Note: This is a proposal abandoned. Not applied to meta voting.

Proposed policy on voting


On 13, 14 Aug 2003.

The voting procedures used on Wikipedia are rarely representative and usually decided by a small number of people. It should be used sparingly, but when used we should require six things. This is especially important on pages regarded as particularly important, such as the front page.

  1. A clearly phrased, well-defined question, to which the answer is yes or no. There must be consent on the question.
  2. A consensus that there should be a vote. If there is dissent, that there should not be vote, then the vote must be cancelled, and the points of dissent dealt with. Voting should be a last resort method of resolving disputes. First always try to discuss and compromise, finding solutions that the great majority of participants agree too. If that doesn't work then agree to disagree and work on the scope and options of a vote. When there is a consensus that the vote is set-up fairly and will not result in confusing results, then proceed.
  3. Maximum visibility: the existence of the vote should be required to be advertised in three places: (1) at the top of the Recent Changes with a direct link, a note about what has been proposed and an invite to participate, (2) It should also be advertised on the wiki list, (3) at the Village Pump.
  4. A clearly defined statement of when the vote is taken place. eg., from 3rd to 10th August inclusive.
  5. A statement of the threshold required. By default, a new issue requires a simple majority. Any change, or reconsideration of a past issue, requires a 2/3 majority. Ties are lost. It is preferable to first see if consensus can be achieved, and a vote may be proposed requiring consensus.
  6. A requirement of a turnout shows a reasonable level of participation. That is usually done in elections and referenda by means of a calculation based on total registered electors, with a mimumum percentage voters being required to have participate. That obviously in not feasible on wiki but a minimum threshhold of partipication is. If properly advertised to get people's attention, this vote should be easily able to attract 15 participants minimum, but to be reflective of the community should have a lot more.

Therefore, for a vote to be valid it would need three location advertising and more than 15 voters, with those championing a proposal needing 10 votes (if going by 2/3 and 15 voters). The aim of this procedure is to prevent endless revisiting of issues, with a decision being made now and then someone in three weeks jumping up and saying 'no'. Lets all vote on my idea instead. It also prevents only a handful of people being around to notice the vote and suddenly finding four or five people voting have made a final decision.