Requests for comment/Board Election 2006

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The following request for comments is closed. This was a general call for feedback on the 2006 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 2006.

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 add a remark 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 23:10, 30 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Suomi: Vaalikomitean puolesta kutsun täällä kaikkia yhteisöläisiä kommentoimaan hiljattain päättynyttä Wikimedian johtokunnan valtuutettujen vaalia 2006.

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 23:10, 30. syyskuuta 2006 (UTC)
Français : Au nom du Comité électoral, j'invite ici toute la communauté à déposer ses commentaires à propos de l'élection 2006 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 23:10, 30 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]
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 23:10, 30 September 2006 (UTC
Deutsch: Im Namens der Wahlkommission lade ich hiermit alle Benutzer dazu ein, hier ihre Kommentare zur kürzlich beendenten Wahl zum Wikimedia-Kuratorium 2006 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 23:10, 30 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]
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 23:10, 30 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Español : En nombre del comité Eleccionario, Yo invito a toda la comunidad a enviar sus comentarios a la recientemente cerrada Elección Directiva Wikimedia 2006.

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 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Italiano: Per conto del Comitato Elettorale, invito la Comunità a esprimere commenti sulla recente Elezione del Consiglio di Wikimedia 2006.

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 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Election system[edit]

Was approval voting the best choice for this election? Why or why not? What replacements do you suggest?[edit]

