Opportunity to either significantly improve this forum, or just let it go peacefully into the night
SaraWolk last edited by
The above post is unnecessarily alarmist and antagonistic. If people want to help make it better, then do so without attacking the people doing the work. The council voted for Equal Vote to take on responsibility the Forum officially and to join the Equal Vote Coalition as it's own entity some time ago and so we've been slowly checking off boxes to get that squared away on the back end, including paying for the hosting for it. Equal Vote only has 2 people on staff and we do a lot, so it's our volunteers and community who are doing the posting and discussion, not so much just our staff. (Currently Sass and I.)
Jack and the council haven't "given up control". This is the first time I'm hearing that there was a conduct issue with Jack. If so, and if it hasn't resolved itself by now, I invite everyone to take a look at the code of conduct and DM me if there is action required on that.
Rob's ideas for the forum (before and now) are good, but the way he came at the conversation back at the CES forum when we were first deciding what to do, and again now, are out of line. People voted on what to do. There was a bug in the tally on the new tool Jay was building at the time, the bug was caught, discussion was had on whether to revote or keep working towards a more broadly supported censuses since the race was very close and the winner wasn't broadly popular, people opted to call it done, and the results were accepted by all.
Bringing it up again in the context of a mutiny is ridiculous for a forum that all can agree could use more involvement from everyone, not less. I'd love to post and engage more, but have been busy with a move lately. In the meantime the forum is here as a resource for those who do have questions to post or ideas to share.
We are looking for more people to be involved in moderation and leadership roles. If that's something you're interested in please let me know. One issue is that after CES let their forum die, and after we stepped up to recreate it here, they launched their discord as the space for similar conversations. My understanding is that took away some of the demand for a new forum. Reddit also fills the niche somewhat. Still, I think this is a great resource, and it's here when we need it.
PS: I have shown consistent effort and currently have put in more time set up, moderate, and host this forum than anyone else other than Jack.
I may not post a lot, and I'm not volunteering to be a main moderator because of bandwidth, but I just spent hours on the back end stuff this last week to keep it up and make sure the expenses are paid. To do that and then come here and find this thread feels super insulting and hurtful.
The forum is posted from the Equal Vote website under the Resources drop down.
I am sure we are all comrades here sharing certain common values and purposes, despite that some pairs of us have had disagreements at one time or another and still might not be in agreement on every point.
I am the one who injected the term "mutiny" for the proposal and no one else agreed that it is a good term and Rob specifically said it isn't. And he's right. It's more a proposal for self-governance in the face of the council having become inactive in fact. The only way ever suggested for the council to decide anything was by meeting, and since the question about simplifying the hierarchy of topic areas came up, and after multiple requests to meet by me, and a request to consider deciding things by e-mail, the members have not managed to come together on a meeting time, and there has been no response about any other way to make decisions. I think one member has not responded at all, if I remember correctly. The council only had four members. Anyway, given all the time that has gone by without a meeting and with a question open, it's fairly reasonable for anyone aware of the events to assess the body as factually inactive.
Jack and the council haven't "given up control".
In fact, I have given up, to you, Ms. Wolk, control of the domain-name registration. For good or ill, that's the plain fact. A few days ago, I could have changed the nameserver entries, and if I were to want to today, I could not, and you could.
Again, I re-emphasize our common interest here, which also you alluded to when you said this is a good resource, and I appreciate the contributions to date of Rob, Sara, and all others who have posted or have been involved in the mechanics or governance or sharing of thoughts on what the forum should be.
@jack-waugh Good reminders, thanks. Still, calling a vote in a thread ad hoc to take control is a pretty extreme thing to do, especially considering the history. Calling a vote in a thread rather than helping to properly call a meeting and scheduling it is not how decision making for orgs is done.
Putting a meeting on the agenda sounds like a good idea. We also can have that meeting open to anyone interested in potentially helping with leadership in any capacity, as we always have in the past.
When I said "Jack and the council haven't "given up control"." I stand by that. The council put Equal Vote in 'control' quite a while ago, though Jack was still hosting the domain name on his personal account, which was always a temporary solution. Jack still admins the web hosting for now.
