Valid questions. Hard questions.
These are just my thoughts on that...
Core team members so far, in history order when joined the project:
- me (creating releases etc...)
- Fortasse (bought the domain, administers webapps and servers..., bonus points for taking his chances by buying the domain)
- Jason (he's been creatively consulting to me in hundreds of e-mail since well, 2011 or 2012, after exchanging the crucial information, there seldom is dissent on how to proceed; reviewing and fixing language strings, usability, etc...; this may not be well visible in public; bonus points by being non-anonymous)
Being considered core team member requires 1) wish to join 2) earning my trust by exceptional commitment in long term.
I am afraid to say, within Whonix there is no democracy. It is more like a initiative where one is listening to suggestions and having the final say. Benevolent dictatorship (as per producingoss.com) if you want so. Whonix is also more like a DoOcracy (there are good definitions and examples of that term when you search for it on search engines) rather than a democracy.
I am also afraid to say, I don't believe in democracy. It's not working anywhere in the world. When you're knowledgeable in one topic and talk to entitled to vote, you know that 90% don't have sufficient expertise on the topic. You need a driver licence for driving, but for deciding system of economy is best, if atomic power plants are a good idea and other topics of severe repercussions, no test whatsoever is even considered. People vote based on emotional things ("that fat bastard") rather than facts. Propaganda works. People only have short term memory. Elect those who promise most. Buy red herrings such as "left wing vs liberal vs right wing" while overlooking, that they're all representing the same system, the debt money system. Elect those who have best debating skills, rather then the one know is the most qualified one because they did extensive research on the topic. Problem is, those are still the 90%. This is in my opinion a mobocracy rather than democracy.
Democracy would work even worse for Free Software projects. Even if we could somehow prevent electoral fraud (by only allowing non-anonymous voters or something like that), an election result like "Patrick should work on X" while I feel more like "Y" wouldn't work well.
Before one complains about non-existing democracy, please check out other projects such as Debian, Ubuntu, etc. They're no democracies either. When there are good suggestions and even better, examples, on projects that solve this better I am eager to hear.
Whonix is in spirit a Free Software project. Provided in binary and source form in hope it may be useful to others. And you're most welcome to contribute if you can arrange with it. When ideologies are clashing, no mutually acceptable compromise can be found, you're free to join another project or to start your own. And even take the source in parts or in full and build upon that. Peaceful coexistence, hopefully cooperative and mutually beneficial as well. Just as I did (not developing Tails, developing Whonix instead, using parts of their work while giving appropriate credit).