[Talk-GB] No more voting on mechanical edits

Dan S danstowell+osm at gmail.com
Thu Dec 18 10:24:19 UTC 2014

Hi Matthijs,

The DWG email used the word "consensus" inappropriately, since
consensus means everyone agreeing, and we didn't. However, consensus
is essentially impossible in big wiki communities like ours, so let's
assume there's a relative meaning of the term ;)

For the record, I still think taking an "opinion poll" of opinions is
a useful way to judge the level of community support, as long as we're
clear it isn't a binding "vote". Votes/polls can be gamed or skewed
but so can mailing-list threads (differently), and it's extremely
non-trivial to work out from a discussion thread how much
support/opposition/apathy there is.


2014-12-18 1:17 GMT+00:00 Matthijs Melissen <info at matthijsmelissen.nl>:
> Dear all,
> The DWG has decided not to allow votes for mechanical edits. Andy
> Townsend wrote me privately, on behalf of the Data Working Group:
>> Please also don't try and organise "votes" for subsequent mechanical edits -
>> the consensus of the comments on the talk-gb list is clear that it's _not_ an
>> appropriate mechanism.
> For the sake of transparency, I thought it would be good to share this
> message also with the list.
> It is not clear to me why the DWG believes that the consensus on this
> list is that voting is not an appropriate mechanism. During the
> procedure for my mechanical edits, I had the impression that while
> some members, perhaps a majority, were against voting, there were also
> members who supported the voting process, or at least thought it is
> the best process available.
> Personally, I also don't think this decision is particularly helpful
> for the community. For the three mechanical edit proposals I have run,
> voting has helped me a lot to gauge the amount of support within the
> community. From discussion alone it's hard to estimate if there exists
> opposition - often people ask critical questions, which might lead one
> to think they oppose the edit, but then these people still express
> support when confronted with an approve/oppose question. Also, the
> mechanical edit policy states that 'As a rule of thumb, you should
> have 90% of the community behind you when you make the edit'. It's
> unclear how someone who proposes a mechanical edit can find out what
> part of the community he has behind him, when polling the community is
> not permitted.
> In any case, the citation above is the decision of the DWG. I respect
> this decision, and I will therefore not use voting as a means to gauge
> the community's opinion in further mechanical edit proposals.
> Finally, I would like to thank Andy and the rest of the DWG for their
> hard work. Even though I don't agree with their decision in this
> particular instance, I realize they do a lot of unpaid hard work that
> is invaluable for the community.
> Kind regards,
> Matthijs
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