Requests for comment/Board Election 2007

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The following request for comments is closed. This was a general call for feedback on the 2007 board elections.
English: On the behalf of Election Committee, hereby I invite all the community to submit their comments to the lately closed Wikimedia Board Election 2007.

This page is multilingual, although this description is originally written in English. You may write your comment in any language you would like. If you mention which language you are talking in, it will be helpful for further translation coordination.

Positive or negative, warm or cynical, we Election Officials will appreciate you who will make comments. Aphaia 22:21, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Suomi: Vaalikomitean puolesta kutsun täällä kaikkia yhteisöläisiä kommentoimaan hiljattain päättynyttä Wikimedian johtokunnan valtuutettujen vaalia 2007.

Tämä sivu on monikielinen, vaikkakin ohjeet on alunperin kirjoitettu englanniksi. Voit kirjoittaa kommenttisi millä tahansa haluamallasi kielellä. Jos merkitsisit kielen, jolla kirjoitat, se helpottaisi käännösten koordinointityötä.

Risuja tai ruusuja, lämmintä tai kyynistä, me vaalivirkailijat kunnioitamme kaikkia kommentteja ja kommentoijia. Aphaia 22:21, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Français : Au nom du Comité électoral, j'invite ici toute la communauté à déposer ses commentaires à propos de l'élection 2007 au Conseil d'administration de Wikimedia, qui vient de se terminer.

Cette page est multilingue, même si cette description était écrite en anglais à l'origine. Vous êtes libre d'écrire vos commentaires dans la langue de votre choix. Si vous ajoutez une indication de la langue dans laquelle vous écrivez, cela sera utile pour coordonner les traductions.

Qu'ils soient positifs ou négatids, chaleureux ou cyniques, nous apprécieront tous vos commentaires. Pour les superviseurs électoraux, Aphaia 22:21, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Русский: От имени избиркома я приглашаю всё сообщество прокомментировать недавно завершившиеся выборы у совет попечителей фонда Викимедиа.

Эта страница многоязычна, несмотря на то, что изначально это введение было написано по английски. Вы можете писать свои коментарии на любом языке. Если вы укажете, на каком языке вы написали - это поможет координации перевода вашего комментария на другие языки.

Мы будем рады любым комментариям - позитивным или негативным, тёплым или циничным. Aphaia 22:21, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Deutsch: Im Namens der Wahlkommission lade ich hiermit alle Benutzer dazu ein, hier ihre Kommentare zur kürzlich beendenten Wahl zum Wikimedia-Kuratorium 2007 abzugeben. Die Seite ist multilingual, auch wenn diese Beschreibung ursprünglich auf Englisch geschrieben wurde. Du kannst deinen Kommentar also in jeder beliebigen Sprache schreiben. Es wäre hilfreich beim Übersetzen, wenn du eine Anmerkung hinzufügen würdest, in welcher Sprache du deinen Kommentar verfasst hast. Aphaia 22:21, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Nederlands: Namens het verkiezingscomité nodig ik bij dezen alle leden van de gemeenschap uit om hun opmerkingen op de recentelijk gesloten Wikimedia bestuursverkiezingen toe te voegen.

Deze pagina is meertalig, hoewel deze beschrijving oorspronkelijk in het Engels is geschreven. U kunt uw opmerkingen in elke taal die u wilt toevoegen. Als u aangeeft in welke taal u uw opmerking plaatst, zal dat behulpzaam zijn voor verdere vertalingscoördinatie.

Positief of negaties, vriendelijk of cynisch, wij, de "Election Officials" zullen het waarderen als u uw opmerkingen plaatst. Aphaia 22:21, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Español : En nombre del comité Eleccionario, Yo invito a toda la comunidad a enviar sus comentarios a la recientemente cerrada Elección Directiva Wikimedia 2007.

Esta pagina es multilingüe, a pesar de que esta descripción esta originalmente escrita en ingles. Tu puedes escribir tus comentarios en cualquier lenguaje que desees. Si añades una indicación sobre el lenguaje en el cual escribiste seria de gran utilidad para una posterior coordinación de traducción.

Positivo o negativo, sinceramente o de manera cínica, nosotros, los Oficiales Electorales apreciaremos a quien haga comentarios. --Aphaia 23:10, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Italiano: Per conto del Comitato Elettorale, invito la Comunità a esprimere commenti sulla recente Elezione del Consiglio di Wikimedia 2007.

