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Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 1

Magrathea

One of the (many) topics we need guidance from the Community on is the mechanics of a voting system.


What would we be voting for?

We'd be voting for people to do the tasks the Italics do now - in other words, for the people who would work on the Editorial and Community Team and the Business Team. See this diagram here: http://h2g2c2.co.uk/furniture/BodiesAndGroups.jpg

The mechanics of who would vote for the Business Team are fairly straight-forward because people could only be members of the Legal Entity using their real life names and addresses. (Not our rule - it's to do with anti-money-laundering legislation). So the electorate for that is known, and the mechanics are simple and the details depend on which format of Legal Entity.

Where it gets tricky - where we need everyone to pitch in with their smiley - 2cents now - where everyone will have Capital O Opinions come the time of the elections - is on the mechanics of voting for the Editorial and Community Team.

There's more about the teams and the electorate here: A81133670



So the discussion points include:

1) How would you manage an election to ensure one person one vote?

2) Who should be allowed to vote? What do we mean by 'a member of the site'?

3) How often should the Editorial and Community team stand for re-election ? All of them once a year? A third of them every year? Anyone who's been a member for more than 2 years?

4) How would you, how could you rig the election?


So, ladies and gentlefroods, please flex your imaginations, make suggestions, tell us how other communities manage this, work out how you would stuff the ballot so other people in the thread can work out how to stop you....

Ben / Mrs Zen


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 2

Peanut

http://www.cs.cornell.edu/w8/~andru/civs/

could use the above to manage the vote.

Re-election every 18 months or when someone quits.

If we are flooded by suitable candadites then after 18 months you can't stand for re-election unless there is only one other person going for vacant posts?

Everyone who is registered member on the site should be able to vote.

Peanut smiley - peacesign


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 3

paulh. Following butterflies through the meadows

I think that the terms of office should be two years in length. Only half of the directors should be up for election in any given year.

The mechanics of arranging the voting process so that no one can vote more than once are daunting -- almost as daunting as getting many people to turn out and vote. I mean, I cam think of elaborate schemes to ensure that everyone votes only once, but does the effort seem worthwhile if it turns out that no one wanted to vote more than once? Rube Goldberg, meet Sir William of Okkham.


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 4

8584330

1) How would you manage an election to ensure one person one vote?

The method peanut suggests looks fairly good.

2) Who should be allowed to vote? What do we mean by 'a member of the site'?

Voting members of our local public radio station must either have donated 50$/year or have volunteered a certain number of hours.

I strongly recommend requiring a similar commitment on the part of the voter.

3) How often should the Editorial and Community team stand for re-election? Don't change everyone out at the same time. A half every other year or a third every year would still allow continuity.

4) How would you, how could you rig the election? Ask Pastey.


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 5

Mrs Zen

I like the site you linked to Peanut, a simple and elegent solution....

.... but ....

it's not one person one vote, it's one email address one vote. I have five accounts here at h2g2, so that's five votes for me.

smiley - runs off to stuff the ballot....smiley - run


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 6

Vip

Rigging the outcome is easy. Multiple accounts. Sure, I tell you my real name and address. And my other real name. And my other one. Or my email address, and my other email address etc. Due to some of the test accounts I've opened over the years I have six or seven accounts too.

Initially I think we're going to have to go on trust. Yes, it's open to abuse, but so is everything else.

The concept of earning your vote interests me. Someone who's written and Approved Entry, a column for the Post, donated to keeping the site afloat, joined (and been active in) a Volunteer scheme, or anything else we think of.
Again, it's not hard to rig, but the person in question would have to put in quite a lot of effort over a long time to have more than one or two accounts that could have earned their vote.

smiley - fairy


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 7

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Yes, I think it's a good idea to have requirements to voters. So nobody can just open 10 accounts to vote. If they need to have written an Entry etc on every voting account the effort will maybe seem too much.
I could also imagine great activities in the forums or PR being enough to vote. But that's harder to check.


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 8

Vip

The big problem is that it automatically excludes the readers and lurkers. While they may not take a hand in creating content, they are who we are creating content *for*. If we ignore them we may go in a direction that loses us our readership.

On the other hand if we create surveys and ask for their opinions regularly we should have an idea about what they think and can take that into account even if they can't vote.

smiley - fairy


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 9

Z

The last time we discussed this was that we wanted the readers and lurkers to have a say.

We also don't want to appear cliquely. Whiskey raised this possibility as a serious concern in his journal.

Not sure what the best way forward is and interested in all opinions.


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 10

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

I don't think that anyone who is not subscribed should vote for Editors. It too much bears the possibility of people hitting random buttons 100 times.


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 11

Haragai

I think the voting-system should be incorporated into the site as soon as we have moved away from the BBC.

Incorporating the voting into the site has the (additional) benefit that Researchers (registered users) can stay as anonymous as they like because they would only have to login to h2g2 (as they do now) to cast their vote and do not have to divulge additional personal information to login to an external voting site.

A good voting system has mechanisms in place that would enforce the 1 vote per Researcher and prevent ballotbox stuffing. In the case of h2g2 I would recommend not allowing voting by proxy i.e. allowing someone else to vote on your behalf.

Announcement of an upcoming vote can be done through the Front Page, The Post and by sending an E-mail and it can be a distinctive Entry on the Community page.
The Researcher had to provide a valid E-mail address when signing up and when someone has used a disposable E-mail address for signing up it is not the problem of the h2g2c2 that he/she/it missed the E-mail announcement.

