Forum:RationalWiki Foundation board elections

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The existing interim board (user:tmtoulouse,user:human,user:armondikov) are in talks now about about election protocol for the RWF board. Basically come January I will be dropping my position on the board, and three new members will need to be elected to serve with Human and Armondikov for a one year term.

A lot more detailed information about board duties, requirements, and election protocol will be posted closer to the election time. However, I wanted to get some early feedback from anyone here that wanted to provide input into what they would like to see as far as election protocol or any questions that are out there at this point. tmtoulouse 21:22, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

You've got my vote, Trent. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 21:52, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually I am a little complicated, I won't actually be running for the board. However there is a reserved seat for me. Basically you guys elect a board of 5 members for a year, then there is a 6th seat that I can take with the boards permission. Basically, the reasoning is that I need a "sure thing" position with the RWF for the foreseeable, at least until the Foundation is financially, procedurally and technologically viable without me. At that point my "guaranteed" position can be dropped and I can either run or step down as I see fit. tmtoulouse 22:21, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
My question is simple: how will we go about nominating board members, with proper assurances that, they, for example, aren't TK? What criteria will there be to be elected to the RationalWiki Foundation? Lord of the Goons The official spikey-haired skeptical punk 01:08, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
That shouldn't be a problem. Given that being a board member is serious business, and candidates ought to supply basic contact info (i.e. real name and phone number). And if you're not a troll, but are worried about your privacy... this is one instance where I'm willing to say "SOL" to such concerns. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:47, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Board members' real names will be legally required, but may be kept "private" on wiki - as seen above. Legally required because they are the Board of Directors of a registered Corporation. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:04, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Yeah we haven't really decided how we are handling real names on wiki. Clearly the foundation will need real names and contact information, and people who become board members must assume that their name might wind up on legal documents that could be obtained by someone. So you lose the veil of pseudoanonminity though we dont have to actively publish names on wiki either. tmtoulouse 03:24, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, being on the Board is under the category of Serious Fucking Business because you're signing as responsible for a legal entity. Real names can be kept reasonably confidential, but for a fairly small admin charge and an email or two, someone can get hold of them because it's public record. Matching up the names to the username would be a little more difficult unless you know a few already. I.e., with the current three you could easily guess mine as Human's ID is an open secret and Trent's is just plain open. Generally we've decided not to go by real names on the minutes and on-wiki (some of you may have been quick enough to spot mine on a burned copy of the minutes that was posted a while back), but this is mostly to save confusion and to provide a good link with who we are. This kind of procedural stuff is something that we have to take very seriously. Most of this should get covered when we sort out a FAQ like document closer to nomination time. Scarlet A.pngbomination 18:55, 27 October 2010 (UTC)


Who should be allowed to vote? Is the "sockpuppet" issue a big one, or a non-issue? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:19, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Bureaucrats only. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:26, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I think it should be more quantitative, i.e. ≈ ≥2000 edits, been here for 6 months, in good standing, for example. Blue (is useful) 04:49, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
The quibbling over that would probably catapult the Wiki to HCM 4 at least. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:08, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I like >3 months and >100 edits in the last 3 months, give or take a quibble chicken mode or 3. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:51, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I like the "100 edits in the last three months" qualification, but I would up the membership requirement to one year. Being recently active is good but not enough; sticking around for a year is reasonable assurance that the voter is sufficiently invested in the outcome of the elections. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 08:59, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I have no great disagreement with the one year requirement, but are you sure it isn't unduly overboard? Can we compromise on six months? Again, one year sounds fine to me, but that's also a very long time. One argument for it - a troll who joins now would barely make it for the 2012 voting, and likely would forget to make 100 edits next autumn. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:20, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

