Discussion on what sort of governance we want


(Jack Jansen) #1

What I sorely miss in the whole governance discussion is actual discussion.

In other words: people giving their opinion on what sort of governance they would like, and how the various PEPs would help in acomplishing that.

There is a little bit of actual discussion in Comparison of the 7 governance PEPs and Straw poll: Which governance proposals do you like best? but to me both of these topics still feel far too technical: there is a lot of posts on clarifying what is meant by specific sections of specific PEPs, or how this-or-that situation would be voted on and such, but no discussion on the actual models.

And personally I like discussion, and I think discussion will usually lead to much better results than simply putting a couple of proposals in front of people and then determining which one gets the most votes. I want to be swayed by arguments: please tell me you think PEP 8014 (to name a random one:-) is a bad idea because of insert reason here and PEP 801X handles that much more gracefully.

And on a personal note, because I mentioned 8014: I’ve just tried to come up with a governance model with a somewhat anarchistic flavour to it, but I’m not feeling very defensive about it, and while I definitely think the model has its merits and will defend it I don’t specifically want 8014 to be selected: I want the model to be selected that has the most support in the community. In other words: I don’t have any deep personal attachment to 8014 and I might well vote for another one as my preferred model…

(Antoine Pitrou) #2

This is something that I don’t understand. You claim it’s anarchistic, but you give large powers to a council of a few people.

(Jack Jansen) #3

That is most definitely not the intention!

The Council of Elders is only there to interpret specific vote results on a specific proposal (which is expected to include votes by only a small subset of the community) and extrapolate these results.

There are specific words in place so that a true majority of core team members (or PSF members) always wins.

And there is a procedure whereby anyone can contest the extrapolation of vote results, and (if the CoE ignores the protest) a procedure to get rid of the whole CoE.

I really don’t know how much more direct democracy you could have if you also want to be able to get decisions made (unless you want to do compulsory voting of everyone on every PEP:-).

(Nathaniel J. Smith) #4

Well, what sort of governance would you like, and how do you think the various PEPs do at accomplishing that? :slight_smile: (Obviously I can make some guesses based on having read your PEP, but I don’t really know why you wrote it, and you say you’re not sure whether it’s still your most-preferred option…)

I agree that the “straw poll” thread has ended up with a lot of fiddly back-and-forth and it’d be good to have more high-level discussion (my fault maybe?). I thought some of the posts there address your question though:

More briefly/at a high level, the things I’m looking for are:

  • Spread the load: I don’t think it’s a good idea to make a single person or small group personally responsible for the whole language. We shouldn’t ask people to make multi-year commitments if we can avoid it.
  • Flexibility: The one thing we know for sure is that we won’t get everything right the first time.
  • Clarity: The point of a formal governance model is that it’s the thing you fall back on when you don’t know what else to do. So, when you have a confusing situation, you really want everyone to at least be on the same page about what the governance model says, what the process is for resolving things, what authority each person actually has, etc.

Flexibility and clarity are the tricky ones. I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily in conflict – you can have clear rules for how to go about handling unexpected situations, and for how to change the rules themselves – but balancing them is a challenge.

(Jack Jansen) #5

@njs you’re absolutely right, thanks for hunting down those posts, there’s indeed quite some discussion there. I must admit I had overlooked most of those:-(

On the specific 3 points you care about: I definitely care about “spread the load” and “clarity” too. (“flexibility” too, but I find that difficult to capture). Another one I care about is

  • No unwanted adverse side effects

and that is really (together with “spread the load”) the main rationale behind 8014: by not specifying (for example) that only core developers can vote we forestall that core developer status also has a political implication (and some of the other PEPs already need to spend a lot of words on how to forestall a single company getting too much say in matters).