[maemo-community] Community council elections

From: Jonas Hurrelmann j at outpo.st
Date: Wed Aug 13 21:39:57 EEST 2008

I did not participate in the previous discussion on the wiki page and thus 
this resulting conclusion, but I still think some things have to be cleared.

Dave Neary wrote:

> I'd like to help move the community council election along, in line with
> what's been put up in the wiki:
> https://wiki.maemo.org/Task:Community_Council

I try to keep the discussion here on the list now, as it would be confusing 
and redundant to bring arguments in two places (or three counting IRC).

In particular those points concern me:

> - Elligible voters will have:
> * a maemo.org account for more than 3 months on the date of the end
> of the election (that is, 2 months ago)
> * more than 25 karma points, as of 23:59 tonight

Following the discussion on IRC today, I want to raise my voice against this.
At the moment karma points are not able to determine your amount (or even 
quality) of contributions, just a fragment of it. Thus taking voices from 
people, who contribute and participate in other ways, like helping on IRC or 
on ITT or just contributing code to projects on Garage.
The karma system seems to have strange weights in what counts as contribution 
as you get more points for daily clicking the "Love" symbols on the planet to 
promote "News" than for example giving code to the community.
It also should be considered that you get karma for writing a question or 
troll-post to the mailing lists but not for answering a question on IRC or 
Besides, it looks like, that there seem to be "Project" and "Discussion" karma 
points missing for some people, see last comments on:
For myself I also do not see the "Project" points for "Advanced Backlight" 
added to my karma, but I did not remotely care about this until today.
Likewise it seems to be problematic to determine the actual "price" of an 
application in the download page and derive a meaningful karma value from it.
In the end I see karma as a funny game for some people to play, but at the 
moment in no way a working measurement on how one contributes to maemo.org.
It just reflects a very rough approximation to a subset of it.

It seems very rude to exclude people contributing in other ways from any 
election process and on the other hand promoting the faulty karma system which 
can be "exploited" in several ways (arbitrary favoring of blog posts, adding 
bad or unfinished applications to the download page, etc).

I would say it is enough to have an account that is older than 2-3 month and 
let's say was active (logged in), in the last 3-4 month at least once. 
If you fear "ballot stuffing" then I would say that there must be something 
really, really wrong with maemo.org.
If you suspect that many multiple accounts that are all "active" waiting to be 
used to manipulate an election, then there might be a need to investigate this 
- but I really doubt the actual number would exceed some minimal noise in an 
election process. 
On top of this, a "karma bot" could be written for those fake accounts to get 
the minimal karma they need to vote.... there are almost always ways to scam.

I think it is much more important to give every member of the community a 
voice than using a faulty indicator of his or her involvement.
If you fail to meet the grave aspects of the karma algorithm you will be 
excluded from democratic processes - that seems wrong to me.

The only thing that this will cause, is a loss in trust in the community. 

> - Candidates should have 100 karma points as of tonight, 23:59. I can
> post the list of elligible candidates tomorrow.

The arguments above apply here as well, but I am not as opposed against it as 
to the voting rights. 
I do not think it is necessary to have karma as a criteria for being a 
candidate. If persons are unknown to the community, they will not get a 
significant amount of votes anyway. 
If a person that has less than 100 karma points would get elected, this would 
only show how insignificant the karma actually is.

So it would make much more sense to just accept everyone volunteering.
I guess there will not be many with less than 100 karma anyway, but if those 
with less karma are committed enough and show their commitment (not by karma) 
then i can't see any reason why they should not get a chance for getting a 
seat in the council.

Best wishes

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