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

On Fri, Feb 18, 2022 at 01:13:50PM +0100, Guillem Jover wrote:
> On Sun, 2022-02-13 at 14:28:44 -0700, Sam Hartman wrote:
> > This starts informal discussion of a proposed general resolution to
> > amend the constitution.  I am not seeking sponsors at this time.
> > Comments including support or alternatives are welcome.  I think this is
> > mature enough to seek review from the secretary.
> Since the idea of general secret votes has started floating around
> I've felt a sense of uneasiness, but I've not been able to clearly
> put my finger on why. After some of the replies here, I think it's
> starting to become clear.

Thanks for this, you raise interesting points.

> I think the current secrecy for the DPL votes makes absolute sense,
> and I think there's no contention about that one, because these are
> about voting "for/against" people, which have clear and understood
> social dynamics when it applies to colleagues/friends or people we do
> work with etc. I think, thus, extending secrecy to any vote related
> to "people" would also be equally uncontroversial.
> Then, there's the secrecy for technical votes, which I think is where
> the push back might be coming from. There's been mentions of mailing
> lists being way more revealing than a vote in GR, and counters to that
> mentioning that you do not need to participate in mailing lists. Both
> true. The problem I think, is that to participate in Debian in any
> technical role, you most definitely need to eventually make your
> opinion on technical matters public, because we operate on the open.
> Be that on bug reports, on changelogs, on VCS commits, or even on
> mailing lists. It also feels like closing up technical votes would go
> counter to the general tenets of the project and how we operate.
> And then, there's the secrecy for "political" votes. I think this
> might also be problematic, depending on the subject at hand. Because
> as mentioned in the thread, it might make public positions that people
> otherwise would not need to make so on their daily routines in Debian.
> I think the RMS vote, was a mix of personal + political, which is what
> made people uncomfortable with. The problem I see is that this is now
> being lumped into a general direction to close everything up, which
> seems excessive, TBH.
> I also think the DPL votes are different to any other votes, because
> the DPL has limited power, and even though a DPL can certainly disrupt
> or damage the project, in the end it's bound by a time limit. Compared
> to a GR where the consequences might live long, and where once settled
> people do not tend to try to overturn these every subsequent year.

By the time something comes to a vote, be it about a technical issue or
anything else, all the relevant arguments were already made in public,
and sometimes to exhaustion. The voting itself at the end of the process
is "just" a poll to decide which side (if any) of the argument convinced
the most people. It doesn't seem to me that having the votes be secret
means we are hiding anything, or compromising on our principles of
transparency in any way.

> I've also got concerns about batching up unrelated changes, with
> potentially controversial ones. And even if minor I'd prefer to see
> those debundled, even at the cost of additional GRs.

If the only contentious point is the secrecy of votes, we could have an
amendment that includes all the other proposed changes, minus that one.

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