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Re: Getting out the vote for the Fedora 10 election season



On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 5:06 PM, Jeff Spaleta <jspaleta gmail com> wrote:
> Okay campers, I'm here to try to jump start a discussion on what we
> can do to encourage people to participate in the upcoming Fedora
> election season.

Thank you jef for trying to tackle this.

> ...
>
> So what sort of things can we do? And when should we start doing them?
>
> As a start is there a general need to raise the awareness of the
> election and voting process we are using?
> Can we generate general interest material covering topics like:
> Why vote? How do you qualify for voting? What's this range voting stuff?

>From out in the field I hear several reasons people don't vote. One
common reason is that they are new to the project and don't feel they
know enough about who everyone is and what the various committees do
to feel competent to participate.

So one thing that I think would help new contributors get their
bearings, and not just with respect to elections, is something like an
organization chart that explains the structure of the Fedora project
generally. What are all these committees? What purpose do they serve?
What problems do the solve? Knowing that much will suggest a reason to
care to many people I think.

Being familiar with the structure of Fedora is something new
ambassadors have been discussing to facilitate them in their efforts
to help get new contributors aimed in an appropriate direction too, so
I think some way to help all of us who don't live entirely inside the
world of Fedora understand how the parts all fit together would be
wonderful.

> ...
>
> Community Q/A:
> This is the one thing I've been thinking about a lot myself. I think
> we can try to encourage people to ask questions they want the
> candidates to answer as a way to frame the election and give all the
> candidates a better idea of what the voting community cares about.

I like this idea. The key to it being effective is for those who are
asking questions to understand the role of the positions the
candidates are running for so they can ask relevant questions. While I
may be mostly out of the loop, I'm not totally out of the loop, and
I'm often told my questions aren't relevant to the Fedora Board when I
ask them. This may largely be correct as well, one problem I have is
that I don't always know where a question should be directed and since
the Fedora Board has an open forum it tends to get them by default.

> It's sort of a two part problem. One we just need to get people out
> there to ask questions. I think this comes down to communicating why
> each election matters.  Can we do that as a marketing campaign? Can we
> "sell" the election process?

I couldn't agree more. We need to understand why the elections matter.
I also hear in the field that people don't vote because it doesn't
matter or at least their participation in them doesn't matter. There
is often a perception that when 12 people are running for 9 seats and
everyone seems capable of filling those seats why should I spend time
thinking about ranking them?

> ...
>
> Nominations:
> This was talked about a lot in the post-Board election fab discussion,
> and it was generally agreed that encouraging people to nominate others
> would help increase the candidate pool, because some people are not
> inclined to self-nominate. How do we go about encouraging people to
> nominate other people? I don't know exactly beyond blogging about it
> again.

People nominating others is one good way to get them involved. It has
the same preconditions for participating I think. They must know what
the role of the position is in order to make a sensible nomination.

> ...
>
> IRC Debate:
> Another idea floating around is organizing a candidate debate for each
> election.  I can't take credit for this idea.  It should be doable. My
> main concerning is how to generate the questions/topics for a debate
> format.  This loops to my personal focus on trying to find a way
> generate questions from the community for candidates to answer.   If
> you've got an idea on how to run a candidate debate for any of the
> elections, feel free to chime in.

Whether a debate or an open forum where we can just get to know the
thinking of the candidates would be nice. I'm not sure a debate format
is well suited to most of these elections as they aren't driven so
much by particular issues as they are by something more akin to
character issues. Maybe I would change my mind on this given a better
understanding of the roles of the positions myself. Taking the Fedora
Board as an example, what would such a debate be about? If we are
better guided by personal qualities, like this candidate has a nice
disposition and can effectively deal with conflict resolution I don't
see much to debate. But an open forum where we can see the
dispositions of the candidates would still be useful.

> Meet the Candidate Videos:
> If candidates wanted to make introductory videos can we organize a
> space for candidates videos that makes it easier for people to find?

Anything that allows contributors to get to know the people running is
a good thing. It is just impossible to vote for or against a name on a
piece of paper who you don't really know anything about beyond that
name.

John


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