[Foundation-l] elections

Robert Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Sat Apr 7 00:00:19 UTC 2007

David Gerard wrote:
> On 06/04/07, effe iets anders <effeietsanders at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 1.2) Pre-*s*election
>> We could state extra conditions to become candidate. For instance, you
>> need 25 or 50 supports of your candidature by different Wikimedians
>> with >1000 edits and 9 months experience on one project. Just for
>> instance, the numbers can easily be changed. It's about the idea.
>> Every serious candidate should be able to get these endorsements, and
>> the candidates who won't state any chance, wont get these
>> endorsements. Disadvantage is that you won't be able to foresee how
>> many candidates there will be. Another disadvantage is that you will
>> have bureaucratic problems with the checking of the endorsements.
> This sounds a good way to weed out any hopeless candidates. Can anyone
> see a downside to this one?
> - d.

For myself, if I were to suggest another alternative, is to try and go 
with Instant run-off voting

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_run-off_voting

In other words, there is more than one way to try and weed down a large 
number of candidates to just a few.  Particularly in this case when 
there is going to be a great many candidates for several offices.  I 
will also point out that there are advantages and disadvantages of 
almost any election system, and no single method is really ideal.  The 
main point is that the system needs to be in place and firm before 
anything happens.

I would also try to suggest that multiple rounds of voting are as likely 
to turn people off as anything else.  Some people just love to vote on 
nearly everything possible, but for something this serious we shouldn't 
be appealing to just that kind of Wikimedia user.  I'm referring here to 
things like the picture of the day/week/month/year or other similar 
kinds of contests that regularly use voting.

As far as why I support instant run-off votes:  It allows you to rank 
your preferences instead of merely casting votes.  Far too often in 
things like logo decisions (look at the failed example of the "new" 
Wikibooks logo that has been rejected by all but fi.wikibooks... and 
expressly rejected by en.wikibooks) end up with only the most tolerable 
of a minority, where a few leading candidates come forward out of 
mediocrity but others who might have made a stronger concensus are 
rejected.  Multiple rounds merely test the patience of both voters and 
the candidates.  Certainly two rounds isn't too bad on this end, but it 
does require double the work to put it together compared to just one 
round of voting.

Even this sort of pre-screening that is suggested here is just another 
way to put an extra round into the voting process.  There certainly 
should be some eligibility rules (as there has been in the past) that 
would require disclosure of your name, nationality, and age (needed for 
legal purposes if you actually are elected).  Not everybody would want 
to do this, and that is also understandable.  The screening should 
involve some sort of verification of this identity.  As far as getting 
some public supporters/endorsements of a particular candidate, I would 
be wary of sock puppets and other gaming that could happen, but it does 
sound like a way to demonstrate viability.  This whole thing is a 
popularity contest of a sort anyway, and signing for viability doesn't 
mean you will actually vote for them in the election itself.

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