  • The idea is OK to vote on multiple people. But I think it would be good if people can also vote against someone in whom they have no trust. I can imagine the possibility that someone is trusted by (I pick random numbers, any comparison is pure bad luck) say 40% of the community, but distrusted by another 40%, would it be better to choose someone who is trusted by 35%, but distrusted by 10%? At the end we need I think a boardmember who can work together with the communities, and who can be trusted very well by most of them. But please keep the multiple votes per (wo)man! Just add a possibility for disaproval voting. Effeietsanders 09:48, 1 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
    • Agree with Effeietsanders; especially with only one position open, approval voting probably wasn't the most effective method of voting. It works better when there are multiple (i.e. 3 or more) open positions, otherwise there's no way to express "disapproval", as Effeietsanders mentioned above. Perhaps a system of either voting for, against, or abstaining against each candidate? Flcelloguy (A note?) 00:30, 2 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • There is a featured article on en:Voting systems. In the given election the majority criterion and the condorcet criterion were not fulfilled. Normally a two round runoff (second voting between the two strongest) is used. I think arguing about the voting system is useless unless you argume very precise, for instance based on this -- Nichtich 13:40, 2 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
    • Two rounds sounds good anyway. However you orginize it, I expect next year even more candidates. It will be very hard to read everything about them. It would be ebst if the candidates who make a chance will be condenced out of the rest (like the upper three and everybody else with <25% less support as the winner of the first round) so the choice will be somehow more easy to make in the next round. Effeietsanders 07:28, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • A clear No. Approval voting has several problems.
    • Most significantly, it is impossible to know how you should vote, unless you have a fairly good people about how other people are going to vote. A simple example might make this clearer: Assume there are five candidates; one candidate you really like; one you really hate; and three would be okay but are not your first choice. If you approve only of the first candidate, but very few others do, your vote will not count against the one you dislike; similarly, if you vote for all four candidates that would be okay, your vote will not give your first choice any extra boost.
    • What actually happens is that people randomly decide on a certain proportion of choices to approve of, either explicitly or implicitly by setting certain standards. This is an important part of their election choice, and something to take into account when evaluating election results afterwards. It is absolutely unacceptable that this data, a histogram of how many choices voters approved of, is not listed in the election results.
    • AV has one redeeming feature: when an election works out okay, there are several choices that the majority of voters "approved of", whatever that means. In this case, this has not happened: 58% of voters expressed disapproval of Erik Möller. Such a result clearly makes a runoff election necessary.
    • Many replacements are available; most of the more elaborate systems focus on one goal: transferring votes, by whatever means available (usually disqualifying candidates, though there is no reason not to offer candidates to drop out of the race when they see their results are bad), until one candidate has a majority of votes. This is the only outcome acceptable, unless several new members are to be chosen.
    • I would recommend the next election use the system just described: ***allow voters to group candidates in a preference order, though several candidates can be given the same preference.
      • after elections are over, publish all orders
      • allow candidates, based on the published data, to withdraw their candidacy, which would result in votes being transferred to other candidates. Ideally, this would result in one candidate receiving a majority of votes after a while.
      • only if no further candidates are willing to withdraw voluntarily, eliminate candidates involuntarily based on lack of votes to support them.
    • It should also be pointed out that run-off elections are easily possible; any election result can be verified by a simple "do you think we should declare this person winner" yes/no vote, which would be an implicit approval of the election process (though people being what they are, many would probably vote "yes" simply because they fail to realise that different election systems can result in different winners without a change in opinions about the candidates).
    • proportional representation systems must be used for the election of any multi-member assembly. Otherwise, resolutions will be passed that are supported only by slightly more than a quarter of voters; half of the voters supporting half of the candidates should not be enough for a majority.
In summary, the elections were unacceptable. The "winning" candidate got a terrible result, with 58% of voters totally disapproving of them and, of the remaining 42%, an unknown number preferring a different candidate. At the very least, Erik should face an up-or-down popular vote.
RandomP 13:55, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I honestly was intrigued by the use of approval voting. That said, I agree with the above that there should at least have been a "second round". Compare to primaries in the US. Treat the way we voted this time as the "primary", and then follow up with a "secondary". The cantidates in the secondary would be determined from those of the primary in some pre-determined way. This allows for several things:
    • Cantidates allowed to gracefully withdraw without skewing the mid-election results (let's hear it for wiki-love : )
    • Those cantidates who don't meet some pre-determined numeric criteria could be removed, once the "withdraw deadline" has been passed.
    • It allows for even more time to pass, during which editors can even more fully scrutinise the cantidates.
    • It allows for an opportunity for voting officials to deal with any voting irregularities, rather than a one-shot vote, which has the potential to become controversial.
  • In the case of a "photo finish" or tie between some cantidates, a "ternary" (or "run-off") vote should be possible, I suppose.
