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RationalWiki:2016 board of trustees election/Results

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2016-17 RMF board members are David Gerard, FuzzyCatPotato, Human, ikanreed, Reverend Black Percy, (and Trent, unquestioned Glorious Leader of the RatWiks).

Congrats to the winners and thanks to everyone who ran!

Technical results[edit]

Results provided by FuzzyCatPotato. I'll happily answer questions, provide the relevant software/data, and take blame.

The full vote files were looked over by David Gerard, FuzzyCatPotato, and Trent.

OpenSTV info[edit]

OpenSTV downloaded from

This is a 2013 version of OpenSTV, because OpenSTV has become a for-profit project. (One might even question whether it is "Open" STV.) Given that the underlying math hasn't changed and that this version is the same OpenSTV that's been used for every other post-2013 RW election, it's been used here.

.blt (ballot) files[edit]

.blt file formatting explained nicely at StackOverflow.

The original .blt file (original.blt) is below.

original.blt included 2-5 numbers at the beginning of each line (eg 5476 1 4 7 3 0) that were historically used for anti-spoofing (according to Trent). However, OpenSTV interprets the first number as the "weight" of a voter's ballot, which led to an interesting sitution in which the winners had hundreds of thousands of votes.

I edited original.blt to remove the initial numbers (using the regex from: [^ ]* (1 [^\n]* 0)\n to: $1\n) and removed empty ballots (ballots of "1 0", or literally "start stop") and produced regex.blt.


cd "C:\...\OpenSTV\openstv-frozen\openstv" MeekSTV "C:\...\regex.blt"

Replace ... with the relevant file locations.


Loading ballots from file regex.blt.
Ballot file contains 7 candidates and 38 ballots.
No candidates have withdrawn.
Ballot file contains 38 non-empty ballots.

Counting votes for RMF Board Election using Meek STV.
7 candidates running for 5 seats.

 R|Bongolian     |David Gerard  |FuzzyCatPotato|Human         |ikanreed
  |              |              |              |              |
  |Owlman        |Reverend Black|Exhausted     |Surplus       |Threshold
  |              | Percy        |              |              |
 1|      1.000000|     13.000000|      8.000000|      6.000000|      2.000000
  |      1.000000|      7.000000|      0.000000|      8.999998|      6.333334
  | Count of first choices. Candidates David Gerard, FuzzyCatPotato, and
  | Reverend Black Percy have reached the threshold and are elected.
 2|      1.847831|      6.343006|      9.552197|      7.469013|      3.447647
  |      1.196882|      7.933096|      0.210328|      6.104196|      6.298279
  | Count after transferring surplus votes. Keep factors of candidates who
  | have exceeded the threshold: David Gerard, 0.487180; FuzzyCatPotato,
  | 0.791667; and Reverend Black Percy, 0.904762. Candidate Human has reached
  | the threshold and is elected.
 3|      2.499505|      6.450062|      6.832400|      7.118177|      4.349561
  |      1.870156|      7.664547|      1.215592|      3.542246|      6.130735
  | Count after transferring surplus votes. Keep factors of candidates who
  | have exceeded the threshold: David Gerard, 0.483745; FuzzyCatPotato,
  | 0.521989; Human, 0.843255; and Reverend Black Percy, 0.718313.
 4|      2.861824|      6.264122|      6.598557|      6.560971|      4.829179
  |      2.365651|      6.475639|      2.044057|      1.928657|      5.992658
  | Count after transferring surplus votes. Keep factors of candidates who
  | have exceeded the threshold: David Gerard, 0.459796; FuzzyCatPotato,
  | 0.468383; Human, 0.726278; and Reverend Black Percy, 0.574566.
 5|      3.106323|      6.064450|      6.171456|      6.206074|      5.153197
  |      2.632041|      6.229226|      2.437233|      0.962694|      5.927128
  | Count after transferring surplus votes. Keep factors of candidates who
  | have exceeded the threshold: David Gerard, 0.439871; FuzzyCatPotato,
  | 0.425375; Human, 0.663368; and Reverend Black Percy, 0.531713.
 6|      3.229055|      5.964088|      6.023951|      6.031031|      5.307045
  |      2.774694|      6.024848|      2.645288|      0.474106|      5.892453
  | Count after transferring surplus votes. Keep factors of candidates who
  | have exceeded the threshold: David Gerard, 0.429911; FuzzyCatPotato,
  | 0.408535; Human, 0.633552; and Reverend Black Percy, 0.505927.
 7|      3.291996|      5.910551|      5.936691|      5.942405|      5.385673
  |      2.845195|      5.942291|      2.745198|      0.228734|      5.875801
  | Count after transferring surplus votes. Keep factors of candidates who
  | have exceeded the threshold: David Gerard, 0.424748; FuzzyCatPotato,
  | 0.399618; Human, 0.618995; and Reverend Black Percy, 0.494810.
 8|      4.070798|      6.168208|      5.936691|      6.766860|      5.626626
  |              |      6.437101|      2.993716|      1.971336|      5.834381
  | Count after eliminating Owlman and transferring votes. All losing
  | candidates are eliminated.
 9|      4.439967|      5.939396|      6.030908|      6.043678|      6.006327
  |              |      5.955828|      3.583896|      1.296047|      5.736018
  | Count after transferring surplus votes. Keep factors of candidates who
  | have exceeded the threshold: David Gerard, 0.401761; FuzzyCatPotato,
  | 0.392732; Human, 0.533697; and Reverend Black Percy, 0.448480. Candidate
  | ikanreed has reached the threshold and is elected.

