[theforum] Can't get on steering, finance or sysadmin

Paul Waring paul at rixort.com
Sat May 22 14:24:35 CDT 2004

Joel D Canfield wrote:

> What if eight people vote, and it's a split? What if there are four
> viable options, and no clear 'winner'? Who says 'all other things being
> equal, I choose 'B' because they're all good'?
> What happens in the above scenario (yours) is that two very good options
> get lots of support, and we go back and forth about it, and since we're
> all equal, no one has the group-granted authority to make a ruling.

That's one of the problems you encounter with democracy. There are two 
simple ways of solving it:

1. Have a chairman (yes I do realise this is like steering before anyone 
points it out) who has a say only when the vote is tied. I'm not too 
keen on this generally because sometimes the chairman (depending who it 
is) can dominate the discussion and be a bit too harsh on those of 
opposing opinion. If we had someone like the speaker in the House of 
Commons, who is unbiased and prepared to lose their right to vote except 
in the event of a tie, it could work, but I've had bad experiences with 
this in the past when the chairman has got a bit power-crazy and started 
telling people to be quiet just because they don't agree with them.

2. If you have 4 options and there is no obvious winner (i.e. there is a 
tie between the two favourites), you eliminate the option with the 
lowest support and vote again. This way, if your option doesn't get 
selected at least you can vote for your second choice instead.

In my experience it is *very* rare for there to be an exact split either 
side on a vote. In nearly all cases there is at least one side with 
slightly more support. If there is a tie, you hold another discussion, 
during which you try and convince people to not abstain, or to vote 
another way and then vote again. The chances of two votes resulting in a 
tie is extremely unlikely, and I think we should cross that bridge if 
and when we come to it.


More information about the theforum mailing list