Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

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Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

thekohser
I wonder what takes so long to upload a small data file?

http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Board_elections/2009/Votes&oldid=1606753

Let's see... August 25 minus August 12 equals nearly two weeks of delay (and
subterfuge?)...

It only took three days to post the ballots in 2008:

http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Board_elections/2008/Votes/en&oldid=1062980

What's different about 2009?  I mean, other than the fact that the
Wikivoices interview tape #45 of the Board candidates was mysteriously
"lost", and that the WMF staff budget is about three times larger now than
it was then.  This must be the professionalism and efficiency we were
expecting from all of the added money being thrown at the Foundation.

--
Gregory Kohs
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Thomas Dalton
2009/8/25 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
> I wonder what takes so long to upload a small data file?

It needs anonymising and randomising first, so it isn't just
uploading. It seems an unnecessary delay, though, I agree. The
pairwise results are all up on
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2009/Results

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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Gregory Maxwell
In reply to this post by thekohser
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 1:59 PM, Gregory Kohs<[hidden email]> wrote:
> I wonder what takes so long to upload a small data file?
>
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Board_elections/2009/Votes&oldid=1606753
>
> Let's see... August 25 minus August 12 equals nearly two weeks of delay (and
> subterfuge?)...

Not much room for subterfuge once they are posted: You'll be able
compute the full pair-wise table and confirm that it produces the same
results. Voters will be able to look through and identify that at
least one ballot identical to theirs made it in.

Since the officials can't know who will and who won't go checking for
their own ballots in the pile the only real avenue open for election
rigging is through sock/meatpuppet accounts. The edit count and
activity requirements mean that there should be sufficient public
information available on each of the voters for anyone to go sniffing
around for funny business.  Since making a meaningful impact on the
election would require on the order of 100 accounts concealing that
kind of activity would be difficult.

The voting process could be improved — but I think it's one of the
most resistant to outright manipulation of any online voting system
I've seen.

Though this level of confidence is predicated on the raw ballots being
available, at least eventually.

I provided the election committee with a sorting script on August
10th.  This script addresses Thomas' "anonymising and randomising"
concern and does so better than actually randomizing[*] because
sorting is deterministic.


---cut here---

#!/usr/bin/python
#Raw ballot information leak remover
#input is ballots, one per line, I.e.
#O,NHKCJILMGBFEDA
#OMN,GBLKIJADFC,E,H

import sys
for ballot in sorted([",".join(["".join(sorted(x)) for x in
y[:-1].split(',')]) for y in sys.stdin]):
 print ballot

---cut here---



[*] http://web.archive.org/web/20011027002011/http://dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/images/dilbert2001182781025.gif

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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by thekohser
Hoi,
The data of the Wikivoices interviews were never lost. It was not given to
Gregory on his request. It will be either published publicly or not
published at all. This has been said before and it is now said again.
Thanks,
       GerardM

2009/8/25 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>

> I wonder what takes so long to upload a small data file?
>
>
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Board_elections/2009/Votes&oldid=1606753
>
> Let's see... August 25 minus August 12 equals nearly two weeks of delay
> (and
> subterfuge?)...
>
> It only took three days to post the ballots in 2008:
>
>
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Board_elections/2008/Votes/en&oldid=1062980
>
> What's different about 2009?  I mean, other than the fact that the
> Wikivoices interview tape #45 of the Board candidates was mysteriously
> "lost", and that the WMF staff budget is about three times larger now than
> it was then.  This must be the professionalism and efficiency we were
> expecting from all of the added money being thrown at the Foundation.
>
> --
> Gregory Kohs
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

thekohser
In reply to this post by thekohser
" The data of the Wikivoices interviews were never lost. It was not given to
Gregory on his request. It will be either published publicly or not
published at all. This has been said before and it is now said again.
Thanks,
       GerardM "


Gerard, do you know the reason why the recording would be "not published at
all"?  What is the fear of posting the raw audio file?

What is being hidden?  Which person or persons are in possession of the raw
audio file?

I said a few things that brought the Foundation into a light of disrepute.
Is that the problem?  With no other data or logic to support any theory
here, I have to only assume that the Foundation is involved in this
suppression of the recording.  I do note that nobody OFFICIALLY from the
Foundation board or staff has publicly assured us that no board or staff
member has acted to suppress publication of Episode # 45.

At least when Jimmy Wales was accused by Danny Wool of some questionable
Muscovite receipts, Sue Gardner got on CNET video news to assure us that
"Jimmy has never done anything wrong."  We have no similar assurances
regarding Wikivoices Episode # 45.  All we have are the e-mails which I hold
that support a strong degree of fishy business going on behind the scenes.
This hasn't been said before, but I'll be happy to say it again, if
repetition will help it sink into any particularly thick skulls.

