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Subject: Re: Quorum required for good standing; was RE: [chairs] Info forchair setup of Kavi TC areas

On Tue, 2003-02-18 at 20:08, Jon Bosak wrote:
> Eduardo,
> I was not aware that this issue had been "clarified."
> | you say:
> | > Note that in mail votes (including email), a majority is a
> | > majority of all of those casting a vote -- not necessarily a
> | > majority of the entire membership. 
> | 
> | That was possibly true in previous versions of the TC
> | process. Currently this has been clarified to avoid ambiguities,
> Heh.  Really?
> | and the TC process nowadays says:
> | 
> | "For the purposes of mail vote counting, quorum is constituted by the
> | whole TC membership."
> Quorum has nothing directly to do with vote counting; they are
> different concepts.  

That may be true in theory, but in the practice, when in a 20 person TC
an email vote elicits 2 yes votes and 1 no vote and the rest either
send "I abstain" messages or none at all, people are quite reluctant
to consider the matter settled in favor of the motion. Most would say,
and have said, that the vote doesn't and shouldn't count.

> The sentence "quorum is constituted by the
> whole TC membership" is unnecessary and probably meaningless.  A
> quorum is the minimum number that has to be present to transact
> business.  In email, everyone is always "present."  There is no
> way for anyone *not* to be present.

So what is exactly the reason why putting it in so many words is
meaningless? The sentence says exactly what you say: in email,
everyone is always present. The only concession I'll make to you
on this is that it should say "for the purposes of mail vote decision
making" or something like that instead of "mail vote counting" -- it's
not the counting that's at stake, it's the result of the counting, did
something pass or not; however, I'll bet you that most people reading
the sentence will interpret it correctly and know we're not talking
about the actual counting process.
> |  -- The reasoning behind this is that the whole 
> | membership is always available and present for email votes.
> Yes, that's what I said in the first place.  This was perfectly
> clear before the "clarification."  Now it's not so clear...  For
> behold:
> | What is still not clear to me is whether in a 10 person TC, given,
> | let's say, 3 abstentions, are 4 positive votes enough to pass, or
> | are 5 positive votes required no matter what. I guess because I've
> | never understood whether abstentions are counted as negative votes
> | or simply as no-votes-that-reduce-the-quorum-count.
> Abstentions are not votes.  They mean "present and not voting."
> They are unrelated to a quorum count, because they don't make
> anyone more present than they would have been otherwise.  You
> establish a quorum by counting those present, not by counting
> those voting.  Proof: We regularly establish the presence or
> absence of a quorum in meetings in which no votes are cast.

Unfortunately, the OASIS way of asking for membership votes
asks for YEA/NAY/ABSTAIN -- I never understood why someone 
would send an ABSTAIN vote, but that's the way it is. And given
that, some chairs I believe also ask for yea/nay/abstain, so
people get all confused as to what to do with abstain votes (which
are not, as you say, votes). 
> A simple majority vote means that the number of "yes" votes is
> greater than the number of "no" votes.  This is an extremely
> simple rule.  In the case you cite, 4 yes votes versus 3 no votes
> is majority approval even if the group has a thousand members and
> all the rest of them abstain (or don't vote, which in email is the
> same thing, because in email all the members are present).
See above, though.
> Note that the alternative interpretation would require a far
> greater level of approval in email than in an ordinary meeting.
> It would make email voting by common consent impossible, thus
> seriously damaging our ability to operate.

Well, it really depends on how the question is asked. I haven't heard
yet of a TC complaining that it can't reach decisions over email.

> I think that the "clarification" cited above is a bad idea and
> should be removed.  Robert's was perfectly clear on this subject.
> It didn't need improving.

Well, let's just disagree on this. It needed improving because people
were saying that some votes did not count, no matter what Robert's
said. Part of the problem was the fact that most people did not know
Robert's, the other perhaps was the manner in which the votes were

> Jon
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Eduardo Gutentag               |         e-mail: eduardo.gutentag@Sun.COM
Web Technologies and Standards |         Phone:  +1 510 550 4616 x31442
Sun Microsystems Inc.          |         1800 Harrison St. Oakland, CA 94612
W3C AC Rep / OASIS TAB Chair

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