Winners are David Gerard, FuzzyCatPotato, Human, ikanreed, and Reverend Black

In short:

  • Round 1: DG, FCP, and RBP reached the threshold (got enough votes) to win. Their extra votes go into surplus (second choice, third choice, etc.) or exhausted (none of the other choices are still available).
  • Round 2: Surplus votes redistributed. Human reached the threshold. Their extra votes go into surplus/exhausted.
  • Rounds 3-7: Surplus votes redistributed. Nobody reached the threshold.
  • Round 8: Owlman had the least votes and was eliminated. Their votes go into surplus/exhausted.
  • Round 9: Surplus votes redistributed. ikanreed reached the threshold.

And again -- thanks to everyone who ran. If there had been only 5 candidates, this would have been a pointless election.

Your help has made it into a non-pointless election for a pointless ah, ceremonial, position.


As an also-ran, I wish to congratulate the winners, whom I consider all competent and deserving. Bongolian (talk) 23:42, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

Even as an winrar myself, I concur with the above. Hear, hear! Reverend Black Percy (talk) 00:23, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
Huzzah! Felicitations to our new Rationalwiki overlords! Ɀexcoiler Кingbolt Noooooooo! Look! Up there! 03:39, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
All hail our new dictators führers Moderators, who will mysteriously disappear probably be ok.-ⅅℐᎯℳᎾℕDⅅℐЅC1 (talk) 05:19, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
I for one welcome our new insect overlords board and look forward to being top slave in their sugar mines a loyal and obedient subject (or, failing that, a loyal and obedient member of the opposition). ScepticWombat (talk) 14:38, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
In the spirit of devil's advocacy to support the PRO-conspiracy theory demographic that may or may not visit this page, I demand a recount, as it is clear the left-leaning FuzzyCat character clearly biased the vote by overzealous review of "ineligible" voters, specifically where they were NOT left-leaning. It is clear that RW is headed for a Hilary-esque cabal of socialists intent on sapping our precious bodily fluids!Epsilon3 (Your Mother Does!) 17:17, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
You're kind of buttering the comedy bread a little thick there, bud. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 17:25, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
Probably. I'm a nerd. Social limits often escape me. At the same time, I'm also not really making a joke. For several weeks now, I've been reading RW while waiting for my computations to run, and I've exhausted all the low-hanging fruit. While I cannot claim to have reviewed the entire site, by any shake of the stick, I have reviewed enough of it to note a definite leftist bias in the text. I wonder how that sort of hypocrisy REALLY plays with the likes of FuzzyCat and cohort. In other words, RW generally derides the excessive conservatism of its nemesis, CW, so a leftist/liberal slant is expected, HOWEVER, leaning too far in that direction only invites accurate criticisms related to the obvious bias this behavior generates. As a scientist, I have experienced the benefits of genuine objectivity. As a human being, I am awash in bias of all sorts. IMO, the best foundation for making an argument (not intending to proffer the term with its negative connotations, rather intending it as a means of convincing an opposite-minded other) is exactly that: objectivity. Without it, facts become jumbled with agendas - thus, they lose the credibility associated with the word "fact". When the authors of this site rightly argue against the (often deliberate) "creationist" misuse of the word "theory", the demographic you strive to convince (other right-leaning types genuinely questioning the value of "faith" versus "reason") will too easily be distracted by the excessive leftist/liberalist opinions they find here. It's one thing to have a strong personal opinion while writing objectively (e.g., covering both sides of an argument, at least to some degree), and quite another to express that opinion overtly (e.g., allowing the blatant character assassinations of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan; railing about the dubious benefits of universal socialism without reviewing the dubious benefits of capitalism). With my remarks, I only intended to highlight my dissatisfaction with the bias in text and your extended selection of candidates. Beware. Beware. Epsilon3 (talk) 14:41, 18 August 2016 (UTC) (PS - As an American and an often bullied nerd, I am all too aware of the implications intended when appending a snarky comment with the familiar "bud" - really???)
I don't think the risk we run of growing completely reality-resistant ideological blinders is larger (nor necessarily smaller) here than at most places (especially not in the sense that we'd somehow be at a comparable risk to places like the completely unskeptical INGSOC-inspired Conservapedia). In fact, I don't think we're all that ideologically preferential at all. I mean, I'm European, so you have to remember that your meaning of the term "liberal" is really our "centrist", and — conversely — our "conservative" is your "centrist" (roughly speaking). The whole discussion is shifted to the right in the US, compared to Europe generally (and especially to the nordic countries). So really, from my "cultural background", the "bias" we cultivate here at RW (as far as politics go) is really quite inclusively centrist and non-ideological on most topics. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 15:06, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
I hadn't considered the topic with a specific cultural bias in mind, and I am aware European values differ somewhat from American values. Nevertheless, I read nothing in your response that mitigates the implications of the core message in my previous response to you. Objectivity is culturally agnostic. This is the value of "truth" - it is what it is and, unlike a lie (or opinion), it is only beautiful when it is beautiful. Oftentimes, it is in fact unpleasant and even ugly. Here, I ponder a larger question. What is the long-term goal of RW? Will it outlast the "founder effect"? Or is it a temporary solution to what I believe to be the long-term problem of the dogmatic and irrational behaviors of humankind that incessantly threaten to drag civilization back to the "Dark Ages"? Perhaps I am alone in thinking so, but this is RW's appeal to me. I view it as an interesting voice of reason offering (the potential of) long-term benefits. If it is, in fact, a short-game sort of thing, then I (and perhaps others) will eventually drift away, having guzzled as much liberal/leftist pap as I/we can stomach. If it is a long-game sort of prospect, then I think, given its current state of input/editing, objectivity will only become more and more important to the value of its message. Because RW, by virtue of its origins, will generally attract a leftist/liberal-leaning input, I think it becomes even more vital that its editors and leadership take SOME measure to enhance the objectivity of its content. Not that RW is of terribly Earth-shaking relevance - it's just that I think something worth doing is worth doing right. Epsilon3 (talk) Epsilon3 (Your Mother Does!) 15:58, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
Quite honestly I'm glad this election didn't become a repeat of the Citizendium elections. Ɀexcoiler Кingbolt Noooooooo! Look! Up there! 18:58, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