Questa pagina è multilingua, sebbene questa descrizione fosse originariamente scritta in inglese. Puoi scrivere in una lingua a tua scelta. Aggiungendo una indicazione sul linguaggio usato, aiuterete il lavoro di coordinamento delle traduzioni.

Positivi o negativi, caldi o cinici, noi Ufficiali Elettorali, apprezzeremo chi lascerà un commento --Aphaia 23:10, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Contents

Election system[edit]

Was approval voting the best choice for this election? If not, why not? What substitute would you suggest?[edit]

  • Not Approval voting does not allow me to express my preferences between candidates that I support: it either lets me approve or disapprove. Single Transferrable Vote or some other Preferential Voting system would have been a much better way for the electorate to express their opinions, particularly in a race as close as this one was. 75.199.238.113 20:01, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Not, better would be rolling vote. reasons:
    • the media internet is used used better, and voting is always possible
    • opposition is possible and a 75% yes to no ration can be defined to rule out controversial canditates. --ThurnerRupert 21:03, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • I agree that approval voting has its drawbacks (once I had my list of frontrunners, I had to choose between not supporting some of them, or essentially making a non-vote, since equally voting for all of them accomplishes little)... but other options (this rolling vote idea in particular) seem a little too engrossing and might discourage community participation altogether. Some degree of preference voting (say, the ability to give out single or double votes, or something to that effect) might be a nice balance between approval and preference voting, in those regards. Luna Santin 21:50, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • I prefer the Single Transferrable Vote. I have no problem listing the candidates in my preferrential order. Approval voting gives huge advantage to those folks with name-recogition, and render the candidate statements, discussions, debate, etc and all the translation, little more than pointless.Hillgentleman 00:12, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
    • By the way, by "single transferrable vote" I mean that, in each round, the top three, and not just the top one, the top three remaining candidates on a ballot paper are counted.Hillgentleman 07:26, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
  • The Single Transferable Vote system was mentioned a number of times during a Foundation-l discussion about the election, and I would support the use of this method. It's very intuitive for voters to use, in terms of developing an effective strategy. --bainer (talk) 08:56, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
    Would User:Pathoschild/STV be what you're thinking of? If not, how would you improve it? —{admin} Pathoschild 23:40:59, 02 August 2007 (UTC)
  • my personal preference would be to use approval voting for a first round (the first round replacing the endorsement-phase), and condorcet for the final round. oscar 12:07, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Range voting is much better. It allows people to still vote like approval if they want, but also allows much finer grained options and distinct "no opinion" non-votes instead of making "no opinion" the same as disapprove votes. Range-voting-ballot-example.png
    It's simple in that all candidates start off with "No opinion" selected, then there's a "fully approve" (100%) option, percentage approve entry box option, and a disapprove option (0%). -- Jeandré, 2007-08-10t19:31z, -- Jeandré, 2007-08-10t19:34z
    A minimum number of non "no opinion" votes could be required to prevent a 100% score from only 1 voter for an unknown candidate. -- Jeandré, 2007-09-16t07:52z
  • Note: Single Transferrable Vote is a bad idea; specifically, this election method fails the monotonicity criterion, which means that voting for one candidate over another can actually cause the candidate you voted for to do worse. —Centrxtalk • 02:10, 4 September 2007 (UTC)


This Election was organized by people from the community. Is this O.K.? If not, that is, if a third party would be better, where would they come from?[edit]

  • Having the community organize the election is definitely preferrable than an outside party. There are other important items, like translations and tallying the votes, where outside resources should be used. However, the election committee should be formed much earlier in the process with all members agreeing not to participate as candidates in the election. (At the latest, the election committee should be formed 90 days before candidacies are opened.) Those on the election committee should also agree to remain as neutral as possible, including not endorsing any candidates publically or privately and not commenting on anything other than procedural related issues during the election process. --Sue Anne 20:43, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • who is "outside" of wikipedia community? The preceding unsigned comment was added by ThurnerRupert (talk • contribs) 21:05, 24 July 2007.
    • a third party that we contract, an external orgainization. Cbrown1023 talk 00:37, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Voter elibigility[edit]

Was "400 edits, three months prior to June 1" fair? If not, why not?[edit]

