[Theforum] Not yet!, was Re: Changes to the VotingReqs document

Luther, Ron Ron.Luther at COMPAQ.com
Tue Feb 5 08:38:25 CST 2002

Hi Amanda,

I think I'll probably end up raising more questions than answers. Maybe
I'll just ramble along and eventually run out of gas.  These particular
brain cells are pretty rusty ... and the whole 'on-line' wrinkle is
throwing me some, but I used to be pretty good at reading through
legalese and spotting areas for potential abuse ... (it's only a rumor
that I used these for personal gain)  ;-)

Before I start let me voice a concern and say that I *really* don't want
to see evolt get 'bogged down' with miles of red tape... and I sure as
hell don't want to be the one to cause that!  I like the fact that we
make decisions quickly and that the process is light and fast and I
really don't want us to lose that.  So maybe we just think about a few
of the things below and say "Yeah, ok Ron - I see what you're saying but
we don't need to worry about that just yet" ... that's fine with me!

Here are some of the areas that I think may be a little 'fuzzy':

(1) Credentialization.  This is the whole issue of who has the right to
vote and how we know that the person voting is the person we authorized
to vote.  I think the 'login' to vote process probably takes care of the
authorization aspect. [System hacks and stolen laptops should only be
minor hiccups.]  What I'm not seeing is a check and balance to prevent
multiple voting.  What stops me from running a Perl script to register
40 clones of myself and vote each of them?  What stops a college kid
from getting the rest of the sorority to register and vote 'their way'?
Even if we made voting a right that was "earned" in some way or
instituted a 'waiting period' ... I still don't think this issue goes

(2) Amendments/Sponsors?  If I put something up for vote and someone
else chimes in 2 hours later and says "that's good - but if you add
*this* it would be great!" - how do we want to handle that?  (a) Am I
the 'sponsor' of the item under consideration?  Can I 'accept' the
friendly amendment and have it incorporated because I say so?
[Implications for folks that have already voted?  Does the change
restart the 'uber-clock'?] (b) Does it need to be voted on separately?
(c) What if I don't want to accept it ... but the amendment has some
merit and some vocal supporters? Can they attach it to my proposal
without my permission?  How would we let them do that?  [The concept of
'riders' also comes into play here.]

(3) 'Layered' voting?  Depending on how we want to handle amendments
and/or starting the clock ... the voting app may need to be able to
handle hierarchically structured voting -- e.g. Suppose we made this
really formal and had the following situation -- (a) An item is up on
the floor for a vote.  (b) Someone else proposes an amendment.  (c)
Someone else moves to cut off debate.  We *should* vote on (c) first ...
then on (b) ... and then on (a).  [Actually - I'm not sure there is any
harm in leaving all three open for voting in the app ... as long as we
"close" the votes in the proper sequence.  At worst I think we would end
up with some 'unused' vote records in the db.] Maybe this isn't an

(4) Repeal?  If we vote on something last week and change our collective
minds this week.  Can we vote to 'undo' our decision?  [Yes - I think we
can - I think the question here is more "should it still be a simple
majority, or should it now take 2/3 or something to 'undo' a decision"?]
(Granted - this is really *really* moot in a volunteer setting cuz we'd
just stop working on it. D'oh!)

(5) 'Dilatory'.  This is where I saw the possible need for a
chairperson.  I bring up a motion and it gets voted down.  15 seconds
later, I bring up the same motion for a vote and tick everybody off.
Over the next week I 'flood' the app with requests to vote on this same
motion.  [A chairperson would note these as 'dilatory' - {intending to
cause delay} and therefore out-of-order and they would get thrown out.
(Kind of a 'procedural' Ddos if you will.)]  How do we prevent that
here?  [Similar concerns with amendments.]

(6) 'Starting the clock' on the vote.  I like the 'clock' we've put in
place to allow folks in every time zone an opportunity to participate.
I'm not sure how we start the clock.  (a) We could let the 'sponsor'
start the clock whenever they see fit.  (b) We could have a
'moderator-type' start the clock at their discretion.  (c) We could have
an "uber-clock" ... where the vote is final 42 (or so) hours after the
item is brought up for discussion.  [Just trying to find a way to avoid
filibusters - where I kill your idea because it never comes up for vote
because I keep saying I'm not done discussing it yet.]

(Who notes that Oliarchy can be soooo much smoother and more 'efficient'
than democracy sometimes!)

-----Original Message-----
From: A. Erickson [mailto:amanda at gawow.com]
Subject: [Theforum] Not yet!, was Re: Changes to the VotingReqs document

It does *not* address HOW we vote. I'd like to get this nailed down and
then move on to the hows of our process.

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