This list has been badly damaged

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Abd ul-Rahman Lomax

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Dec 30, 2018, 10:25:12 AM12/30/18
to The Center for Election Science
It appears that, with arguments that this list was inactive, steps were taken to make it so. It appears that the list has been quietly set to disallow email posting, because I replied to a post this morning and got an error message back that the list doesn't allow that. 

This was more than simply encouraging us to join the Forum. It was actively shutting down easy participation here. It took me, in fact, substantial time to figure out how to log in here, because Googlegroups may also have changed. I have two google accounts, with some subscriptions on one and others on the other. I could not figure out how to log out of the other, so I could log in to this one. I finally used a private browsing window, which forced a new log-in.

Meanwhile, the outgoing mails from this list still have reply-to set to the list. There is no warning.

Was there any call for moderator volunteers? I thought, in fact, that I was a moderator here. But I see no sign of it. I had been a moderator of the list that this replaced.

This is common organizational behavior. Certain volunteers become the oligarchs. They are not bad people, and they are doing what they think best. But they may utterly fail to consult the members. The foundation of this list deprecated an older list. And now it's been replaced with a centralized Forum, even easier to control. All in a good cause, I'm sure.

The only Asset election I am aware of in history was the election of a steering committee on the old list. That election was, in itself, a spectacular success, (a *unanimously-accepted" result) but it was not magic pixie dust. When it came time to take action, the steering committee was ignored. I was the most trusted candidate in that election, and I had used my excess votes to elect Warren Smith. Warren, meanwhile, had concluded I was a loose cannon for reasons that had nothing to do with election science. So Warren went with the new group forming CES, and the other two committee members were ignored.

We did not eat our own dog food. The volunteers (and/or staff) take over, just as happened with the "Center for Voting and Democracy," later "FairVote".

It is not that this is necessarily wrong. It is that leaders (or the most active) act in their own interests according to their own opinions, and if they have central authority, they use it. And so, if there are no protective structures, consensus is broken, little by little. The organization may continue, may even be successful, but unity is lost and thus effectiveness and power.

Unless, of course, oligarchy is a more powerful form of government. Is it?

With a mailing list that sends out email addresses of those who post, the list membership can reconstitute itself from private archives. With a Forum format, communication is centrally controlled. Who watches the watchers? Over and over, I've seen this in small organizations. They fracture and fragment over issues of control. Power corrupts is about power, not people. I.e., take a fine good-faith volunteer, assign him or her excess power, and lose community supervision and correction, and the result is predictable.

CES could demonstrate a system for governance that would be far superior, and easily usable in small organizations (but also in very large ones, it's scalable.) It started to do that with the old election. But that was practically buried. Why?

Felix Sargent

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Jan 3, 2019, 11:33:33 AM1/3/19
to The Center for Election Science
We would love to have you as a moderator on the new forum at forum.electionscience.org.
Just shoot me an e-mail and we'll get you setup.
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