Re: GNOME Foundation elections!

On Tue, Sep 26, 2000 at 05:38:17PM -0700, Bart Decrem wrote:
> Hi Daniel,
> The slates idea is rather old by now.  It was part of drafts of the charter
> way back in early July.  We've had a number of  discussions about it on this
> list (see, for example, this thread:
> and I
> definitely felt there was consensus around that idea.
> The main reason to have slates, instead of electing individuals, is to end up
> with a team for the board that makes sense and has a number of checks and
> balances.  For example, some people may feel that it's important to have
> representation from Europe, US, and other regions.  Others will want
> representatives of the core GNOME building blocks (GTK, Bonobo....).  We will
> want to balance out corporate influences and make sure there's critical mass
> of people who aren't beholden to a corporate employer.  We'll want to have a
> few consensus builders, and some folks who like to argue about things.  If we
> elect a bunch of individuals, we are going to end up with a really random
> collection of people and it's going to be very hard to have the board
> function effectively.    Maybe it helps to thing of this less as a Congress
> for GNOME and more as an executive branch that really needs to function
> effectively as a team.

  Then considering the many requirements you put in the slates it would
take at least a few month imho to get the people to assembles a meaningful
set of slates outside of the slate from the current board.
  I also feel that people may not feel okay to join multiple slate, and
the core problem of not being able to vote for A and B because they are not
in the same slate worries me.
  To establish democracy you need time for the debates, raise the points
expose different options, then grew lists and confront them. All of this I
think will lose a lot of time and energy, while voting for people instead
of voting for slates reduce the amount of politics needed to get to a
democratical point.
  I still bet that using slates will either:
    - result in no democracy: the board suggested one will be elected
      with a huge majority. 
    - require a lot of time spent by hackers which should instead focuse on
      code than on starting trying to grew up all the complex understanding
      of the political situation and try to turn themselves into candidate
      of a democratic election ...
  Whatever reason you decided to use slates will probably not be significant
in comparison of either case, again IMHO. I would be glad to be proved
wrong :-)

> >    Why slates too ? Can't this just be an election of individuals
> > especially with so little experience and notice. It's a congress
> > why not have a list of runners and let people pick X names from
> > the list and declare elected the X most cited persons ? this is
> > direct democracy and limits the political aspects.
> >
> > > 4.  Putting together slates.
> > > As outlined in the charter, registered voters will elect a slate of
> > > board members and there is a process by which members can submit
> > > slates.  Hopefully there'll be a number of slates from which
> > > GNOME hackers can choose. I believe that the GNOME Steering Committee
> > > will also submit a slate for the board.  Hopefully, slates will be
> > > submitted with a note explaining why the proposed board composition will
> > > best meet our needs.

  when I rewieved it in July I misunderstood the meaning of "slate" it's
only your mail and the associated context (plus Gdict a very handy app !)
which led me to realize that it was lists, and not individuals. Again
too complex wording ...

> > > 5.  Election mechanics.
> > > There are 2 ways to have the elections:
> > > - "the basics": we set up a mailman list, auto-subscribe all the
> > > registered voters to the list, limit posts to the list to members of the
> > > list, and then ask everybody to send email to the list address (let's
> > > call it vote gnome org) with a slate number as the subject field.  When
> > > the election is closed, we can then do a quick check to make people
> > > didn't double-vote, and tally the results.  This is very simple, very
> > > open (anyone can inspect the ballots), and no machinery is required;
> >
> >   yes there is a machinery, at another level, how do you plan to
> > get the slates made ??? Surprizingly the Steering Committee will
> > submit a slate, sounds a bit fishy to me, sorry !
> Slates are put together by people who feel strongly about this.  For example,
> perhaps you want to put together a slate that you feel would best represent
> the GNOME community.  Since the Steering Committee has been working as a team
> for a while now, dealing with the same issues that the Board will deal with,
> it makes a lot of sense to me that they would submit a slate (I think I have
> proposed that on this list in the past).  Of course, if their slate doesn't
> reflect the desires of the hackers, it won't get elected.  Nothing fishy
> about that.

  yes in teh sense taht this slate has been prepared for months, and
that the companies in the commity can force their hackers to participate
only in this slate not another making the point that I tried to address
earlier: I consider the commity a set of representative for the Gnome 
project, not a running board. The very difference is that it's okay for
a running board to be elected as a slate because the tasks are not uniforms
within the board. But for representative, you're aiming at a representation
as close as possible to the voters viewpoint, and then slates simply
break the process. Which you admit yourself by saying now that we don't
elect a "congress" but a "Team" ... this is definitely not what I understood

> >   I hate this slate thing. Basically if there is 4 candidates I would
> > like to see elected, but they are on different slates I can only vote
> > for 1 (or 2 in the second case) of them. Damn that's frustrating espcially
> > if X is like 10. Or do you expect all the "big names" to be in the same
> > slate ;-)
> >   You also didn't explained one of the crucial aspects of the vote,
> > Suppose Slate A has 200 votes and Slate B 100 votes. Is the resulting
> > board made of 2/3 of slate A and 1/3 or Slate B (which requires ordering
> > in the slates then) or Slate A is declared winner alone. in the second
> > case and assuming the Board propose a slate, then I feel it's simply
> > not fair. All bets would immediately go to this slate, drop the elections
> > in that case and autoelect the board we will all loose less time.
> >
> I don't think merging slates based on election results makes sense for the
> reasons described above.  Personally, I am in favor or the simpler election
> process ('the basics').

<rant mindset="french">
  Can we simply just say the slate suggested by the Board is elected
now ithe 95% of the votes, and stop loosing time on a kind of faked
democratic process ... I don't see who will have the energy of building
such slates. I certainly don't have time for this (I just cancelled
the project of running a local Linux Expo in Grenoble by lack of time
I don't see how I could convince myself that spending time on this 
political stuff can be justified at this level of load). I'm sad that
the people considering setting up the Gnome foundation think that electing
the people like the best means a "really random collection of people".
I'm sad that people are afraid of democracy ! I don't want to vote for
a random collection of slates, I want to vote for the people I know
and I trust ! That trust relationship took years to establish. I can't
put as much trust in a (set of) slate(s) where the people may be scattered
or associated to people I don't know. Or if I just know them all this
probably means only the slate of the Board and we are back to no democracy.
I totally understand that an election where one knows in advance who will
be elected helps a lot for planification, especially when one want
got get thing to be set up fast ... 


Daniel Veillard w3 org | W3C, INRIA Rhone-Alpes  | Today's Bookmarks :
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