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

Philip Hands <phil@hands.com> writes:

> I find the idea that someone might be forced to reveal their previously
> undeclared political views in order to vote particularly persuasive as a
> reason to have as-secret-as-possible votes on at least those subjects.

> Alternatively, we could just reach a consensus not to even attempt these
> sorts of position statements in future, since all they do is highlight
> divisions.

While I agree with this [*], I don't think it's sufficient because I don't
think position statements are the only sort of votes that can be
politicized, and the level of politicization in the world surrounding us
is growing stronger.  I find it hard to escape the conclusion that we're
going to have some vote in the future that will pose similar risks.
Examples of lines of discussion that I think the project cannot (and
should not) entirely avoid but that could lead to such a problem include
Debconf venue selection, anything related to the project code of conduct
including whether we should have one, and membership actions and their
potential overrides under 4.1.3.  I'll also point out that even technical
issues have become heavily polarized and have led to at least borderline
harrassment based on publicly stated positions (see systemd).

Trying to be generous to one another and only tackle divisions when they
are of central importance to the project is a good principle, but I think
there are some divisions of central importance to the project, not
everyone is going to agree on which divisions are of central importance,
and six DDs have a right under the constitution to bring a GR to a vote.
I'm also leery of getting into another situation where a vote is going to
be worrisome but we have no framework to mitigate the effects because
we've been overly hopeful that we could avoid any such vote.

[*] Full disclosure: I publicly supported one of the ballot options and
    voted several options above FD because I believed (possibly
    incorrectly) that once the Pandora's box of a GR was opened, it
    mattered what statement the project made, and, at that point, FD
    itself was a statement, but I would have preferred not to have opened
    the box in the first place.

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

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