For that reason, I don't see putting the name under Equal Vote as a change of control, it's just a change of admin on the managing. 'Control' was and is still held by the Voting Theory Council, with Equal Vote managing it per the Forum Council's decisions. If there were ever issues with me or Jack or whoever is admining the domain stepping down or passing keys, that could be remedied now.
@rob @Jack-Waugh, To all reading this, I'd like to clarify that the "vote" Rob is referencing above was to pick a name for this new forum. It wasn't a vote on who to unilaterally put in charge. There was full consensus on who to put in change with everyone wanting to convene a council to govern the Forum and make decisions according to bylaws and processes that we then spent months dialing in. Everyone who volunteered was on that council.
We completed that process steadily with a lot of meetings upfront and now that it's done, the plan was/is to convene council meetings as needed. While it would be great to have a meeting soon to bring in some new leadership if people are interested, or to talk about upgrades proposed, we've still been just plugging away at what was previously decided.
Rob retracted his initial offer to help and wasn't on that original council because of the way he handled the situation he references above; attacking others (me and Jay who had stepped up to try and help,) assuming bad faith, and generally making a simple decision into a hostile nightmare of drama that was very toxic, personal, and lasted for months.
The council considered inviting Rob to be on the council anyways after some time had passed because he clearly has a lot of positive things that he could contribute, but specifically decided not to because of the history. Jack shouldn't be passing keys to anyone the council hasn't authorized to hold them.
Rob, I would be happy to work with you, but the way you've treated me before and again now has been repeatedly hostile, personal, and uncalled for. I would have quit over it a few times, (as Jay did) but as the only woman in this space I'm too stubborn to do so. If you want to turn a new leaf and try to get involved here again this isn't the way to do it.
Ps. Thanks for tagging everyone but me in a thread about me. Nice.
When something is determined by a vote, how long before it can come up for reconsideration and possible change by another vote? I think the same question came up in regard to Brexit. Someone in the UK political context said the UK people should vote on it again. And someone responded, if it's reversed by that vote, do we need another vote to see whether we are reversing the decision again. And so on.
rob Banned last edited by rob
@jack-waugh We have the ability to recall a governor here in California, and it's pretty much a mess. But at least it is agreed upon before the vote exactly what the process is.
If we were to do a vote again at the forum (*), it should be agreed ahead of time who is allowed to vote (say, people who have posted at least once in each of the last 3 months?), and, given that, we stick with the results unless a supermajority request a revote. (for instance, if over 60% vote yes on a binary choice of yes or no to a revote)
The problem we needed to account for when voting for the domain was, what if a bunch of people (possibly a bunch of troublemakers from Reddit or something) insincerely vote for "Boaty McBoatface" or the like? Do we have to stick with the results? That wasn't the case here, as there was no indication that anyone voted insincerely.
The other thing we should do is have the voting happen on the forum, not in some offsite thing, so it is crystal clear who voted for what, since you are voting with your logged-in account. It also means anyone can tabulate it, there is no one running the vote and doing the counting.... anyone can count it and if others don't trust their tabulation, they can just do their own count and show their work. There is no need for a voting widget or anything, since it isn't hard to produce a compact set of ballots manually as long as the number of voters is fairly low. People should probably be allowed to change their votes up until the deadline, but only once. If we choose a method that is difficult to game, it shouldn't be a problem that you can see other people's votes prior to casting your own.
* for anything consequential. If voting for "favorite voting method", it's no big deal if we disagree on which method really won, since there is no action item based on it, it's just a fun vote.
Sass last edited by
As stated in your original post, "It’s not like there is much activity." So why, then, do you keep highlighting that "[Equal Vote hasn't] even visited the forum in ages." What do you count as Equal Vote?
Until 8 months ago, @SaraWolk was the only employee, and now I'm the second. But are we the only people who count as "Equal Vote"? I'd say no. @Andy-Dienes was recently the chair of our PR Research Committee. @Keith-Edmonds is a board member. @Marcus-Ogren is leading Equal Vote research. @Jameson-Quinn is doing the same. @masiarek helps with outreach and the Software Development Committee. I could go on, but I consider all of these fine folks to be a part of Equal Vote and when they post here, that counts as Equal Vote participation.
