TSC election suggestions

Brian Behlendorf
 

Hi all,

The HL staff involved in administering the recent TSC election recently met to discuss things we might want to do differently next year, as well as some suggestions we'd have for the TSC, to make next year's election even smoother.

1) It's clear there were some members of the community who felt underinformed about the election timeline and process.  The Hyperledger Charter, section 4.II.a, says "The TSC shall approve the process and timing for nominations and elections held on an annual basis."  We had created the 2019 Election wiki page and published a timeline there, and announced it on TSC calls, but could have done a better job in ensuring TSC acceptance and buy-in of the process and communication around it.  Next time, we suggest that the process & timeline be proposed by the HL staff to the TSC and affirmed by a vote, so that the TSC can ensure and represent to the wider community how it's happening and why it's trustworthy.

2) Along with getting TSC formal approval, it would be helpful to have two or three volunteer election observers who are not running for the TSC, with whom we can CC on every election-related conversation we have or action we take, who can help us with the voter list, and with whom we can share the results from Condorcet.  Apache has election monitors for this purpose.  Those monitors, of course, will not have access to the raw votes, just as HL staff do not.

3) Perhaps the biggest source of public confusion, and the greatest amount of work for HL staff, was in creating the list of eligible voters from the myriad of different systems for collaboration, and then de-duping and correcting for invalid addresses.  The charter describes an eligible voter very loosely: "anyone in the technical community that contributes code, documentation or other technical artifacts to the HLP codebase".  It doesn't tightly define "codebase" nor does it say how much of a contribution is merited, so a one-line edit to the wiki or reporting a bug would qualify.  We are happy to see the TSC looking at redefining who's allowed to vote.  In Apache, only actual members of the ASF can vote on their board, and there is always a known good email address for reaching someone, and that persists even when individuals change jobs/employers.  In addition to other criteria like "easy to describe" and "perceived as fair and hard to game", we would also ask that "easily resolvable to a working email address" be a part of the decision on who's eligible to vote.  Any substantive change to eligibility requirements should also be turned into a proposed amendment to the Charter.

4) Regarding nominations: we recommend moving back to public nominations posted to the TSC list, backed with wiki page from the nominee, rather than collecting by form then posting to the wiki at the start of the election.  We also recommend doing away with formally nominating someone else to vote.  There were three candidates nominated by others who withdrew their candidacy as they weren't aware they were being nominated.  And we provided no window between the time we took nominations and the start of the election to verify.

5) Timing.  There were some aspects of the election with tight turn-around times during a month, August, when many people are on vacations or otherwise distracted.  It may be better to push TSC elections out a month or two; perhaps, use September to do the data collection to determine who's allowed to vote and take nominations, and then October to conduct the vote over a slightly longer period, to maximize potential participation.

Hope this is helpful,

Brian
-- 
Brian Behlendorf
Executive Director, Hyperledger
bbehlendorf@...
Twitter: @brianbehlendorf

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