  • I also agree with those above that the "binary" form of approval voting (vote for, or don't vote for) might not have been the best choice in this case. Perhaps expand it to having 3 choices next to each cantidate: approve/neutral/disapprove. - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I am also intrigued by the approval voting, it seemed to have worked better than others could have, given the size of the community. Like others, I would be strongly against "binary" approval voting, given the very real possibility that no candidate would then gain over 50% approval, and none would then be elected. AnonEMouse 16:01, 4 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • Give me an N! Give me an O! NO! Next time, 2 round runoff. And the idea of the "anti-vote" is not that bad. Oh, c'mon, its wonderful, indeed! --Jollyroger 18:32, 4 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • The assertion that 58% disapproved of Erik Möller needs to be nuanced a bit. That statement would have been correct if all voters understood the options they had when voting. The average number of persons voted for, however, is 3.11, which to me indicates that probably many people have voted for one person only. I surmise that a significant number of voters thought they could vote for one person only, and didn't disapprove of all the other candidates per se. How many, I cannot know, but it could at least be enough to lower the disapproval rate below 50%, though it probably would still be far away from a landslide victory. – gpvos (talk) 18:42, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
  • I like the approval voting system, and those who complain that 58% did not endorse Erik should keep in mind that it's approval voting, not disapproval voting. I don't recall exactly how many people I voted for, but I think it was about 4 or 5. Does that mean I disapproved of the others? Not at all! I simply didn't know enough about them to form an opinion on them. Ultimately, I think that a good part of this talk is probably just a smokescreen put up by those who're unhappy with the outcome. -- Schnee 12:23, 5 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Please explain to me how I should vote in the approval voting system. I just don't get it. There is no way to decide where to put the threshold, other than the fairly random "oh, just tick approximately half of the candidates" heuristic. Obviously, looking at the election result, this is not what people have done.
The problem with approval voting is that the vote itself is next to meaningless.
Also, please assume good faith. I've criticised the election system in use, not the candidate, and pointed out that the result is far from a clear win. Accusing me, or others, of "putting up a smokescreen" because we're secretly unhappy with Eloquence being elected is rather rude. Eloquence might be the perfect candidate for the board, but he was elected through a process that does not, in my book, even qualify as democratic.
RandomP 11:51, 9 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
How do people decide how to vote in an approval voting system? I'm honestly intrigued by that, because I think it's an unsolvable problem in the absence of opinion polls.
RandomP 11:51, 9 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I seriously question the ability to run a two-round runoff, without running into Voter fatigue. My suggestion would be to offer voters three options: Approval, Disapproval, or No Vote. This allows voters to strike down anyone they think would be horrific, while being neutral toward candidates they don't disapprove of. With this type of voting, the winner would be decided by the difference between support votes and oppose votes. Ral315 (talk) 14:18, 9 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I'm not sure that avoids any of the problems with approval voting. :I'm not even sure how the votes would be counted. If it is how I think it is, what you're describing is essentially "approval voting, and everyone gets to vote twice". With a very small probability of error, that's equivalent to approval voting, with everyone throwing a coin to see whether they tick people they approve of only, or those they want to "no vote" for too.
Ad-hoc election systems are generally a bad idea. To actually choose the right election system, real debate by people who know about election systems and care about them is needed.
The format this discussion is in is amenable only to one conclusion: "several people were unhappy with approval voting, but as no clear consensus on an alternative emerged, we're going to stay with it anyway". If this is actually what's going to happen, that would strike me as most dishonest.
My suggestion is this: we call for a real debate on election systems, asking those contributors with the mathematical (or economic, or computer science) knowledge to actually be able to evaluate them to contrast those systems that are already in use (first-past-the-post, first-past-the-post with a runoff, STV, various specialisations of proportional representation, first-past-the-post with test elections) and suggest new systems only where they can convince each other they have merit, and aren't just equivalent to people getting several votes (or randomly deciding for one of several voting algorithm) in the existing election systems.
Whatever the election system to be used is, it should be based on discussion and consensus among people who know about and have the (mathematical, economic, whatever) knowledge to compare them, rather than vague sentiments like "I like approval voting. It means I don't actually have to decide which of the candidates I like more or less".
I think everyone can agree that elections shouldn't be about making the voters feel like they're not actually disapproving of candidates: disapproving of them's the whole point. Get rid of all but a small number of candidates, so you can choose who wins.
RandomP 13:59, 10 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I think US voting system isn't a good one to cite: bipolarity shows power abuse in alternating quotas. countries showing decent offices have at least 4 or 5 mayor parties (not that ugly party system should be used) and 2 or 3 more near those. docens come after those. i agree with a first round choosing 1-xx(5 points) 2-yy(4 points) 3-zz(3 points) 4-sas(2 points) 5-asd(1 point) (you could list up to five) and a second round approval/diaproval 4-5 candidates (maybe a candidate could give half their points before second round to other candidate and never should a candidate have more points from other people than his own) you could approve or dissaprove any number of candidates The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) .

