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Re: Why Unanimous Consent Doesn't Work (Was: Re: why do we need change?)

From: Alex Perez
Subject: Re: Why Unanimous Consent Doesn't Work (Was: Re: why do we need change?)
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2005 20:34:45 -0700
User-agent: Thunderbird 1.6a1 (Windows/20051010)

Nicola Pero wrote:
Yes, and frankly this is a perfect opportunity to state that rule by unanimous or even near-unanimous consent is simply not a viable nor sustainable. People disagree. One cannot make everyone happy, nor should they try to in all instances. Currently, I feel the GNUstep project is trying to do so in all instances, with disastrous results.

At some point, it is sometimes necessary to simply *accept* the fact that certain people will be unhappy with certain decisions, which they may view to be controversial (but which many other, perhaps even the majority in many cases, may not).

Right now, this project isn't going anywhere, and while I do not contest the technical abilities of the leader, I do contest the lets-make-everybody-happy-and-if-we-cant-do-that-then-forget-about-it attitude which seems to be the norm instead of the exception. The project needs a stronger leader. Someone willing to make some tough decisions. The project's long-term health will be better as a result.

I don't agree.  Some of your sentences are ... hinting to some sort of
fascist leadership of the project, with which I strongly disagree.

We need the leaders / core developers / people on top to listen *more* to
the GNUstep community (users, developers, etc), not less! ;-)
Listening to the people can happen in tandem with orchestration of the
effort as a whole. Doing one does not prevent the other from also
happening, nor am I advocating for a strong dicatorial style. That being
said, we need more leadership than we have. We're currently using what
essentially amounts to a pure-democracy system (in the original Greek
city-state style) and that's not working.
Also, "tough decisions" that are unpopular are generally difficult to
implement.  They are almost impossible to implement in a free software
project where there is no way to force people to do anything against their
will. :-)
Something can be unpopular with a minority and still need to be
implemented. Just because someone bitches on one of the lists here and
says they dont want something to be done should *not* be grounds for not
doing it. That's all I am asserting.
Decisions must be popular and supported and backed up by the various
stake-holders (developers, users, etc) ... else no matter how good they are, they will not be effective! :-)
I agree. Once again, however, they don't need to be backed a
hyper-majority. Getting hypermajority backing is often impossible and is
usually a huge waste of time. Consensus decision-making does not scale.

So leaders should rather be able to listen to the community and be able to
organize and lead the vision and the strategy that the community
elaborates ... everyone should feel part of that decision process, and so
be empowered and feel that they support the decisions that they have
contributes to shape.  Obviously there is a lot more to it, but the main
point I wanted to make is ... for a leader, taking "tough decisions" is
very easy, but very ... pointless! ;-)
Hardly. I'm not advocating that anything that has little popular support
be done, only that we not rule by a hyper-majority or consensus, because
it bogs the project down in discussion ad infinitum.

We want the exact contrary of "tough decisions" from top that make people unhappy.
I'm not I follow you...To make people HAPPY? or UNHAPPY? Please explain.
We want a collective vision that we collectively shape and own and that we
all support and contribute to implement. :-)
Everyone is welcome to help shape vision, but you are operating under
the fallacious assumption that means we should never go anywhere if
there's permanent disagreement on an issue.
I'm sure a great flame-fest will follow, please excuse me if I'll drop out
of this thread at this point. ;-)
Getting your word in and then stating that you won't respond to
subsequent responses should be a huge warning sign that you do not
actually desire the governing style which you advocated no more than a
few paragraphs above.

PS: It's an interesting pattern of social behaviour that the "fascist" proposals (strong carismatic leader that ignores the ideas of everyone
else and decides the fate of everything according to his own caprice) most
of the times come from the people that have more difficulty in interacting
with the rest of the group.
I was not stating in any way that the leader should ignore anything.
This is an assumption on your part, and it is a fallacious one at that.
Maybe they are unhappy about democracy and open discussions because they
can't cope with it.  They start dreaming of a different situation where
their inability at listening to other opinions and interacting with other
people suddenly becomes a unique virtue that makes them different and
better than anyone else ...
Open discussions should always be encouraged. What is not acceptable is
continual postponement of decision-making because consensus cannot be
reached. That sacrifices the project at the hands of the few (almost
always a minority) of people who happen to disagree with a given proposal.
... my assumption is obviously that anyone proposing a fascist leader is
thinking of being the leader himself (or strongly linked to the leader),
else he'd be a total idiot (which is, obviously, always a possibility).
I have no desire to be the leader, but once again you assume a
strong-leader = fascist, which is not at all the case by default. There
is a huge gradient of power-sharing arrangements, and having worked for
both municipal and county governments, I am familiar with several
different styles of smaller-scale government. None of them were fascist.
Please, can the rhetoric.

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