Last-modified: Mon Jun 14 11:12:16 BST 2010
The procedures for coordinating newsgroup management within the UK hierarchy
are contained in four documents, of which this article contains the second.
The following Voting procedures were accepted on 07 Aug 95 by a vote conducted
on uk.net.news with 91 votes in favour and 13 votes against. They were
amended by further votes on 02 May 98, on 05 Aug 98, on 01 Oct 99, on 13 Dec
2002, on 26 May 2003, on 31 May 2003, and again on 25 Sep 2003.
GUIDELINES FOR GROUP CREATION WITHIN THE UK HIERARCHY
VOTING PROCEDURES WITHIN THE UK HIERARCHY
THE UK USENET COMMITTEE
The following words where used in this document have the precise meanings
Hopefully, most newsgroup creation within the UK hierarchy can be done without
a vote. When dissention arises, however, voting may be the only method of
resolution, and hence these rules are provided.
- any RFD which fails to follow this guideline will be invalid
- in all but exceptional or unusual cases an RFD ought to follow
- whilst this guideline is acceptable practice, it remains optional
Votes should be conducted by a third party, not involved with the topic. The
current group(s) of volunteer votetakers used for votes within the uk.*
hierarchy, together with their email address(es) are:
- If after the discussion following an RFD it becomes necessary to hold a
vote, a call for votes (CFV) shall be formulated by a member of the
votetaking organisation, acting for and in consultation with the proponent,
and mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (as moderator of uk.net.news.announce).
If the CFV is in the correct form (see below), Control will post it to all
those newsgroups and mailing lists that the latest RFD was posted to;
otherwise, it shall be referred back to the votetaker who, in consultation
with the Committee and the proponent as necessary, shall rectify the
The CFV shall include
- A summary of the discussion;
- An indication of all differences between the proposal and
the latest RFD (or a statement that there are none);
- The rationale, the name of the group, the newsgroups line
and the charter, as in an RFD; alternative versions of some
or all of these things may be offered;
- The voting instructions and the ballot form, or alternatively
instructions on how to obtain a ballot form.
If differences from the latest RFD have been indicated, any changes or
revised alternatives are required to be minor and to have arisen directly
from the discussion. Moreover, if the question(s) to be put involve
restricted combinations of the alternatives or other interdependencies,
these must have been specified in the latest RFD. If there is any doubt on
these points, the matter shall be referred to the Committee who may then
require a further RFD to be issued.
The voting instructions and the ballot form shall state clearly the
question(s) to be put, shall include clear instructions on how to cast a
vote, and shall be completely even-handed as regards voting FOR or AGAINST
or ABSTAIN (e.g. there shall be no default vote). Should a status quo for
the proposal exist, the voter shall be given the opportunity to vote for
it, either by voting explicitly for the status quo or by voting against the
- The voting period should last for at least 18 days and no more than 28
days. The exact date that the voting period will end should be stated.
Only votes that arrive on the votetaking organisation's server not later
than that date will be counted.
- A repeat of the CFV should be posted half way through the vote, but it
shall be a repeat of the same CFV on the SAME proposal (see #5 below).
- ONLY votes MAILED to the votetaking organisation will count. Votes posted
to the net for any reason (including inability to get mail to the
votetaking organisation) and proxy votes (such as having a mailing list
maintainer claim a vote for each member of the list) will not be counted.
- Votes may not be transferred to other, similar proposals. A vote shall
count only for the EXACT proposal that it is a response to. In particular,
a vote for or against a particular newsgroup shall NOT be counted as a vote
for or against a newsgroup with a modified name, charter, moderation status
- Votes SHALL be explicit answers to the questions as put. They
SHALL be submitted on the ballot paper in accordance with the
voting instructions and SHALL include, in addition to the
They MAY also include such further information as may be requested for the
purpose of identifying that voter's posts to usenet or, alternatively, an
affirmation that they do not currently post to usenet.
- The voter's name;
- The voter's email address, which must be valid since the votetaker
will send email to it, and it is to be published in the result.
The votetaker will determine the validity of each vote with respect to the
voting instructions and MAY seek further clarification from the voter. If
the votetaker determines that a vote is invalid, the votetaker SHOULD so
inform the voter as specified in section 11.
