[rfc-i] RSOC oversight role

Andrew Sullivan ajs at shinkuro.com
Wed Feb 16 11:56:25 PST 2011

On Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 08:41:53AM +1300, Brian E Carpenter wrote:

> RSOC as a body should abstain from direct participation
> in policy-making or formation of policy-making committees, which
> would conflict with RSOC's oversight role. If individual members
> of RSOC participate in policy-making, they should be aware of
> possible conflict with their RSOC role and should be prepared
> to recuse themselves from subsequent RSOC decisions if appropriate.

I'm still slightly uncomfortable with the above, but I've got my fire
roaring and my wordsmith tools out, so how's this:

        The entire membership of RSOC should not participate directly
        in the same policy making committee, or the formation of such
        committees, because that could cause future conflicts with the
        RSOC's oversight role.  If an individual RSOC member
        participates in such policy making, the member must be
        prepared to recuse itself from subsequent RSOC decisions
        impinging on areas where the member participated.

?  I know it's legalistic, but that seems to be what this worry is
about.  Indeed, the last sentence shows partly what I'm resisting
here: this is a special case of the general rule that responsible
committee members recuse themselves whenever they have a potential
conflict.  I'm not sure what's special about this particular case that
it needs special calling out.

There are some differences with Brian's text I think important,
however.  The problem isn't with RSOC as a body participating; we can
rule that out.  But if every member participates individually, that
would be as bad in terms of potential conflict.

I know, I know: we should have a rule that a majority isn't allowed to
either.  But we're not designing a judicial system here.  If we get to
the point where that's a problem, the entire construct is irredeemable
and we'll have to toss it all.  I don't think we should make a lot of
specific rules where good judgement and the destruction of one's
reputation for reasonableness is a better defence.


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at shinkuro.com
Shinkuro, Inc.

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