I am from the school of thought that the voting requirements should be setup such that the maximum number of users should be allowed a voice. But we do want to vet somewhat for trolls/socks, and want to see some level of investment and likely understanding of the site. I am thinking 3 months, 100 edits is closer to the "sweet" spot. tmtoulouse 16:06, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Personally, I support putting a months/edits threshold in for eligibility to run for one of these seats (see section below) but think that voting should be open to all autoconfirmed users, or at the least all sysops. If we do notice sockpuppets (or suspected sockpuppets) voting, we can highlight these as we go along (assuming it's an on-wiki vote) & agree to discount these votes. I don't think that it's going to be a huge problem or make a big difference to the outcome. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:24, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
The sockpuppet thing could be solved by pre-registration for voting, which is what I've favoured. You have to register your intent to vote prior to the election, but the registration criteria would be set so that people wouldn't be eligible if they create an account after notice to vote. This would prevent people socking up just to manipulate the vote. It's cynical, but the system needs to be one that copes with the worst possible scenario regarding sockpuppetry and trolling. It's remarkably easy to get sysop rights and autoconfirmed status here, so that as criteria can't work. Scarlet A.pngbomination 18:59, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure how that would work. How would that keep out pre-existing socks? It would need to be combined with one of the suggestions above. Even then it wouldn't fully work. I'd be prepared to bet that a number of users have socks which are more than a year old and have more than 100 edits. Either we put such users on their honour or we accept that anybody who has put so much work into sock creation has the right to multiple votes.
What I would like to see is people sending their real names to a trusted source. This source would keep their names secret but would give them a unique voting number or something of that nature. The voting number could either be used in a public or secret ballot. --BobSpring is sprung! 19:54, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I'd like to pre-register an interest in not voting. Call me negative if you like, but I really don't give a damn about this one way or the other. I suspect I'm not the only one either. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:13, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Even then you can just create a new name and send that. There'd be no way to fully confirm an identity for this that isn't totally beyond the scope of this election. The system only needs to stop people socking up specifically for the election. There isn't a system that would stop anyone with a long-haul sockpuppet that is unknown to everyone else - for example, ListenerX and I are the same person... well, no, not really, but can you prove that??. Perhaps that sort of person should be entitled to vote twice! Scarlet A.pngbomination 01:19, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes. I wouldn't consider that sockpuppetry, I'd consider it "two" users. In this discussion we have to ask ourselves, do both SusanG and Toast get to vote if they meet the numbers? I'd say "yes, why not". I was against the "registration to vote" thing, but Trent and Armond both seem to be for it, so I will probably acquiesce in order to maintain the Board's awesome track record of unanimous votes. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:27, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
"Toast" hasn't edited for over a month. I've about 4 other socks that'd be eligible under a 100 edits in the last year but not a greater number of edits. 14:24, 29 October 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
The registration thing was to ensure eligibility. It's a feature of most proper elections and I can't see a reason not to implement it here. We could run a bot to add a "BoardVote" privileged to everyone automatically but I'd feel people would take it more seriously and really commit to what it means if they registered intent to vote in advance. Scarlet A.pngbomination 14:15, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
As someone else said, a scan of official documentation emailed to Trent who will verify it and then store it securely should be enough to prove oneself. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:28, 29 October 2010 (UTC)


Who should be allowed to run? (There are some basic legal requirements - age of majority, real name contact and address). ħumanUser talk:Human 04:19, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm guessing the usual requirements apply - over 18 (or is it 21 in the US), not bankrupt, not mental, no criminal record. I'm also wondering, if the foundation is US registered, should the Trustees not be US citizens, more for ease of admin than anything else? --PsyGremlin講話 08:22, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
18 in the US (they have to be able to sign contracts), the other three don't matter (hell, I got in...). No need for US citizenship - again, I'm not, neither is Armondikov. And where on this site are we gonna find people who aren't "mental" anyway? The real question is, should the "ability" to run be as tight as the voting rules, tighter, or more relaxed? (Apart from they have to be 18, and have to release their real name and address to the New Mexico government, and RobS). ħumanUser talk:Human 08:47, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Citizenship or residency don't really matter for the board, the only thing that matters is our registered office and agent, which is taken care of. tmtoulouse 16:07, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

I think that the extent & length of involvement in the wiki, discussed above for suffrage, is much more important for eligibility to run for a seat. Candidates will be committing themselves to a position of at some responsibility for a year, so users who've only just discovered the site shouldn't be up for a Foundation position. Ideally candidates should have been active on RW for at least a year already. If they've been here slightly less but are enthusiastic & committed to sticking around, then they could also be considered. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:18, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
It is more important, this is where the Serious Fucking Business aspect has to come into play. One thing would be to say that if you nominate yourself, you enter into a contract that says you agree to perform the duties if elected. I can give the allegory of a friend of mine running for Student's Union president... as a joke pirate candidate. He won the popular vote and he took on the job. Scarlet A.pngbomination 19:02, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, this is SFB, it's also a boring job. I'd be behind the one year minimum, and 55,000 edits JUST JOKING. One year and 300 edits maybe? ħumanUser talk:Human 03:05, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Voting method[edit]

IRV? One vote per person? As many votes as there are vacant offices? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:19, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Secret ballot[edit]

We have historically sucked at this on RW, now it is time to do it right. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:19, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps voting slips emailed those who satisfy the necessary criteria. Surely anyone with the site's interests will have registered with an email address? Cue chorus of objections.  Lily Inspirate me. 19:20, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Something like that, yes. Perhaps a suffrage requirement to have email enabled? I envision a computer program that all registered voters can log in to (once) and vote, using their username and pword from the wiki. But I may be wrong. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:26, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
I would say we need to know not just the user but the email they'll be sending from. All this info will be stored in a specifically created email account and cleared out by the person doing the counting. We just need to ensure that the email that contains the vote is from the user who registered their interest here. So you register your intent here, returning officer sends you the email via email user feature and you return the registration to the "elections@rationalwiki" or whatever email address we need. We then have a list of email addresses we expect votes from come the actual election. Although it'd be a thought with this system about whether we delete the registration emails after the election, or keep them so you only need to register once. Scarlet A.pngbomination 01:07, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
That sounds needlessly complicated. Just set up a form on the web, people log in using their ("approved") user name and pword, vote, and the program counts the votes. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:29, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

BoardVote extension[edit]

mediawikiwiki:Extension:BoardVote I can modify it to allow votes from a certain user group only, if you want to manually select voters. No need for this complicated email stuff. -- Nx / talk 06:17, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

