[python-committers] Proposal on how to vote (was: An alternative governance model)

Brett Cannon brett at python.org
Wed Jul 18 17:56:34 EDT 2018

[starting a new thread]

On Wed, 18 Jul 2018 at 14:04 Łukasz Langa <lukasz at langa.pl> wrote:

> > On Jul 18, 2018, at 1:23 PM, Alex Martelli <aleax at google.com> wrote:
> >
> > Since 1179 (and with a few very minor exceptions in the centuries right
> after then -- none since 1612), the Catholic Church requires a
> super-majority of 2/3 to elect a new Pope. I don't see how the choice of a
> BDFL is so much more important to the Python community, than the choice of
> a Pope is to the Catholic Church; thus, requiring 90% rather than "just"
> 2/3 seems unwarranted.
> This is a good point. Moreover, I'm sure Monty Python-wise it's only
> fitting for us to base our rules on a papal conclave.
> If we do, then it looks like 2/3 it is. However, historically cardinal
> participation rates were really high so I'd like to keep the 90%
> participation rule there.

To put hard numbers to this, there are 91 people with commit rights ATM and
171 potential people based on the bugs.python.org committers list. So that
means we will require anywhere from 82 to 154 people to vote. To me that
seems unreachable on either end of the scale.

While I am totally fine with a super-majority of votes for something to be
accepted, I don't think the minimum participation requirement will work. If
people simply choose not to vote then they choose not to (we have no way to
really compel people to vote).


> I do find it a bit problematic that a papal conclave doesn't vote "yes/no"
> but rather just places names for a predefined position using predefined
> rules.
> > In fact, a 90% requirement gets dangerously close to a requirement for
> unanimity -- allowing any member of the Sejm to shout "Nie pozwalam!" and
> thus end the session and nullify every decision made in the session.
> Oh, you know how to hit close to home! However, there's a big difference
> between one vote vetoing the ruling and ten (as there's 100+ GitHub
> committers now IIRC).
> But yeah, if the Vatican is fine with two thirds, it sounds like we could,
> too. By the way, if we're already studying Polish parliamentary rules, 2/3
> agreement is needed to make constitution changes.
> - Ł
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