet that showed the individual votes usually
wasn't that much of a practical problem.

In my view, things have unfortunately changed for the worse in
recent times as I have the impression that certain groups within
Debian try to use the Debian project as a hammer to further their
personal political goals and don't care for the negative effects
they create for other developers with that.  The RMS GR can serve
as a practical example for that: it clearly wasn't about a
technical issue or some Debian-internal organizational issue, it
was about a highly explosive public political debate completely
external to Debian where there was IMHO absolutely no reason for
Debian as a project to become involved at all.  Every developer
is of course free to make a political statement on their own
behalf and can sign whatever petition they want in a personal
capacity.  Unfortunately the people in question weren't content
with stating their personal opinion on the matter but instead
tried to force all developers to make a public statement on their
behalf where it was completely clear from the beginning that
there wasn't even remotely something like a consenus on the whole
matter among the developers at large.

Forcing this GR on the developers left all developers with only
two choices: either to not vote at all and as a result have a
highly explosive political statement that they potentially don't
agree with (or even actively disagree with) published in their
name, or take part in the vote and be forced to have their
political views on the matter made public, political views which
they otherwise wouldn't have made public and whose publication
could easily have negative effects for them given the political
climate around the whole matter - a climate where people in both
"camps" had been sharpening their pitchforks and where having
one's personal views on the matter published (regardless of which
"side" one voted for) might well have negative consequences for
one's further professional career.

Making the vote secret doesn't solve the first problem
(potentially having a highly explosive political statement that
one doesn't agree with published in one's name), but it at least
solves the second problem (being forced to make one's political
views publicly known against one's will).

Hiermit widerspreche ich ausdrücklich der Nutzung sowie der Weitergabe
meiner personenbezogenen Daten für Zwecke der Werbung sowie der Markt-
oder Meinungsforschung.

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