Guys, you know what this means? I'm no longer responsible for anything. I can continue doing nothing without feeling guilty about it! Oh, yeah, and congrats to the winners. I trust you'll all do a better job than me. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 20:25, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

Well, in the name of transition: any caveats or warnings you want to toss out to us? I'm a little wary of my own ignorance. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 16:10, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
*Peeps out from behind Ikanreed's shoulder in timid anticipation of Stabby's reply* Reverend Black Percy (talk) 16:14, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
The most important thing to understand about the Board is that nobody on it will do anything—if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. Back when I first joined the Board, there was talk of getting liability insurance for the Board, which is common for nonprofits. Nothing ever came of it, because nobody actually did the work needed to set it up. Expect literally everything to play out that way. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 19:04, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
While I'm at it, neither of you were around for this gem of a shitstorm. Now, many of the specific examples I cited are outdated or no longer apply, but the culture that produced those problems is still there. Of course, that's mostly my fault, since I ran for the Board promising to fix these problems and then did fuck-all. *cue Trent, Human, & Nutty Roux flying out of the mist to say that letter was an exaggeration and lies and not true*
(Incidentally, you two are lucky you didn't have to be here for Nutty Roux's tenure. While Nutty did the bulk of the Board's legwork, and was responsible for keeping the Foundation alive at key points (because nobody else would do the fucking work), he was also toxic. Belittling non-donors for being non-donors (all non-donor volunteers/editors are potential donors! Don't fucking do this!), openly contemptuous towards the community, often uncommunicative, and completely unable to handle disputes gracefully. I encourage you two to learn from his counterexample, and try to get shit done without being an asshole.) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 19:04, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
That open letter is the primary reason that I want to end RWdocs and finish EvoWiki (10% there!). I'll have to go reread it all again, it's an extremely interesting perspective. The FCP Foundation (talk/stalk) 19:46, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for linking that letter, Stabby! I'll be sure to read it soon. (And Fuzzy, I also want to end RWdocks and finish EvoWiki — it was in my platform, part termed "an echo of FCP's platform"! It's a good idea to finish those, somehow.) Reverend Black Percy (talk) 20:31, 19 August 2016 (UTC)