  • I think this could be dropped a bit (200?) so that editors who add substantial content to articles in areas they are expert in are included (these are the ones who give us most of our content), as well as the Wikipedians who wikify and fix stuff like typos. If you are an editor who only creates articles or adds substantially to existing ones reaching 400 edits may take a few years, but someone who goes round fixing minor stuff in articles like typos, does housekeeping or gets involved in discussions like RfDs a lot can easily get this many edits in a week or two. It would be nice to base this on the editor's actual contribution (in terms of bytes or even bytes that still exist in the current version--which some guy claims he has made a program to do although it hasn't been released), but I'm guessing that would be technically difficult. —Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley talk contrib 21:15, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
    • Just brainstorming, here, based on the idea that our goal is to allow as many community members as possible to vote, while weeding out non-members and meatpuppets. Edit count is far from ideal, but is very easy to measure. We could also count the number of pages a user has created (pages which still exist, especially), although that'll still leave out a lot of people who put effort into cleanup. This one's an odd idea, but we could use something akin to Gmail's invite system -- each person who meets a given set of criteria can give out a certain number of invites, and each person who gets an invite can give out more, and hopefully you wind up with a bit of a cascade down through the community. I don't know if that's a good idea for a main system, but if we're looking for ways to include users who should meet the criteria but don't, it'd have to be some creative, subjective solution. Anyway, /brainstorm. Luna Santin 21:36, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
  • i have never ever been convinced that an edit-count as such proves anything at all about anyone: it doesn't say anything about a wikipedian. not even when running in the thousands, it does not prove anything about an editor, nor about a potential voter. imo we should start considering other criteria for future elections, such as a possible membership, or some way in which voters possibly may have to register their identity just like this is mandatory for the candidates (in a way, the fact that candidates have to identify but not the voters, leads to a certain kind of inequality as well), or maybe some other way in which voters are selected/approved of by their communities (if i am not mistaken, somebody proposed this on foundation-l but i can't seem to find it now), perhaps creating a system with a kind of electoral college. referring to newyorkbrad's point 2 in his email to foundation-l, i realize this may imply quite some changes, not realised all at once, but imho these do deserve being discussed seriously as options at least. oscar 17:20, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Simplify the date: "More than 400 edits on 1 March". -- Jeandré, 2007-08-10t19:39z

How about the ineligibility of blocked people?[edit]

  • Eh. It's hard to see this being a huge issue -- on the one hand, they're blocked, and possibly a troublemaker. On the other hand, they can't be that big a section of the electorate, either way. It might be important to distinguish between indefinite blocks and timed blocks, in this regard. Luna Santin 21:39, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Many countries (...) allow prisoners to vote, including Canada, Denmark, France, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Norway, Peru,South Africa, Sweden, and Zimbabwe source. Denying prisoners the right to vote looks like transforming them into en:political prisoners. Teofilo 16:09, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
    Blocked users seem more exiled than imprisoned. —{admin} Pathoschild 19:14:46, 02 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I think we should gave the vote right to the users who are blocked for less than 2 years (or an other length) because after their punishment, they will be influenced by decisions of the board. Maximini1010 05:05, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
    Nothwithstanding whether a contributor is present or absent, he remains in a contractual relationship with the Foundation through the Gnu Free Documentation Licence. The only case that would justify excluding someone is when all his/her contributions have been deleted. When at least one edit of his/of hers is remaining online, he/she remains a benefactor of the Wikimedia projects. Teofilo 12:37, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Candidate eligibility[edit]

Was "400 edits, one year before prior to June 1" fair? If not, why not?[edit]