We should use a w:Borda count or w:Single Transferable Vote system. Mathematically speaking these are some of the best at producing a result close to the "consensus" in some sense. JoshuaZ 05:55, 30 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

This election was organized by people from within the community. Was this okay? If not, that is, if a third party would have been better, what third party would have been better?[edit]

  • Definitely. A third, independend party should better organize the election. But this depends on how to detect who is allowed to vote. -- Nichtich 13:40, 2 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • We should have an entirely external party next time (possibly with help of internal party for stuff that can remain open). Anthere 23:00, 2 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I think the current election officers did a good job. I have no problem with trustworthy Wikians fulfilling this job. I assume good faith here, and especially with three officers it should be OK. Would be best if a more diverse selection was made imho (for instance at most one wikian per community). The only problem is they are only volunteers. More officers (like 5) would in that view be better. The board should with their appointment be carefull whether they have actually the time that they will need for the job when appointing them. Effeietsanders 07:14, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • The people "organizing" the election failed to make clear why the election system was chosen, which is not okay; this is something that any qualified third party would probably have thought of. That they also failed to answer to valid questions concerning that, during and after the election, I think makes clear that the way the elections were run combines the worst aspects of both proposals: we got a broken election system imposed on us by someone who wasn't reachable, but since they were "from within the community", they didn't (apparently) consider this even worth pointing out. I'd expect a third party to, at the very least, not engage in creative experiments without explaining why they do so. Most universities have academics who know a lot about election systems, democracy, and how elections might be organised. I'd suggest looking there for a third party willing to work on non-experimental elections for Wikipedia. RandomP 15:10, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I think it was fine. I prefer that the community organises such things (since this is a community based on concensus). However, the points above are well taken. For one thing, there should be an election alternate or two, in case an outside emergency, or whatever calls an official "away". Second, there should be a person to act as the committee's "legal counsel". Not so much for legal reasons (that's covered by other bodies, I presume), but making certain "all the base are covered" for "in-house" policies/guidelines/etc. Such as the possible oversights in communication listed above. ("Did we declare everything that needed to be declared? Is there a possibility that this presentation - format/style/etc - of x may be confusing, or less than communicative, especially for translation into other languages? Does what we are stating in such-n-such report follow previously established policy?) This is similar to what a production editor, or even a technical writer might do. Perhaps we should call this person the "continuity officer/official". Since they would be maintainers of the "continuity" of the actions and interactions of the other election officials. (I also think that that person should be assigned a research "clerk" to aid in that task. Compare to the clerks of the arbitration committee.) - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I agree with Anthere on this. It should definitely be run by a third party next time. People within the community must not have access to the results during the election. Angela 14:06, 4 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • The elections should be held by people who we know and we can trust, i.e., wiki users and not some unknown external party chosen by the board. – gpvos (talk) 18:45, 4 October 2006 (UTC) minor edit 18:47, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes, an idea I thought of is that we try and spread out the physical location on the Election Officals as much as possible, so that we can try to have at least one offical online as much of the day as possible to keep things up to date and respond to questions. False Prophet 04:10, 18 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Voting eligibility[edit]

Was "400 edits, 90 days prior to August 1" fair? If not, why?[edit]

  • It may be fair or not but letting thousands of people (or accounts) judge about other people they have never been in contact with is stupid. Above all most Wikipedians are not active in Wikimedia issues but in Wikipedia issues. Why do all Wikipedians have to elect the board? Unless the board does not touch the independence of local projects there is no neeed for this. -- Nichtich 13:51, 2 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I disagree with the above comment. I think that actions of the board can, and likelly do affect all projects, though sometimes indirectly, rather than directly. As for the numeric quantities, I'm not certain how those specific numbers were arrived at, so I can't say with certainty whether they were good or not. 90 days sounds smart, because that limited the opportunity of editors who might have otherwise been disqualified to vote, to sign up to another project an speedily rack up an edit count within the time frame. The edit count seems low, but then it's a rather arbitrary way to judge an editor (the size of an edit may greatly vary). That said, I think it should be increased to 600 (for similar concerns above). - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm always a bit unhappy with "X edits minimum" requirements, simply because edits can be anything from simple typo fixes to large amounts of new material, restructuring/rewriting and so on. That being said, I'm not sure whether there's a better way to deal with this while still making sure that objectivity is maintained and noone unfairly gets or doesn't get to vote. -- Schnee 12:23, 5 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I could not vote on this election, because of the 400 edits rule, I have more than 400 edits but in several Wiki projects, including two different Wikipedias. Adding them all I have around 1k+ edits, in here (meta),,, some commons, books and wikiquote. So multiproject people have a tougher time to vote, so someone with 399 edits on,,, commons, books, quote, versity, source with a total of 2793 edits cannot vote because of this. DamianFinol 14:41, 5 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • To Schneelocke, I would suggest 400 edits or 3 new articles or 1 new featured article. Correcting 400 grammatical errors is a substantial involvement. So is creating three new articles.Hillgentleman 09:42, 6 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • About DamianFinol's comment: according to the goings-on page, Single login has been due out since July, so if that gets implemented before the next election, I would like to be able to combine edit counts on all projects for eligibility purposes. I don't think the edit count necessarily means much, because some users might spend their first 100 edits just working on their user page, or making test edits in the sandbox. Some editors (like me) are on Wikipedia or other projects a lot but just don't make that many edits. I've had an account for about six months, and I think I might have around 400 edits by now if I combine edits from all my accounts. Philbert2.71828 19:15, 7 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • It seems reasonable to restrict voting to those most committed to the project, on the other hand, only those who are more interested will bother to vote and therefore the metric for deciding who can vote should not be too restrictive. I think the edit count is probably the easiest to implement, but more precise measures should be considered if they are technically possible. One possibility is a byte count to distinguish between fixing a typo and pasting in a large chunk of text or a full article. The metric can probably be improved to make it more fair for those who compose offline or make complex graphics or travel long distances to contribute the perfect picture, but I think the best strategy for those of us who would have liked to vote is to concentrate on adding content and not to worry too much about feeling excluded. 10:32, 10 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Then how about the ineligibility of blocked users?[edit]

