While looking one more time at Annex: Summary on votes of my PEP 8015, I was thinking why the vote for the Steering Committee uses private ballot, but the vote on promoting a contributor is fully public?
It seems like the general trend is that when a vote is on “someone”, it’s better to use a private ballot. The rationale for a private ballot is to be free to vote “against” a friend. More generally, to be allowed to provide a fair vote unrelated to your relationship with the candidate.
When promoting a core developer, it can be tricky to vote against a contributor which can then become your peer, a new core developer.
Historically, these votes were always public, and it’s not uncommon that there are negative votes (“vetos”). I was always very uncomfortable with that. The full name of the candidate is associated with a negative comment like “their skill is not good enough to become a core developer” on a public mailing list. Because of that, when I’m thinking about promoting someone, I always started with a private “poll” with a few close core developers, to have an idea if the vote will be positive or negative.
If the ballot becomes private, the early poll becomes useless. However, I explained in my PEP that a promotion can be rejected, it’s part of the process. It’s not something unexpected. And I explained that it’s fine to retry later:
If the candidate is not promoted, a new vote can be organized later, when the candidate gets the missing skills, for example 6 months later.
My question is now: for the vote itself, do you see any good reason to use a public ballot?
I’m not talking about discussions around the vote, where people are free to express themselves, knowing that python-committers archives are public.