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Re: Election Data



CLAY S wrote:
To whom it may concern:

As a concerned citizen, deeply committed to improving the long term peace and prosperity of my species, I am requesting *anonymous* ballot results for your recent score voting elections - purely for scientific study. It is my sincere belief that such data, however anecdotal it might be, is the closest we can come to the sort of ballot data we would see if score voting had been used in political elections, since the Fedora elections are actually consequential (unlike, say, polls).

Here are some links which underscore my sense that this issue is incredibly import for humanity's long-term best interest:
http://rangevoting.org/LivesSaved.html
http://rangevoting.org/RelImport.html
http://rangevoting.org/WorldProblems.html

This sort of data was made available for the HaikuOS icon selection: http://rangevoting.org/HaikuIcon.html
Like Seth, Matt, Mike & Co, I object to this for a variety of reasons, and here they are (a comes from my perspective as a Fedora Contributor, b comes from a perspective of someone who has dealt a bit with statistics, and c is on a personal & elections admin perspective):

a) Assuming you are going to do a similar publication to that of the Haiku thing, then a very simple answer, if your trying to prove a point, then your not doing a very good job 'and a lot of "abstentions." Problem is, we can't tell abstentions from 0's. (There are no 0's, so that's my assessment.)' this exactly how any data you'd get from Fedora Project would be (0 = abstain OR no immediate preference), where _I'VE_ voted zero in the ballots, I would have voted zero even if I did have a no preference option.
So my concern here is:
You can't compare apples with oranges and any attempt to do so would offend me as a user of Fedora, it also makes me disregard the rest of the 'study' as phony because it gives no statistical burden of proof

b) It's a bit steep to just come along and ask for _complete_ voting records (anonymous or not), why haven't you asked for a simple random sample (SRS) I would have thought of any such request much more favourably (in light of point a) than not.

c) There is the privacy of the votes, I make my vote in confidence (unless I'm told beforehand) that my choices are between me and no one else, and will ONLY be seen for purposes of tallying the votes. Why should we treat our users votes any differently than a responsible government (i.e. not Zimbabwe). There is _no_ reason why, and any attempt to change that I'd find disgraceful. Oh and please none of the "Fedora is open" yada-yada because I know that, I've known that for ages, but there is no way anyone can say everything is 100% transparent because the Board, been effectively a governing body of Fedora holds meetings is private, they release the aggregate information out (what they can) but they can't release everything... Why? Because there are just some things that _shouldn't_ be aired in the public arena, what can be is kept for town-hall meetings.

My thoughts for the Board's consideration:
- Why should a vote in a Fedora election be any different to that of nearly any governing body (heck, Public Companies don't release non-aggregate vote data that I've seen)?
- Please consider future implications of such a move (to release data)
- Can we _please_ create some sort of policy to protect the voting data (at the very least as a whole) in retrospect and for the future?

On another note, it should be made clear, that even I have _never_ seen individual vote information (anonymously or associated), there has been no reason to (yes I do check for invalid votes, but none have been displayed and the queries have always been designed to avoid showing valid data).

Debian also makes their election data public, though they use a worse and much more complex Condorcet method, called "Shulze".
http://www.debian.org/vote/2003/leader2003_tally.txt
Yes, and people vote with the knowledge that such releases happen, I honestly don't see anything wrong from there perspective. As for immediately discounting as 'worse', I don't see how you can claim that, it's worked fairly well for them and I'm all for what works.

- Nigel
(n.b. I'm sure I've aired other concerns on IRC but I think I've summarised most of them here)


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