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Community useEdit

A question came up about community use of SecurePoll for elections. I created this page to collect whatever information is available about who can use SecurePoll and how it may be used. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:45, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

I see you wrote «Some Wikimedia affiliates had asked me how to best run elections for organizational boards now that these things are growing large enough to consider a software solution». SecurePoll may not be suitable where the election needs to have legal validity, at least in some jurisdictions, so that's something each entity would need to check in the first place. WMDE uses an interesting external provider; the "AG Partizipation" can probably tell you more on the topic, if you're interested. --Nemo 12:30, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
Nemo bis I might be interested. How do I find "AG Partizipation"? I am not sure that I would use it but I might document it as an option along with others.
SecurePoll has legal validity in the minds of WMF trustees. I suppose in that case the process would technically mean "board selected", rather than direct election, and I suppose that is something to discuss more. One case for this is Wiki Project Med, which is legally based in New York but has most of its members in other places. The local law seems to allow it according to the text we got from a nonprofit lawyer in the area. (Wiki_Project_Med/Bylaws#Section_7._Voting). If you can share something about "AG Partizipation" then please do. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:17, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

Questions about SecurePollEdit

In the context of a Wikimedia community need to manage Wikimedia community elections of all sorts, I am seeking answers to the following questions:

  1. Who has access to set up instances of SecurePoll?
  2. Who answers questions about the use of SecurePoll?
  3. Under whose authority is SecurePoll managed?
  4. Under what circumstances, if any, may a Wikimedia community member gain access to set up instances of SecurePoll?
  5. Under what circumstances, if any, may a Wikimedia community member request and gain access to an instance of SecurePoll set up by request?

Thanks for any insight that anyone can share. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:05, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

SecurePoll is a MediaWiki extension that is installed on Wikimedia wikis. (Wiki specific) Polls has (historically) been conducted on a local instance of SecurePoll, but more recently redirected to Vote-Wiki. It is not limited to movement wide election, example "local" usage is the annual English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee Elections, and a Persian Wikipedia (according to Google Translate at least) poll back in April this year. User:Jalexander-WMF (and maybe User:JSutherland (WMF)) can answer questions on criteria for a group/wiki to be given access to run a poll using SecurePoll on Vote-Wiki. -- KTC (talk) 23:30, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
@Jalexander-WMF and JSutherland (WMF): Are either of you able to confirm that there is no community access to use SecurePoll at this time, if that is indeed the case? Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:51, 1 August 2016 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: there is no 'direct' community access to the tool. It is, for better or worse, a complicated tool that still requires server level support and frequently deployments and configuration adjustments for each election. That said, as KTC mentioned, community groups have used it in the past (and likely will in the future) and we are happy to discuss helping other groups use it. It's always a balance between resources available and required but different types of elections will also be different levels of difficulty and so may well be possible. Jalexander--WMF 19:14, 1 August 2016 (UTC)
@Jalexander-WMF: Can you help me make a decision? I am helping to organize an election for the board of Wiki Project Med. Based on previous elections, there is an expectation that this election should have votes from more than 50 Wikimedia accounts. I am able to set up a voting system with an external process, perhaps Google Forms. However, I have been asked to check if SecurePoll is available.
There is not great community desire to use SecurePoll if it is troublesome to use it. However, if it is a matter of making a request in any routine way, then the stakeholders for the election would like to use it because there is a desire to do elections in the wiki way when possible.
Here is some background information for making a decision -
  • SecurePoll requested for a Wikimedia affiliate election
  • The affiliate is more organized than some, less organized than others
  • voting for 50 people
  • Alternative would be Google Forms
  • A nice aspect of SecurePoll is that it guarantees that votes actually come from wiki-accounts. With other voting systems, matching an identity to a wiki-account is difficult, and losing that connection is troublesome.
  • Perhaps if SecurePoll is used in this case, other wiki organizations would consider using SecurePoll also in similar circumstances
  • If SecurePoll were used in this case, then I would submit a list of Wikipedia accounts. Votes for yes/no/neutral would be solicited.
  • At the end, I and other reviewers would need to see a list of voters.
I am not sure what I might need to know. You must understand SecurePoll better than I do, and I would appreciate your advice. Should we talk further, or would it be your intuition that the software would be more work than alternatives at this point? I am hoping for a rather simple election. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:42, 1 August 2016 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: Overall I don't think that would be an incredibly problematic one to set up. The adjustments in SecurePoll allow for an election based on global accounts fairly easily and for one that small you could probably even tally the results through the interface (for large elections like arbcom and the board tallying takes too long and so it times out and we have to do tally via the command line). When would you be looking to run the election? Approximate timing and length (obviously exact dates aren't necessary) will help me verify we'd be able to support. Right now we have an issue where I'm one of the few people who knows how to do it but we're purposely training people within staff to be able to help as well (and hopefully within the community too, possibly starting with the new standing election committee). Jalexander--WMF 00:16, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
Jalexander-WMF I was hoping to begin the election in September. Before the election, there would be a two-week call for candidates. At the end of that period the names of candidates would be put on the ballot. After the ballots are prepared, then there would be a two-week voting period.
If there is a chance of getting access to SecurePoll then I would opt to wait some weeks longer, perhaps beginning as late as the end of October. I would also volunteer to be a test case for the community contact who would request access from the facilitator whom you train, if you plan to have someone else try to set up such things soon. I would understand if there would be difficulties or delays in trying to use it. I could also help with community documentation for requesting access to SecurePoll if there is a desire to make it available for community elections.
It would be helpful to know within 1-2 weeks if SecurePoll is an option for this election before the end of October. If that schedule does not seem like it would work, then I will try SecurePoll for a future election instead. Thoughts? Thanks for talking this through. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:58, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Use on other projectsEdit

