Elections - Additional feedback?

In the announcement for the results of the TOC election, there was a link to the original feedback thread, asking for comments about this first iteration of the process. There has been only one feedback item so far after the original discussion, @ghassan 's accurate remark that it would be useful to pre-select an algorithm for the decision in case they didn’t all agree one year.

There is likely much more that we can improve, so I’m opening a dedicated feedback thread – is there anything you thought of the process that would be worth considering for the next iteration? Or anything you thought worked well, and that we should keep?

An thanks again to everyone who has participated and helped!

On my side, I have noted a few items that could be considered for improvement:

  • I think it’s missing a category open for everyone in the community to be able to vote in – that was originally the intention of the learners category, which would be the easiest to qualify for. It would be useful to add a proper vote open more largely.

  • There was some confusion during registration about who could apply for the core & instructor categories – a few people applied in the wrong category, as well as some who didn’t qualify for either. It would be worth making more clear and explicit what the criteria are in the communication & forms (and the previous item can also help ensure everyone can vote somewhere).

  • A few institutions and instances have relayed the news and get more voters (thank you!!), but it was overall a bit underwhelming in terms of relay. It would be good to prepare something better this time – a few ideas:

    • Get a commitment from all the Open edX partners/verified/etc to relay the news?
    • Add an (optional) banner to Open edX, so that important news like this one can be relayed automatically to everyone in the Open edX community, regardless of the instance they use?
    • Advertise the vote at the conference - and maybe allow to register participants earlier there?
    • Increase the awareness of the role of the TOC in the community, for example with interviews with TOC members in the months leading to the reelection?
  • Currently the categories allow for people to vote in multiple categories if they qualify for multiple ones, which might be too complicated, and nobody took advantage of it - should this possibility be removed? It was originally meant to encourage everyone to participate in multiple personas within the project, to develop awareness & dogfooding.

  • Have the candidate bio page linked on the voting page, since not everyone follows the blog page and discuss.openedx.org

Anything else? Any comments on the above?

NB: I have also moved the details of the planning & steps from this year’s organization document to the wiki, so it can be used as a documentation reference to reuse when planning the future years.

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Hi there,

I think there was a lot to learn from this election.

The categories where very confusing. We need to make a big effort to make it simpler to explain.
I also agree deeply with the “we are missing a category” for everyone statement. I think we should concentrate on this category and make most of the election about that. Anyone that is a learner, has participated in the forums or has come in contact with this community should be invited to vote here. Registration to vote should be always open and registering an email should suffice, but any interaction with the community could also be means for pre-registration. E.g: having an account in this forums.
Ideally, that should be lots of votes and participation. Also for a moment I’m not taking much consideration about the multiple-persona situation.

This would probably mean that an individual vote does not carry too much weight. But luckily there are ways to make your voice a little louder. You could register as an author by providing proof that you are instructor in an active course. This would probably mean less votes in this category, but still many individuals wanting to vote might take this extra step to make their vote count a bit more.

Finally we have core contributors, which should be the smallest group in the election, which vote carries more weight. These group is well known and we have their email addresses already. Registration for this category is automatic.

This way of looking at the election puts most of the effort in reaching out to the community at large and inviting them to vote in the election for the first seat. People with more involvement in the community or platform do a bit more and get to vote for the second or third seats.

For me it would also revert the picking order for the three elections. Currently, CCs take their pick, then authors and then learners. I would flip it so that the learners/everyone category picks first, from the remaining candidates authors get their choice and finally CCs.

Now, let’s take the multiple-persona situation out of the drawer I put it in. Someone could vote more than once, yes, but there is not too much incentive for it. Voting in the general election would always be possible. Perhaps even with a second registration with a different email, but the votes that get more weight require more proof and validation. If the picking order is also reversed, then if a CC’s choice is already picked by the authors or learners, then the CC gets an opportunity to have his/her first and possibly even second pick in the results.

I appreciate all the hard work that went into this years election. I hope we will make it even better for the next.


Thank you for the feedback! With @abstract-technology and @sampaccoud we have prepared amendments to the election charter, to take into account the feedback given in this thread. The key changes that are being applied are small, but important.

See the amended charter draft - in a nutshell, the changes are:

  1. It is recommended that folks involved in the project in any capacity will be eligible to vote in community elections. This will create an open, inclusive, and broad based electorate. Rules for candidate eligibility will remain the same and require that candidates are Core Contributors to the project.
  2. Going forward, each voter will be able to vote in only one category. One person, one vote.
  3. For the avoidance of doubt, the charter now notes that we will use the default vote completion method used by CIVS to decide ties (currently, Minmax-PM), see CIVS completion algorithms for more details.
  4. In cases where a single candidate is elected in multiple categories of voters, the order of categories used to pick the winner from each category is reversed. It is now User → Teacher → Operator/core (see @Felipe 's explanation above in the current thread).
  5. The nominations and voting registration will open earlier in future years, at the plenary of the Open edX Conference. This is to allow to give better visibility to the process, and work on registering more candidates and voters at the conference. (It’s too late for this year, but this would be done from next year).

Note that given the election is coming up in a month, there won’t be much margin for further changes for this year, given the need for approval by the TOC - but if you see anything off, don’t hesitate to comment anyway. We’ll consider it for the next round in any case, and if it’s important we will try to consider it now.

There are other changes that didn’t require to update the charter, and are more about the process, announcement and ensuring broader inclusiveness - @abstract-technology would you like to talk about them?

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