Voting should be exclusive to Researchers only like voting for the Board of h2g2c2 and an additional constraint could be built in to prevent ballotbox stuffing by requiring that the Researchers has been registered for longer than {x} weeks.
One could set up a vote-rigging system but it would require extensive preparation but I will not give details in public as to how it can be done and how it can be prevented as well.

Keep in mind that Voting is not the same as running a Survey!
Voting is used to influence the composition and direction of the Board of the h2g2c2 i.e. the legal entity.
Surveys are about opinions and used to influence the day to day running of the site and the Editorial process and has no direct influence on the legal entity. Surveys can be open to visitors/readers and have a restriction of 1 vote per IP-address or something like that.

Should we allow campaigning in the electorial process?
This question may be of less importance now but should be answered to prepare for the future.
My idea is to allow a campaign through an Entry and the Conversations as it would require the campaigner to state his point of view and opinions clearly and the Conversations would provide for the Q's and A's of the Community.
Campaign Forums would require intense scrutiny of the Editors/Electorial Committee to prevent flamewars, defamation and other unpleasantries.

Speaking of Electorial Committee; Do we need to provide for one, maybe not now but in the future?
Whatever we decide/compromise on now does cast its shadow forward and therefore it is good to think and talk about these points.

smiley - cheers


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 12

Mrs Zen

>> A good voting system has mechanisms in place that would enforce the 1 vote per Researcher and prevent ballotbox stuffing.

What mechanisms would you suggest, Martin? I've just told you I have 5 different accounts, 6 if you include Magrathea. Your suggestion means I get to vote 6 times.


>> Voting should be exclusive to Researchers only like voting for the Board of h2g2c2

Please re-read the opening post - voting is for members of the Editorial and Community Team. Members of the Business Team would be voted for by members of the Legal Entity. Membership of the Legal Entity would be as open as we could make it, but would require real names and addresses because of the money-laundering / anti-fraud / identity-theft legislation we must comply with.


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 13

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Thank you. I also just wanted to point out the differences of voting and surveys. smiley - cheers


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 14

Haragai

>> A good voting system has mechanisms in place that would enforce the 1 vote per Researcher and prevent ballotbox stuffing.

> What mechanisms would you suggest, Martin? I've just told you I have 5 different accounts, 6 if you include Magrathea. Your suggestion means I get to vote 6 times.

I think this is best not discussed in public and when the time is right I can present my ideas to the 'Nuts & Bolts' team.

> Please re-read the opening post - voting is for members of the Editorial and Community Team.
Yes, of course, wrong example (Board instead of Editors), my bad. Still the point stands : Researchers vote, visitors can only participate in surveys.

The legal entity and the Board have been discussed before and to me that is clear as a cloudless sunny bright day in the park with an icecream.smiley - smiley


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 15

Z

I do think that we need to design such a system fairly soon.. if you have a chance could you e mail your ideas to [Personal details removed by Moderator] please?


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 16

Haragai

Working on it now.
smiley - cheers


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 17

Sol

Readers and lurkers are important, absolutely no question, and we need to try to remember them and find out their opinions, but the people the editors and such actually have to work with are the active users of the site. I have no problem with limiting the voting of the editorial committee to them myself, and I think the idea of having some kind of 'contribution to the site' requirement (set nice and broadly so that it reflects all sorts of contributions) is a good one.


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 18

Peanut

I couldn't think a way around the one email - one vote issue, the tech peeps could could up with something I figured, but even then it wouldn't be foolproof. If you were hellbent on rigging, you could set up an email at your library, college/workplace, yer Mams and home, then you could get a couple of friends to register and vote.

The only other solution is a postal vote a nightmare for admin and to adjudicate and costly.






Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 19

Lanzababy - Guide Editor

maybe there could be a simple pre-registration requirement for voting that could be verified by someone. Remember Emmily starting a list of current active h2g2 members? I guess the sock puppet accounts and multiples such as Vip and Ben hold are not counted on this list?

I would be more than happy if voting was restricted to members who have contributed in some way, either by an Approved Entry, contributing to the Post, Underguide or some long-standing thread. Maybe just length of membership if none of the above applied.

There would still be ways around this I am sure, but not so statistically significant to elect a really bad choice surely? I mean how many multiple accounts would be needed to sway the result in a bad way?


Magrathea's workshop - Voting Systems

Post 20

Mrs Zen

There's also the question of whether or not we'll ever actually get enough people standing for us to need elections.... smiley - laugh

But let's be hopeful about that.

And, no, sfaik none of my alter egos appeared on Emmily's list. (For the record,

smiley - monster one was my pre-SSO a/c,
smiley - monster one was a SSO account I got at about the same time I got this one,
smiley - monster one is Greensleeves, who's a torch singer who occasionally turns up in the Atelier and sings drunken songs about trolls,
smiley - monster one was a shared account I set up which was used for some pieces of writing now in the UnderGuide about things too personal for the authors to post under their usual names here,
smiley - monster one, that I used for posting in threads about teenage suicides,
smiley - monster oh, god there was another one I used for stalking someone who wasn't even a member of the damn site - I'd forgotten that one
smiley - monster then there's Magrathea which is a shared account, but I set it up

I think that's it. I have been here over 10 years.... Two were imposed on me by the BBC, two for pseudonomynous creativity, one that's a true sock puppet, one that was me just flipping out, and one that relates to a community project. I think I may have had the rights on the UnderGuide Editors' accoun too once.

smiley - mod Oh and I had one for when I was modding on Get Writing....

B


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