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Re: [rain1 at airmail dot cc] Delete abortion joke

On May  7, 2018, DJ Delorie <> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva <> writes:
>> nobody objected when I offered to do so.

> I objected strongly to re-introducing the text to the manual.  Perhaps
> you missed that email.

I didn't miss that email.  You expressed an opinion about the larger
issue, namely, whether or not that snipped should be removed, but NOT on
whether we should restore the initial status quo while we saught
consensus on the larger issue.

There appears to be a lot of confusion about what I did, and why I did
it, so bear with me while I present my case.

1. We do not yet have consensus on whether to remove that snippet.

Our rules are clear:

  Consensus: General agreement, characterized by the absence of
  sustained opposition to substantial issues by an important part of the
  concerned interests [...]

Nobody could possibly suggest that we don't have sustained opposition to
substantial issues on either side of the argument.  Surely the people
who voiced support to the removal are important parts of the concerned
interests, but so are those who voiced opposition to the removal, even
more so one of the parts, the GNU Project itself.  I understand, thus,
that it would not be correct to make a move before reaching consensus,
any more that it would be to install any controversial patch, and then
insist on seeking an impossible consensus for its reversal.

2. We seemed to have consensus for the initial patch, but that was a
consequence of a mistake.

Zack installed the patch, and later expressed regret for not having
consulted RMS about it first.  Since we regret mistakes, not things we
did correctly, therefore installing the patch without consulting RMS was
a mistake.  Had RMS been consulted first, he would have objected, as he
did as soon as I brought the issue to his attention, and therefore we
would NOT have reached consensus, and the patch would not have been
mistakenly installed.

3. I offered twice to temporarily revert the mistakenly installed patch

On May 1st, Zack wrote:

  the passage has already been removed, and if you want that change
  reverted, you will have to find someone else willing to do that; I

On May 2nd, I wrote:

  To me, offering to correct the mistake would show good faith,
  correcting the appearance of rushing the patch in, but if that's what
  it takes, I offer to reverse the patch myself, if the person who
  pushed it in doesn't do so in the next few days, so that we can then
  seek consensus without the fait accompli artificially shifting the

I did get a (private) nod from our most senior maintainer, and no
objections.  (Like DJ's, there were objections to the ultimate reversal,
but none to the reversal *during* consensus seeking on the larger issue.

After that, I'm pretty sure I wrote again that I had offered to do the
reversal, but I'm yet to find that message.  Once I do, I'll quote it.
But I'm posting this now so that the undue noise does not spread

Last night, after waiting for more than 4 days (twice as long as the
initial patch, and even longer than it took between the initial patch
and RMS's voicing his opposition), I concluded we had consensus for the
temporary reversal and installed it.

4. Did we need consensus for that?

I'm not sure.  I decided to play it safe, under the same (or more
stringent) rules that had been applied to the initial patch.

Now, if you believe there were objections, or that objections were
raised after the fact, then the same argument would apply to the initial
patch, and we'd end up with it reversed anyway.

We can now go back to the discussion about the larger issue, without the
unusual distortion by which those who wished to retain the status quo
had to convince those who had sneaked a change in to revert it.  Our
rules were made for the opposite to be the case: those who wish to make
a change are the ones with the onus of seeking and obtaining consensus.
Insisting on the opposite would be cheating.  That is why I felt it was
so important to install the patch, and why I offered to do so.

Alexandre Oliva, freedom fighter
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Gandhi
Be Free! --   FSF Latin America board member
Free Software Evangelist|Red Hat Brasil GNU Toolchain Engineer

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