  • I would be tempted to up the edit requirements a bit simply to make sure that people know what they are getting into and can form a reasonable judgement of their chances. That said combined with the real name requirement 400 may well be enough.Geni 19:48, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
    • I'd second that (maybe up it to 700 or 1000 edits), but I don't think we should up it to near the level of edits that most voters would expect from board members, as it is ultimately down to voters if they want to make an exception for a certain candidate who doesn't have a good deal of experience on our projects for some reason. These rules are really just to weed out candidates that are wasting everyone's time as they know (or should know) they haven't got a chance of getting in (a bit like a deposit, assuming the retention level is set low of course). Having said that, I'm forgetting we do require endorsements, which should perform the weeding-out function (unless someone manages to create sock puppets), so maybe the number of edits required for candidates should be kept the same as that for voters, which makes things simpler, I guess. —Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley talk contrib 21:04, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • The 400 edits threshold should be for all projects not just 400 on one project. As long as their real name can be verified, and if unified login comes online before the next election. --Sue Anne 20:36, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
    • I'm assuming you mean 400 across all projects, as opposed to 400 on each, although requiring that board members have some edits on every project (not every language version obviously) might not be such a bad idea, as they are supposed to represent all projects. —Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley talk contrib 21:04, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Just brainstorming, bit of an off-the-wall idea: should we require past or present participation in multiple WMF projects? Sue Anne's suggestion of allowing users to combine contributions from multiple projects brought it to mind, it would seem to go a step further in encouraging candidates with diverse interests and commitments. But I'd want to see a nice, lengthy discussion before calling that a settled idea. Luna Santin 21:47, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • I've written elsewhere about this, but I feel that while it makes sense to have participation requirements for voters (so that the franchise is extended only to those who have some stake in the Wikimedia community) we should not have any participation requirements for candidates whatsoever when an endorsement system is used. "Doubling up" on requirements by necessitating participation can only mean that all sorts of people out there who might be great to have on the Board, such as people with experience in other non-profit organisations, people involved in other free content projects and so forth, but who haven't edited, will not be able to be elected. The endorsement system is a better method that allows the community to "weed out" unsuitable candidates. --bainer (talk) 08:40, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
    • That's a point to consider. If it were implemented, would you favor altering the endorsement requirement, or leaving it at 12? Luna Santin 21:28, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
  • State the date simply: "More than 400 edits on 1 June 2006". -- Jeandré, 2007-08-10t19:42z

Endorsement[edit]

Each voter could endorse up to three candidates. Is that O.K.? If not, how it should have been?[edit]

12 endorsements were required to run for the Election. Is this requirement appropriate? Is there a better threshold?[edit]

How about the procedure? Is it O.K. with you? Any suggestions for improvement?[edit]

  • Once a candidate has attained the required number of endorsements (whether it is twelve or another number), the endorsement page for that candidate should be closed and no more endorsements should be accepted. As pointed out by a number of people at the time, including myself, allowing unlimited endorsements may effectively amount to a second, public, voting period, which may influence the real vote, and run the risk of erroneously making candidates who nominate early appear to have more support than candidates who enter later in the nomination period (if the endorsement period runs concurrently with the nomination period). I also think that the endorsement process would be best served if it were held after the nomination period and not concurrently with it. --bainer (talk) 09:05, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
    • To add to that, given that people have a limited number of endorsements, candidates who join in later may be deprived of endorsements which might otherwise be available. Luna Santin 21:29, 25 July 2007 (UTC)


What do you think of the idea of endorsement in general?[edit]

  • rolling vote would make it obsolete. --ThurnerRupert 21:19, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • instead of the endorsements-round (which is already almost voting) i propose to have elections in two rounds, two rounds would make the elections more into a community-process and better involve the communities imho. oscar 10:25, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Information[edit]

What do you think of the notices from the Election Committee? Are they clear to you? Or not? If not, which part(s)?[edit]

  • site notices where too late. and not translated freely by the community, which made them even later. --ThurnerRupert 21:19, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • The impact of Gmaxwell's emails and similar efforts clearly indicates that the centralized effort was less effective than it could have been. As I recall discussing, previously, several people have suggested similar, decentralized efforts in the future -- we can let each community tend to its own awareness, providing a few guidelines on neutrality and offering what help is required for coordination and resources. We can get a few people to stand up as semi-official community contacts without limiting activity to just those contacts. Getting the word out, about the elections and about up-to-date candidate information, is important. Sitenotices don't cut it. In general, foundation-wide communication seems lacking. Luna Santin 21:58, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

And the FAQ? Are you content with them?[edit]

Candidate presentations: is their content clear to you? Are they too short for you or too long? If too short, what kind of additional information do you want?[edit]

Were the translation(s) good? If not, what materials did you wish were included in your preferred language?[edit]

Did you help with the translations? If so, have you faced any inconvenience? If so, what?[edit]

Candidate debate: do you want one? If so, who would organize it? In which language? And what hours?[edit]

