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List Archive: gentoo-council
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To: gentoo-council <gentoo-council@g.o>
From: Denis Dupeyron <calchan@g.o>
Subject: Re: Voting by mail
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2010 22:41:00 -0700
On Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 2:17 AM, Roy Bamford <neddyseagoon@g.o> wrote:
> Voting before the meeting suggests that the council members mind is
> closed to any discussion that happened, or may happen at the meeting
> itself. Personally, I don't like the sound of that.

Letting people vote afterward doesn't encourage them to be present or
active during the meeting. People who are missing or are not really
paying attention do not participate in discussions anyway. This
comment might seem odd but whenever I chair a meeting (which happens
often) I keep track of who speaks on what topic. I use a pen and a
paper for that but that tool is damned effective. The original
intention was to make sure everybody had the opportunity to talk
before skipping to the next topic. When I see somebody not
participating to one topic I will often highlight his name to wake him
up. Quickly though it gave me an idea of who was actually paying
attention to discussions and who wasn't. And the result is I sometimes
feel lonely during meetings.

> However, if the council members wish to vote entirely by email
> and announce the vote result (no discussion) at the meeting that's
> fine, as the vote happened after discussion was done.

How this started was when solar once sent his vote in advance because
he wasn't sure he could make it to the meeting due to work. Then for a
later meeting Tobias sent his vote also before because he wasn't
feeling well and didn't know if he'd be in shape at the time of the
meeting. We didn't accept any of them, and they wouldn't have changed
the results (I checked all votes), but I thought that was a shame
since both solar and Tobias went all the way and researched the
issues, discussed them and gave us a rather detailed opinion. I'm not
sure I could say the same of all in-meeting votes.

Anyway, my point is we didn't originally intend to make all votes
outside of the meeting, but it can definitely be discussed. That's
where Petteri's app comes into the picture.

> In summary, votes must only be cast after discussion is done.

There's two kinds of discussions. Those that occur during meetings are
of poor quality due to time constraints and amplified by the fact that
typing isn't as fast as talking, and also by the attention factor
above. Those that occur on lists before the meeting are of better
quality when we can make people interested in actually participating.
You might have noticed that I try to animate those discussions to
prevent them from dying. I have a few tricks for that like making a
summary for a rather long or old thread, nitpicking on something in
order to revive interest, or talking about these issues on irc and
bringing ideas back to the thread pretending that I understand what is
being discussed. It works, but it's a lot of work.

Overall though, my opinion is that list discussions are of infinitely
more value than meeting discussions. I never count on the latter for
more than last minute remarks. The only exception was during the last
meeting when we had an open discussion on VDB. In order for it to work
though I had to prepare a number of questions prior to the meeting and
throw them in the discussion one after the other, like I wanted to
keep a fire alive. In the end it almost looked like I was a reporter
doing an online interview of solar (thanks btw). I'm obviously
caricaturing but you get the idea.

> That can be all by email, some at a meeting, others by email after the
> meeting.

What's the point of having a meeting then?

In an ideal world we'd discuss topics thoroughly before meetings, only
topics that had been enough discussed would make it to the agenda,
only last minute remarks would be accepted during the meeting, we
wouldn't mind occasionally receiving votes by email before the
meeting, and in case there was significant discussions/remarks on a
topic and the email votes could change the outcome then we'd ask those
who voted by email to confirm their votes within, say, 48 hours.

In the end the real problem is of motivation, not of process or tools.

Denis.


References:
Re: Voting by mail
-- Tobias Scherbaum
Re: Voting by mail
-- Roy Bamford
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