[GRASS-PSC] [GRASS GIS Elections 2020] Brief summary and reflections for the next election

Huidae Cho grass4u at gmail.com
Thu Jan 28 06:04:15 PST 2021

 Hernán and all,

First of all, many thanks to Hernán for organizing the election. I think it
was very smooth.

I believe the most challenging and important task in any election is to
prepare a tidy voters registry. At the moment, we have multiple lists of
contributors in different repositories. It would be much easier to avoid
human errors if we combined them into a single list, maybe in the core or
web repository. Also, for identifying individuals, we can create a unique
ID for each contributor based on their name (e.g., first initial + middle
initial + last name) when they first join the community to avoid using
email addresses (or even github IDs for a potential migration to another
platform in the future), which can change any time. Last, as for sending an
email to someone who has been away from the community for a while, we could
utilize mailing archives to check if they have been active in the community
in the past couple of years. We can discuss further in the first meeting.

Just my two cents.


On Thu, Jan 28, 2021 at 7:24 AM Chief Return Officer (CRO) - GRASS GIS
election 2020 <variablestarlight at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> First of all congratulations to all candidates, those who were elected
> and also those who were not. It was a honor and a pleasure for me to
> serve the GRASS GIS community as CRO. I got a lot of help from all the
> more experienced members, specially Markus and Moritz, but also from
> Nikos, the previous CRO. Thanks to you all.
> In brief, these are my thoughts and lessons for the next election:
> - setting up and running an election like this takes time and
> dedication, best to start early.
> - for the next election a new, better and more tidy registry needs to be
> created, only one entry per person with only one valid e-mail address
> - the LimeSurvey system hosted at OSGEO is seemingly powerful but not
> very intuitive, it takes time to sort out the settings and possibilities
> - a discussion is needed to reach consensus on the voting method and
> procedures preferred by the community
> Detailed thoughts below for those who may want to read more.
> Best
> Hernán
> Detailed thoughts
> My impression is that most things went pretty smooth overall. Setting up
> and running an election like this takes time and some dedication. It is
> best to start early in the processs. The fact that we started the
> elections partly during the holiday season was beneficial at least for
> me, because it is a time when I can have more time to do things outside
> normal work.
> The most pressing issue we had is that of the voters registry. We
> started with six lists containing at least partly the same people, often
> with different spellings, aliases and e-mail addresses. I spent a lot
> more time that I had expected matching, sorting and choosing, and
> eliminating duplicates (and even triplicates or more), from these lists.
> This was often done "in the dark", as I had no clue which was the valid
> e-mail for a certain person, for example, or that a person is known to
> use two or more aliases. In spite of my efforts some people got more
> than one invitation to vote. I constantly monitored the election during
> the voting phase to ensure that no one voted twice. To my knowledge
> no-one did.
> The LimeSurvey software is powerful but not very user friendly (at least
> to this user). It took some time and effort to understand the logic
> behind it. It is possible and easy to make mistakes that will delete
> things. One has to proceed with extreme care. In spite of my efforts
> some setting escaped my attention and on the opening day the first
> voters reported that they could not vote. Luckily, I managed to fix that
> quite soon on that same morning. After finishing the voting phase I
> wrote to Jorge to ask for suggestions as to how best allow for audits
> and archival as openly as transparently as possible.
> I did not get major complaints from people. Perhaps the most important
> question is how the survey is conducted. Nikos and another person raised
> the issue of why people had to choose 9 members and why they couldn't
> vote for one or two, for example. I thought that asking voters to chose
> 9 members would be a better option than letting them pick any number.
> The reason is the following: the PSC will have 9 members, to be chosen
> from 13 candidates, to be voted by about 250 registered voters. If we
> allow voters to pick any number of members up to 9 there would be a
> substantial chance that some candidates may get extremely few votes,
> this is mainly because the number of voters is relatively small (and in
> fact, only 98 voted) and this can make the distribution of votes very
> skewed. This raises a potential problem of representativity for some of
> the least voted candidates. Thus I decided it would be better with a
> "pick your nine member PSC" model. Not saying that this is perfect but I
> deemed it to be a better solution.
> Lastly, one person asked why he was getting the reminders, as it has
> been many years since he has been associated with the GRASS GIS project.
> This is just one case, but perhaps raises questions about how the list
> of voters is populated.
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Huidae Cho, Ph.D., GISP, /hidɛ t͡ɕo/, 조희대, 曺喜大
GRASS GIS Developer
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