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From Marvin Humphrey <>
Subject Re: Vetoes for New Committers??
Date Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:13:03 GMT
On Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 5:15 PM, John D. Ament <> wrote:

> You want
> some form of consensus though through the addition of a committer.  IF
> someone has serious concerns, and is unwilling to change their vote, you
> may want to hold off and monitor a bit further to see when that person
> passes that threshold to become a committer.  You have to have a clear
> understanding through the community though to understand why the person
> voting -1 feels strongly that way, in addition to not scaring the person
> voting into withdrawing their vote - it could be a legitimate issue.
> Though ideally, your discussion thread would flesh something like this out.


This is a key aspect of Apache community success. We use consensus
decision making to avoid tyranny of the majority. Majority rule
alienates the losing party. Consensus has beneficial effects in terms
of forcing the majority to account for minority opinions, thus keeping
the community unified.

Most PMCs do not draft their own rules, and just use "at least 3 +1
with no vetoes". CouchDB's majority-rule for committers is unusual. I
hope that CouchDB's bylaws are not adopted as a template for others,
as I believe that the rule on committer voting is counter to an
important institutional tradition in Apache governance.

Occasionally you reach an impasse where someone is holding out and
consensus cannot be reached. At that point, I've seen communities
define a specific supermajority threshold instead of requiring "3 +1
with no vetoes".

In the abstract, it would be nice if the supermajority rule were
codified on voting.html, giving communities a template for resolving
the impasse without thrashing. But ultimately, these votes are not
legally binding and PMCs can be afforded a certain amount of
flexibility. The Board cares that communities make personnel decisions
by consensus, but "consensus" has a little give in it.

(PMC votes on new PMC members are technically recommendations to the
Board and officially it is the Board that makes decisions on PMC
composition -- though the Board nearly always follows the PMC
recommendation. Committer votes do not go through the Board.)

Marvin Humphrey

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