MOTU Decision Making Process

Stefan Potyra sistpoty at
Tue Jun 17 11:48:44 BST 2008


thanks Scott, for bringing this up!

Am Montag 16 Juni 2008 21:47:16 schrieb Scott Kitterman:
> It has seemed to me for some time that making decisions about process and
> policy changes at MOTU meetings based on votes of those present is not
> serving us particularly well.  The major problems with the current system,
> as I see it are:
> 1.  Not very many MOTU at the meeting, so a vote may or may not represent
> the will of the larger body of MOTU (due to time zone spread it is not
> practical to expect everyone to be able to make every meeting).
> 2.  Due to this risk, MOTU present at a meeting are often unwilling to make
> a decision on controversial issues.
> So we tend to get decisions on easy topics and not on hard ones.

hm... imo it also depends on who hosts a meeting, if a harder decision is 
taken or not. However I don't think that's necessarily an argument in favor 
of the current procedure.

> I'd like to propose an alternative approach based on the IETF rough
> consensus model.  There are two major features I'd like to bring foward
> from this model for MOTU:
> 1.  Decisions need to be made by achieving rough consensus rather than by
> 51% vote.  I think working together to develop an answer to a problem that
> most everyone can agree to is a more Ubuntu way than holding a vote that
> can leave only slightly less than half the people unhappy.
> 2.  Decisions must be ratified on the appropriate mailing list. 
> Discussions at a meeting are good and necessary, but the mailing list has
> the final say. This is important so that all time zones can be represented
> and missing a meeting doesn't leave people out.
> If a process or policy is needed, my proposal would work something like
> this:
> 1.  Someone makes an announcement to the MOTU ML describing the problem and
> the proposed solution (much like this mail).
> 2.  MOTU discuss on the ML.
> 3.  The issue is on the agenda for the next meeting.  It's discussed at the
> meeting and someone other than the person asking for the change is
> appointed to guage the consensus on the issue.
> 4.  Meeting minutes get published that include the issue, a summary of the
> discussion, and who is appointed to guage the consensus.
> 5.  More discussion on the ML the selected person tries to guage the rough
> consensus of the group.
> 6.  That individual announces if rough consensus has been achieved.  If so,
> the change is approved, if not, more disucssion and new proposals.
> 7.  Anyone who feels strongly that the consensus call was wrong, can appeal
> to the MOTU Council who would have oversight over the process.

sounds pretty good to me. Two comments:
- For real uncontroversial issues, I don't really think the ping pong from 
mailing list to meeting back to mailing list is needed (take motu-sru 
membership discussion as an example -- even though that's not a very good 
example for us coming to a decision fast *g*).

- I guess if there are really controversial issues, we'd not be able to come 
to a decision regarding those with this model? Maybe it should also be 
possible to call for a vote after a certain time when no outcome is reached 
until then?

Anyway, excellent proposal!

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