[r6rs-discuss] voting process
William D Clinger
will at ccs.neu.edu
Mon Nov 3 11:26:47 EST 2008
Marc Feeley wrote:
> I propose
> that the steering committee should take on a more active role in the
> design process and ensure that the fundamental features of Scheme, if
> you wish its soul, is preserved. I see the editors committee as
> implementors of the design goals and constraints set forth by the
> steering committee. There must be frequent and regular interaction
> between the steering committee and the editors committee.
I mostly agree. The R6RS editors never wrote down
a list of requirements, which was unfortunate. The
first clear written statement of goals didn't even
appear until two years into the process. Finally,
the ratified draft failed to achieve some of those
goals. The Language Steering Committee could be
responsible for coming up with requirements and
goals, or it could insist that the editors do that.
Either way, the Language Steering Committee would
have to be a little more involved.
> The single transferable vote mechanism, with which I have
> no experience, appears to promote proportional representation. This
> is not the most important property to optimize. A steering committee
> with divergent opinions would be a disaster, yet nothing in the
> election process guards against it.
Here I have to disagree a bit, because I believe
it is important for the Language Steering Committee
to act on behalf of the diverse community, which
definitely contains divergent opinions.
It is important to elect a committee of people who
are capable of working with people who disagree
with them on many issues. It is also important to
elect a committee of people who can articulate the
disagreements that exist within the community, but
are imaginative enough to chart a path toward
resolutions and compromises that can satisfy the
diverse needs of the various subcultures.
I believe this is possible, partly because there
are relatively few "big picture" issues that need
attention from the Language Steering Committee.
The editors are the ones who have to deal with a
deluge of specific issues, and the problem they'll
face is that routine struggles over things that
don't even matter very much can drain energy and
create resentments that obstruct consensus on
things that matter a great deal . A Language
Steering Committee that paints the "big picture"
clearly would help the editors to focus on things
 To understand how that can happen, see the
October 2008 archives of this very list.
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