Elections 2016 CRO feedback

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This page resumes a retrospective of the process of working as a CRO for the Board of Directors elections.

Contacting 300 people

The main issue has been being able to reach our members. We have a database of charter members with name, country, e-mail and start and end dates for the membership. This database is maintained manually by the OSGeo secretary. When the voting is set up on the electronic system (LimeSurvey) a CSV export of that table is uploaded to be used to send mails and reminders.

On the other hand we have our charter members addresses stored more or less systematically on other places: Charter Members mailing list, wiki users database and the OSGeo LDAP.

The main issue is having a maintained database to contact users. Many of them provide work addresses that get obsolete often. They maybe update the Wiki or LDAP database but never contact the secretary (nobody told them to do so) and really seldom they update their address on the mailing list.

How we fix this problem? I think a way to do so would be to use OSGeo LDAP, so we remove e-mails from the charter members table and use LDAP ids so when elections arrive we just get the e-mails from there and join with that table to get the results. I have no idea how hard is to export LDAP records but anything we can do to reduce redundancy on this list is worth.

Voting system using CRO alias

The Voting system is using a mail sender to distribute e-mails, using the CRO OSGeo alias (cro@osgeo.org) as a sender. This is probably causing some issues as being identifiied as a spam behavior. This should be fixed if the voting system (hosted at geo-spatial.org server) can use it's own mail address, something like osgeo_elections@geo-spatial.org that would look legit for more e-mail services.

Voting schedule

We should plan ahead the campaign time that was improvised so candidates have more time to prepare their manifestos. Also I think we should increase to two weeks the voting period to allow more members to get time. This has improved over other years where we had the voting in northen hemisphere summer season.

So the calendar for Board elections would be two weeks for nominations, a week for campaigning and two for voting.

Raising concerns

One charter member contacted me to ask about advice on how to raise concerns on a candidate. The issue was the fear that raising a direct concern on a public list would lead to an ad-hominem discussion, fading the concern itself. It's a bit worrying for me that this is an issue in the sense that we are seen as a community that can't accept non positive feedback.

Voting mechanics

Another charter member contacted me complaining about not being able to cast less votes than open seats. Other years we've allowed several votes to be casted to the same candidate. Another simpler solution is just allowing to vote from zero to the number of open seats.