Re: GNOME Foundation elections!

Hi everyone,

I'm going to reply to a bunch of people at once in order to keep the
volume of mail down.  I hope this doesn't confuse things.

It seems like a number of people are concerned that the timeline I
proposed earlier may be too compressed, so how about if we extend it by
one week, as follows:
- October 2 (Monday): Announce the elections on Gnotices, invite
people to register to vote, invite people to submit slates.
- October 23 (Monday): Deadline for submitting slates for the
elections.  Deadline for making changes to the charter. (added one week
- October 25 (Wednesday): Slates are posted on Gnotices.
- October 30 (Monday): Deadline to register to vote.
- November 6 (Monday): Elections begin.
- November 13 (Monday): Elections end.
- November 14 (Tuesday): Election results announced.

You and I disagree about whether having slates is better than letting
people vote for individual board members.  Maybe a lot of people feel they
way you do, in which case we should reconsider the proposed timeline and
election process, but we've been at this for a number of months now and my
feeling is that most people are comfortable with the idea of slates.

One specific response: I think it would be totally OK for people to appear
on multiple slates, but people listed on slates should be able to remove
themselves from that slate.  If there's 5 slates, I can imagine that all
of them may wish to include Miguel, and I would kind of assume that he
would be OK with being on those slates, but might want to reserve the
right to remove himself from any specific slate with which he doesn't want
to be associated.

Russell Steinthal wrote:

> While I would think it would be better to have election supervisors
> with more built-up reputation in the community, I would be willing to
> volunteer if needed and wanted.  And I can guarantee that I have no
> neither the ability nor desire to stand for election to the Board. :)

It sounds like there's consensus to hold the elections via postings to a
publicly archived mailing list.  That provides a lot of openness.
Therefore, I don't think we need to go crazy coming up with a supervisors
system.  Right now, there's a Membership committee on the Steering
Committee.  I think it's just 2 people or so.  Russell, why don't you join
that committee, and that committee can oversee the elections.  Does that
strike the right balance?

Nat Friedman wrote:

> Cryptographic guarantees seem like overkill to me.  The guarantee is,
> a user can view the public list archive and make sure that his mail
> corresponds to what he meant to vote.

I agree with Nat.

Havoc Pennington wrote:

> I think the script to count fancy votes is totally trivial, assuming
> email in a sane format, so I think we should do that. It would be lame
> to have the winning slate with only 1/4 of the vote.

Sounds like people prefer this approach.  So let's let people vote by
ranking the slates, and you'll write a little script to help with vote
tallying (we can do a manual tally for poorly formatted returns).

> I don't remember if the charter specified secret ballots or not; if
> they are secret, our life is more complicated. If public I propose
> that we vote by simply sending mail to an archived mailing list on
> If secret, things are really a lot more complicated. I
> remember this being discussed, but not sure we came to a conclusion.

The charter doesn't specify this, but we've discussed this before and
agreed to not have secret ballots, which avoids key exchanges and other

> I'd propose a mailing list with the following properties:
>  - official foundation announcements only; it would have
>    calls for nominations, calls for votes, announcements of each
>    nomination, voting results, and the minutes from board meetings.
>  - we batch-subscribe everyone in membership.txt, but let anyone join
>    later if they want, or the membership.txt people can change their
>    subscription address
>  - moderated, to be sure it is pretty low-traffic, announcements only,
>    and no bogus announcements

> This is the list you have to read if you want to know about votes and
> things; if you're on it, you know what's going on; if you're not on
> it, no whining about "I didn't know about XYZ."
> Then we should have a separate mailing list for discussion; for that
> I'd propose simply repurposing this list from "plan foundation" to
> "discuss foundation matters."
> I'll create the mailing list by Monday if there are no objections, and
> we can send the call for nominations out there in addition to
> Gnotices.
> Havoc

My recommendation would be to have at least 3 widely disseminated posts:
- Monday's announcement that we're having elections, and inviting people
to register and to submit slates
- An announcement where we list all the slates that have been submitted
- An announcement that elections are being held

Beyond that, I would recommend using this list, which is publicly archived
and open, for additional election-related posts, and using the new list
(vote gnome org or whatever) only for the votes themselves.  But I don't
have super-strong feelings about this.


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