How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

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How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Brian J Mingus
The Wikimedia Foundation was originally envisaged as a membership
organization. Per my recollection, everyone who ever edited would become a
member. That didn't happen for legal reasons, however, I believe in the
spirit of it being a membership organization. Unfortunately we now subscribe
to the recentist perspective that only those that maintain a certain pace of
editing are eligible to vote. We ignore, not only new editors who do not yet
have 600 edits, but all editors who have 600 edits but have contributed to
the projects in other ways recently, or have lapsed into just using the
projects as a useful information resource.

I highly doubt that a statistical analysis was carried out which found that
editors that don't meet this requirement skew the results. I also highly
doubt that editors that don't meet this requirement are incapable of
comprehending the statements created by those seeking election, ranking them
and making a perfectly valid choice that increases the power of the result.

In my view, the only reason to limit voting to editors with a certain number
of edits is to limit the effects of ballot stuffing. However, technical
measures can easily counteract this effect. Additionally, the more people
you allow to vote the more effective your anti-ballot stuffing
countermeasures will be, as the larger number of votes mutes the effect of
those who vote for the same person from several ip addresses.

Thus, I must conclude that this rule was created arbitrarily. And if it was
voted on, I seriously consider the result of that vote suspect, given
present knowledge.

/Brian
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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Steven Walling
Recentist? Ignoring the, ahem, fanciful language you've chosen, I'd like to
throw my support behind the voting qualifications wholeheartedly.
For me, the analogy is simple: just because you get a driver's license once
doesn't entitle you to drive for the rest of your life. This isn't just
about what will "skew the results" with ballot stuffing. It's about giving
suffrage to people who can make an informed decision that will positively
affect the work of the community by getting adequate representation on the
Board.
Steven Walling

On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 6:17 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The Wikimedia Foundation was originally envisaged as a membership
> organization. Per my recollection, everyone who ever edited would become a
> member. That didn't happen for legal reasons, however, I believe in the
> spirit of it being a membership organization. Unfortunately we now
> subscribe
> to the recentist perspective that only those that maintain a certain pace
> of
> editing are eligible to vote. We ignore, not only new editors who do not
> yet
> have 600 edits, but all editors who have 600 edits but have contributed to
> the projects in other ways recently, or have lapsed into just using the
> projects as a useful information resource.
>
> I highly doubt that a statistical analysis was carried out which found that
> editors that don't meet this requirement skew the results. I also highly
> doubt that editors that don't meet this requirement are incapable of
> comprehending the statements created by those seeking election, ranking
> them
> and making a perfectly valid choice that increases the power of the result.
>
> In my view, the only reason to limit voting to editors with a certain
> number
> of edits is to limit the effects of ballot stuffing. However, technical
> measures can easily counteract this effect. Additionally, the more people
> you allow to vote the more effective your anti-ballot stuffing
> countermeasures will be, as the larger number of votes mutes the effect of
> those who vote for the same person from several ip addresses.
>
> Thus, I must conclude that this rule was created arbitrarily. And if it was
> voted on, I seriously consider the result of that vote suspect, given
> present knowledge.
>
> /Brian
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Brian J Mingus
On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 7:57 PM, Steven Walling <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Recentist? Ignoring the, ahem, fanciful language you've chosen, I'd like to
> throw my support behind the voting qualifications wholeheartedly.
> For me, the analogy is simple: just because you get a driver's license once
> doesn't entitle you to drive for the rest of your life. This isn't just
> about what will "skew the results" with ballot stuffing. It's about giving
> suffrage to people who can make an informed decision that will positively
> affect the work of the community by getting adequate representation on the
> Board.
> Steven Walling
>

