Membership Council voting procedures

Mark Shuttleworth mark at
Thu Jul 28 20:33:46 UTC 2011

Thanks for the referral, folk, as it gives us the opportunity to discuss 
and then standardise a policy for similar gating decisions (membership 
in teams managed by councils/boards) across the project.

On 28/07/11 20:23, Kees Cook wrote:
> This issue has been referred to the CC from the TB:
> As I understand it, the question is essentially "do -1 votes detract
> from +1 votes, when seeking majority?" But that simplifies things a bit.
> It seems that a very specific voting procedure is desired.

In most governance models, voting or consensus are the preferred 
approaches. In the case of voting, it is almost always sufficient to 
gather a majority of support, even if there are dissenters.

There are risks to allowing a majority to overrule minority dissent. If 
a clique gains sufficient deciding votes it can stuff its candidates 
through the pipeline. And in our model, where councils manage teams of 
contributors who in turn are consulted in the selection of councils, 
that feedback loop could become toxic quickly.

However, we don't have direct elections. We have nominations and 
confirmation votes. That means that the CC, or me in the case of the CC, 
or the TB etc, can all override cases like this. We have safety 
mechanisms that are unusual and effective.

So for me, I think it's sufficient to gain a majority of +1's. This will 
mean faster decisions once that threshold is passed (or becomes 
impossible to achieve), as we will not have to tally all the potential 
votes to ensure there are not enough -1's to drop below threshold. This 
is standard governance, and perfectly suitable in our case.

If someone has real objections to a candidate, perhaps based on personal 
knowledge which is not widely available, they should trigger a private 
or public discussion of the candidacy and air what they know. If that 
doesn't convince enough people not to +1, then the decision is as it 
should be.


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