Saturday, March 24, 2007

Polls and voter apathy

I've been sitting on the fringes of the OpenSolaris Governing Board Election. I would have liked to have been more involved, but have been struggling to find time. Strike one for apathy!

(And, while I did consider putting myself forward as a candidate, the fact that I haven't been able to effectively contribute up to this stage also implies that I wouldn't be able to do the job properly in the unlikely event that I were to be elected.)

There does seem to be a fairly low turnout so far. There have been a number of calls for people to get their finger out, and we seem to be creeping closer to a quorum.

Alan Coopersmith had a look at the contributors and communities. This shows what we've known all along - that the different communities have very different levels of participation in the governance process. Looking at the way that core contributors are distributed, it's not clear to me now that relying on communities to generate the initial list was - or is - a good thing.

There seems to be a view that reorganising the communities is going to be a big task for the incoming OGB. (If one gets elected, that is.) I'm not so sure about this. I feel that we're trying to build too much officialdom into the community structure, when in reality the communities are more social structures connected by a common interest. But more on that later.

I'm fortunate that I am classed as a core contributor and, yes, I've voted.

Perhaps core contributor status should be automatically be rescinded from those who haven't bothered to vote?


Wez said...

Your last paragraph caught my eye. Speaking for myself, a core contributor to a non-sun/solaris project, I can't stand politics. I love technical problems and solving them, but really could care less about who is voted in... because in the end, it won't matter to me or my technical problems.

Penalizing contributors for not having a political outlook on life would be exceedingly bad. If I was told I couldn't contribute to a project because I hadn't voted, I'd walk away and go to a different project that had a more pragmatic outlook.

Peter Tribble said...

I obviously didn't express myself very clearly - and it's possible you aren't familiar with the use of the terminology in this context. Being a core contributor only has relevance to voting rights, and isn't relevant to any other contribution (although that may change under the new constitution, although the low turnout so far indicates to me that the governance model we've got doesn't align with the community as it's been defined) so what I really meant was that those who didn't vote in this election whould lose the right to vote in subsequent elections of this nature, and can go back to contributing to the community in the way they choose without continual blackmail to vote in board elections.