the forum should be run democratically, with participants able to vote on everything substantial. We can even include in that a process for people to vote...
Votes can happen on the forum itself, and should be very transparent in that everyone can see how everyone else votes, from the moment they cast their vote. We would have crystal clear rules for who is allowed to vote, which should be everyone who participates with any regularity at all. For any votes that have tangible consequences, we would always respect the outcome.
But it is important to me that people who are involved in any decision making be regular participants.
I actually would like to call a vote of the people on this forum.
...we can simply ask nicely.
There are processes already in place for voting in our bylaws and procedures. Fortunately, Sara's on top of scheduling a meeting where some votes can happen soon. Importantly, we should follow the protocols already in place. They're there for a reason.
I'll repeat what I stated before, Rob. If you'd like to help build out features and tech improvements, then do so. No vote is needed for that until we're ready to implement. No control needs to change. Additionally, Jack informed Sara that he unilaterally added you to the tech committee for the forum that was formed by the council after a unanimous vote on Motion 4, which Sara highlighted here. Tech upgrades are something you can just start working on.
I'll note that the Equal Vote Software Development committee has been working on some of the features you've described in a modular way that should be easy to fold into the forum soon, including a tool that allows people to vote with many different voting methods. This work is already being done by a coalition of volunteers and I'm sure they would like your help. The best way to do so is to sign up to volunteer at equal.vote/join.
I would hope that all discussions about the forum take place on the forum itself, rather than in external meetings that everyone must attend at the same time, I think this is both more inclusive, better documented, and simply takes advantage of the fact that we actually have a discussion board. Votes can happen on the forum itself, and should be very transparent in that everyone can see how everyone else votes, from the moment they cast their vote.
If the participants here make decisions that are just as good as those that could be made in meetings, but without having meetings, that in itself will amount to a significant innovation in the practice and theory of social choice.
If we can have methods to arrive at decisions without everyone having to meet at the same time, and without a "council" of specially-anointed people having to meet and decide, I think that will be great and it is the way we should go if we can figure out how to make it work so that people will feel that the process is legitimate and fair.
I'm generally in favor of streamlining the democratic process. If anyone has specific ideas for changes to our bylaws or procedures, they should draft a formal proposal to take to the upcoming meeting to be voted on. I'll state that I would never vote in favor of any consequential change if that change is just some ideas in an informal discussion in a forum thread. A specific, written proposal is the minimum bar for me to consider seriously adopting a change to any consequential process, and I suspect many others feel that way, too. If we want to change the process, that's fine, but we have to go through our current process make that change happen. Attempting to circumvent that process is one of the least democratic things we could do in this forum.
In terms of what you've been proposing, it seems so far to be incredibly nebulous and full of holes. Who gets to vote? How do you define "actively participating in the forum"? How does it address accessibility for those spread thin across different, relevant platforms? How do we ensure every voter is informed? What kind of timeline do we use? Which method? What if someone has to take a leave of absence? Which things do we bother voting on? How many people need to vote? What's quorum? How do we categorize different changes in relation to the last few questions? The list goes on. Overall, it feels poorly considered in my opinion.
If I were handling the "social" side of things, this is how I'd typically handle things. One, I'd be sure that if anyone new posted to the forum, that they'd get a response welcoming them and engaging them in conversation, assuming they seemed sincere and interested in voting theory. This doesn't mean it will always be me, but if no one else did, I would. I think that is one of the most important things a person running a forum can do.... keep people engaged and coming back.
If there was a thread that seemed to get adversarial, I'd jump in and attempt to steer it back to a positive discussion, or maybe advise each party to wrap things up or take it to private messages, because it isn't positive.
I'd have a general "be nice, be respectful" policy. If someone seemed to violate it, I'd usually DM the person first and see if they were willing to edit their content. If it was egegious enough I'd remove it immediately, but always engage them via DM so they don't feel like I am running them off.
This also applies to divisive political content that isn't directly related to voting theory. I think it is fair to say that I differ with Jack on how this should be handled, but I think I am in agreement with several others here that allowing that sort of content is toxic and counter to our mission. ("mission" being getting better voting systems in use in political elections). Again, I'd typically DM the person who seemed to go out of bounds. We're not "cancelling" anyone, but we are saying you need to stay on topic or at least steer clear of the sort of divisive content that could drive people away, or make people suspect that our motives are partisan.
Finally, the third category of problematic content that I'd tend to moderate is that which slams too hard on ranked choice / IRV. There's nothing wrong with saying that there are way better systems (I don't think any current participant disagrees with that), but I would usually draw the line at statements such as "IRV is worse than plurality". If you really want to make that argument, I think you should make it elsewhere. IRV, Score, STAR, and Approval are ALL significantly better than plurality, and I think that is essentially the one thing that the forum can have a "guiding philosophy" on. If you want to call that a "bias", ok.
EDIT: three people disagreed with limiting discussion on IRV being worse than plurality, so I'll back off that one.
Rob, we already have an existing code of conduct. A quick scan through it makes me wary of your ability to enforce it. Your first post on this topic was pretty inflammatory and arguably akin to a personal or professional attack as defined in Section e. It could also be consider disrespectful according to Section a depending how one defines "disrespect".
Diversity and inclusion are specifically highlighted throughout the code multiple times, mostly in the first half. Some of the few people who are not white, male, or neurotypical but have spent time on this forum — regardless of whether they've posted — have told me that the forum does not feel welcoming to them, in part because of the nature of your posts. It might not feel like it to you, but some of your posts feel unnecessarily aggressive to some folks, particularly those who regularly experience that kind of behavior from others in their real life. I don't feel equipped to recount their experiences here, but I think you should start by asking what you can do differently.
I believe we should facilitate more active moderation, but I'd opt for moderators who would do a better job of making this forum feel welcoming and inclusive.
Beyond all that, from what I can tell, @Jack-Waugh seems to have some desire to pass on some responsibilities or keys. This was the case before your first post. That's part of what the upcoming meeting is for and a few of us are scouting for volunteers to help with that, including through the Software Development Committee. In my opinion, a bit more consolidation would be helpful to improve simplicity and consistency. It would also better enable you to help with feature improvements through streamlining the overall operations.
Overall, I think we need to engage constructively about this issue and commit to going through the processes that are already in place.