Greg
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Chad
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 2:50 PM, Gregory Kohs<[hidden email]> wrote:

> " The data of the Wikivoices interviews were never lost. It was not given to
> Gregory on his request. It will be either published publicly or not
> published at all. This has been said before and it is now said again.
> Thanks,
>       GerardM "
>
>
> Gerard, do you know the reason why the recording would be "not published at
> all"?  What is the fear of posting the raw audio file?
>
> What is being hidden?  Which person or persons are in possession of the raw
> audio file?
>
> I said a few things that brought the Foundation into a light of disrepute.
> Is that the problem?  With no other data or logic to support any theory
> here, I have to only assume that the Foundation is involved in this
> suppression of the recording.  I do note that nobody OFFICIALLY from the
> Foundation board or staff has publicly assured us that no board or staff
> member has acted to suppress publication of Episode # 45.
>
> At least when Jimmy Wales was accused by Danny Wool of some questionable
> Muscovite receipts, Sue Gardner got on CNET video news to assure us that
> "Jimmy has never done anything wrong."  We have no similar assurances
> regarding Wikivoices Episode # 45.  All we have are the e-mails which I hold
> that support a strong degree of fishy business going on behind the scenes.
> This hasn't been said before, but I'll be happy to say it again, if
> repetition will help it sink into any particularly thick skulls.
>
> Greg
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

I'm pretty sure the reason it hasn't been released has nothing to do with malice
or officially suppressing the record. I think it has more to do with
laziness (or lack
of time) on part of those who do possess the recording. Unprofessional? Sure.
Would I want them to handle an election debate again? Nope. Do I think they're
purposefully suppressing release of this? Probably not.

-Chad

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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by thekohser
2009/8/25 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
> I said a few things that brought the Foundation into a light of disrepute.
> Is that the problem?

If you said anything that could be libellous then that could be a
problem. Whoever did the publishing would be liable. That may be why
they want to edit it before publishing - to remove anything
potentially libellous, as a TV company would do.

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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

thekohser
In reply to this post by thekohser
Thomas Dalton:

If you said anything that could be libellous then that could be a
problem. Whoever did the publishing would be liable. That may be why
they want to edit it before publishing - to remove anything
potentially libellous, as a TV company would do.


It would be impossible for anything on the audio recording to be taken as
libel, as there were no written words.  Slanderous?  Possibly.

However, I was particularly careful to choose my words.  I am a believer in
the legal doctrine that "truth" is the best defense against a prosecution
for defamation.  The broadcaster in this case would be largely immune to
prosecution, anyway, as my words were presented as my own, and it would be
extremely difficult to present legally that my words reflected the opinion
of the broadcaster.

Thomas, weak as your argument may be, it does kind of underscore my point.
Slanderous speech "could be a problem" -- but how will we ever know, if no
concrete reason has ever been presented for the deliberate suppression of
the raw audio file, and refusal to turn it over to any of a number of
independent audio technicians who could do the job in 24 hours?

--
Gregory Kohs
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 3:01 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2009/8/25 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
> > I said a few things that brought the Foundation into a light of
> disrepute.
> > Is that the problem?
>
> If you said anything that could be libellous then that could be a
> problem. Whoever did the publishing would be liable.


I'll do the publishing, if that's the problem.  I'm in the United States, so
I'm protected by Section 230 of the CDA.
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Thomas Dalton
2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:

> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 3:01 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> 2009/8/25 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
>> > I said a few things that brought the Foundation into a light of
>> disrepute.
>> > Is that the problem?
>>
>> If you said anything that could be libellous then that could be a
>> problem. Whoever did the publishing would be liable.
>
>
> I'll do the publishing, if that's the problem.  I'm in the United States, so
> I'm protected by Section 230 of the CDA.

I suggest you run that by a lawyer, my understanding of the CDA is
that is isn't that broad.

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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by thekohser
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 3:32 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> I'm not an expe[r]t on libel law,
> but I think, at least in some jurisdictions, a publisher can be held
> responsible even for things that clearly aren't their own words.


Absolutely they can, in traditional publishing media.  Over the Internet, in
the US, given Section 230 of the CDA...  Well, I'm not going to give out
legal advice, but I personally would be willing to fight that fight.