You have only said that you support the current plan, without making an
argument as to why it is beneficial. There is no information in the current
heuristic that indicates that the editor is more or less familiar with the
candidates than an editor who does not. Given that it is an international
election it is quite likely the case that many of the people who are
qualified to vote are not familiar with the majority of the candidates and
they will have to read up on them. I argued in my original post that the
heuristic does not distinguish between the capability of people that it
captures and people it does not to make an informed and valid ranking
decision about the candidates. To reiterate, you simply said you agree with
the current plan without arguing that this is false.
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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Brian J Mingus
On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 8:06 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 7:57 PM, Steven Walling <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> Recentist? Ignoring the, ahem, fanciful language you've chosen, I'd like
>> to
>> throw my support behind the voting qualifications wholeheartedly.
>> For me, the analogy is simple: just because you get a driver's license
>> once
>> doesn't entitle you to drive for the rest of your life. This isn't just
>> about what will "skew the results" with ballot stuffing. It's about giving
>> suffrage to people who can make an informed decision that will positively
>> affect the work of the community by getting adequate representation on the
>> Board.
>> Steven Walling
>>
>
> You have only said that you support the current plan, without making an
> argument as to why it is beneficial. There is no information in the current
> heuristic that indicates that the editor is more or less familiar with the
> candidates than an editor who does not. Given that it is an international
> election it is quite likely the case that many of the people who are
> qualified to vote are not familiar with the majority of the candidates and
> they will have to read up on them. I argued in my original post that the
> heuristic does not distinguish between the capability of people that it
> captures and people it does not to make an informed and valid ranking
> decision about the candidates. To reiterate, you simply said you agree with
> the current plan without arguing that this is false.
>

The second sentence should read: There is no information in the current
heuristic that indicates that editors who are allowed to vote are more or
less familiar with the candidates than those who are not.
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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Gregory Maxwell
On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 10:08 PM, Brian<[hidden email]> wrote:
> The second sentence should read: There is no information in the current
> heuristic that indicates that editors who are allowed to vote are more or
> less familiar with the candidates than those who are not.

Who says there needs to be?

The recent edits criteria reduces the incentive to crack or otherwise
collect old unused but qualified accounts. For example, I could setup
a free watchlist aggregation service and users would give me their
passwords. Over time I could obtain many and then wait for accounts to
naturally become inactive, then I could vote with them.

It also makes it harder to otherwise obtain votes from accounts whos
owners have lost interest in the project and might be willing to part
with theirs easily.  Recent editing activity also provides more
information for analysis in the event that some kind of vote fraud is
suspected.

A recent edits criteria is justifiable on this kind of process basis alone.

50 edits can easily be made in a couple of hours, even if you're not
making trivial changes.  If you're not putting that level of effort it
seems somewhat doubtful that you're going to read the >0.5 MBytes of
text or so needed to completely and carefully review the provided
candidate material from scratch.  Like all stereotypes it won't hold
true for everyone but if it's true on average then it will produce an
average improvement, we just need to be careful not to disenfranchise
too many.

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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Ryan Lomonaco
I have no opinion on whether the rule should exist, but it is something that
deserves to be looked at.  There are valid reasons for requiring a minimum
recent edit count, of course, but perhaps there are better ways to handle
it.

The rules did disenfranchise me, for example.  It doesn't bother me that I
can't vote, but that said, I would've liked to vote if eligible.  I am not
active on Wikipedia, but I do follow the mailing lists, and have followed
the election process.  If I really wanted to, I could've racked up 50 edits
to get a vote, but that almost seems "dirty", I guess, to make edits just to
regain eligibility for the election.

My thought is that there may be other ways to enfranchise users who are
clearly community members, but who for some reason or another are inactive
on the projects themselves.  What those ways are, I don't know.

One thought:  If the only, or at least the major reason that we're doing
this is to avoid fraud, users with "committed identities" - encrypted
messages on their user page as a way to verify their identity in case an
account is stolen - could be re-enfranchised on a case-by-case basis if they
can provide the passphrase.

On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 12:13 AM, Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 10:08 PM, Brian<[hidden email]> wrote:
> > The second sentence should read: There is no information in the current
> > heuristic that indicates that editors who are allowed to vote are more or
> > less familiar with the candidates than those who are not.
>
> Who says there needs to be?
>
> The recent edits criteria reduces the incentive to crack or otherwise
> collect old unused but qualified accounts. For example, I could setup
> a free watchlist aggregation service and users would give me their
> passwords. Over time I could obtain many and then wait for accounts to
> naturally become inactive, then I could vote with them.
>
> It also makes it harder to otherwise obtain votes from accounts whos
> owners have lost interest in the project and might be willing to part
> with theirs easily.  Recent editing activity also provides more
> information for analysis in the event that some kind of vote fraud is
> suspected.
>
> A recent edits criteria is justifiable on this kind of process basis alone.
>
> 50 edits can easily be made in a couple of hours, even if you're not
> making trivial changes.  If you're not putting that level of effort it
> seems somewhat doubtful that you're going to read the >0.5 MBytes of
> text or so needed to completely and carefully review the provided
> candidate material from scratch.  Like all stereotypes it won't hold
> true for everyone but if it's true on average then it will produce an
> average improvement, we just need to be careful not to disenfranchise
> too many.
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

