Talk:WikiConference UK 2012/Elections/Questions

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Why can't questions be asked of specific candidates? There is no such rule mentioned on last year's page (although the layout of the page does assume it). These elections are a very serious matter and if someone has concerns about a particular candidate they should be able to share those concerns with the rest of the membership. Doing so via a question (so as to automatically give the candidate right-of-reply) makes a lot of sense to me. There are also less controversial questions that won't be relevant to every candidate - for example, it would be sensible to ask outgoing board members what they feel their greatest achievement on the board had been and what they would have liked to have done/done better, but there is no point asking that of people that haven't been on the board. --Tango (talk) 09:32, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

We ('the tellers') were concerned that there would be a 'pile on' of dozens of tangentially questions for one candidate, which is something we want to avoid. For example, if I was running for board, there might be lots of questions about my time on ArbCom, or lots of questions about the health of my wife. However, I've spoken to James (the other teller), and we've decided that we'll allow people to ask questions of individual candidates, within reason. Any inappropriate questions will be removed reactively, and the tellers will have the final say on whether or not a question is appropriate. We'll be pretty relaxed about it, but we need to be able to stop any disruption of the process by non-members. Richard Symonds (talk) 13:26, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Electoral system[edit source]

We are using a rather primitive though easy to count electoral system. One of the problems of approval voting is that there is a natural tendency amongst voters to either just support a candidate they know and not evaluate the others, tactically support a small number of candidates who they strongly support and ignore or oppose the others, or assume they should only support as many candidates as there are seats. All of those tactics have the same effect - they make approval voting with a 50% threshold vulnerable in situations where there are too many good candidates. With 17 candidates going for 7 places it is almost inevitable that the most popular candidates will get much lower percentages of support than last year when 8 candidates stood for 7 seats. At an extreme but possible scenario, if two candidates were universally popular and all voters supported them plus five others, then we could have two candidates with 100% support and 15 with 33.33% support. A system where the more good candidates you have the greater the risk that you don't fill all the available seats is a "fail unsafe" system. I'd be more comfortable with a preference based system. WereSpielChequers (talk) 23:20, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Will you be attending the AGM? There will be a discussion on the voting system for future elections then, which I shall be leading. -- LondonStatto (talk) 19:32, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but only for the afternoon - I may not even make it in time to vote. We seem to only have ten minutes to discuss voting systems, that's long enough for someone to give a short talk but not long enough for a debate. WereSpielChequers (talk) 19:10, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
I've been thinking about that as well. It is a potential problem. If we want to keep it simple, we could do a kind of hybrid approval-preferential voting system. Rather than voting "yes" or "no" to each candidate, you vote "support", "acceptable", "oppose" (whether no vote should count as acceptable or oppose, I'm not sure). The winners are chosen based on the support votes, but the 50% rule is applied to the combined support and acceptable votes (acceptables can be used to break ties, too). This approach makes sense, since it separates the question of who you think should be on the board from the question of who you think would be better than no-one. --Tango (talk) 20:06, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
That would give you a fairly simple system and allows for the possibility of voting "none of the above", but it doesn't allow for the situation where it is really close between someone who is lots of people's 2nd choice and someone who is slightly more people'e 6th choice. I prefer preferential systems in that regard. More seriously it relies on people only voting No for candidates who they genuinely don't think are suitable, as opposed to voting yes to the ones they want and No to the rest. The trouble is that human nature being what it is I suspect that some voters will maximise the effectiveness of their vote by opposing everyone who they don't support. WereSpielChequers (talk) 19:10, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
Why not just use Score Voting, aka "Range Voting"? (Approval Voting is just Score Voting on a scale of 0-1, so you can use e.g. a 0-4 or 0-10 scale instead). See also --Clay Shentrup
Again the logical tactic for the voters is to give either maximum or minimum scores, plus it would take longer to count. WereSpielChequers (talk) 19:10, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
Every other voluntary organisation I'm involved in uses the single transferable vote. At present we could easily end up with 19 candidates of which only 2 or 3 are elected to the 7 positions available. STV would remove that risk, and also give voters more flexibility than just oting "yes" or "no" agaisnt a name... The Land (talk) 06:53, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
There are at least three electoral systems which I know we could use to elect a board of our size. But rather than choose between electoral systems I would prefer we agreed on the features of the system that we want, and then decide on the system that delivers those features. The features that I think we should consider are:
  1. Do we want a "none of the above" option? The current system sort of half gives this, but with the caveat that three people are elected regardless, and then it doesn't differentiate between tactical opposes and genuinely none of the above opposes. My own preference is not to have a none of the above option as I'd rather assume that it is our responsibility as a community to find at least 7 good candidates, and if we don't we are better off hoping that some people you thought unsuitable rise to the occasion than risk being unable to elect a board. But if we want a none of the above option there are systems that would enable us to do this properly.
  2. Do we want seven people who each individually are considered by the community to be the best seven who were willing to stand, even if that means a third of the community are completely unrepresented on a homogeneous board. Or do we want a proportional system where the board is likely to reflect the diversity of the community.
