General Resolution: Declassifying debian-private

Time Line

Proposal and amendment 2016-09-01
Discussion Period: 2016-09-21
Voting Period: 2016-10-09 00:00:00 UTC 2016-10-22 23:59:59 UTC


Gunnar Wolf [] [text of proposal] [call for vote]


  1. Thibaut Paumard [] [mail]
  2. Holger Levsen [] [mail]
  3. Didier Raboud [] [mail]
  4. Ondrej Sury [] [mail]
  5. Bart Martens [] [mail]
  6. Mathias Behrle [] [mail]


Choice 1: Repeal previous GR

Title: Acknowledge that the debian-private list will remain private.
  1. The 2005 General Resolution titled "Declassification of debian-private list archives" is repealed.
  2. In keeping with paragraph 3 of the Debian Social Contract, Debian Developers are strongly encouraged to use the debian-private mailing list only for discussions that should not be disclosed.

Amendment Proposer A

Ian Jackson [] [text of amendement]

Amendment Seconds A

  1. Micha Lenk [] [mail]
  2. Gunnar Wolf [] [mail]
  3. Sven Bartscher [] [mail]
  4. Bas Wijnen [] [mail]
  5. Thibaut Paumard [] [mail]
  6. Russ Allbery [] [mail]

Amendment Text A

Choice 2: Acknowledge difficulty

Title: Acknowledge difficulty of declassifying debian-private
  1. The Debian Project regrets the non-implementation of the 2005 General Resolution titled "Declassification of debian-private list archives". That General Resolution is hereby repealed.
  2. In case volunteers should come forward: Permission remains for the list archives (of any messages, whether posted before or after this resolution) to be declassified, provided that the declassification process is at least as respecting of the privacy of posters to debian-private as the process set out in the 2005 General Resolution.
  3. Furthermore, the Debian listmasters remain empowered (subject to the usual consultation processes within the Debian project) to revise the rules governing the privacy and declassification of messages to -private. This includes making measures to make declassification more widely applicable, or easier to automate.
  4. But, any weakening of the privacy expectations must not be retrospective: changes should apply only to messages posted after the rule change has come into force.
  5. In particular, we reaffirm this rule: no part of a posting made to -private, which explicitly states that it should not be declassified, may be published (without its author's explicit consent). This rule may be changed by the listmasters (para.3, above), but only for future messages (para.4, above), and only following consultation, and only with ample notice.
  6. Participants are reminded to use -private only when necessary.

Amendment Proposer B

Iain Lane [] [text of amendement]

Amendment Seconds B

  1. Ban Wijnen [] [mail]
  2. Ian Jackson [] [mail]
  3. Thibaut Paumard [] [mail]
  4. Steve M. Robbins [] [mail]
  5. Martin F. Krafft [] [mail]
  6. Ritesh Raj Sarraf [] [mail]
  7. Didier Raboud [] [mail]
  8. Bernd Zeimetz [] [mail]
  9. Iustin Pop [] [mail]

Amendment Text B

Choice 3: Remain private

Title: debian-private shall remain private

The text of the GR is replaced with the following.

  1. The 2005 General Resolution titled "Declassification of
     debian-private list archives" is repealed.
  2. There shall be no declassification of any portion of the
     debian-private archives, except in the following circumstances.
     2a. Participants may declassify their own material.
     2b. Participants may declassify the material of others where
         consent has explicitly been given by the authors of all of the
         material being declassified.
  3. Participants are reminded to use -private only when necessary.


With the current list of voting developers, we have:

 Current Developer Count = 1041
 Q ( sqrt(#devel) / 2 ) = 16.1322658049017
 K min(5, Q )           = 5
 Quorum  (3 x Q )       = 48.3967974147050


Data and Statistics

For this GR, like always, statistics will be gathered about ballots received and acknowledgements sent periodically during the voting period. Additionally, the list of voters will be recorded. Also, the tally sheet will also be made available to be viewed.

Majority Requirement

The proposals need a simple majority



Graphical rendering of the results

In the graph above, any pink colored nodes imply that the option did not pass majority, the Blue is the winner. The Octagon is used for the options that did not beat the default.

In the following table, tally[row x][col y] represents the votes that option x received over option y. A more detailed explanation of the beat matrix may help in understanding the table. For understanding the Condorcet method, the Wikipedia entry is fairly informative.

The Beat Matrix
  1 2 3 4
Option 1   137 83 188
Option 2 83   71 156
Option 3 130 148   186
Option 4 37 67 44  

Looking at row 2, column 1, Acknowledge difficulty
received 83 votes over Repeal previous GR

Looking at row 1, column 2, Repeal previous GR
received 137 votes over Acknowledge difficulty.

Pair-wise defeats

The Schwartz Set contains

The winners

Debian uses the Condorcet method for voting. Simplistically, plain Condorcets method can be stated like so :
Consider all possible two-way races between candidates. The Condorcet winner, if there is one, is the one candidate who can beat each other candidate in a two-way race with that candidate. The problem is that in complex elections, there may well be a circular relationship in which A beats B, B beats C, and C beats A. Most of the variations on Condorcet use various means of resolving the tie. See Cloneproof Schwartz Sequential Dropping for details. Debian's variation is spelled out in the constitution, specifically, A.6.

Debian Project Secretary