Low voter registration and candidate bias

I recently was reading through the list of registered voters, and I find it
somewhat disturbing how few people have bothered to register.

According to http://foundation.gnome.org/membership.html there are currently
350 registered members as of October 28, 2000.  Going to
lists.helixcode.com, and looking at the subscriber lists I see

267 subscribed to Evolution-hackers
770 to Evolution
31 to Achtung
302 to beta
116 to gb
442 to glade-devel
84 to glade-users
34 gnome-bindings
54 gnome dev-tools
65 to gnome-print
42 to gnome-vfs

aside from these lists, we have 36 lists hosted at http://lists.gnome.org ,
5 more lists hosted at helixcode that do not show membership, 2 lists hosted
at eazel, and possibly 6 or so other lists that are scattered throughout the
net that are 'gnome' or strongly gnome related lists (abiword, debian
packaging lists for the gnome applications, some GNU lists related to Gnome
projects (GNUe for example...) and a variety of gnome and gtk apps).

While admittedly there is a large degree of duplication on the various lists
(i.e. each of the helixcode hackers is probably subscribed the bonobo,
gnome-print and evolution lists...), the percentage of active contributors
per list is relatively small (especially for large lists such and
evolution-hackers and glade-devel), and that voter apathy will likely play
in this process as it does in any election process - 350 voters does not
seem to be an adequate representation of the actual contributors to the
gnome project and the list of volunteers for the BOD for the Gnome
foundation tends to be heavily populated by those with commercial interest
in Gnome.

I believe that the low number of registered voters and heavy bias in the
potential Board Of Directors candidates for the companies that have proposed
the Gnome Foundation BOD are due to three primary causes

1) limited publication of the availability for participation

of the 10 or so gnome related lists that I am subscribed to, only ONE
mentioned the upcoming Gnome Foundation elections.  While /. and gnome
gnotices have both mentioned the upcoming Gnome Foundation elections, unless
one happened to check that information source on the days that they were
posted, then the announcement would have been missed.

2) The example 'voter registration' tended to suggest a much greater degree
of participation needed to register than is actually the case.  Using Havoc
and his contributions to Gnome as the example gave the impression that one
needed to be an 'uber hacker' for participation, whereas a much more modest
participation was actually required.  Clearer examples of what a 'reasonable
contribution' to participate in the elections should have been done.

3) Short term notice
The document describing how to do self-nomination for BOD candidacy mentions
that ones 75 word summary needed to be in 'this week', which I take to
suggest that the document for electing oneself was made available/completed
the week that the self-nomination needed to take place!!  Thus those
available for self nomination would have been limited almost exclusively to
those included in the process of designing the document and those who have
been subscribed to the mailing lists that announce the document.

Given the above, I am concerned that adequate representation of the Gnome
community is highly unlikely.  Instead, I fear that the election will be a
tool for the companies with a vested interest in Gnome to claim legitimacy
in attempting to control Gnomes future to their purposes when in fact the
legitimacy may not exist.  While I believe that Helixcode, Eazel, Sun, and
IBM, etc. will certainly attempt to act in Gnomes best interests, it is
apparent to me that many legitimate participants have almost certainly been
excluded from the process from the flaws outlined in the above criticisms.

I would recommend that the election be delayed until the following steps
have been taken

1)  The voting solicitation is reworked so that more realistic examples of
who should register or participate in the election is made.
2)  All lists that have a stake in the Gnome Foundation elections have been
notified of the elections and solicited for voters and potential candidacy

I welcome your thoughts and comments,

Tom M.
TomM pentstar com

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]