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

Re: Case for/data about elections

From: Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2014 21:20:28 +0200
To: "Jeff Jaffe" <jeff@w3.org>, "Brian Kardell" <bkardell@gmail.com>, "Michael Champion (MS OPEN TECH)" <Michael.Champion@microsoft.com>
Cc: "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.xf9z0ep1y3oazb@chaals.local>
On Thu, 22 May 2014 20:29:31 +0200, Michael Champion (MS OPEN TECH)  
<Michael.Champion@microsoft.com> wrote:

>> 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.

Speak for yourself. I can predict these things, and have done.

> 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>>
> wrote:
> 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.
> [snip]
> 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
> something.
> "Something".
> I strongly believe it is not "rigged" in the sense that "someone is
> cheating".
> 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.
> Cheers
> Chaals
> --
> 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/>

Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex
chaals@yandex-team.ru         Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Thursday, 22 May 2014 19:21:02 UTC

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