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PHP RFC: Voting


This RFC amends and replaces https://wiki.php.net/rfc/voting with the main goals of being clearer, more concise, and with no ambiguities as much as possible.

Specifically, this RFC does that via:

  • Clarifying and redefining voting thresholds
  • Clarifying and redefining voting workflows
  • Clarifying and redefining voting eligibility


Since the original Voting RFC was published back in 2011, it gradually became clear that the language in it is ambiguous, and in some cases - shortsighted. To name some examples:

  • The definition of 'who gets a vote' was very fluid
  • The definition of which votes require a 2/3 majority and which ones don't was very fluid
  • The voting workflow text was very terse - and left elements such as 'canceled votes' unhandled and open for interpretation
  • Even the definition of what requires a vote in the first place was not clear

Because of its many shortcomings, this RFC does not attempt to 'fix' the original Voting RFC, but rather rewrite it - factoring in the lessons learned in the last 6+ years.



  • Changes to PHP: Functionality that is added, changed, deprecated or removed from the PHP language, including any bundled extensions.
  • PHP Packaging Decisions: Decisions that deal with support timelines, release timelines or version numbering, but that do not otherwise impact the functionality of PHP or any of its bundled extensions.
  • RFC: Request For Comments for a proposed Change to PHP or for a PHP Packaging Decision, published on http://wiki.php.net/rfc/.
  • Implementation Decisions: Decision regarding the technical implementation of PHP or any of its bundled extension, that do not have any impact on end users (with the exception of performance improvement).
  • Release Manager(s)
  • PHP: The PHP package in source code or binary form, that are available on the main downloads page at http://www.php.net
  • Internals: The PHP Internals mailing list, internals@lists.php.net.
  • Eligible Voters: People who are eligible to vote per the Eligible Voters section below.


Changes to PHP must be discussed ahead of inclusion on Internals (see RFC Workflow section below), and win a vote by at least a 2/3 (two thirds) majority of Eligible Voters. The rationale for this super-majority requirement is simple - the cost of undoing Changes to PHP (or in the case of removal/deprecation - the cost of doing them) is substantial, and typically requires end users to actively work to change their apps so that they can still run. Since we strive to minimize these occurrences, we must be as certain as possible that we're doing the right thing, and not rely on an incidental simple majority.

PHP Packaging Decisions must also be discussed ahead of time on Internals, and must go through a vote - but given their substantially smaller long term impact, a simple majority is sufficient (>50.0%, or in the case of multiple choice - the options that wins the most votes).

Implementation Decisions generally do not require voting, but with the exception of small, tactical decisions (such as fixing a bug with just a few lines of code) - developers are still encouraged to bring it up for discussion on Internals. As far as Implementation Decisions are concerned, the active maintainers of the particular piece of code (as reflected via source control) will have the jurisdiction. Please note that Implementation Decisions explicitly do not include such decisions that have an impact on end user functionality, or that degrade performance in a noticeable way. Such decisions are considered Changes to PHP, and must follow the rules above.

RFC Workflow


One or more people who are an Eligible Voter or that otherwise has access to the PHP Wiki may submit an RFC on http://wiki.php.net/rfc/. The authoring period is unlimited, and an RFC can exist on the PHP Wiki without any discussion for as long as the authors choose.

Author(s) should strive to have the RFCs self explanatory as much as possible, and seriously consider - and address - all possible implications associated with the acceptance of the RFC.

Voting Options

As a part of authoring, the Voting options must be made clear.

For RFCs dealing with Changes to PHP, the voting choice must be a simple 'Support' or 'Oppose' the acceptance of the RFC.

For RFCs dealing with PHP Packaging Decisions, the voting options would depend on the proposal. For a change proposal, the options would similarly be 'Support' or 'Oppose'. In case of choosing between multiple options (e.g., name the next PHP version 6.0 or 7.0) - the RFC should simply list the available options.

Secondary Votes

Secondary votes are votes about potential options for an RFC that deals with Changes to PHP. While secondary votes are discouraged, they are allowed - e.g., in have a base support/oppose vote for the acceptance of a feature, and then a choice between two flavors of it. Secondary Votes that can have a substantial influence on the acceptance of a feature are strongly discouraged, and should be separated into a different RFC.

