[Koha] First things first for a Koha foundation
nengard at gmail.com
Tue Oct 13 00:52:47 NZDT 2009
On Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 9:20 PM, Thomas Dukleth <kohalist at agogme.com> wrote:
> I certainly sense the urgency in the Koha community to move forward,
> however, we should not make the same mistake which brings us to this
> urgency in the first place. A party acting with too little consultation
> has left us with the problem which we are now facing. We cannot solve
> that problem by replacing one unilateral process with another.
It is my understanding that this has been in discussion for years -
and is only be rushed now because everyone it tired of discussing it
to death and want to make a decision.
> Ultimately, much activity of the Koha community needs to be delegated to
> representatives through a democratic process so that not every decision is
> taken by the entire electorate. Some basic questions will always need a
> vote of the entire electorate.
> If the design of previous ballots had not been so confused even given the
> difficulty of designing questions so that they are both well understood
> and neutral, then I might have less concern. However, we have adopted no
> formal process for good ballot design which might constrain mistakes such
> as the ones which we have had and almost had on recent ballots. Designing
> ballots well can be tricky and the only criticism I make of those who have
> designed recent ballots is not consulting widely enough about their
The meetings on IRC were a chance for everyone to speak up related to
the survey and its questions/layout. I took everything I was given
into account and have others reviewing my work - but I repeat - I was
told that we did not want to waste any more time discussing - it was
time to make a decision.
> The questions at issue in the foundation forming poll are not especially
> contentious but the process is of vital importance.
> 1. FUNDAMENTAL IMPORTANCE OF BALLOT DESIGN.
> Ballot design is so vital to any democratic process that it should not
> start with a small committee with no popular mandate for the task. How
> ballot questions are put naturally effects the outcome of any poll.
> Failing to make the ballot design process democratic at the beginning
> undermines the legitimacy and support being sought through an otherwise
> democratic election process.
> Leaving ballot design to a small committee alone, especially when the
> whole electorate has not had an opportunity to choose the ballot design
> committee or representatives understood to be charged with forming a
> ballot design committee is a great mistake. If the whole electorate
> chooses a ballot design committee or representatives who's positions are
> understood to include appointing a ballot design committee, then the
> process could be demonstrably to be democratic. However, this has not
> 2. DEMOCRACY AND EFFICIENCY.
> Open democratic consideration of questions is not intended to be a
> maximally efficient process. Open democratic consideration of questions
> is intended to be a fair process which consults those affected by
> questions at issue.
> There is something less efficient than democracy. A poll in which one is
> uncertain of the meaning of the results because we are uncertain whether
> the questions were well understood is less efficient than a democratic
> process where the questions have at least been reasonably considered in
> advance by those who are being asked to answer them in a ballot. Racing
> ahead with a closed ballot drafting process will be liable to retard
> progress afterwards, not advance it.
> 3. BALLOT CONSULTATION PROCESS.
> You make the presumption that having general comment on the drafting of
> the ballot would be an unreasonable and interminable process. Yet you
> have not asked how one might propose to conduct such a process.
> Start a thread on final ballot drafting in the Koha list with some main
> subject tag that may branch with variant subtopics. Post the first draft
> which your committee proposes and then give people a definite time limit
> in which to comment. Seven days may be a good time limit for the comment
> period and I would not suggest that the design issues are so problematic
> that any more than fourteen days should be set as the time limit. Try to
> post any revised drafts from the ballot design committee in the middle of
> the time period. The ballot committee members should certainly comment
> [I have several suggestions for the ballot upon which I am working.]
> After the comment time period has expired, then have the ballot committee
> produce a final version on which we will all vote. Even if the comments
> do not produce any changes in the final ballot produced by the ballot
> committee, it will have given the electorate a genuine opportunity to
> participate in how the poll is conducted.
> There is nothing so vitally threatening to the Koha community that it will
> cease to exist if we take a week of additional time to have open
> participation in drafting a ballot on which everyone is being asked to
> There will necessarily be many ad hoc legacy processes which will persist
> until we have the time to consider and introduce more formal structures in
> those areas where more formal structures are actually needed. We should
> not start by undermining the popular voice in how a popular vote is
> 4. COROLLARY VOTING ISSUES.
> In addition to ballot design, there are other issues about how what
> procedure is used when there is no absolute majority on a question which
> can have only one choice. We should no what will be done before the vote
> has taken place and not be choosing a method afterwords when the question
> The aim should be to maximise voter preferences and not eliminate
> preferences and choice with oversimplification. Ranked ballots allow
> sophisticated voting preference analysis to determine outcomes with a
> simple ballot but people need to understand the process.
> See "Preferential voting",
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preferential_voting ; and other related
> articles such as "Condorcet method",
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condorcet_method , and "Schulze method" ,
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schulze_method in Wikipedia. Several
> software projects use the Schulze method and variations on it.
> 4. ACTUAL EFFECT.
> I will explain in another thread thread that a Koha foundation cannot
> govern the development process in free software project because it would
> not be free software in such a case. However, popular vote should be able
> to decide key questions in areas in which people give it the resources,
> such as trademarks, internet domain names, and whatever else people
> contribute over which a Koha foundation could exercise control and use to
> the benefit of everyone.
> Thomas Dukleth
> 109 E 9th Street, 3D
> New York, NY 10003
> +1 212-674-3783
> On Sun, October 11, 2009 22:10, Nicole Engard wrote:
>> This request - while I understand where it's coming from - is a bit
>> unreasonable. If I were to submit the poll for review by everyone
>> then we'd never get the official poll up and answered and move
>> forward. That said, I am not working on the poll alone, there are
>> several people helping me make all of the changes that were requested
>> On Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 1:54 PM, Thomas Dukleth <kohalist at agogme.com>
>>> Please be certain to submit your draft of the final survey to the koha
>>> mailing list with ample time for public comment, correction, and
>>> before it would go live. All Koha community ballots should be a matter
>>> public discussion.
>>> I raised the issue in more detail with reasons in an earlier message in
>>> this thread which you may not have yet had the opportunity to read while
>>> busy at the conference which you have been attending. See
>>> http://lists.katipo.co.nz/pipermail/koha/2009-October/020612.html .
>>> Thomas Dukleth
>>> 109 E 9th Street, 3D
>>> New York, NY 10003
>>> +1 212-674-3783
>>> On Sun, October 11, 2009 13:58, Nicole Engard wrote:
>>>> I have been out of town, but I will get the final survey up early next
>>>> week and we will see where the community stands and make a final
>>>> decision and move forward with the plan to have a foundation behind
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