[NCUC E-team] Sorting out NCUC mail list vs data base & voter roles

William Drake wjdrake at gmail.com
Wed Oct 29 13:39:14 CET 2014


Long and complicated message warning, with questions/suggestions in italics.

> On Oct 29, 2014, at 2:13 AM, Rafik Dammak <rafik.dammak at gmail.com> wrote:
> CIS is a NCSG member,

To be clear, we are discussing here NCUC’s mail list, CIS is a member of both.

> organizational member can have a representative and alternate in the list. it is possible to add other individuals from the same organization . the only thing is to avoid adding it automatically to the member list.

This exchange brings to mind some things I’ve been meaning to raise since we need to get Maryam oriented so she can manage stuff, and because we are about to go into NCUC election season and need to make sure we’re following a clear approach.  

It will be easier to address all issues pertaining to the e-mechanics of the election here on the e-team list since Maryam and others who are most likely to help out are subscribed.  I’ve encouraged members of the EC to subscribe but expect some will not, so while I hate cross-posting, I’m copying the EC list for information.

In general: we of course don’t have any handy institutional memory on election conduct written down anywhere, and I’m not sure I can render all the relevant bits correctly at this point in my morning, although I'm spending time checking mail archives in the hopes of piecing things together.  I believe that before I became chair and we created the e-team, Brenden, Robin and maybe Rafik were the lead persons managing the lists and data base, so hopefully they can fill in my blanks and correct any misstatements. If there are others here who remember what we’ve done and have ideas how to go forward they can as well—let’s crowdsource our way to clarity.

I.  Discrepancies and ‘double listing'

It would be easy and simple if the member data base, web member listing and the subscription list for ncuc-discuss were all in perfect synch.  But they are not, in various respects.  One obvious example is that  http://www.ncuc.org/about/members/ <http://www.ncuc.org/about/members/> says we have 379 members, including 98 noncommercial organizations and 281 individuals (I assume these same numbers are in the data base) but http://lists.ncuc.org/cgi-bin/mailman/roster/ncuc-discuss <http://lists.ncuc.org/cgi-bin/mailman/roster/ncuc-discuss> says there are just 286 list subscribers.  

I’m not sure how that discrepancy evolved over the years; could we really have almost 100 members who’ve said they don’t want to be on the mail list? Shouldn’t being on the mail list be a condition of being a member (otherwise we can have people receiving ballots who have no idea what’s going)?  How many of them are however subscribed to ncsg-discuss?  It would be good to have/maintain a systematic comparison of the listings.

As we’ve just seen with the CIS case, problems may arise when people who are affiliated with an organizational member that has a designated contact and alternate a) also want to join NCUC as individual members and/or b) be subscribed to the mail list.  Re: a), I believe we’ve routinely told people they can’t also join as individuals, because this would then give their organization extra votes in elections.   Is that right?

Re: b) I believe we have nevertheless allowed them to be individually subscribed to the mail list to participate in the online discussions.  Is that right? I don’t know how many instances of these two situations have arisen and whether the db flags who individuals who are subscribed to the mail list but do not get an independent vote.  Moreover, if there’s a number of b) folks, that would seem to makes the big gap between the list subscription number and membership number more mysterious.

Does anyone have recollections/insights on the above that would shed light?  Would it make sense for us to pull together basic info into a doc on the password protected bit of the website that lays this out so that Maryam and anyone else who cycles in and out of relevant responsibilities in the future can consult to know what’s what?

II.  Election Voter List

Getting a handle on all this is pressing because as noted, we are about to go into election season, I’ll be sending a boot up message to the members list in a couple hours.  As we know, under NCSG’s charter the chair must do a time-consuming Check-In process by asking people to respond to mail, with the result that non-respondents get labeled as “Inactive” and don’t receive ballots.  Lucky Rafik just did this for the NCSG election
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsJI0CB4QegidDktTGtfa2pWZlMzY1FnRHFBYkRXekE&usp=drive_web#gid=0  Given that we have two constituencies and there may be concerns about voting roll composition, this process is probably wise.

In contrast, I gather that NCUC has never done a formal check-in process.  It’s not obvious why we’d have to, inter alia since under our archaic bylaws elections are determined by simple majority of all votes cast and there’s no issue of reaching a quorum.  What we have done is to simply ask people to verify that they are on http://www.ncuc.org/about/members/ <http://www.ncuc.org/about/members/> and that we have the correct email address (last year they were to notify Tapani, this year it’ll be Maryam) on them so they can receive ballots.   

Note also that our antique and bylaws say that "The Chair shall publish on the web site a list of the Official representatives of each Member Organization in good standing 30 days prior to the election" and that "Representatives may review the voting lists” (neither of which seems to acknowledge that we have individual members too).  So while it is not ideal, I guess we just hold that all members are deemed to be in good standing and at  http://www.ncuc.org/about/members/ <http://www.ncuc.org/about/members/> for inspection, even if they’re not subscribed to ncuc-discuss and we’ve not heard from them in years; and b) given that the above web listing is valid 30 days before the vote begins Dec. 1, the only ineligibles would be any members added after today (i.e. if the NCSG EC approves more before Dec. 1).

Treating everyone as eligible is somewhat problematic in that it is viewed by some (e.g. see the transcript of the NPOC meeting in LA) as inflating our numbers, and it’s also a bit embarrassing if we say we have 379 members and then only 120 bother to vote.  But on the other hand, throwing people out because they don’t bother to respond to mail is also troubling.  Someone may want to support our efforts by being counted and like to read the traffic from time to time without engaging, so culling them is not good.  We talked about this in the EC last year and couldn’t come up with a solution.

Bottom line: hopefully people will reply by mail confirming we have the right address on them, and at the end of this process we have to give Glen and Nathalie (our staff handlers) a complete list of addresses to which to send ballots, even if they’re not on the mail list and haven’t been heard from for awhile.  Again, absent a check in and determination of Active/Inactive, I guess everyone we have an address on can be thought of as "in good standing” under our bylaws.  

III.  Bylaws and Charter 

If you compare the NCUC bylaws and the NCSG charter there are a number of discrepancies.  This is part of the reason why we thought about revising the bylaws.  But we’ve had two years in a row where EC members volunteered to lead a redrafting effort and didn’t, and when I reached out directly to a couple vets and said why don’t we just do it I didn’t get enthusiastic responses.  Then I started thinking well, maybe we shouldn’t bother revising the bylaws and should focus instead on advocating that the board let us move to an integrated SG structure without constituencies, in which case why rewrite bylaws.  But my guess at this point is that this will not happen, at least not before there’s a broader GNSO review and any actions based thereon.  So probably we should bit the bullet and revise in the next few months, if I can get someone to help.

Here’s an example: NCUC’s bylaws define large org members as “members in good standing" (which is not defined) with 1000 or more people or employment of 200 or more employees, and gives them two votes in an election.  NCSG defines them as orgs with more than 500 or more people or 50 or more employees, and gives them four votes.  Similarly, NCUC defines small org members as under 1000/200 and gives them one vote, while NCSG defines them as under 500/50 and gives them two votes.  Yikes.

We follow the NCUC bylaws for the purpose of vote tallying, but they really should be aligned down the line.

Many other oddities come to mind, but that’s for later.

Any responses to the above would be most welcome, especially if there are clarifications or corrections.  Otherwise, we do the election as indicated—ask for email confirmations, send to everyone we have an address on, cross our fingers.


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