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

Don Armstrong <don@debian.org> writes:

> I'm likely biased because I'm in a privileged position and rarely have
> to deal with concerted harassment directed specifically at me, so I
> might be minimizing the real fear people have because I personally
> haven't experienced it.

This is almost exactly my concern.

I'm not particularly worried about making all of my Debian votes public.
I've been on the Internet for a long time, have the resources to defend
myself against the sorts of reactions I think are likely, and am not the
sort of person who tends to draw the most attention anyway.  Maybe I'm too
optimistic since things seem to be getting worse, but I'm not very worried
for myself.

However, I think there's a bias implicit in that sort of analysis, and I
don't want only the Debian Developers who are similarly situated to be
able to vote.  If someone is more socially vulnerable than I am, I don't
want them to have to do this calculus in order to vote their conscience.

I agree with Sam's analysis that the point of Debian votes is to vote as
individuals, not to vote as trustees on behalf of a constituency, and
while I too have gotten valuable understanding and course correction from
seeing people I respect in the project vote differently than me, I don't
think public voting is a core project value.  I therefore find it hard to
argue against people's perceived safety (even if it is only a perception).

> Perhaps the compromise position is to default to secret ballots, but
> allow people to automatically unmask their preference at the appropriate
> time. [Totally not supported by devotee currently, but certainly
> possible to enable.]

That's an interesting thought.  My immediate reaction is that the social
signaling of who reveals their votes and who doesn't is a bit complicated
and I'm not sure what effect it would have.

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

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