So, basically, bad excuse.  Give me the audio, and I'll publish it.  Or give
it to the Internet Review Corporation, and we'll publish it on Akahele.  Or
if the only potentially slanderous content is that of Kohs, give it to Kohs,
and he'll publish it.
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 3:33 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> 2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
> > On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 3:01 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]
> >wrote:
> >
> >> 2009/8/25 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
> >> > I said a few things that brought the Foundation into a light of
> >> disrepute.
> >> > Is that the problem?
> >>
> >> If you said anything that could be libellous then that could be a
> >> problem. Whoever did the publishing would be liable.
> >
> >
> > I'll do the publishing, if that's the problem.  I'm in the United States,
> so
> > I'm protected by Section 230 of the CDA.
>
> I suggest you run that by a lawyer, my understanding of the CDA is
> that is isn't that broad.
>

Nah, I promise, I'll publish it.  I've read enough case law to be confident
that I couldn't be successfully sued for publishing that audio recording.  I
also trust Greg not to engage in slander, frankly.  And I'm pretty much
judgement-proof anyway.

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as
the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information
content provider."

I'm a user of an interactive computer service, and the information was
provided by another information content provider.
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Anthony-73
By the way, has Batzel v. Smith been overturned?  If so, maybe I'll
reconsider.  If not, bring it on.  Maybe I can even get the EFF to defend
me.

On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 3:58 PM, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 3:33 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> 2009/8/25 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
>> > On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 3:01 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]
>> >wrote:
>> >
>> >> 2009/8/25 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>:
>> >> > I said a few things that brought the Foundation into a light of
>> >> disrepute.
>> >> > Is that the problem?
>> >>
>> >> If you said anything that could be libellous then that could be a
>> >> problem. Whoever did the publishing would be liable.
>> >
>> >
>> > I'll do the publishing, if that's the problem.  I'm in the United
>> States, so
>> > I'm protected by Section 230 of the CDA.
>>
>> I suggest you run that by a lawyer, my understanding of the CDA is
>> that is isn't that broad.
>>
>
> Nah, I promise, I'll publish it.  I've read enough case law to be confident
> that I couldn't be successfully sued for publishing that audio recording.  I
> also trust Greg not to engage in slander, frankly.  And I'm pretty much
> judgement-proof anyway.
>
> "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as
> the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information
> content provider."
>
> I'm a user of an interactive computer service, and the information was
> provided by another information content provider.
>
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by thekohser
Hoi,
There is no reason to not publish it I am aware off. It is not for me to
decide what is published but as I am one of the people who was interviewed I
may and I do object when any publication is not public.

As to something being hidden. You were at the interview so you know there is
nothing that needs hiding. So suggest all you like, we both were there and
now the suggestion of something that cannot meet the public eye is
rediculous..

Your suggestions that it has anything to do with the WMF the WMF Office is
ridiculous and again you know it. When you need assurances that nothing
underhand has gone on, I am certainly not as charming as Sue, but I am
equally willing to assure you and anything interested that this is the
question.
Thanks,
     GerardM

2009/8/25 Gregory Kohs <[hidden email]>

> " The data of the Wikivoices interviews were never lost. It was not given
> to
> Gregory on his request. It will be either published publicly or not
> published at all. This has been said before and it is now said again.
> Thanks,
>       GerardM "
>
>
> Gerard, do you know the reason why the recording would be "not published at
> all"?  What is the fear of posting the raw audio file?
>
> What is being hidden?  Which person or persons are in possession of the raw
> audio file?
>
> I said a few things that brought the Foundation into a light of disrepute.
> Is that the problem?  With no other data or logic to support any theory
> here, I have to only assume that the Foundation is involved in this
> suppression of the recording.  I do note that nobody OFFICIALLY from the
> Foundation board or staff has publicly assured us that no board or staff
> member has acted to suppress publication of Episode # 45.
>
> At least when Jimmy Wales was accused by Danny Wool of some questionable
> Muscovite receipts, Sue Gardner got on CNET video news to assure us that
> "Jimmy has never done anything wrong."  We have no similar assurances
> regarding Wikivoices Episode # 45.  All we have are the e-mails which I
> hold
> that support a strong degree of fishy business going on behind the scenes.
> This hasn't been said before, but I'll be happy to say it again, if
> repetition will help it sink into any particularly thick skulls.
>
> Greg
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Tim Starling-2
In reply to this post by thekohser
Let me say for the record that I'm not at all happy with this data
being released, since it allows vote-buying. Even if the numbers given
by voters are reduced to the smallest values which still give the same
rankings, with 18 candidates there are 18 factorial possible
orderings. That number is sufficiently higher than the number of
voters that a party wishing to buy votes can specify a voter-specific
ticket with some random rankings, and be reasonably assured that if
that ticket appears in the final unencrypted dump, then the contract
was fulfilled and money can be transferred to the voter.

In 2008 the unencrypted votes were rapidly released, but I was not
involved in that decision.

This year, I don't think I have been asked directly to provide this
data, but it seems that the Board and election committee is in favour
of it being released, and nobody else has offerred to produce the
data. So I just wrote the relevant script, and am now testing it, so
the results will be available to the committee and the Board shortly.