Grouped Votes

Grouping of loosely related topics into one RFC (such as a list of features for deprecation in a given PHP version) is allowed for the sake of simplicity - but would be considered as separate RFCs as far as voting rules are concerned (see Voting below).

Discussion Period

Changes to PHP and PHP Packaging Decisions have substantial influence on PHP and its userbase, and it is therefore important to discuss them thoroughly before they are accepted or rejected. When the author(s) believe that the RFC is ready, it must be brought up by the author(s) for discussion on Internals, by sending an email to it with the following subject line (for an imaginary RFC titled 'Foo Bar Baz'):

Subject: [RFC] Foo Bar Baz

The email body itself must include a link to the RFC (http://wiki.php.net/rfc/foobarbaz).

In order to ensure sufficient time for a thorough discussion, a mandatory two week discussion period is required, and the RFC may not move forward to the Voting stage before it passes. Furthermore - if there is still active discussion at the end of the two week period, the discussion period may be extended for an additional two weeks - up to a maximum of four weeks. The rationale behind the maximum 4 week discussion period is twofold - longer discussion periods are rarely productive; The main case where longer discussion periods are productive is if substantial changes are made to the RFC - which would sensibly require moving back to the Authoring stage and going through a new Discussion Period. Secondly - it's designed to avoid a long gap between when an RFC is discussed and when it is voted upon.

Once the author(s) believe that the discussion has concluded (and no sooner than 2 weeks since its introduction on Internals and no later than 4 weeks since it) - the authors must either proceed to the Voting stage, move back to the Authoring stage (which will require a new Discussion Period), or abandon the RFC.


In this stage, Eligible Voters may cast their votes based on the voting options of the RFC.

When the author(s) decide to move to this stage (following the workflow in the Discussion Period above), they must send an email to Internals with the following subject line (for an imaginary RFC titled 'Foo Bar Baz'):

Subject: [RFC VOTE] Foo Bar Baz

and include a link to the RFC (http://wiki.php.net/rfc/foobarbaz).

For all RFCs, the voting period is 1 week long period, and ends (implicitly) one week after the RFC went to a vote, at midnight UTC.

Note: Eligible Voters are allowed to vote in only a subset of the votes available in a given RFC, if they choose to. For example, in an RFC with a Secondary Vote - a voter may choose to only cast a vote on the secondary vote, and not cast a vote on whether or not to support or oppose the acceptance of the RFC; Or vice versa, and in the same manner with Grouped Votes. The right to vote in each poll is independent of whether or not one voted for other polls, as well as which option was voted for in these other polls.

Acceptance Thresholds

For RFCs dealing with Changes to PHP - the threshold for acceptance is at least 2/3 (two thirds) of the votes. For secondary votes in such RFCs - the threshold is a simple majority (the option with the highest number of votes wins).

For RFCs dealing with PHP Packaging Decisions - the threshold is a simple majority - the option with the most votes wins.

For Grouped Votes - the threshold would be according to the nature of each change - each one that fits Changes to PHP would require a 2/3 majority, and ones fitting PHP Packaging Decisions would require simple majorities.

Eligible Voters

The following people are eligible to cast votes on RFCs:

  • People who have contributed to the php-src git repository, and; More than 12 months have passed since there initial contribution, and; Have contributed at least 50 commits, and; Changed more than 500 lines in the project (additions/deletions). See Appendix A below.
  • Members of PHP-FIG (as per http://www.php-fig.org/members/)
  • Additional groups - requires metrics: PHP Manual, PHP-QA?

No Discussion/Voting Periods

Based on global common vacation periods that affect a substantial subset of the participants in the PHP project, authors should avoid having discussion and voting periods take place during August or the second half of December. If for whatever reasons an RFC discussion/voting period slip into August or late December, the RFC must move back to the Authoring stage until September/January respectively - and then go through a renewed Discussion Period. In addition, RFC author(s) are encouraged to be sensitive to periods with intense conference activities and avoid overlapping with them as much as possible.

Open Issues

* How do we vote on this one? * Do we want to have a minimal Quorom on certain types/all votes? * Plenty more, I'm sure...

Proposed Voting Choices



rfc/voting2017.1505136477.txt.gz · Last modified: 2017/09/22 13:28 (external edit)