W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-w3process@w3.org > May 2014

RE: Case for/data about elections

From: Michael Champion (MS OPEN TECH) <Michael.Champion@microsoft.com>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2014 18:29:31 +0000
To: Jeff Jaffe <jeff@w3.org>, Brian Kardell <bkardell@gmail.com>, "Charles McCathie Nevile" <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
CC: "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-ID: <7233ae15ec45409bb1af19a0f8f1fa73@BLUPR03MB488.namprd03.prod.outlook.com>
> Last year there was a discussion at the Advisory Board about Voting.
> While I don't recall all of the give and take, in the end there was a consensus not to release information.

As I recall, we always discuss this when an election is open and decide we can't do anything until the next round ... and we forget until the next AB election cycle has started.

Strawman proposal for the next TAG election:
- The nomination process asks nominees whether they object to having the voting data used by the team to research the voting system question and confirmation that they will not contest a result in which they lose under the current system and win under whatever system is eventually chosen.

- The ballot form is structured to ask for up to 5 (or whatever the number is) Yes votes but OPTIONALLY lets AC voters specify their rank ordering of and Acceptable (Y/N) classification of all the candidates, making it clear that only the current voting system will be used for this election.

- The team keeps the raw data confidential, but the Process CG or the AB can supply some sort of script the team can run against the raw data implementing an alternative voting system and the desirable criteria that voting system is expected to achieve.

- The  team will report whether the outcome would change and characterize the difference in terms of the specified criteria.

From: Jeff Jaffe [mailto:jeff@w3.org]
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:07 AM
To: Brian Kardell; Charles McCathie Nevile
Cc: public-w3process@w3.org
Subject: Re: Case for/data about elections

On 5/22/2014 1:42 PM, Brian Kardell wrote:

On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 4:08 AM, Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru<mailto:chaals@yandex-team.ru>> wrote:
On Sun, 18 May 2014 16:26:18 +0200, Brian Kardell <bkardell@gmail.com<mailto:bkardell@gmail.com>>

Spinning off a new thread in order to keep the other about actually voting on votes.

Thank you.

To reiterate in order to pose my questions:  I agree there are potential
biases in the first system, it has serious flaws.  I entirely support the
idea that it is worth discussing and probably fixing.

BUT - I am very dubious that THESE are the biases that have hurt things
thus far and relatively confident that other biases (apathy/lack of
participation or knowledge, who actually does the voting, etc) actually
have had a big impact

That certainly was the case in the past. This is changing (in no small part
through your personal effort, which I applaud). And as it changes...

Thanks.  Lots of people have questioned me on why I do, even speculated some dark purpose.  I took the time to write a post about why which I will reference in the future when this comes up :)  (briankardell.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/desparately-seeking-jimi/<http://briankardell.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/desparately-seeking-jimi/>).

AND changing the voting system does not address these.

No, but those are being addressed. E.g. by your efforts. And when that happens, the system we have effectively disenfranchises a lot of the membership.

I don't see how this is plausible actually, perhaps it's in how you are stating it that is causing me to misunderstand your meaning. "disenfranchises" implies that we are denying a right (definitely not) or systematically marginalizing a voice.  It's my case that *currently* a voice (arguably the most important one) is actually disenfranchised and when I hear that working hard (and making progress) to give them a meaningful place/voice in the process disenfranchises someone else who currently actually has this power - it makes me shiver with thoughts/parallels in my own country's history.

My assertions are easily validated with data.

Given sufficient data of the right type. Which we don't have.

The only data we have available are

the candidates
 The recent trend is for genuinely contested elections.
 AB candidates are more than twice the number of seats.
the winners of elections
the eligible voters

We have anecdotal statements on lists that participation is very low, I believe it has been stated many times that it is something like 10% or less.  I don't see why the W3C would be adverse to releasing a generalized statistic like this if not - perhaps Jeff or someone can just fill in rough ideas over the last 5 elections ala.

Last year there was a discussion at the Advisory Board about Voting.  While I don't recall all of the give and take, in the end there was a consensus not to release information.

I see it is a topic of continued interest, and I have put it on the agenda for next month's Advisory Board meeting.

Election 1:  N1% of members cast votes in the election 1: X% cast all available votes, Y% cast a single vote, Z% cast more than one, but less than the total number of available seats.

That is totally anonymous in every way but would provide enough information to prove or disprove a lot of speculation - it might actually inspire some people to vote, which is also a good thing.  If not, could W3C please provide a rationale as to why this is not acceptable?

I can't think of any rationale.  As I said, I don't recall all of the give and take from last year, but it is up for discussion again this year.


On several occasions now i have heard people cite recent elections.
The fact that candidates and folks like myself actively made an effort
to turn out the vote and collaborated and discussed importance out in
the open on issues is a perfectly rational explanation, but there is
adamant insistence it seems that somehow the system is rigged or


I strongly believe it is not "rigged" in the sense that "someone is

The system we have now is known[1] to give slates of candidates landslide
victories, leading to a situation where elections tend toward two slates
of candidates (because only irrational actors would bother to run except
on a slate that was likely to win).
Hmm... This seems contradictory to the data.  Previously: Not enough candidates.  Then we have organization which creates 'slates' who actually work hard/cooperate toward a vision and, !surprise! they win.  Now we have more candidates than seats - are there suddenly a great many more irrational actors?  I dont think so.  I think there is a kind of genuine interest and somewhat a healthy tug of debate on purpose/vision/etc.

It *appears* that this is happening to the elected bodies of W3C,
meaning that they are the candidates selected only by the largest single
voting bloc within the membership. In elections where there are more than
2 candidates per seat, that may well be a minority of those who vote.

Literally every preferential system would be better than the one we have - especially if there were some generalized information made available so that those elected had a sense of things.  I think there are some other biases here as well - while we have an election, people are actively criticized for 'campaigning' (that is, making efforts beyond a couple of paragraphs which are mostly about their background) but actually still generally rewarded with votes for doing so because it is the main channel available to the actual voters.  At the same time, folks like myself who have an interest really have no "broad channel" to ACs.  You might say "well, you're not an AC, so why would you have access to the AC forum" - that's absolutely true - but, for example, what about candidates like Boaz or Lea who are *candidates* without that ability who aren't part of the member org who nominated them to help give developers a fighting change -- that's a pretty uphill battle for them... more like a giant mountain - and not because they are bad candidates....

Yes. People have asked for such experiments, and been told to explain the
problem first.

Uncircling the wagons in this chain of argument and getting some real
data would indeed be helpful. Sadly, as far as I can tell it won't happen.

If we can't do it officially, why can't we do it unofficially?  Setup a google form and send to the AC forum.... Any data seems better than no data else we are just talking in circles.



Charles McCathie Nevile - Consultant (web standards) CTO Office, Yandex
        chaals@yandex-team.ru<mailto:chaals@yandex-team.ru>         Find more at http://yandex.com

Brian Kardell :: @briankardell :: hitchjs.com<http://hitchjs.com/>
Received on Thursday, 22 May 2014 18:30:04 UTC

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