Re: straw polls, voting, and close world assumptions [was: Telecon Minutes ...]

Thanks for that piece of clarification Dan and
reflecting back, the chairs did a real great job!
I was wrong in seeking justification for abstaining
which is indeed like "no justification found"
(which seems also related to Jeremy's "single bit"
in the sense of "evidence found/no evidence found"
for the question that is put given explicit givens).

-- ,
Jos De Roo, AGFA

                    Dan Connolly                                                                                   
                    <connolly@w3.o       To:     Jos De_Roo/AMDUS/MOR/Agfa-NV/BE/BAYER@AGFA                        
                    rg>                  cc:     Nick Gibbins <>, WebOnt Working Group          
                    2003-03-28           Subject:     straw polls, voting, and close world assumptions [was:       
                    07:44 PM              Telecon     Minutes ...]                                                 

On Fri, 2003-03-28 at 12:20, Jos De_Roo wrote:
> [as an aside about cwa]
> > (didn't finish reading minutes yet; might send more later.
> > No closed world assumptions, please ;-)
> in telecon of last week there was just
> an asking for "opposed" and "abstain"
> and in the strawpoll

Calling for abstentions in a straw poll is a bug,
in my book.

>  I couldn't find
> justification for opposition, so I
> abstained while in the vote I couldn't
> justify an abstention so I said nothing
> which is not the same as "in favor" ;-)

There's no closed world assumption when taking
a straw poll. The idea is to get a general sense
of whether there's substantial agreement, not a
precise enumeration of who or even how many hold
which position. Those who respond aren't binding
themselves to anything, let alone those who don't

In contrast, putting the question is (1) a
signal from the chair that s/he observes substatial
agreement, so that it's cost-effective to
ask only those who don't agree to speak up,
(2) a signal that the chair decided that further
discussion isn't cost-effective, (3) a call
for all present to register their position
for the record, after which the chair instructs
the scribe to record whether the question carried
or not.

There should never be a need to "justify" an abstention;
you should feel free to abstain any time a question
is put that you don't support. The only cost to the
group is that the question might fail to carry due
to an insufficient number of 'aye' votes if too
many people abstain. But that's part of the process;
it means the chair guessed wrong about the level
of support and/or the cost-effectiveness
of further discussion when s/he put the question.

I'm sure this is all in Robert's Rules of Order

I don't think we ever had a case of a question
being put and not carried, though we came close,
due to lots of abstentions, a few times. When
we closed 5.26 over my objection last week,
there were sufficient abstentions that I was
tempted to ask for an explicit enumeration
of the 'aye' votes. But then we could have
gotten into the issues of quorum, 2/3rds
majority, and all that, which we had managed
to avoid so far. I'm glad I kept my mouth
shut, because things have worked themselves
out since then.

> -- ,
> Jos De Roo, AGFA
Dan Connolly, W3C

Received on Friday, 28 March 2003 19:57:03 UTC