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Voting Procedures for uk.*

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Archive-name: uk/voting
Posting-frequency: every 8 weeks
Last-modified: Thu Oct 2 15:52:33 BST 2003

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The procedures for coordinating newsgroup management within the UK hierarchy
are contained in four documents, of which this article contains the second.


The following Voting procedures were accepted on 07 Aug 95 by a vote conducted
on with 91 votes in favour and 13 votes against. They were
amended by further votes on 02 May 98, on 05 Aug 98, on 01 Oct 99, on 13 Dec
2002, on 26 May 2003, on 31 May 2003, and again on 25 Sep 2003.


The following words where used in this document have the precise meanings
shown here:

SHALL  - any RFD which fails to follow this guideline will be invalid
SHOULD - in all but exceptional or unusual cases an RFD ought to follow
         this guideline
MAY    - whilst this guideline is acceptable practice, it remains optional

Hopefully, most newsgroup creation within the UK hierarchy can be done without
a vote. When dissention arises, however, voting may be the only method of
resolution, and hence these rules are provided.

Votes should be conducted by a third party, not involved with the topic. The
current group(s) of volunteer votetakers used for votes within the uk.*
hierarchy, together with their email address(es) are:


The Vote

1) If after the discussion following an RFD it becomes necessary to hold a
   vote, a call for votes (CFV) shall be formulated by a member of the
   votetaking organisation, acting for and in consultation with the proponent,
   and mailed to (as moderator of
   If the CFV is in the correct form (see below), Control will post it to all
   those newsgroups and mailing lists that the latest RFD was posted to;
   otherwise, it shall be referred back to the votetaker who, in consultation
   with the Committee and the proponent as necessary, shall rectify the

   The CFV shall include
       . A summary of the discussion;
       . An indication of all differences between the proposal and
         the latest RFD (or a statement that there are none);
       . The rationale, the name of the group, the newsgroups line
         and the charter, as in an RFD; alternative versions of some
         or all of these things may be offered;
       . The voting instructions and the ballot form, or alternatively
         instructions on how to obtain a ballot form.

   If differences from the latest RFD have been indicated, any changes or
   revised alternatives are required to be minor and to have arisen directly
   from the discussion. Moreover, if the question(s) to be put involve
   restricted combinations of the alternatives or other interdependencies,
   these must have been specified in the latest RFD.  If there is any doubt on
   these points, the matter shall be referred to the Committee who may then
   require a further RFD to be issued.

   The voting instructions and the ballot form shall state clearly the
   question(s) to be put, shall include clear instructions on how to cast a
   vote, and shall be completely even-handed as regards voting FOR or AGAINST
   or ABSTAIN (e.g. there shall be no default vote). Should a status quo for
   the proposal exist, the voter shall be given the opportunity to vote for
   it, either by voting explicitly for the status quo or by voting against the

2) The voting period should last for at least 18 days and no more than 28
   days. The exact date that the voting period will end should be stated.
   Only votes that arrive on the votetaking organisation's server not later
   than that date will be counted.

3) A repeat of the CFV should be posted half way through the vote, but it
   shall be a repeat of the same CFV on the SAME proposal (see #5 below).

4) ONLY votes MAILED to the votetaking organisation will count. Votes posted
   to the net for any reason (including inability to get mail to the
   votetaking organisation) and proxy votes (such as having a mailing list
   maintainer claim a vote for each member of the list) will not be counted.

5) Votes may not be transferred to other, similar proposals. A vote shall
   count only for the EXACT proposal that it is a response to. In particular,
   a vote for or against a particular newsgroup shall NOT be counted as a vote
   for or against a newsgroup with a modified name, charter, moderation status
   or moderator.

6) Votes SHALL be explicit answers to the questions as put. They
   SHALL be submitted on the ballot paper in accordance with the
   voting instructions and SHALL include, in addition to the
   actual vote
      i) The voter's name;
      ii) The voter's email address, which must be valid since the votetaker
       will send email to it, and it is to be published in the result.
   They MAY also include such further information as may be requested for the
   purpose of identifying that voter's posts to usenet or, alternatively, an
   affirmation that they do not currently post to usenet.
   The votetaker will determine the validity of each vote with respect to the
   voting instructions and MAY seek further clarification from the voter. If
   the votetaker determines that a vote is invalid, the votetaker SHOULD so
   inform the voter as specified in section 11.

