Voter Information and Election Guide

What is the current protocol for voting and nominations?

  • Requirements to be on the Board:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    • Registered user for 1 year or longer on RationalWiki
    • 250 edits or more
    • At least 1 edit in the last 3 months
    • Willing to turn over real name and contact information to the Foundation as this must be used on official documents.
  • Nomination procedure:
    • Anyone can nominate anyone qualified by placing their name on a nomination page
    • No second required
    • People can nominate themselves
    • Each nominee must indicate acceptance or it will be assumed they have not accepted
    • Nominations start date will be determined by the out-going board and should run for one month
  • Voting requirements:
    • Registered user for 3 months or longer on RationalWiki
    • 75 edits or more
    • Sign up on the voter registration page
  • Voting:
    • Start date will be determined by the existing board, and will be open for one week
    • Using a single transferable vote system
    • Votes will be cast on-wiki using a custom extension
    • Votes will be collected as a secret ballot
    • Votes are sent to a data file that can be counted using OpenSTV

When will the election occur?

The specific dates are up to the existing board, but generally nominations begin in January and the election begins in February.

What is single transferable voting, and why was it chosen?

STV voting may be new to people used to the US voting system, though various adaptations of it are used widely around the world. Essentially instead of voting for one candidate, you vote for as many as you like and put them in order of preference. When counting the votes the program looks at the first preference until someone gets enough votes to be elected and then it can move down the list. The details are widely available online and as always at  wikipedia.

STV voting is a superior method to “first past the post” style voting, particularly for legislative bodies where multiple members are being selected. It gets a better feel for the opinion of the electorate, and there are open source software solutions that make generating accurate results simple.

How will votes be collected, counted, and results made known, and who will do it?

The votes are collected using a custom extension. This allows us to use the user authentication of the mediawiki software. The results will be collected as a secret ballot, though the user ids of who voted will be stored but not in a way that allows them to be connected with who they voted for.

The data will be stored on the RW servers and then fed in the OpenSTV software to count the votes. Results will be posted on RationalWiki after they are determined.

An election officer will be appointed by the (out-going) Board to run the election, the election officer cannot be on the ballot.

Why the requirements for voting when RationalWiki is open for all?

While we understand that we can’t deter an especially dedicated indiviudal or group from casting multiple votes (short of requiring social security numbers, passport details or genetic fingerprinting) these requirements are a minimal barrier to deter voting fraud while still allowing for an inclusive ballot. Switching IPs and creating new identities to cast additional votes is all fun and games for votebotting YouTube videos and bumping up WIGO entries but running as an elected official on the Board is considerably more important. Real money and real worth is on the line and we are doing the minimum to ensure those that vote have an interest in RationalWiki and the Foundation.

Why should I care about this at all?

A lot of our users only care about being able to use the site, read a few WIGOs, rant drunkenly at the saloon bar and then head off to bed. So why should they care about this board and election anyway?

The RationalMedia Foundation owns RationalWiki and everything associated with it. The Foundation is in charge of raising money, spending it, managing the site, and ensuring that it continues to exist and thrive. The Foundation could also decide to liquidate everything and start publishing a bi-monthly recipe magazine. The board is in charge of the Foundation, which means that the people you elect have the power to directly affect your experience on the site.

If you are not interested in the back door dealings and all the little things that it takes to keep this site going, you don’t have to be. But everyone that cares at all about the site, even if it’s just WIGO CP, should take the time to vote for the people they think can do the job well.