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Re: Voting and W3C level of engagement

From: Jeff Jaffe <jeff@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 07 Jun 2014 22:44:05 -0400
Message-ID: <5393CDF5.1040907@w3.org>
To: Sylvain Galineau <galineau@adobe.com>
CC: "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>

On 6/7/2014 1:46 PM, Sylvain Galineau wrote:
> On Jun 6, 2014, at 1:31 PM, Jeff Jaffe <jeff@w3.org> wrote:
>
>> On 6/6/2014 1:07 PM, Sylvain Galineau wrote:
>>> On Jun 5, 2014, at 8:25 PM, Jeff Jaffe <jeff@w3.org> wrote:
>>>
>>>> On 6/4/2014 9:57 PM, Karl Dubost wrote:
>>>>> Charles, Jeff,
>>>>>
>>>>> Le 5 juin 2014 à 06:54, Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru> a écrit :
>>>>>> I think it is unfortunate that AC members cannot afford to be more engaged. But then, a lot of the members are quite small, and the cost of serious engagement in everything the AC does is quite high.
>>>>> # Elections (on topic)
>>>>> Some companies will join just for the publicity of being at W3C or for testing the water, which leads me to a thought about elections and decisions. It is said 25% of voters, which is low for a democracy.
>>>> I don't think that 25% is low for a democracy.
>>> Wait what? When 75% don't vote, the choice of the rest is simply unrepresentative of the whole. That is too low for any democracy.
>> Indeed that is why I expressed a preference of 90%+.
>>
>>> Out of curiosity, what *is* your definition of low?
>> The number of votes in the last several elections have been:
>>
>> 98 (AB 2014)
>> 60 (TAG 2013)
>> 106 (AB 2013)
>> 107 (TAG 2012)
>> 50 (TAG 2011)
>> 53 (AB 2011)
>>
>> I would characterize 60, 50, or 53 as low.
> I'd characterize all of them as low, in general.
>
>>
>>>> It is low for Presidential races in democracies.
>>>> In those democracies that also have local races (common in the US), participation is lower than Presidential races.
>>> So the claim here is that within W3C the AB is less a Presidential or Congressional election than, say, a primary vote in the woods of West Virginia, or an election for Rotary Club Treasurer in Lonelyville, NY?
>> Actually, I made no mention of the woods of West Virginia or the Rotary Club.
>>
>> According to fairvote [1], typical turnout for Congressional elections in the US midterm is about 40%.
> It's 60% the other half of the time. Either of which is far better than 25%.
>
>> I don't have comprehensive data on local elections, but when I searched for some article about that, I learned that 25% is quite typical for municipal elections [2].
> Sure. Though I'm not sure why municipal elections should be the proxy for AB elections. It would seem rather circular to look for elections with a similarly low turnout and then claim relative success because AB turnouts match them. Or do you mean that since the AB has no real power we should compare it to voter interest in other institutions of limited influence? The latter is a fair point, I think. (And suggests 90% is probably unattainable).

There are numerous ways to look at it.  I said in my very first post on 
the topic that I aspire to 90%+ - but I also agree it is unattainable.

So if it is unattainable, I try for a realistic judgement based on other 
available data.  I did not base my judgement on municipal elections per 
se, I brought them in because your previous post provided two 
contrasting points: Presidential elections (60%) and rotary club.  So I 
only brought in municipal elections to provide other data points.

Probably the best proxy is to see how much the AC participates on other 
WBS polls.  Here is the truly sad part of the story.  We value to advice 
of the AC - yet we often see only 10-20 responses for charter renewals.  
We don't often get 100 responses even for the largest working groups 
with the most participants.

Additionally there are the 5-10 reasons listed elsewhere on the thread 
why people might not vote.

And the history that at times we only have 50-60 people voting in an 
AB/TAG election.

All together this is why I said that I was pleased that we got 25%+.

More on municipal elections.

You asked whether I thought the compare to municipal elections was fair 
because the AB has no power.  My views on that statement are:

  * While the AB may have no de jure power; it has substantial influence.
  * Municipal elections actually are quite important.  The largest
    municipalities have budgets in the billions.  Most small
    municipalities have budgets that are larger than W3C's (sadly in my
    view).


>> [1] http://www.fairvote.org/research-and-analysis/voter-turnout/
>> [2] http://www.sarasotagov.com/InsideCityGovernment/Content/CAC/PDF/UofCalifornia.pdf
>>
>>> Fair enough. That's certainly an effective way to lower expectations.
>>>
>>> I'm starting to get the hint this is really the wrong mailing list to figure out why anyone cares about the AB.
>> I don't understand this point.  Could you elaborate?
> That AB elections' low turnout is sort of OK because the AB is about as important to W3C as the average municipal authority to the entire US

This is an incorrect analogy.  The correct analogy is that the AB is 
about as important to W3C as the average municipal authority is to its 
electorate.  The 25% does not mean 25% of Americans vote in the NYC 
election; it means 25% of New Yorkers vote in the NYC election.

>   doesn't make the AB sound like something anyone should ever bother about.

As I've said numerous times, this is not my view.

>   But it certainly explains why you'd think 25% to be a good score.
>
> I suppose it's also quite possible for the low turnout to be rational. Maybe the AB does not in fact matter anywhere near enough most of the time.
>>
Received on Sunday, 8 June 2014 02:44:17 UTC

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