  • esperanto, every 6 hours on one day :) --ThurnerRupert 21:19, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Greeves' thoughts...
  • I don't know much about the debate, but I think it was unofficial. I think that an official debate (run by the committee) would have been beneficial; I only voted for for candidates that I recognized and I thought that I could trust (I don't think that most of them got in, I think I voted for three or four). A debate would have helped.
  • Maybe have one or two debates with the topics to be discussed, discussed by the Meta-Wiki community and finalized by the committee. A member of the committee would run the debate.
  • For the language issue, maybe have it in English and have any candidates who cannot speak English have a translator with them, preferably using some sort of voice communication software. Then non-English voters can look at posted logs which would be translated into as many languages as possible.
  • I know that this is a lot of work, but it would sure pay for voters like me. Greeves (talk contribs Wikipedia) 23:43, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
  • I believe 18:00 UTC was mentioned as probably a good base time to get all sorts of people from all sorts of time zones. As English is the language used for Foundation business, it would seem likely that English will be the most widely shared language among candidates; we should consider debates in other languages, if we can, though. Greeves mentioned translators for real-time debates; is that feasible? Luna Santin 19:46, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
    • For your information, 1800 UTC is 4 am in Sidney, 3 am in Tokyo, 2 am in Hong Kong. I can't say it is a good base time for all people. Even unintentionally your view is too much Atlantic-centric. --Aphaia 20:34, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
    • As for real time translation, I am skeptical for its availability. Real time trnaslation, or precisely interpretation is required professional skills and expensive. Also there is no volunteer pool for now. For example, we asked for local interpret volunteers for the coming conference, but only one person is available for En<->Zh. Unless the Foundation make a budget, I don't think it our option. --Aphaia 20:43, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
  • No. Wiki is thoughtful deliberation, not quick exchanges. Hillgentleman
  • A debate would be hard to organise because all the candidates can't be here at the same time but I think that a thing where candidates talk like a debate but not in real time and during 1 or 2 weeks would be good. Maximini1010 05:13, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Did you visit the election website except for voting itself? Did you read Eleccom daily? And what did you think of them?[edit]

The link from voting page was to 2006 endorsements. I had a hard time myself finding the current ones and I couldn't fix the link (long live the wiki). ~~helix84 21:08, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Interface and server[edit]

Did you have any trouble voting?[edit]

  • None at all. Luna Santin 21:43, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Other than that my browser had problems with the certificate issues, no. --Sue Anne 06:19, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Certificate issues, but otherwise no problem. Thunderhead 05:57, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Advertisements[edit]

How did you first notice the election and voting were open?[edit]

  • I don't recall, for certain; I believe I noticed it via discussion or topic in an IRC channel (probably #wikimedia); if not that, then probably from the foundation-l mailing list. It seems the "regulars" were largely aware, but the community at large not so much. Luna Santin 21:35, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Did you get a site notice? If not, where did you fail to find it?[edit]

Have you seen any publication other than the site notice on your community? What was that? And which was the most impressive?[edit]

Unofficial publications: what did you get? Did you think it official? If so, what do you think caused confusion?[edit]

Election committee organization[edit]

Have you been troubled by the Election official(s)? If so, how?[edit]

Third party partner[edit]

In this election we asked a third party to do the server and tallying for the first time. What do you think about that? Is it an improvement or a regression?[edit]

  • A trusted third party without a vested interest in the election's outcome has less incentive to rig the outcome. Whether we can trust the third party, and how we select that third party, seem to be the cruxes, there. Luna Santin 21:37, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
  • An outside third party is absolutely critical to both validate the results and to keep those results confidential until it is time to officially announce them. --Sue Anne 06:30, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Software in the Public Interest has been our partner in this Election. If they are O.K. with helping us next time, should we ask them for help again? If not, why not?[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

If you would like to add questions, just add them here.

  • I feel uncomfortable with the secrecy of the vote. Yes, this is a secret ballot. Only the third party committee that the Election committee appoints to oversee vote counting can know who votes for whom is at best an en:oxymoron. I don't know who are these third party people. I don't know if I can trust them. Do we know how long the voting records will be kept ? Is that forever ? What happens if a judge says he wants to look at the records ? Are these people ready to go to prison for disobeying to a judge ? How should I do to be sure no clue about my vote is remaining in the hard disk of my own computer ? How can I be sure that my ISP is not spying on my vote ? Is it true that "only the third party comittee (...) can know" ? How about the devs ? Aren't the data transiting throught the Foundation's servers ? Teofilo 17:30, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Comments[edit]

Comments for this Election. Comments on this RfC should go to the talk.

  • 鼓勵歐美以外之維基人參與競選。Hillgentleman 00:18, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
    • Florence encouraged Chinese Wikimedians to run for the next election, at her presentations in Wikimania 2007, twice, respectively :) --Aphaia
      • Is proficiency in the English language a requirement? Hillgentleman 08:28, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
        • Yes. You have to be able to communicate with people from all over the world. English is the lingua franca of this day and age .. GerardM 08:06, 16 September 2007 (UTC)