I did notice it but it didn't look that good. If it fulfills the criteria we need, then it might be easier. For instance, can it use multiple votes or do STV? Scarlet A.pngbomination 12:10, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Public ballot, IRV[edit]

I oppose secret ballots unless we can arrange for impartial election judges, which I do not think is very likely. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:26, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

The election "judge" can be a computer program. Public voting is highly unorthodox and leads to issues of suckassery/hatepuppetship. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:52, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
mediawikiwiki:Extension:BoardVote -- Nx / talk 16:15, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I recommend public disapproval voting, where you vote against candidates by leaving angry ranting messages about what fascist dumbfucks they are. Fewest votes wins. --Quantheory (talk) 18:24, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't think we'd have any trouble with impartial judges, and I would like to nominate myself for that highly profitable post. But I don'th think public voting would be difficult either - just protect the page to sysops only. I think we know each other's sysop socks well enough, though I don't think anyone would try to use a sock to vote. EddyP (talk) 18:29, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
You are more trusting than I Mr P.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:59, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
At the end of the day I don't think a position on the RW board is so coveted that the elections will be marred by corruption. EddyP (talk) 20:28, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Eddy is right here. The job requires work (although minimal), does not pay, and confers no power. It's just "work". ħumanUser talk:Human 03:28, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Not every active member of this site has always had its best interests at heart. It would be better not to have such people in positions of authority no matter how nominal such authority might be.--BobSpring is sprung! 05:51, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
While such unsavory (and I don't mean sweet) characters might be allowed to vote, or even run, I doubt they would ever "win" such a position of ignominy. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:13, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
For such people to win even one seat would require both extreme sockpuppetry on their account and extreme ignorance on ours. EddyP (talk) 14:56, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it would, wouldn't it.--BobSpring is sprung! 15:55, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Hence why we want a system that can deal with extreme sockpuppetry and dedication, as well as the general idiocy that can mar the site - like nominating, seconding and then spam-voting TK into the position. Hence the voting requirements and registration requirements. There are good reasons that proper votes aren't done publicly so that isn't an option, and the downside to not being able to find "impartial" election officers (personally, I suggest AmesG or PalMD) doesn't outweigh the downside of airing votes out in the open for all to see. Scarlet A.pngbomination 01:13, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
TK wouldn't be eligible. "Impartial" is trivial if a program is adding up the numbers. I think you worry too much, in the words of Peter Gabriel as sung by that angel on So. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:30, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
I must have a low opinion of the community mindset. Scarlet A.pngbomination 12:11, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with considering the worst case scenarios, in order to prevent as many as possible. ħumanUser talk:Human 13:30, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
I must admit that I didn't have TK in mind. Rather our other - allegedly reformed - concern troll who is claimed by some to run multiple socks.--BobSpring is sprung! 14:32, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Monkey knife fight[edit]

All candidates should get hold of a monkey armed with a knife, and they are pitted against each other. The owner of the last surviving monkey is elected. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 16:01, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Works for me, but how is it managed at the practical level? Do all the candidates have to come in person with their monkeys? That seems impossible and overly restrictive and unfair do to distance differences. I suppose we could have all the candidates mail their chosen monkey to the election judge and he could do a round robin between them and announce the results. A bit worried though with the distance problem again, monkeys that are shipped further will be in the crates longer and likely weaker. It seems unfair, we could make the election judge hold off on the round robin for a few weeks and take care of the monkey nurturing them all back to baseline. But that's a lot to ask of our election judge. I am open to solutions though. tmtoulouse 16:10, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Also fails to take into account the various species of monkey. What if you come in with a marmoset and I turn up with a baboon? It wouldn't even need a knife. If we take this route, it has to be thought through properly. Totnesmartin (talk) 17:20, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I feel that the applicants should be obliged to create a virtual monkey which will be controlled by an AI programme. At a stroke the candidates will display both their nerd programming credentials and their viciousness - both ideal qualities for the position. --BobSpring is sprung! 19:02, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Let the goat decide. sterile kite 00:16, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Best section so far. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:47, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Duel with banhammers; the last user standing wins. InternetGoomba (talk) 16:41, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
I think that to become a trustee (a role which involves real life duties and commitment), a user must show that they're willing to take part in duties off the wiki. Therefore, I propose that whoever can leave a goat in the house of Conservative, Assfly or TK - without being caught - should be made a trustee. Dalek (talk) 20:58, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
This idea might have some merit. A real-world challenge could indeed be appropriate. However smuggling goats (ore for that matter monkeys) about the place is probably a bit too much of a challenge. Consequently I feel that some act involving a long-eared jerboa might be more appropriate.--BobSpring is sprung! 21:10, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Should consult these guys. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 11:23, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't own a monkey, so if one came at with a knife I'd kick it. Or curl up into the foetal position and cry like a bitch. SJ Debaser 12:59, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Indelible ink[edit]

Make everyone's who votes put their thumb in indelible ink. Then we'll know. sterile kite 12:55, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Guide is up[edit]

I have put up a draft of the guide to the election with the current protocol RationalWiki:Guide for board of trustees election. Comments/corrections welcome. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:38, 5 November 2010 (UTC)