- A vote should be run only for a single group proposal. Several votes for
related groups may be included in the same CFV, provided the voter has the
opportunity to vote independently for each one. A particuler vote may be
specified as being dependent on the result of an earlier one (e.g. the
creation of a group may depend on the prior removal of some other group),
but decision trees of excessive complexity should be avoided.
- When a vote calls for a choice between several mutually exclusive options,
an alternative "Reopen Discussion" (ROD) option shall be included.
Additionally, this option shall be included in any ballot should the
committee so request, or if 4 or more people so petition, by e- mailing
email@example.com, during the RFD stage. If ROD succeeds, the proponent
should issue a new RFD containing further options. The ROD option shall not
be offered after the second distinct vote on any one proposal.
- For a vote between several mutually exclusive options, the voters shall be
asked to indicate their relative preference amongst the given options,
which shall include the status quo (if one exists) and may include "Reopen
Discussion" (ROD). It is permitted to give the same preference level to
more than one option; voters should be encouraged to ascribe some
preference level to each option.
- Where the vote paper has been sent via an autoresponder, or direct mail
from the votetaking organisation only, only vote papers that have been
requested by these methods will be counted towards formal votes. This is in
addition to the sending of an acknowledgement of receipt and validity of
- Formal acknowledgements: -
The votetaking organisation SHALL send a formal acknowledgement within 5
days of receiving a vote, this SHALL include
If a vote does not contain the required information, the acknowledgement
SHALL include as much of it as is available, plus an indication that the
voter should resubmit his vote. It SHOULD be pointed out that the vote has
NOT been counted in its current incomplete status.
- The persons name
- The persons e-mail address
- An indication of their vote
Any other information is at the votetaking organisation's discretion.
- The votetaking organisation may halt and, if appropriate, restart the Vote
if any irregularity becomes apparent. Moreover, in the event of any
allegation that the Vote is being conducted in violation of these rules
which seems to the Committee to be well founded, the Committee may require
such a halt and/or restart. Alternatively (but only with the agreement of
the votetaking organisation), it may be allowed to continue after
rectification of the problem.
- At the completion of the voting period, the votetaking organisation shall
post the result to uk.net.news.announce, and to all the other groups or
mailing lists that the original CFV was posted to. It shall include the
E-mail addresses and the names of all the voters, together with which way
each one voted, so that the results can be verified.
- AFTER the vote result is posted, there will be a 5 day waiting period,
beginning when the voting results actually appear in uk.net.news.announce,
during which the net will have a chance to correct any errors in the voter
list or the voting procedure. If the vote was successful, and if there were
no serious objections that might invalidate it, firstname.lastname@example.org will
issue the appropriate 'newgroup' and/or 'rmgroup' control messages.
- In normal circumstances, a vote will succeed if a majority of the valid
votes are FOR and if the number FOR is at least 12 greater than the number
AGAINST. If the vote does not succeed, then the Status Quo shall prevail
(which usually means that a group is not created).
Exceptionally, where there is no Status Quo to revert to (the matter HAS to
be decided one way or the other) the Committee may sanction a vote
requiring a simple majority.
- For a vote between several mutually exclusive options, the votetaking
organisation will establish, for each possible pair of options A and B, how
many voters prefer A over B and vice versa. All options which are not
preferred to the status quo (if present) by the required margin are
eliminated. If this eliminates all options, then the status quo shall
prevail. The option which is accepted is the one remaining option which is
not outvoted by any other (if there are two or more such options, the tie
shall be resolved by lot). If there is no absolute preferred candidate of
those remaining, the result shall be as if ROD were successful.
- If multiple votes are submitted using a single email address, only the last
one of those votes received by the votetaker within the voting period will
be counted, even if that email address is used by more than one person.
Where it is believed that several votes have been submitted by one person
using multiple email addresses in an attempt to bypass these restrictions,
those votes SHALL all be rejected.
- All objections and appeals to the result will be decided by the Committee.
Their decisions will be posted to uk.net.news.announce.
Any changes to these rules, or those in the companion documents, shall be
proposed in an RFD in accordance with the GUIDELINES FOR GROUP CREATION WITHIN
THE UK HIERARCHY, insofar as they are applicable. RFDs for rule changes shall
be discussed in the newsgroup uk.net.news.management, and this will be the
definitive record of discussion.
The method of determining the result when there are several mutually exclusive
options, as described in paragraph 4 of The Result, is essentially that
devised by the French mathematician the Marquis de Condorcet (1743-94).