MOTU Leadership Teams - Membership Policy

Cody A.W. Somerville cody-somerville at
Fri Jul 18 03:23:07 BST 2008

On Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 10:09 AM, Neal McBurnett <neal at>

> On Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 08:20:36AM -0300, Cody A.W. Somerville wrote:
> >  * Normal elections will start at an agreed date relative to a
> development
> > milestone and polls will remain open until a second agreed date that is
> also
> > relative to a development milestone. Once polls close, results will
> become
> > available and a short period to allow for grievances and/or disputes to
> occur
> > takes place. Finally, a third agreed date, which will also be relative to
> a
> > development milestone, will mark the normal conclusion with the MOTU
> council
> > officially announcing results and updating team memberships. If a
> grievance of
> > dispute arises, the MOTU council will resolve the issue in 15 days of the
> third
> > date or escalate the issue to the technical board.
> >
> >  Although a voting system has not been agreed upon yet, two systems which
> have
> > received a lot of discussion include Single Transferable Vote (used by
> some
> > governments) and the Schulze method (used by Debian and Wikipedia among
> > others). It is generally agreed that a preferential voting system, where
> voters
> > would rank their preference of the candidates instead of voting for or
> against,
> > is best.
> I've been active in voting method discussions for a few decades now.
> If we go with elections, my advice is to go with either Approval
> Voting or Range Voting.  One benefit of them is the focus on
> "supporting" folks (rather than a competition among folks), which can
> contribute to a feeling of consensus.
I don't know if I agree with that. The reason why I feel a preferential
system, in particular STV, is a good fit for us is because you never vote
against someone like you would in approval voting (by not voting) - you
simply express your preference of one candidate over another. I feel this is
mandatory because it should be a requirement to becoming a MOTU that you
*could* be able to fill these roles. As for range voting, that is a
plausible idea but both range voting and approval voting are classed as
single seat (ie. used to elect single individual) system whereas STV is a
multi-member system.

> I'm not sure why STV is on the list since it is for party voting - do
> we have parties in MOTU now?  I mean besides the great festive
> gatherings that Daniel organizes?  ;-)

Single Transferable Vote is *not* for party voting. Infact, it *explicitly*
ensures votes are for candidates and not parties. STV is on the list because
is a preferential voting system designed to minimize wasted votes and
provide proportional representation.

> The ranked methods like IRV (and STV) and Schulze suffer from
> increased complexity and confusion, and the risk of counter-intuitive
> results.  E.g. with IRV it is possible that raising the rank of a
> winning candidate on some ballots, which originally had ranked that
> candidate last, could counter-intuitively result in the winning
> candidate becoming a loser.  See

Yes, this is called the monotonicity criterion. IRV and STV both fail this
criterion but Schulze method does not. However, I don't think we need to get
caught up in weird corner cases due to the scale and nature of the elections
we'll be holding.

> >  An alternative proposal by Emmet Hickory would have members be attached
> to a
> > "release" and favors replacing team members through a process more
> > closely related to apprenticeship than any sort of election. The team
> would
> > define goals for a release, handle freeze exceptions for the release, and
> then
> > follow the release as the SRU team until the release is no longer
> supported
> > (all together, roughly terms of 2 years). His full e-mail can be found
> here:
> >
> Make that
> Neal McBurnett       
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Cody A.W. Somerville
Software Engineer
Red Cow Marketing & Technologies, Inc.
Office: 506-458-1290
Toll Free: 1-877-733-2699
Fax: 506-453-9112
Cell: 506-449-5899
Email: cody at
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