--
[[User:Ral315]]
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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Milos Rancic-2
On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 7:52 AM, Ryan Lomonaco<[hidden email]> wrote:
> The rules did disenfranchise me, for example.  It doesn't bother me that I
> can't vote, but that said, I would've liked to vote if eligible.  I am not
> active on Wikipedia, but I do follow the mailing lists, and have followed
> the election process.  If I really wanted to, I could've racked up 50 edits
> to get a vote, but that almost seems "dirty", I guess, to make edits just to
> regain eligibility for the election.

I think that mailing lists posts should be treated as edits.

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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Guillaume Paumier
Hello,

On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 8:40 AM, Milos Rancic<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I think that mailing lists posts should be treated as edits.

Thank you; this sentence made my day.

--
Guillaume Paumier
[[m:User:guillom]]

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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
Hoi,
When we have consensus on that one, someone has to count them.. So what
piority do we give it and, what do we bumb down the list ? Alternatively who
is volunteering to write the necessary software anyway and how are we going
to get it operational ??

PS I like the idea <grin>
Thanks,
      GerardM

2009/7/31 Milos Rancic <[hidden email]>

> On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 7:52 AM, Ryan Lomonaco<[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > The rules did disenfranchise me, for example.  It doesn't bother me that
> I
> > can't vote, but that said, I would've liked to vote if eligible.  I am
> not
> > active on Wikipedia, but I do follow the mailing lists, and have followed
> > the election process.  If I really wanted to, I could've racked up 50
> edits
> > to get a vote, but that almost seems "dirty", I guess, to make edits just
> to
> > regain eligibility for the election.
>
> I think that mailing lists posts should be treated as edits.
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Gergő Tisza
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
Brian <Brian.Mingus@...> writes:

> In my view, the only reason to limit voting to editors with a certain number
> of edits is to limit the effects of ballot stuffing.

Not as much ballot stuffing as canvassing. Most of the inactive users do not see
the sitenotices and therefore they aren't aware that an election is going on. If
you publish this information on channels that reach a certain subgroup of these
ex-editors, that can indeed skew the results. (For an example, imagine far-right
web portals announcing that there is a far-right candidate running.)


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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Milos Rancic-2
In reply to this post by Guillaume Paumier
On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 8:51 AM, Guillaume Paumier<[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 8:40 AM, Milos Rancic<[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> I think that mailing lists posts should be treated as edits.
>
> Thank you; this sentence made my day.

Thank you, too. We share our happiness with each others' sentences.

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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

John Mark Vandenberg
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 5:28 PM, Gerard
Meijssen<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hoi,
> When we have consensus on that one, someone has to count them.. So what
> piority do we give it and, what do we bumb down the list ? Alternatively who
> is volunteering to write the necessary software anyway and how are we going
> to get it operational ??

I have been developing a python library that does the mailing list
analysis, grouping together posts from the same user that were sent
with different email addresses, etc.  and doing stats.

Those stats can be published monthly onto meta.

I think the easiest method of converting this into suffrage is to have
a special list where people can be added when they have been granted
suffrage for extra-ordinary reasons.  At election time we inform
people who dont qualify via normal means to check the various
extra-ordinary suffrage criteria, such as their mail stats, and notify
the election committee if they qualify.  The election committee would
then add the person to the special list.

--
John Vandenberg

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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
When it is agreed that people can vote based on their mail contributions,
the one thing necessary is connecting people to their WMF user. When this
information is available on a user, the global user may be made known as a
voter. In my opinion you do not want to involve people when there is no
need. Automate what can be automated and through a link to a user it can be
automated.