7) A vote should be run only for a single group proposal. Several votes for
   related groups may be included in the same CFV, provided the voter has the
   opportunity to vote independently for each one. A particuler vote may be
   specified as being dependent on the result of an earlier one (e.g. the
   creation of a group may depend on the prior removal of some other group),
   but decision trees of excessive complexity should be avoided.

8) When a vote calls for a choice between several mutually exclusive options,
   an alternative "Reopen Discussion" (ROD) option shall be included.
   Additionally, this option shall be included in any ballot should the
   committee so request, or if 4 or more people so petition, by e- mailing, during the RFD stage. If ROD succeeds, the proponent
   should issue a new RFD containing further options. The ROD option shall not
   be offered after the second distinct vote on any one proposal.

9) For a vote between several mutually exclusive options, the voters shall be
   asked to indicate their relative preference amongst the given options,
   which shall include the status quo (if one exists) and may include "Reopen
   Discussion" (ROD). It is permitted to give the same preference level to
   more than one option; voters should be encouraged to ascribe some
   preference level to each option.

10) Where the vote paper has been sent via an autoresponder, or direct mail
   from the votetaking organisation only, only vote papers that have been
   requested by these methods will be counted towards formal votes. This is in
   addition to the sending of an acknowledgement of receipt and validity of

11) Formal acknowledgements: -

   The votetaking organisation SHALL send a formal acknowledgement within 5
   days of receiving a vote, this SHALL include
      1) The persons name
      2) The persons e-mail address
      3) An indication of their vote

   If a vote does not contain the required information, the acknowledgement
   SHALL include as much of it as is available, plus an indication that the
   voter should resubmit his vote.  It SHOULD be pointed out that the vote has
   NOT been counted in its current incomplete status.

   Any other information is at the votetaking organisation's discretion.

12) The votetaking organisation may halt and, if appropriate, restart the Vote
   if any irregularity becomes apparent. Moreover, in the event of any
   allegation that the Vote is being conducted in violation of these rules
   which seems to the Committee to be well founded, the Committee may require
   such a halt and/or restart. Alternatively (but only with the agreement of
   the votetaking organisation), it may be allowed to continue after
   rectification of the problem.

The Result

1) At the completion of the voting period, the votetaking organisation shall
   post the result to, and to all the other groups or
   mailing lists that the original CFV was posted to. It shall include the
   E-mail addresses and the names of all the voters, together with which way
   each one voted, so that the results can be verified.

2) AFTER the vote result is posted, there will be a 5 day waiting period,
   beginning when the voting results actually appear in,
   during which the net will have a chance to correct any errors in the voter
   list or the voting procedure. If the vote was successful, and if there were
   no serious objections that might invalidate it, will
   issue the appropriate 'newgroup' and/or 'rmgroup' control messages.

3) In normal circumstances, a vote will succeed if a majority of the valid
   votes are FOR and if the number FOR is at least 12 greater than the number
   AGAINST. If the vote does not succeed, then the Status Quo shall prevail
   (which usually means that a group is not created).

   Exceptionally, where there is no Status Quo to revert to (the matter HAS to
   be decided one way or the other) the Committee may sanction a vote
   requiring a simple majority.

4) For a vote between several mutually exclusive options, the votetaking
   organisation will establish, for each possible pair of options A and B, how
   many voters prefer A over B and vice versa. All options which are not
   preferred to the status quo (if present) by the required margin are
   eliminated. If this eliminates all options, then the status quo shall
   prevail. The option which is accepted is the one remaining option which is
   not outvoted by any other (if there are two or more such options, the tie
   shall be resolved by lot). If there is no absolute preferred candidate of
   those remaining, the result shall be as if ROD were successful.

5) If multiple votes are submitted using a single email address, only the last
   one of those votes received by the votetaker within the voting period will
   be counted, even if that email address is used by more than one person.
   Where it is believed that several votes have been submitted by one person
   using multiple email addresses in an attempt to bypass these restrictions,
   those votes SHALL all be rejected.

6) All objections and appeals to the result will be decided by the Committee.
   Their decisions will be posted to

Rule Changes

Any changes to these rules, or those in the companion documents, shall be
proposed in an RFD in accordance with the GUIDELINES FOR GROUP CREATION WITHIN
THE UK HIERARCHY, insofar as they are applicable. RFDs for rule changes shall
be discussed in the newsgroup, and this will be the
definitive record of discussion.

Editorial Note

The method of determining the result when there are several mutually exclusive
options, as described in paragraph 4 of The Result, is essentially that
devised by the French mathematician the Marquis de Condorcet (1743-94).

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