  • I think elections are about representation. You have to consider who will be represented by these boardmembers. People who are blocked during the procedure, but will be able to edit again later on should in that perspective be able to vote. The policy of the voted boardmember will also apply to them. People who are blocked for the duration of the time the voted boardmember will be on the board should not be able to vote, the boardmember will not represent him/her. Someone who is blocked infinite on project X but not on project Y, and is eliglible to vote on Y, should be able to vote. (S)he will be represented by the elected boardmember. I don't think we should try to "punish" people by taking away their voting abilities. Further please keep in mind that some communities don't block for infinite, but for three years or something similar. Replacing infinite by "the duration of the term of the elected boardmember" would imho be fair. Effeietsanders 07:19, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • This could be problematic, due to the number of projects involved. User:Effeietsanders makes some interesting points above. At first glance, I agreed with: "People who are blocked for the duration of the time the voted boardmember will be on the board should not be able to vote, [as] the boardmember will not represent him/her." However, on further thought, I think the board's actions can be more far-reaching than even their own term of service. So I think I would have to disagree with it. - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • Disenfranchisement is one of the worst things that can be done to anyone; admittedly, one might not consider being able to vote in the Wikimedia board elections as a very fundamental and important right, but small sins are still sins - and it's slippery slope, anyway. Unless someone is permanently banned, they should still be able to vote. -- Schnee 12:23, 5 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
    • Could you please argument why someone banned on, say, sr.wikipedia indefinitely but who has been an active contributor on the Tswana wikipedia for a logn time, over 1000 edits and over half a year, should not be able to vote? Is that person not represented by the boardmembers? Is that person no member of the international community? Please explain that. Of course it sounds nice to say that everybody who is banned infinite is evil untill in his bones, but of course that is not very realistic. So please let's not discuss when someone should *not* vote, but when someone is allowed to vote. When someone is represented, for instance. Don't define by forbidding but by approving. Effeietsanders 12:37, 8 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
    • PS: Don't search for who I am talking about, there is no person blocked on sr: infinite and as well active on tn:... :P Effeietsanders 12:37, 8 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
      • I think that the question we ought to be asking is essentially "is this person an active user in good standing?" I would imagine that many people would agree with this basic proposition. Being banned on a project is a fairly strong indication that a person is not in good standing on that project. However being blocked does not necessarily equate to being in bad standing, since one can be blocked for a variety of reasons. So I think a fairly straightforward test to answer the good standing question is simply "is this user banned on any project?" If the answer is yes, then they are not in good standing. --bainer (talk) 01:04, 9 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
        • I disagree with you here, maybe because of a lack of understanding though. First of all I disagree that it is clear that everybody agrees on your basic preposition. Second, I think we shouldn't discuss about what everybody agrees on, but about what is right. Further I don't follow your redenation. If I have a lot of fights on the serbian wikipedia, why does that mean I cannot cooporate on the tswana wiktionary? Both are WMF-projects (as far as you can call tn.wikt a project though...) and I don't see why bad experiences on one wiki should have consequences on the "foundation" level. Of course I understand that a vandalbot shouldn't be allowed to vote, but that is also covered when you watch whether that bot is represented by the boardmembers. Effeietsanders 15:18, 12 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
          • Sorry if I was unclear. I said two things. Firstly, that I imagine that most people would agree that the question to be asked is whether the user is in good standing across the projects, and whatever test we frame should be directed at answering that question. Secondly I said that in my opinion, if a user is banned on any project then they are not in good standing. Board members represent the whole Foundation, and it would be an affront to the community of a project to allow someone they have chosen to ban to represent them. --bainer (talk) 00:14, 21 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • It is not important that someone who has been so disruptive that they have been blocked for three weeks be making decisions about the Wikimedia Board. Further, many of these temporarily blocked users persist in their disruption after their block expires and ultimately end up permanently banned, whether the account is compromised, whether the person simply snapped, or whether they were never sane—merely ignored—in the first place. Even supposing that a user will end up a user in good standing who should be represented on the Board, someone who has been recently disruptive and is currently blocked is not likely to make sound decisions about the organization he is blocked from. Centrx 07:45, 6 November 2006 (UTC)[reply]


