[EM] What have I started?!

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sun Jan 21 19:07:34 PST 2007

At 08:29 AM 1/21/2007, Michael Ossipoff wrote:
>I agree with the majority, who feel that we don't need Robert's Rules.

We have never established that. Nor has anyone proposed Robert's 
Rules here. If it were proposed we could consider it. It was proposed 
at one time that formal process be used in certain threads on the 
Range Voting list. Warren was initially tolerant of the idea, as I 
recall, but Mr. Ossipoff vigorously opposed it. The motion itself was 
that we elect a chair. It failed. However, the vote was 2 Yes, 3 No, 
and 4 formally abstained, including myself, since I was acting as 
chair for the purpose of handling the process.

I would not all that a majority feeling that we don't need Robert's 
Rules. (RR was not exactly the question, but much of the discussion 
was about RR.)

Here? Has it ever been proposed?

Mr. Ossipoff goes on to discuss voting methods that might be used 
here. From my point of view, given the group size, it is not a major 
question. Indeed, the only reason we consider it is that we are, 
after all, about election methods. Range polls can be quite useful, 
but simple deliberative process, I will note, will generally discover 
and choose the Condorcet *and* Approval winner, if it is complete, 
and it only takes a minority of members dedicated to causing it to 
make it happen, to make it be complete. If we were using Robert's 
Rules. Using something else.... well, that would depend on what it 
is, wouldn't it?

RR does not allow a vote to begin until it is clear that the group is 
ready to vote, that, generally, everyone who wishes to speak for or 
against it has had an opportunity to be heard, and the group is 
satisfied with the exact form of the question. What Mr. Ossipoff 
proposed short-circuits that process, and would not, just by itself, 
be likely to do what I suggested, because of the bias introduced in 
the original poll question itself. If someone asks a poll question in 
a particular way, it can affect the results. What, then, do we do if 
this is realized? People get annoyed at having to vote on the same 
question over and over. Participation drops.

If there is formal process, readers can pretty much ignore what is 
going on, if they choose, until there is a motion to close debate and 
proceed to a vote. At that point they have an opportunity, with 
mailing list process as we have seen it, to read the record and enter 
whatever arguments they find missing. And if they think the group 
isn't ready to vote, they can vote against the motion to close 
debate. It takes, under RR, a two-thirds vote to close debate. RR is 
very serious about when to proceed to vote. There is a reason for that.

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