We promote the Forum in our slack regularly. It's linked on the Equal Vote site. And have you checked out similar forums recently? There hasn't been much text-based activity anywhere lately. r/EndFPTP is mostly news articles about RCV. The three voting theory channels in the CES discord are so dead that when I promote my Open Democracy Discussions in them every week, the most recent post is often my promotion from the previous week. The Forward Party discord server had some activity when it started up, but it's died down, too. The most in-depth text-based discussions about voting theory recently have been nonsense Twitter fights with people who think improving single winner elections in the US is completely pointless. There's just a general apathy in the theory space right now. I suspect it's temporary and will ramp back up when high-profile US election campaigns pick up steam, but for now, the issue isn't a lack of participation from Equal Vote.
Obviously, we all want the forum to be better. So why not offer that? There's no need to wrap it up in some weird package about you "running" it. As Sara stated, there are processes for all of this, agreed on by a council of active volunteers.
Though I wasn't around for the founding, I'm privy to the history. I'm included in the email threads. I wouldn't have moved 2,300 miles across the country if I didn't care enough to learn it all. Moreover, I care enough that I've cultivated a space where the in-depth voting theory discussions ARE happening: my Open Democracy Discussions. They're not text-based, but they've attracted some of the folks here like @stardrop, @last19digitsofpi, @Jack-Waugh, @robla, and even yourself once or twice. I think part of why people go there is because it's a space that is explicitly non-toxic. Sara has been talking about this for years and she's right. It's why she's been elected as the Executive Director of Equal Vote multiple times. Cooler heads have prevailed and realized that Sara is what this movement needs, and activists have responded positively to that.
I'll point out that I don't think Sara should be the dictator of the Forum or whatever. I work next to her every day. I promise you that she doesn't want to be. Sara's trying to cultivate a positive culture and I implore you take that to heart.
Fueling rage against Equal Vote only makes this forum worse. If you want to make this forum better, then start by making it better.
I think this forum is needed. When the CES shut down their forum I was one of the people who pushed for this to be created. I also pushed for it to not be run by Equal Vote. I wanted it to be more like electowiki.org. Independent of any of the think tanks or lobby groups. I want EqualVote to push people to discuss on the forum but I do not want it to be though of as EqualVote's forum. I think it is moving in that direction and that makes me happy.
I think we just need it to grow. I am happy to let Rob take over the leadership of the forum. However, I do have one condition. He has to stop bashing EqualVote. Again I would point to EqualVotes relationship with electowiki.org. The Rob (@robla) who runs that has a great relationship with EqualVote and there is a large overlap between the contributors to both organizations. Having a Rob (@rob ) running this would be great. EqualVote is a coalition of organizations and people with a shared goal. A forum is a needed part of this coalition. I do not like Reddit so I don't post there almost ever. I would rather people come to this forum.
rob Banned last edited by rob
@keith-edmonds Thanks for your support of the general idea of it being run independently of EqualVote (and potentially by me). To be clear, I don't intend to bash EqualVote as an organization, but I am against them controlling the fate of the forum, especially given the lack of response when we want to make positive changes, and considering that we are not even listed on their web site. I just don't understand the logic of them, or anyone, having a big say on such things when they aren't actively participating.
And it isn't just them. There is apparently a member of the "forum council" that has posted once on the forum 2 years ago and never returned and doesn't reply to emails. How did that happen? Regardless, going forward, if you want to have a say, you should contribute.
As for EqualVote, I don't see what they have to gain by being in such a role. If they are spending money on it, it can't be a lot, and I am happy to cover the costs going forward.
I don't think I have said anything negative about EqualVote in any of the 5 hundred some posts I've made here, beyond a couple times mentioning that I wish we didn't have them controlling the forum.
I have nothing against EqualVote as an organization, beyond that. I've always said I like STAR Voting, etc. While I have opinions on voting methods, I believe that people running forums should studiously avoid seeming biased in ways that affect the forum, and should go out of their way to model diplomatic discourse, an open mind to different views, etc. (as an aside, I think Elon Musk does the opposite with Twitter....I don't think he should use the platform as a place to post divisive opinions while simultaneously running it..... one or the other, not both)
I would prefer the forum run democratically, and yes, I have high ideals for what I consider democratic. I've already done a ton of work building voting widgets and visualizers, and figuring out how to build them into this forum, but I haven't put anything in because I'd have to get permission from people who don't respond on a timely basis. (note that anyone who wants to join me in building them would be welcome to, although I'd insist upon the code being clean, modular, secure and loaded on demand so it doesn't slow things down)
I personally see no need for meetings in which decisions are made. We have a forum, made for discussions, right here. There is nothing that needs to be discussed that can't be discussed here. That's my opinion, but I am open to other opinions.
