On Mon, Jan 06, 2020 at 04:05:51PM +0100, Andreas R. wrote:
> Andreas Enge, in response to the difference between a "Social contract" and a 
> "Code of Conduct" writes on the 6th of November[1]:
> "a social contract, which is a "mission statement" and statement of the 
> general principles 
> of an organisation, as well  with respect to the inner workings as well as an 
> engagement 
> to the outer world"
> which could be summed up as:
> - a statement of the general principles of an organisation, 
> - a statement with respect to the inner workings 
> - a statement regarding an engagement to the outer world

maybe my wording caused misunderstandings, but I did not mean the Social
Contract to be a comprehensive document that codifies our inner working;
just as a document that outlines our mission, which then of course would
have implications on our internals (for example, internally we could have
documents stating the licenses under which GNU packages may be published,
but according to the Social Contract, only free licenses would be

As it stands, the Social Contract is compatible with different organisational
structures of the GNU project (having a benevolent dictator for life, a
committee making decisions, a Debian style bottom-up organisation).

> The "GNU social contract" as it is, is not agreed on by everyone. 

Well, I am not quite sure; as stated above, the Social Contract is
essentially a summary of the goals of the GNU project, and I think more
or less everyone working in the project will agree with its content.
It has been attacked, as I understand it, essentially by people who fear
change in the governance structure of the GNU project, on the basis that
codification is a prerequisite for change. It is less the *content* of
the social contract that a few people complained about, but rather its
mere *existence*.

> A fairly significant change would be that maintainers would be required to 
> sign 
> an extra document.
> This has been mentioned repeatedly [3] by the writer of the first version of 
> the 
> social contract, Ludovic Courtès.
> Has this idea been dropped?

Notice that this is not stated *in* the Social Contract itself, but in a next
logical step would be required, in a document describing the governance
structure of the GNU project, from the people making decisions for the
project. In theory, it would make sense to require this even from a bene-
volent dictator for life (it sounds strange to require something from a
dictator, but maybe a benevolent one can be expected to follow the basic
guidelines of their project, even though it would by definition be
impossible to hold them to account). It is no secret that I am in favour
of a bottom-up organisation, in which all members of a, say, "GNU Assembly"
would be required to pledge allegiance to the Social Contract. Initially,
I thought of the GNU maintainers, but it has been pointed out that more
people are stakeholders and do volunteer work for GNU, so the exact peri-
metre of the GNU Assembly would have to be discussed. Conversely, it would
also be possible to decide that GNU maintainers need not agree to uphold the
GNU Social Contract (which, in my opinion, makes little sense, since it
really is very broad and general, but the argument has been made during the
discussion), but that then they would not be part of the GNU Assembly and
not have voting rights.


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