  3. Do we want a "sheep n goats" electoral system where we simply categorise all the candidates as ones we support and ones we don't, or do we want a preferential system which allows us to support or oppose some candidates more strongly than others.
My preference like the Land's is for the Single Transferable vote. It is failsafe, gives diversity and lets me indicate who I most support, who I least support and every shade in between. WereSpielChequers (talk) 22:47, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
How do one PR an election of individuals, there's no parties or slate? Personally, considering I was on the committee that change WMF Board election to the Schulze method, I think you may be able to guess I would be more than happy for WMUK election to change to some kind of preferential and or transferable voting. The problem I see is how easy or difficult it would be for tellers counting manually. -- KTC (talk) 23:26, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Please don't worry about the potential difficulty for tellers: I suspect that there is money available in the appropriate budget for open source software which, with approval of the board, would make it easier for tellers to count votes with any system. Richard Symonds (talk) 23:43, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, in that case my preference would be to use the Schulze method. Unlike common STV, a voter can rank more the one candidates the same while ranking the candidates. Use by WMF, a number of WP projects, quite a number of open source projects, ... and best of all there's already the software written as a MW extension to do the ranking of candidates after vote. KTC (talk) 09:58, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
@KTC With the single transferable vote system you don't need parties or a slate, you just put the candidates in order of preference 1,2,3 etc until you reach a point where you don't have an opinion re the remainder. Its a proportional system that focusses on candidates as opposed to many proportional systems that focus on parties. WereSpielChequers (talk) 05:50, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
The general question here is whether we want to potentially have board members that the majority of the voters did not support. We made the conscious choice before to use a system in which successful candidates were supported by at least 50% of those voting, to ensure that the majority of the voting membership were in favour of them - with the potential risk of not all of the positions being filled. Moving to a different system would ensure that all of the positions would be filled, but with the risk of some of the successful candidates being generally unpopular with the community. Mike Peel (talk) 10:37, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
The choice was understandable when the membership was small, and correspondingly when the candidate field was small. But I would hope given our current size we'll be able to find enough good candidates for the membership to pick at least 7 they're satisfied with. Having said that, if we want to, a none of the above rest option can be added to the field for voters to expresss the option. KTC (talk) 11:54, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
I like STV. I would be willing to help count if that's of any use - I've never done an STV count but I followed enough of them when I lived in Ireland and I'm familiar with how it's done. The system they use for the Irish Senate (standard STV to 3 decimal places) would seem to be the way to go with a small electorate like ours. 20:44, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Or any other way I can help just say Filceolaire (talk) 20:44, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
If we don't have the 50% support requirement, there is a risk that people will end up voting against the motion to appoint board members (which at the moment is a formality), using that as a "none of the above" vote. Then we end up with no board members elected and the outgoing board has to carry on. I don't think that is very likely to happen, but it could (if it did, someone could just propose a motion to switch back to the current system for that meeting, though, I guess - there is a requirement to give notice of who is standing, but I don't think the method to be used to elect them has to be decided in advance). --Tango (talk) 22:21, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Having board members who were only supported by a minority is only one of the issues here, and if we want a system that requires 50% support of all winning candidates then the current system is deeply flawed. Currently the more good candidates we have the more likely it is that no-one gets 50% approval, last year we had 8 candidates for 7 places and of course there was no problem having 7 get 50%, this year we had twice as many candidates and only two of the unsuccessful ones made the threshold. If we decide that we want a system that meaningfully offers a none of the above option, and also requires that all elected directors have to get the approval of 50% of the electorate, then the best system to use is the Alternative Vote with a none of the above option. This has the advantage of being easy to count, but the disadvantage that if the community is bitterly divided over an issue such as say image filters, you risk having the entire board from one side of the debate and it being very difficult to bridge the divide. WereSpielChequers (talk) 14:00, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Moderation[edit source]

(This is a personal opinion on process as a member, not in any other capacity) I am pleased to see that our independent tellers are actively moderating to ensure the process remains coherent whilst encouraging questions from all interested parties, especially difficult or controversial questions. I think there is a valuable lesson to be learned from meta:Chapter-selected_Board_seats/2012/Candidates/Questions where the page became unhelpfully biased to one perspective by allowing 8 questions from the same person. I would much rather answer questions from a range of people with varying viewpoints rather than weather a storm of questions from a small number of people, with the inevitable consequence that the Q&A page would be in danger of becoming an indigestible wall of text, an unfortunate off-putting burden with a danger of the candidates resorting to sadly uninformative single sentence answers or even being overly used as a soapbox for single purpose lobbyists. I see it as an excellent demonstration of our commitment to openness to see critics, of all types, dropping by to raise a burning issue relevant to our movement or chapter, but I am relieved to see appropriate advice being given where this might be perceived as going unhelpfully overboard by unnecessarily dominating discussion. -- (talk) 05:21, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

What Fae says. The Land (talk) 06:48, 23 April 2012 (UTC)