What did you think about the notices from the Election Officials? Were they clear enough for you? If not, which part(s) weren't?[edit]

  • I very much liked the ease of voting through the link at the top of all pages. However, I actually attempted to log into this account and vote, erroneously thinking that I had to sign in here first, in order to vote. - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

And what about the FAQ? Were you content with it?[edit]

  • I was in general, I just was quite confused by the mixing up of the FAQ 2006, FAQ 2005 and FAQ 2004 and then as well the languages. Maybe it would be better to make a central version per year, and copypast the parts that comply multiple years. Effeietsanders 07:21, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I saw the confusion and controversy concerning the FAQ. I think that the "continuity officer" I proposed above, would hopefully deal with this issue. - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Candidate presentation: were they clear for you? Were they too short, or too long? If too short, what kind of additional information would you have wanted?[edit]

  • Candidates should present themselves in a more similar way. -- Nichtich 13:45, 2 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • Was very different per candidate. Some candidates used very hard english, some used very much characters. I think it should be limited somehow, no huge platforms, please make it somehow short. People shouldn't be forced to spend much more time on one candidate as on another. A maximum of words or lines would be fine. But I have also to mention that I prefer 1000 words of easy-to-read English above 500 words of very condenced English. Please make an explicit advice for easy English, and if it is too hard still, make a translation into mortal-English. Effeietsanders 07:24, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • Have the community agree on a 10 (or less) question, questionaire. Each cantidate would answer a copy of the questions on a sub-page (somewhere). The cantidate's response sub-page would then have a link in each cantidate's statement. (This should also help condense the cantidate's statement, since some basic answers will already be on the questionaire.) - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Did you have good translation(s)? If not, which materials did you want to have in your preferred language?[edit]

  • No. The materials in Polish, for example, were rather incomplete (eg. not all candidate statements were translated). Please note that this is no way intended as a criticism of the election officials - we (the Polish community) didn't do a very good job about translating the materials. I believe there is a need for a more aggresive 'call for translations' strategy. A post to translators-l is not enough. I would advise going deeper into the communities and tasking one person (or a defined group) with translating the important stuff next time. -- TOR 12:53, 1 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Did you help with the translations? If so, did you face any inconveniences?[edit]

  • No, I didn't, I'm sorry :( Maybe there should be some way to motivate me a little more to do it... I wanted it to do at the start (en-nl), but at the end I found out I didn't. I have to say the hard English didn't quite motivate me... Effeietsanders 07:30, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Candidate debate: do you want one to be held in future? If so, who would organize it? In which language?[edit]

