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Re: Don't disclose election results (was: Disclosing election results -- a voice of caution)

From: Brian Kardell <bkardell@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2014 13:46:36 -0400
Message-ID: <CADC=+je2uiEyLB15nPxQPexEXsw8ZHi2C5Ls4+MM5KTnu1Ug6w@mail.gmail.com>
To: Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>
Cc: "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
(in which I unsurprisingly mostly disagree)

On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 12:18 PM, Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> given my other positions it may come as a surprise that I would be
> *against* transparency in this case, but I really am.
> I understand the arguments in favour, I think pretty well. Most of them
> stem from comparisons with countries (or other large bodies), from the fact
> that transparency trumps all other considerations, or from some belief that
> this would enhance openness. I think that all of these points are very,
> very wrong.
> You cannot compare an election involving a maximum of 400 voters (and
> usually fewer than 100) with that of a far larger body. The scale means
> that you can easily guess what is going on. You might not know exactly who
> didn't vote for you, but you can know that in that group of ten smiling
> folks who patted you on the back and said they'd vote for you, at least
> five didn't.

As long as they are anonymous, the only way that this is true is in the
event that you literally only got 5 votes.  Your analogy is better suited
to a congress in which precisely the same things can happen, and do on a
daily basis.. Also, class president in school - and yet people continue to
live their life despite the fact that high school is highly emotional and
popularity is considered important to a lot of people who would run.  It
feels to me (but I am willing to admit that this might not be the majority
position if it turns out that way) like we are all adults here and doing
the best that we can - there are any number of reasons you can lose an
election - for example: People just don't know you, so they don't trust you
as much as someone they do know.  I'm confident we've seen this happen
already.  There are more good candidates than their are seats - if
candidate A gets 25 votes, B gets 12 and C gets 26, it does not stand to
reason that B is actually the least preferable answer.  It could be (often
is) that all 37 who voted A or B prefer them to C - I've had people email
me to discuss this problem, it's common and well documented.  Or perhaps
your skills and stances are just not what a lot of people think we need
_right now_ at this moment in time - if you ran again, you might well win
even with all other things being equal.  Frankly, and this is simply my own
opinion, if my employer would really punish me for losing an election for
AB, I think I'd be looking for another job because it is a terribly
illogical thing to do.

> I have peeked behind the curtains. There are cases in which it would be
> pretty brutal to reveal the results. I have seen some people who are both
> well-known and (as far as I know) well-loved in the community get really
> low numbers. People might really like and respect you but think that you're
> not the right /type/ of candidate at this moment in time. But that's a hard
> thing to convince yourself of.
> Presumably for precisely this sort of reason, I have seen people not vote
> for one of their close friends. Deanonymising might have made them feel
> obliged to vote for that person. Sure enough a politician getting trounced
> can be tough, but you're trounced mostly by total strangers. If you've been
> a part of this community and you get five votes, you'll feel trounced by
> your friends.

Maybe.  I honestly feel like we deal with more contentious things in web
standards literally every waking moment, but I take your point.  I wouldn't
be happy if I ran and lost in a landslide, that's true - but even given all
of my substantial issues, I think I know that about myself and either
wouldn't run or would move past it pretty quickly.  I think your premise is
that it is the former that is really a problem - you potentially discourage
people from running.  I think, meh.  If you lose you lose - either way.  If
you are especially sensitive to this, then it might as well be unanimously
against you if you don't have numbers because likely you're already
imagining the worst.

> In this case I am pretty sure that transparency would actively deter
> participation. People would get hurt for no good reason. People would
> hesitate to risk their career paths. And I don't see what problem it solves.

I've listed several actually, the same ones it does in any democratic
system - we get some data on what it appears membership supports and how
strongly.  Since there are no platforms or parties or official slates or
anything, all you really have is candidates.

> So, please, let's not make the results transparent. There's plenty of
> *other* things we need to make the election more open. The first of them is
> that non-AC candidates should be subscribed to the AC lists for the
> duration of the campaign.

This is also a good reform ... +1.

> --
> Robin Berjon - http://berjon.com/ - @robinberjon

Brian Kardell :: @briankardell :: hitchjs.com
Received on Tuesday, 3 June 2014 17:47:05 UTC

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