-- Tim Starling

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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Nathan Awrich
On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Tim Starling <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Let me say for the record that I'm not at all happy with this data
> being released, since it allows vote-buying. Even if the numbers given
> by voters are reduced to the smallest values which still give the same
> rankings, with 18 candidates there are 18 factorial possible
> orderings. That number is sufficiently higher than the number of
> voters that a party wishing to buy votes can specify a voter-specific
> ticket with some random rankings, and be reasonably assured that if
> that ticket appears in the final unencrypted dump, then the contract
> was fulfilled and money can be transferred to the voter.
>
> In 2008 the unencrypted votes were rapidly released, but I was not
> involved in that decision.
>
> This year, I don't think I have been asked directly to provide this
> data, but it seems that the Board and election committee is in favour
> of it being released, and nobody else has offerred to produce the
> data. So I just wrote the relevant script, and am now testing it, so
> the results will be available to the committee and the Board shortly.
>
> -- Tim Starling
>

Contrast your comments with those of Greg Maxwell earlier in this thread;
the conclusion I draw is that while releasing the raw data might provide
confirmation for anyone involved in buying votes, such vote-buying is
unlikely to significantly alter the election outcome.

Nathan
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Gregory Maxwell
In reply to this post by Tim Starling-2
On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Tim Starling<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Let me say for the record that I'm not at all happy with this data
> being released, since it allows vote-buying. Even if the numbers given

Although I was trying to avoid advertising it in public this was
something I'm aware of and had pointed out to the election committee,
but something I don't consider to be a risk we can meaningfully
address by not releasing ballots.

Quoting myself from a private email:

  I think the bigger risk is vote watermarking leading to vote buying:
  I.e. You could register with my site and tell me you want to vote for
  "M,ABFO,CDEGHIJKLN"  I then tell you I'll give you $10 if someone
  votes for "G,M,ABFO,CJ,LN,DEGHIK".   I make sure not to give out the
  same modified ballot twice, and I pay people if the ballots end up in
  the report.
  To fight against this I recommended that the WMF delay ballot
  disclosures for a few months and announce that they'd be doing so.
  People will be less inclined to wait for their $10. ;) I don't think
  stronger protection is justified because people could just load some
  toolbar that votes for them like subvertandprofit uses.

http://subvertandprofit.com/content/prices is a good cluestick for
people who think you can solve quality challenges with voting. :)

So, basically, my position is that the risk of buying due to vote
marking isn't much greater than the risk of buying based on the puppet
voter intentionally using a buyer controlled web-browser to vote...
and that we can equalize the risk by simply delaying the ballot
release a little bit, but not so much as to degrade the value of the
ballots as evidence that the election was conducted fairly.

> by voters are reduced to the smallest values which still give the same
> rankings, with 18 candidates there are 18 factorial possible
> orderings. That number is sufficiently higher than the number of
> voters that a party wishing to buy votes can specify a voter-specific
[snip]

Nitpicking, but the number of possible unique ballots is much greater
than the factorial because of equality, and equality must be preserved
in order produce the election calculations. The formula mostly easily
represented is a messy multipart recursive formula, which I'll spare
you (in part because I don't know that I have all the boundary
conditions right).  It's less than X!*2^(X-1).

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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Tim Starling-2
On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Tim Starling <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Let me say for the record that I'm not at all happy with this data
> being released, since it allows vote-buying.


What's wrong with vote-buying?  It's no worse than seat-buying.
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

thekohser
In reply to this post by thekohser
Greg Maxwell states:

"You could register with my site and tell me you want to vote for
"M,ABFO,CDEGHIJKLN" I then tell you I'll give you $10 if someone votes for
"G,M,ABFO,CJ,LN,DEGHIK"."

+++++++++++++++

Wow, and I thought *I* was the one with the crack-pot, hare-brained,
wild-eyed conspiracy theories.

How's this -- I'll give $100 to anyone who produces incontrovertible
evidence of a successfully-fulfilled vote-buy transaction in any past WMF
board election.  I'm that confident that nobody would have been stupid
enough to waste money that way.  Unless it was a publicity stunt of some
sort, for WP:POINT's sake.  Hmm... that gives me an idea...

--
Gregory Kohs
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Re: Raw data of 2009 Board election ballots

Svip
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
2009/8/26 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
> On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Tim Starling <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> Let me say for the record that I'm not at all happy with this data
>> being released, since it allows vote-buying.
>
>
> What's wrong with vote-buying?  It's no worse than seat-buying.

I am not sure I understand the logic in this comment.

If something is bad; then it doesn't matter if something else is
equally bad?  And we shouldn't bother fighting either one unless we
can fight both?

Makes little sense to me.

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