I am always ready to put anything concerning the forum to a public vote, with the only requirement for voting being that you have to participate in the forum with some regularly to vote.
controlling the forum.
Again, Equal Vote doesn't "control the forum". The forum decided to "coalition" with Equal Vote, like dozens of other orgs have done. It wasn't even my idea. This community has repeatedly asked for help. I and the Equal Vote team of volunteers has always done our best to answer and has done our best to pull our weight every step of the way. We have done a lot, and Jack did pretty much all the rest of the work. Again, the independence and autonomy of the forum has never been in question.
That said, I personally stepped up to plan and facilitate every meeting that led to this forum being created, including chairing all the meetings about it's creation (though I always asked if anyone else would like to. They didn't.) It would have been a lot easier to just do it all myself (with the help of Equal Vote's volunteers,) without getting input and agreement from the existing forum community (who tend to not volunteer for much,) but that wasn't the intention.
So, we created an autonomous group, the Voting Theory Forum, convinced CES to pass along the archives, I recruiting an Equal Vote volunteer (Jay Cincotta) to take on importing the archive, we co-designed the structure, Jack set up the Node BB server, I set up all the categories, we tuned the settings on the back end, I created a logo/homepage, and we got consensus agreements from everyone who cared to weigh in every step of the way.
There is tons of room to improve on any or all of that, and there's room for more leadership and engagement, so why is your focus here to oust me or do away with the council entirely? Or am I misunderstanding?
I did all that in my spare time, after work, and in a personal capacity because I care about creating a non-toxic and inclusive space for the electoral science community so it's ironic that you personally attack me and my contributions every chance you get. We clearly still have a long way to go.
To date, nobody who has ever wanted to join the forum council or volunteer has ever been turned down. I've promoted the opportunity to others to get involved repeatedly, but one reason people often are hesitant is that this is a historically hostile and entirely male dominated community whose reputation proceeds it.
If you want more engagement, I suggest you make the space less hostile to those of us who are showing up and putting in the work, and to newcomers. I would personally feel more comfortable promoting it to less thick skinned people if it were a more accessible and welcoming space.
I am pretty sure it is already independent of EqualVote so it makes no sense to say they control it. I was on the board to help it get set up and pushed for this. Unless things have changed the forum is self led democratically with bylaws and all the proper things in place. I think you are confusing "being led by EqualVote" with "the board sharing several people with EqualVote". The community of people who actually do stuff is quite small. Sara set up the up a lot of the process for this to happen and is the best equipped person in the space to do it.
Do you have an issue with people from EqualVote spending their time on this? Are you on the board? Perhaps you could propose a regulation that no more than 50% of the EqualVote board is on the board of another organization. I am not sure who is on the board now so I do not know if that is currently violated but if there is concern that the forum's board lacks impartiality then something like that would make sense.
You say "considering that we are not even listed on their web site" but I went to the website and found it under "resources" in like 30 seconds.
Another complaint is that a board member is non-responsive. There is likely a requirement for them to participate in board-meetings to keep their status. If you think their should be a requirement for board member to respond on the forum in a timely manner that seems reasonable. Join the board and make a motion for something like that.
If you do not want the money for the forum to come from EqualVote I am sure nobody would object to you paying the bills.
It seems that you want to make changes. Great. Propose them to the board. Or better yet, join the board. If you want to run the forum then run for the president (or whatever the title is) of the board. Sara set all this up so there is a very high standard for the procedure to do this. Just like there is for making the changes to the policy I listed above.
You suggest not having meetings. That never works. Discussions on the details are great to have outside of the meetings but to finalize and do stuff democratically requires some formality.
SaraWolk last edited by
FYI: I posted a new thread with a When To Meet for scheduling a council meeting, and reposted our past decisions and resources as well for reference.