In the Netherlands there is a strong tradition to have secret ballots when voting about people. Unfortunately, that is not the case on the Dutch Wikipedia. More and more people are asking to start with that. SecurePoll seems a good tool for that. Would it be possible to use SecurePoll for the "local" elections on the Dutch Wikipedia? What are the challenges for using it? And what are the terms and conditions? The Banner (talk) 10:08, 11 August 2018 (UTC)

There's some info in SecurePoll: "it were available for use on request, then any Wikimedia community group which was holding an election might use it for their election". At least English Wikipedia and Persian Wikipedia use it for Arbitration Committee Election. Stryn (talk) 12:43, 28 August 2018 (UTC)
@Stryn and The Banner: I drafted the first documentation of this tool but I actually have no connection to it. I only wrote about it because as a Wiki community member I was exploring options.'
I think that as time passes the need for some secure voting in wiki accounts will only grow. I cannot say what resource investment it would take to make the solution for everyone. As it is now, SecurePoll is only a tool for use by the Wikimedia Foundation when they have some obligation to some election. No one at the WMF has ever committed to make this tool available for anyone else.
I cannot propose a certain way to get movement on this problem, but if you feel strongly, one path to progress could be that you draft out a request for the upcoming 2018 Community Wishlist Survey. In this program the WMF develops the top 10 technical tools which the wiki community requests in a year. If the Dutch Wiki community can draft a proposal and plan to promote it, then I can commit to soliciting support for this proposal elsewhere. I would also help develop the proposal if someone else would start drafting it.
See the winning submissions from last year 2017 Community Wishlist Survey/Results to get an idea of how to make a winning request. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:12, 28 August 2018 (UTC)
Do you have any idea who can tell me more? The Banner (talk) 13:17, 28 August 2018 (UTC)
@The Banner: No one at the WMF has ever talked to me about SecurePoll. I wrote this documentation. The concerned people surely know about it. The situation is probably that WMF staff have no time to do work on this.
The best chance that I see for you to talk more is to discuss this with other community members who want a voting system. If enough volunteers demand something then the WMF might respond.
I feel sympathy for the WMF staffers. There is no one who has time or funding to do anything for this tool. This is more of a community problem at this point than a WMF difficulty. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:43, 28 August 2018 (UTC)
@The Banner and Bluerasberry: See also Community_Wishlist_Survey_2015/Miscellaneous#Make_SecurePoll_feature-rich.
If you ever wrote a proposal, please let me know. I will canvass for it and I think I can gather at least 10 support votes. Please note that canvassing (in a reasonable manner) is allowed and even encouraged in Community Wishlist Surveys. Thank you. 4nn1l2 (talk) 18:11, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
@4nn1l2: Perhaps for the 2020 Wishlist (next year) you could nominate SecurePoll as a wish to be a general feature available for any Wikimedia project. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:30, 28 December 2018 (UTC)

How can we get a list of all validly voted ballots (a "Cast Vote Record") to compute Proportional Approval Voting tallies?Edit

Some voting methods (e.g. en:Proportional approval voting take as input the full set of votes by each voter. How can we get this data out of SecurePoll? Is it available for any previous elections? I note that list of ballots is a list of voters ("voter log"), not a list of ballots, as suggested by the link "A total of 2109 ballots were cast" at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration_Committee_Elections_December_2017 . Of course the list of ballots I seek needs to be in a different order (e.g. sorted by the set of choices represented) in order to not be linkable to the set of voters. What are the "tally" and "dump" links (greyed out for me) at [SecurePoll - Wikimedia Vote Wiki](https://vote.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:SecurePoll/) ★NealMcB★ (talk) 02:53, 25 November 2018 (UTC)

@Nealmcb: Various individuals at the Wikimedia Foundation could provide this data, but I am not aware of this data ever having left the hands of WMF staff in the past. Links are greyed out to anyone who does not have access, and there is no one designated or publicly identified to have access. Access is ad hoc but mostly following precedent of previous elections. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:15, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
@Nealmcb: you should contact Jalexander-WMF or JSutherland (WMF). 4nn1l2 (talk) 17:23, 27 November 2018 (UTC)

Request for use on BakaTsuki wikiEdit

Hello,
I'd like to ask a question about SecurePoll, as we're interested in using it on our wiki. My question is, we want to choose 5 representatives out of a larger number of candidates, but we want to restrict voting to certain usergroups and not let normal users vote. Is this possible and if yes, how to go around doing it?
Thanks in advance for any replies, --RS (BakaTsuki wiki)

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 194.187.249.48 (talk) 18:43, 26 December 2018‎ There is not now any option for any Wikimedia community member to use SecurePoll or anything similar. This is only for Wikimedia Foundation run elections. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:28, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
@194.187.249.48, yes, that is possible. Any Wikimedia Community can hold its elections using SeurePoll. Currently, the Persian Wikipedia community holds its elections using this extension (See [1]). You can restrict voters as you wish. This is simply done by running a query and making a pre-determined list of eligible voters. 4nn1l2 (talk) 16:02, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
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