While I agree that this makes sense, I doubt very much that many people will
have a vote as a result of this and even more, I doubt people will cast
their vote because they can in this way.
Thanks,
        GerardM

2009/7/31 John Vandenberg <[hidden email]>

> On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 5:28 PM, Gerard
> Meijssen<[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Hoi,
> > When we have consensus on that one, someone has to count them.. So what
> > piority do we give it and, what do we bumb down the list ? Alternatively
> who
> > is volunteering to write the necessary software anyway and how are we
> going
> > to get it operational ??
>
> I have been developing a python library that does the mailing list
> analysis, grouping together posts from the same user that were sent
> with different email addresses, etc.  and doing stats.
>
> Those stats can be published monthly onto meta.
>
> I think the easiest method of converting this into suffrage is to have
> a special list where people can be added when they have been granted
> suffrage for extra-ordinary reasons.  At election time we inform
> people who dont qualify via normal means to check the various
> extra-ordinary suffrage criteria, such as their mail stats, and notify
> the election committee if they qualify.  The election committee would
> then add the person to the special list.
>
> --
> John Vandenberg
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

John Mark Vandenberg
On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 7:52 PM, Gerard
Meijssen<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hoi,
> When it is agreed that people can vote based on their mail contributions,
> the one thing necessary is connecting people to their WMF user. When this
> information is available on a user, the global user may be made known as a
> voter. In my opinion you do not want to involve people when there is no
> need. Automate what can be automated and through a link to a user it can be
> automated.
>
> While I agree that this makes sense, I doubt very much that many people will
> have a vote as a result of this and even more, I doubt people will cast
> their vote because they can in this way.

It is for this reason that it would be extra-ordinary.  Most people
who send email to foundation-l would meet the normal suffrage
requirements.

All I am saying is that _if_ we do agree that emails should be counted
as edits, *I* can count them or publish stats that allow others to
more easily count them.

We have the technology.

Do we have the need?

Each year there are people who should have suffrage that do not.

If I remember correctly, last year the techies were allowed to vote
even if they didnt meet the edit criteria.  We should learn from the
previous elections, and have a panel that reviews extra-ordinary
cases.

It is worth the effort.

--
John Vandenberg

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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two editsa week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Christophe Henner
And what about the people reading all the mail of all the mailing list, they know Wikimedia damn, they too should be allowed to vote.
And the people making donations, they're supporting the projects too, they should get a vote.

Or not. I'm not fond of the idea. Contributors to the project elect part of the board. If you don't meet the criteria then you can't vote.

You need a solid and strong criteria, I don't think the number of sent mails is one.

Cheers,

Christophe


Envoye depuis mon Blackberry

-----Original Message-----
From: John Vandenberg <[hidden email]>

Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 20:07:00
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List<[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] How was the "only people who averaged two edits
        a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?


On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 7:52 PM, Gerard
Meijssen<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hoi,
> When it is agreed that people can vote based on their mail contributions,
> the one thing necessary is connecting people to their WMF user. When this
> information is available on a user, the global user may be made known as a
> voter. In my opinion you do not want to involve people when there is no
> need. Automate what can be automated and through a link to a user it can be
> automated.
>
> While I agree that this makes sense, I doubt very much that many people will
> have a vote as a result of this and even more, I doubt people will cast
> their vote because they can in this way.

It is for this reason that it would be extra-ordinary.  Most people
who send email to foundation-l would meet the normal suffrage
requirements.

All I am saying is that _if_ we do agree that emails should be counted
as edits, *I* can count them or publish stats that allow others to
more easily count them.

We have the technology.

Do we have the need?

Each year there are people who should have suffrage that do not.

If I remember correctly, last year the techies were allowed to vote
even if they didnt meet the edit criteria.  We should learn from the
previous elections, and have a panel that reviews extra-ordinary
cases.

It is worth the effort.

--
John Vandenberg

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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Steven Walling
2009/7/31 Steven Walling <[hidden email]>:
> For me, the analogy is simple: just because you get a driver's license once
> doesn't entitle you to drive for the rest of your life.

Unless you actively do something wrong and get disqualified, yes it
does. The analogy works for not letting banned editors vote, it
doesn't work for not letting lapsed editors vote. (And there is the
obvious flaw from the fact that we don't require people to take a test
to edit.)

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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Dennis During
Right on. I detect ageism supplementing the recentism.

But seriously folks, if fraud were the issue then confirmed identify would
overcome the problem.  The number-of-recent-edits criterion has two effects
that bother me.

