More on the FAQ

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sun Apr 11 2004 - 11:28:22 CDT

Hi Karl,

I forward the below to the list, for the reason you'll see.

Karl Auerbach <> wrote:
> Think I want to spend some time reworking your Q/A - there are a lot of
> different points in there that I think need to go into different
> questions.

Great. Those are just some ideas I thought important to get to
interested parties. But you have done a WONDERFUL job with this latest
FAQ revision (and the prior one), so I am certain that you will find
the best way to contextualize and phrase the ideas I suggest.

In the meanwhile, if other list members have suggestions on the best
sound bites around the *transparency* issue, or might benefit from my
attempt at it, I give you:

> Q: Why does it matter whether OVC software is Free Software when most
> voters cannot understand source code anyway? Shouldn't software
> audit be restricted to a select group of designated experts?

> A: To understand the significance of Free Software to elections,
> consider a direct, straightforward, and accurate analogy: No more
> than 1% of citizens are lawyers who are in a position to fully
> understand legislation. Some laws are pretty technical in fact,
> so
> it's probably only 1% of -lawyers- who really understand
> environmental regulation, tax law, or patent rules, etc. Most
> people aren't lawyers, so by narrowly practical reasoning, there
> is
> no reason the remaining 99% of the citizenry should be given
> access
> to the text of laws--what good would it do them?!
> Democracy holds dear principled equality and openness of process,
> but not because of factual equality of persons. Everyone must
> have
> the RIGHT to inspect the legal code, AND to inspect the source
> code
> for the instruments of governance. Of course most people will not
> avail themselves of either right (most people don't avail
> themselves of a lot of laws that might benefit them either). But
> closing off rights out an a priori assumption of citizen
> incompetence or ignorance is DEEPLY UNDEMOCRATIC.
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:04 2004

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