[Servercert-wg] Document Versioning

Dimitris Zacharopoulos (HARICA) dzacharo at harica.gr
Wed Aug 21 09:59:39 MST 2019

On 21/8/2019 4:28 μ.μ., Ryan Sleevi wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 21, 2019 at 8:41 AM Dimitris Zacharopoulos (HARICA) 
> <dzacharo at harica.gr <mailto:dzacharo at harica.gr>> wrote:
>     Does this mean that until our Bylaws take care of this issue (and
>     similar issues), every ballot author can propose numbers they
>     like? Does this seem reasonable and acceptable behavior? It seems
>     that you are challenging the system and I don't think the system
>     has been built as robust as we would like it to be in order to
>     protect against these cases.
> Let me make sure I understand and state it clearly:
> The Chair of the Forum is objecting to a process which follows the 
> Bylaws, because it removes their ability to do something not permitted 
> by the Bylaws. They are trying to drum up support for either allowing 
> them to do something not permitted by the Bylaws, or to insist it 
> would be done the way they would do it, if they didn't have to follow 
> the Bylaws.
> Is that correct?

No. These statements don't accurately represent what I have stated.

> I know that sounds very combative, but I want to emphasize here the 
> mountain you're making out of a molehill. You're objecting to 
> following the Bylaws. That is deeply troubling and concerning.

I don't object to following the Bylaws, to the contrary. I am trying to 
follow the Bylaws and doing that to the best of my knowledge. Following 
a consistent practice over the years, without causing any harm, without 
anyone objecting and without any conflicts with the Bylaws (the Bylaws 
don't forbid the Chair to assign version numbers to Guidelines or to add 
a table of contents), makes it an acceptable and valid practice. If you 
object to that, is like objecting and questioning the validity of all 
previously approved Final Maintenance Guidelines. As the current Chair, 
I inherited this practice, I didn't create it myself so please don't 
shoot the messenger :-)

>     I believe your line of thinking will introduce a lot of problems
>     to the Forum if members were trying to find things that are not
>     "regulated" in the Bylaws and use creative interpretations or ways
>     to "abuse" certain procedures (I am not saying that you are doing
>     that but if the author can set the ballot number, others might try
>     similar things). One could also propose ballots with food labels,
>     claim that the ToC is not part of the Guidelines, etc. Even if
>     some procedures are not described in the Bylaws, there is a
>     certain flexibility that has been working fine until now. If you
>     believe that a Chair has done something wrong with setting a wrong
>     version number or similar, we could discuss further.
> I would absolutely be concerned with Chairs making up interpretations 
> of the Bylaws - and they absolutely have tried to do so, in the past. 
> However, to paint it as such is misleading - this is trying to follow 
> a well-defined Balloted process. If folks vote against this Ballot, on 
> the basis of version, they are very clearly supporting the notion that 
> the Chair, and any other member, should be able to ignore the Bylaws 
> and make up whatever interpretation they want. That would clearly be 
> extremely harmful to the productivity of the Forum.
> The same logic being used here is the same logic that resulted in 
> Ballots 180 - 183: namely, the Chair failing to follow the Bylaws. I'm 
> trying to avoid creating such a situation, and the Chair is pushing 
> back on that, because they'd rather not follow the Bylaws. That's a 
> real problem.
> Yes, the Forum can ballot anything. The Forum *should* be balloting 
> more. For example, if there are questions on membership, we should be 
> seeking to Ballot this. The ad-hoc approach, such as coming up with 
> interpretations on the phone for questions and trying to see if anyone 
> disagrees, before even writing it down or considering the implications 
> of it, is worrying.

Great, let's ballot this. I already said I will draft something out and 
send it for review.

> It seems your objection is on the basis that, as a Ballot, it directs 
> the Chair to do something the Chair doesn't want to do, and which 
> they'd like the freedom to do whatever they want.

No, I think you misunderstood. I already suggested alternative language 
for the ballot to direct the Chair to also assign a version number to 
the Guideline once approved 
similar to dictating the Chair to add the ballot number (SC22) to the 
history table. That would satisfy both the letter of the Bylaws and the 
existing practice where the numbers are sequential. We also wouldn't 
have this entire thread if you originally used the next sequential 
version number for the BRs and the EVGs ;-)

> Again, I know that sounds incredibly uncharitable, but I'm trying to 
> separate the principle of your objection - which appears to be opposed 
> to Forum members balloting things - from the actual numbering. I don't 
> care that deeply about the numbering, and can make changes prior to 
> restarting a 7 day discussion period (i.e. for a few more days), but I 
> do deeply care deeply about the degree to which you're objecting to 
> following our Bylaws.

I never even implied that I am opposed to Forum members balloting 
things. I will only say, to my defense, that I have always been in favor 
for the Forum to ballot things, even administrative matters unrelated to 
Guidelines or Bylaws.

In my understanding, the Bylaws is one thing ("the voted law") and the 
existing practices is another thing ("customary law"). I am not a lawyer 
but I try to follow both "laws". Of course, if there is a conflict 
between the Bylaws and existing practices, the Bylaws prevail and the 
existing practices must change. If a member challenges an existing 
practice, which doesn't seem to be explicitly allowed or which is 
explicitly not allowed, then I would bring for discussion as a separate 

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