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From Stephen McConnell <>
Subject Re: veto - oops
Date Fri, 08 Nov 2002 14:26:11 GMT

Ben Hyde wrote:

> I recently wrote:
> > The second bold bit is just wrong, at least in my village of of Apache
> > land.
> That's wrong.
> > In HTTPD we have a convention that if you veto you have
> > responsibility to work to resolve the issue, otherwise - get out of the
> > way.  Again there is plenty of wiggle room around that convention and I
> > suspect there is a much higher statement of the convention someplace.
> That's right.
> Since force(convention) < force(rule).
> This has become an convention only because we have tended to have some 
> baseline of politeness, and it's arguable that force(polite) < 
> force(convention).
> I prefer to reside in the land were quantity(polite) is high and 
> quantity(rule) is low.
> Thanks to those who brought this mistake to my attention.
> Sam's question: does the paragraph in question "do no harm" is still 
> an interesting one.  At this point I'm not sure if we have ever had a 
> rule - i.e. something written down that people adopting the role of 
> umpire could point at and say "see - look! that's the rule!"  About 
> what responsibilities come with a veto.  We may well have only had 
> politeness or convention.  If that's correct making up such rules 
> would be going outside our brief.
> It's a subtle distinction, but I think an important one.  This effort 
> should attempt to say "It's been noticed that most of the time we do 
> X." rather than "We have a rule that you do X."  That gets you most of 
> the value of behavior X - and helps new players to know that X is a 
> useful design pattern - without running the risk that once in a blue 
> moon X is a very bad idea.

If this is positioned as something like a "best practices statement" as 
distinct from a "voting policy", a best practices statement could  be 
something that a project embrasses or even endorces in conjunction with 
a more formal position concerning applicable policy.  The distinction 
may enable the introduction of that subtle difference between a rule and 
an expection of reasonable conduct.

Cheers, Steve.

>  - ben
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Stephen J. McConnell

digital products for a global economy

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