1. It effectively puts the vote firmly in the hands of producers not
consumers.
2. It effectively discriminates against those with RSI or who are otherwise
impaired

The first phenomenon is basic. We know damned lilttle about our users and
often seem to care less.  Perhaps having a little more representation would
tilt toward responsiveness to the user base. As important as editors are, I
can see at the project level how their interests just don't seem very
responsive to users  I have been appalled at some of the displays of
attitude toward users ("imbeciles" etc.) The default set up of our wikis
limits the ability of many with content knowledge or enthusiasm to
contribute in any satisfying way.  To entrench those who have encouraged
keeping projects as sandboxes they share with the like-minded seems very
pernicious to Wikimedia as a movement.  I think the Bolsheviks need to have
less influence.

On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 8:15 AM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2009/7/31 Steven Walling <[hidden email]>:
> > For me, the analogy is simple: just because you get a driver's license
> once
> > doesn't entitle you to drive for the rest of your life.
>
> Unless you actively do something wrong and get disqualified, yes it
> does. The analogy works for not letting banned editors vote, it
> doesn't work for not letting lapsed editors vote. (And there is the
> obvious flaw from the fact that we don't require people to take a test
> to edit.)
>
> _______________________________________________
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--
Dennis C. During

Cynolatry is tolerant so long as the dog is not denied an equal divinity
with the deities of other faiths. - Ambrose Bierce

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cynolatry
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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Gregory Maxwell
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 2:40 AM, Milos Rancic<[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 7:52 AM, Ryan Lomonaco<[hidden email]> wrote:
>> The rules did disenfranchise me, for example.  It doesn't bother me that I
>> can't vote, but that said, I would've liked to vote if eligible.  I am not
>> active on Wikipedia, but I do follow the mailing lists, and have followed
>> the election process.  If I really wanted to, I could've racked up 50 edits
>> to get a vote, but that almost seems "dirty", I guess, to make edits just to
>> regain eligibility for the election.
>
> I think that mailing lists posts should be treated as edits.

It wouldn't contradict the argument I made.

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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Sage Ross
In reply to this post by Ryan Lomonaco
On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 1:52 AM, Ryan Lomonaco<[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> My thought is that there may be other ways to enfranchise users who are
> clearly community members, but who for some reason or another are inactive
> on the projects themselves.  What those ways are, I don't know.

One way could be to have chapters maintain lists of users linked to
real identities.  Although that might gum up the works for "pink"
chapters that do not intend to become legal organizations.

-Sage

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Re: How was the "only people who averaged two edits a week in the last six months can vote" rule decided?

Katie Chan
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
You know, this comes up every year. And there's always good argument to
both sides but there's never consensus to actually change it. There has
been an election in one form or another since 2004, and except in 2004
where the requirement was having an account that is at least 3 months
old or be a sysop on a project that is less than 3 months old (hey,
Wikimedia *was* new after all :D), there has been an edit requirement to
vote. Between 2005 to 2007, a voter was required to have had made at
least 400 edits to a particular project (by roughly a month before
voting) and be at least 3 months old. Last year, the requirement were
raised to 600 edits by 3 months prior and 50 edits any time in the
previous 6 months with exceptions granted to server administrators, paid
staff of at least 3 months old, and current or former trustees. This
year the requirement were relaxed slightly such that the 600 edits can
be made up to 2 months prior, and with unified accounts combined votes
across projects.

At the end of the day, what form the suffrage requirements take depends
on what group of people we want making that decision. Is it on one
extreme the end user of the product, i.e. the readers of Wikipedia,
Wikinews, etc...? Is it on the other extreme only people the editing
community has decided to entrust with additional privileges, i.e.
sysops? Or perhaps only people who have supported the projects in the
form of monetary contributions? Or somewhere in between the two extreme,
as we have now.

Once that has been decided, the technical means of restricting voters to
only that group of people can be arrived at, hopefully relatively
easily. X number of edits by Y time is just a method of restricting
suffrage to the group of people we want. It's a waste of time arguing X
should be Z, or edits should include mailing list posting (which mailing
list?), MediaWiki commits, Bugzilla bug tickets, ... We could spend all
day doing it. Instead of arguing over the method of restriction, define
who we want to restrict it to first.

KTC

--
Experience is a good school but the fees are high.
     - Heinrich Heine

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