  • Yes please. It is very important that a candidate can speak with others about issues in English, so it can at the same time be tested how someone's English is. It needs strong moderation, though. Effeietsanders 07:25, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • (copied from above) - Have the community agree on a 10 (or less) question, questionaire. Each cantidate would answer a copy of the questions on a sub-page (somewhere). The cantidate's response sub-page would then have a link in each cantidate's statement. (This should also help condense the cantidate's statement, since some basic answers will already be on the questionaire.) - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • Otherwise, I think a "debate" between cantidates would be a "bad idea". It has too great a potential to degenerate into "perceived" personal attacks, or even just into the reverse of "goodwill", and "wiki-love". Not to mention that it would gain the image of "competition entertainment", and thus would have the potential to reduce the community's esteem of the board in general. (Compare to some perceptions of the US House of Representatives, and the political campaigns thereof.) - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • Assuming the debate would be held in English, I think this would not be fair to non-English-speaking candidates. It's very hard to debate in another language, especially if that is done in a "real time" setting like IRC. Angela 14:10, 4 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • It could be a good idea. Language? Swahili of course, or Mandarine chinese!. Sometimes I wonder who *thinks* to these questions... He has a future in immigration department. Have you ever been part of an international terrorism group? - Yes, of course, who didn't! --Jollyroger 18:42, 4 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm not sure whether debates would really be a good idea. Debates and discussions are good when you want to work together to fix problems etc., but the candidates in an election certainly don't have a reason to try and help each other, so... :) -- Schnee 12:23, 5 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Endorsement: what do you think about them? In this election, the Election Officials didn't touch endorsements, their length, form, period of submission etc. Was that okay? If not, why? Do you have any suggestions for endorsements?[edit]

  • I agree with Effeietsanders on this. Endorsements (of any kind) shouldn't appear on any "official" page.
  • I think the inclusion of selected endorsements are a good idea, since the community may not be familiar with every candidate (especially those not from their "home" project(s)) and the opinions of highly trusted and well known users can be very helpful. However having only a small number of candidates do this in this election seemed somewhat... awkward, and the practice ought to be encouraged for all candidates, unless they choose to opt out. It may also be appropriate to restrict the number of endorsements each candidate can display (say half a dozen each), or limit them to a certain number of words, to ensure evenness. --bainer (talk) 01:17, 9 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]


Did you have any trouble voting?[edit]

  • Nope, was easy. Just had a little bit of trouble finding candidates, as the selection was everytime in a different order. Of course that is for neutrality, but I think it would be best to maintain a certain order, to make it easier. Could the names be linked to their statements? Effeietsanders 07:33, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • Yes. I was told to vote for those candidates of which I approved. As my approval of the different candidates took more than two values (there were some I approved of very much, some I would have considered okay, and some I considered totally unacceptable), I had to somehow assign those three statements to two, "approve" and "do not approve". After reading about the election system used, it was clear to me that that assignment could only be made rationally by knowing how others voted. As I didn't, I could not make a rational voting decision, and I'm willing to bet virtually no-one else could. (the only people who could are people who have only two levels of approval for the (17 ?) candidates, something I consider extremely unlikely). RandomP 14:36, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • Yes - Just general confusion about the system (as noted above). I also was stymied at first to understand the "reserve field" duplicate listing of my vote. (At this point, I presume it was due to "re-voting". Though the "re-vote" happened because I had to refresh the page. That part was rather confusing. I honestly am still not certain if my vote counted as voted, or was lost in cyberspace : ) - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • No, the only thing difficult for me was finding candidates not to vote for! (I could have approved them all, but that makes my vote practically useless, so I left out the candidates that I least wanted.) --Gray Porpoise 10:58, 5 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Advertisements on local projects[edit]

Some criticized the fact that the sitenotices were overused. What do you think?[edit]

  • I think it is justifyable to use them. As long as you don't bother the anonymous users with it. Maybe it would be a good idea to make a clicking possibility to be able to shut the text off for that user? Effeietsanders 07:39, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • I think it's very important to make sure that everyone knows that the voting's going on, so site notices are definitely a good idea, and unless they're in huge flashing ads that occupy half of the screen, I don't see how anyone could possibly object to those. :) -- Schnee 12:23, 5 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Did you see any other publicity other than sitenotices in your community? if yes, which method impressed you the most?[edit]

  • In the Dutch Wikipedia we use as well some template:Announcements and a Wikipedia:Announcements. The first is placed in Village Pumps and other pages people look a lot (Users Portal etc), and contains only the "important" notices. (meetups, votes etc). Doesn't work very well. Effeietsanders 07:35, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Election committee organization[edit]

