Open Letter: Why I, Kevin Kofler, am not rerunning for FESCo

Stephen John Smoogen smooge at
Mon May 3 18:55:46 UTC 2010

On Sun, May 2, 2010 at 6:20 PM, Kevin Kofler <kevin.kofler at> wrote:
>  - The prevailing opinion of the electorate of Fedora contributors keeps
>    getting ignored. Feedback on the Fedora devel mailing list is never seen as
>    in any way binding, it's often dismissed as noise or "trolling". The
>    predominant opinion in FESCo is "you voted for us, now we get to do whatever
>    we want", which is flawed in many ways:
>    . It assumes there were true alternatives to vote for instead. This
>      assumption does not look true to me.
>    . It assumes the voters were aware of the positions of all the candidates.
>      I'm fairly sure this was not the case. While I appreciate what has been
>      done in an attempt to solve this issue (questionnaire, townhalls), this
>      has proven by far insufficient to build an opinion on the candidates. I
>      think there's a reason representative democracies normally work with
>      parties/factions and I think something like that might help a lot,
>      depending on what kind of factions would show up.
>    . It assumes representative democracy is a well-working model in the first
>      place, especially in its most hardcore form ("now we get to do whatever we
>      want"). I believe elected representatives should really REPRESENT the
>      people who voted them. I realize politicians aren't doing that, but are
>      they really a good model to follow?

As I have pointed out in both public and private emails to you

1) This is not a representative democracy. For one thing the voting
method used does not promote the type of 'democracy' you are
expecting. At best people are voted against by not getting points put
to them.. not voted for. Range voting build out a 'statistical'
average of what it considered the best candidate(s) versus anyone
voting for or against someone/something. It like the Debian voting
methods are meant to be 'more fair' and thus to remove the emotional
baggage of 'voting for/against'. EG if you win a seat you were voted
by a vast majority of people and have to represent not just your views
but those that have no relation to yours.

2) This is not a federation or a representative democracy. It is at
best a limited meritocracy and at worst a constitutional monarchy. You
and many others keep thinking that some how by saying it is something
over and over again it will somehow become that. It takes a lot more
than thousands of repeated emails to change reality. It takes actual
thought and hard work on coming up with what you want, and then
compromising at some point.

3) Due to the fact that voting is not required for continual
'good-standing' membership in Fedora.. the vast majority of people do
not vote. People voted in such 'democracies' are supposed to not only
represent those that voted for them, but those who did not vote at
all. At times the best anyone can do is just vote what they think best
and hope that if they screw it up too badly they will get voted out
next time.

You and others want something different? Then start building a
constitution, framework, government that you want, but realize that
humans are a hard problem. They are mean, lazy, bigotted monsters that
can also be noble, hardworking, humane angels sometimes at the same

Stephen J Smoogen.
“The core skill of innovators is error recovery, not failure avoidance.”
Randy Nelson, President of Pixar University.
"We have a strategic plan. It's called doing things.""
— Herb Kelleher, founder Southwest Airlines

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