Wikibooks:General voting rules/Proposal

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Voting on Wikibooks[edit]

Currently, voting takes place on Wikibooks in different circumstances. Some general principles apply in all circumstances, and in addition the separate circumstances each have specific principles relevant only to them. This policy first discusses the general principles, and then goes on to outline the circumstance-specific principles. The circumstances in which voting is used are as follows:

Circumstance A - books of the month/quarter
  1. To determine the following month's book of the month
  2. To determine the following month's collaboration of the month
  3. To determine the following quarter's Wikijunior book of the quarter
Circumstance B - to give additional user rights
  1. To agree to make a Wikibookian an administrator
  2. To agree to make a Wikibookian a bureaucrat
  3. To agree to give a Wikibookian checkuser rights
Circumstance C - as an aid to discussions
  1. On decisions as to whether a page should be deleted
  2. On an ad hoc basis, where it is considered that a vote might be a useful aid to discussion
Circumstance D - to help affirm policy

Policy is generally derived from community consensus. Sometimes a vote is used to affirm consensus.

General principles[edit]

What we mean by "vote"[edit]

On Wikibooks, by vote we mean the action of discussing a topic, casting opinions and reaching a consensus. So a vote is not just a yes or a no, but also any comments and discussions a user makes during the voting process.

What consensus means[edit]

Consensus is the requirement to have general acceptance from the community. In the case of elections voting on Wikibooks is vaguely according to the principles of a democratic organisation, however, unlike a democracy that appoints representatives to decide issues, editorial issues require the involvement of the editors. In the case of resolving disputes voting is a measure of opinion and unrelated to concepts such as democracy, we do not define "consensus" to be a particular percentage of the vote. However, we do not require that a particular vote obtain complete agreement from all parties involved. If dissenting issues are presented, an effort must be made to compromise. Failure to work towards a compromise, or stubbornness on any side can be viewed as a failure to adhere to this policy, and an act in bad faith.

Consensus also cannot be declared prematurely. If someone objects to a decision alleged to be made by consensus shortly after it has been announced, it is likely that the original claim that there was consensus was wrong. The most important point is that wikibookians should work together and compromise to make decisions, and to make wikibooks a better place. However, it is important that individual Wikibookians with strong views should be prepared to compromise and allow decisions where many others disagree with their views. Concensus should not be declared until all dissenting opinions, cast in good faith, are addressed.

The right to vote[edit]

All registered wikibooks users who have made at least 20 bona fide edits have the right to vote, although users that are suspected of voting in bad faith are liable to having their votes crossed out and ignored or removed. The 20 vote minimum should be counted as a general guideline, and not as a strict rule. Users with few edits cannot be expected to fully understand the workings of wikibooks policy, and are occasionally assumed to be voting in bad faith.

Wikibooks operates on a "one vote per person" rule, not "one vote per username". This means that if you maintain multiple usernames, you may only cast a meaningful vote with one of them. Sockpuppets and bots will not be allowed for use in voting.

While new users are encouraged to get involved with discussions and helping to plan future directions for this project, it is considered bad form to make your only editorial contribution to Wikibooks involving casting votes on opinion pages. If you are new to Wikibooks, try to read up on the issues involved and help participate in writing content first, to get a sense of understanding about this project. Regular active contributors will be more highly regarded on their opinions anyway.

How to make a vote[edit]

When voting, you must be signed in. Every vote should be appropriately signed. The easiest way to do this is by following every comment that you write with --~~~~. Anonymous votes will not be counted. An {{unsigned}} template may be used to identify the voter.

Setting out what a vote is for[edit]

It should be made clear from the start what the subject of the vote is and what the consequences of the vote are. The terms under which the voting process will be considered complete (eg after a specified period of time or at the later of a specified time and a minimum number of votes cast). You should aim to get consensus for this before allowing the vote to start.

The proposal should not be altered during voting (except spelling/grammar/formatting corrections). If the meaning of the proposal has changed after any users have voted, the vote should be cancelled or started from the beginning. Users who cast votes in a vote that gets cancelled and then restarted should be notified of the changes and encouraged to cast another vote.

Except when in circumstance A, it is a good habit to notify other users about the vote, for example in Wikibooks:Bulletin board or Wikibooks:Staff lounge. It is also best practice that if the vote affects a particular book to make a reference to it on the talk page of the title page of the book. It is also good practice to inform any Wikibookians who you know are likely to be particularly interested in the vote on their user talk page.

Announcing the results of the vote[edit]

Once a vote has ended, any Wikibookian can formally announce the result, except in Circumstance B, where only a bureaucrat or steward, as appropriate, can announce the result. If the rules outlined elsewhere in the policy have been followed, the declaration of the result should be non-controversial.

Rules relating only to specific circumstances[edit]

Circumstance A - books of the month[edit]

The specific rules for circumstance A are as set out at the top of the respective voting pages.

Circumstance B - to give additional user rights[edit]

A significant level of support needs to be gained for a user to gain additional user rights. As a general guide, recent history has seen users promoted to administrator status with 6 to 1 and 8 to 2 support or greater. A bureaucrat nomination requires greater support than that to succeed. Whether there is sufficient support for a checkuser nomination to succeed is determined by a Wikimedia steward, and the determining criteria are not within Wikibooks' power to change.

Circumstance C - as an aid to discussion[edit]

Sometimes votes are used as a discussion aid. The determinant of the vote is based on the weight of the arguments as measured by the effect of the discussion on the voters. For example, Wikibooks:Votes for deletion is really a discussion on whether or not a module or book is consistent with Wikibooks' inclusion criteria. Although people will summarise their views as keep or delete, the factor deciding the discussion is whether it is shown that the module or book meets the inclusion criteria or not. In discussions the vote reflects, to some extent, the way that the discussion has persuaded the voters.

Circumstance D - to help affirm policy[edit]

Policy (broadly any overarching principle to be applied either throughout Wikibooks or throughout a particular Wikibook) is decided by consensus.

No vote should be started until all issues and concerns raised by Wikibookians in good faith have been addressed. That does not mean agreement necessarily has to be reached, but it does mean that all pertinent questions should be answered, even if they do not yield answers the questioner is happy with.

A vote may either be used to affirm consensus, or alternatively to overrule dissenters. The latter case should only be used with reluctance - unless the proposers and dissenters accept in advance that they will accept that a vote will resolve the dispute. If possible, some accommodation should be made with dissenters so that the policy proposal is acceptable to everyone, even if a vote has already started.

The aim of the process is to reach a consensus, and the process should therefore not end whilst there is substantive ongoing discussions about the matter in hand. It may be that discussions develop in such a way that it is clear there is consensus and the vote is just a formality. Where it appears that consensus has been reached, say so, but allow the discussion to remain open for at least one week to allow any additional votes or opinions are voiced. It is, however, considered bad form for someone fully aware of the discussion to remain silent about their concerns and then try to block the proposal at the last minute.

When a vote is reaching a close, it is a good idea to announce the impending closure of the vote in a public forum, such as Wikibooks:Staff lounge or Wikibooks:Bulletin board.

If the vote is on a matter of policy, the new policy takes effect immediately after the vote has been decided.