The initial three members of the committee were directly appointed by the Board. An additional two members were called for on the public mailing list, and then appointed. Which of these two ways did you prefer? Why?[edit]

  • Did the "initial three members of the committee" choose the election system? If not, who did? Could they have chosen any other election system?
Frankly, what happened here was that the Board choose a replacement member. The "elections" involved clarified that the community, by a large majority (58%), disapproved of that member, and the (Board-chosen) committee advised the Board to approve of that new member anyway, which that Board did. My impression is that any of three or four candidates could have been the winner of these elections, depending on the election system used (first-past-the-post, "approval", and STV would likely have resulted in different outcomes; voluntarily transferred votes, with candidates withdrawing of their own accord rather than forcibly, and run-off voting might have resulted in third, fourth, or fifth possibilities).
This is not (just) criticism of the election system; it is unclear to me what powers the "committee" actually had, and that would make a difference to how I would answer the question posted here.
RandomP 14:25, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
The Board did not choose the winner of the elections. It had made a resolution allowing the elections, and had pledged to stand behind the winner of the elections. That's what it did. If it had chosen another person as the "winner" after the elections or asked for another vote, then they would be violating their own words and would be perceived as not honoring the results of the vote. You raise some valid points, but those issues should have been clarified prior to the start of the election; the Board had to accept the results as they are. I will make sure to convey your feelings about this election so that the next election can be even better and more satisfactory.
As for the issues raised on your user page, which I just read, we're working on that! See single user-login, which will allow a user to create an account for all Wikimedia projects. It'll hopefully be out soon. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 15:13, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
  • So, just to clarify, other than saying that there should be an election, and that they would accept whomever was elected by the election, the board had nothing else to do with the election? If so, does that mean that the election committe had "carte blanche" in deciding the rest? - Jc37 18:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
    • Well, let me point you to this resolution, which should clarify the roles. The Board is ultimately the "final voice", but delegated the task of the elections to the three (and later five) election officials. The elections were also officially called for by the Board, and then they officially accepted the outcome after the report by the elections commission. Throughout the entire elections, though, the elections officials were in constant communication with both the Communications Committee and members of the Board to ensure that the elections ran smoothly and fairly. I hope this clarifies what you're asking. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 21:47, 4 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Have you been troubled by the Election official(s)? Please explain.[edit]

  • I asked both [1] and [2] about the election system, trying to find out things I couldn't on the FAQ pages, and wondering where to post criticism. Neither replied, not even to point me to this page (which had not, then, be created). I would have considered answering to such criticism by pointing out that an RfC page will be created the absolute minimum expected of someone volunteering to work as an election official, and would still like to know who decided on the "approval" election system. RandomP 14:54, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
    • Well, to be fair, Essjay has been away and has not edited since the middle of August. As for approval voting, it's been used since the first elections in 2004; I'm not sure how that voting process was chosen back then, but the method has been "carried over" for each of the elections. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 15:03, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
      • Thanks for the reply! I'm rather surprised that one of the election officials was absent throughout the elections (and for some time before) without that, apparently, even being publicly stated, nevermind affecting his status as a member of the committee. By the way, my question still stands: you've given a (possible) reason for why the election system was chosen (tradition), but as the election committee was only officially formed on 25 July 2006, I assume there is a committee decision after that date approving the use of the approval election system. Or are you saying that the committee never decided to use the election system and it just happened? RandomP 15:17, 3 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]
        • I am not aware of how exactly the elections officials decided to use approval voting, but from my knowledge, the primary reason it was chosen was because of its successful use in all of the past elections. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 22:00, 4 October 2006 (UTC)[reply]


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

  • Detail that could matter. I spent more than 20 hours building an efficient template system for candidates' statements managment, which I hope-but guess-was helpful for both maintaining translations and reading all the statements (back and front office). Such a system should have been schedulded and designed on the paper before the election goes on. Anthere said to me "well, be bold"... since election officials were at Wikimania and no one seemed to be getting down to fix things (not hassling over trivia here, I promise). Board elections should be seriously gauged within Wikimedia, for it entails good technical preparation :) jd  14:47, 11 November 2006 (UTC)[reply]


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

Related pages[edit]