Archive-name: uk/voting
Last-modified: Sun Jul 12 17:06:39 BST 2015

The procedures for coordinating newsgroup management within the UK hierarchy are contained in three documents, of which this article contains the second.







The following Voting procedures were accepted on 07 Aug 95 by a vote conducted on with 91 votes in favour and 13 votes against. They were amended by further votes on 02 May 98, on 05 Aug 98, on 01 Oct 99, on 13 Dec 2002, on 26 May 2003, on 31 May 2003, and again on 25 Sep 2003.


The following words where used in this document have the precise meanings shown here:
any RFD which fails to follow this guideline will be invalid
in all but exceptional or unusual cases an RFD ought to follow this guideline
whilst this guideline is acceptable practice, it remains optional
Hopefully, most newsgroup creation within the UK hierarchy can be done without a vote. When dissention arises, however, voting may be the only method of resolution, and hence these rules are provided.

Votes should be conducted by a third party, not involved with the topic. The current group(s) of volunteer votetakers used for votes within the uk.* hierarchy, together with their email address(es) are:


The Vote

  1. If after the discussion following an RFD it becomes necessary to hold a vote, a call for votes (CFV) shall be formulated by a member of the votetaking organisation, acting for and in consultation with the proponent, and mailed to (as moderator of If the CFV is in the correct form (see below), Control will post it to all those newsgroups and mailing lists that the latest RFD was posted to; otherwise, it shall be referred back to the votetaker who, in consultation with the Committee and the proponent as necessary, shall rectify the problem.

    The CFV shall include

    If differences from the latest RFD have been indicated, any changes or revised alternatives are required to be minor and to have arisen directly from the discussion. Moreover, if the question(s) to be put involve restricted combinations of the alternatives or other interdependencies, these must have been specified in the latest RFD. If there is any doubt on these points, the matter shall be referred to the Committee who may then require a further RFD to be issued.

    The voting instructions and the ballot form shall state clearly the question(s) to be put, shall include clear instructions on how to cast a vote, and shall be completely even-handed as regards voting FOR or AGAINST or ABSTAIN (e.g. there shall be no default vote). Should a status quo for the proposal exist, the voter shall be given the opportunity to vote for it, either by voting explicitly for the status quo or by voting against the proposal.

  2. The voting period should last for at least 18 days and no more than 28 days. The exact date that the voting period will end should be stated. Only votes that arrive on the votetaking organisation's server not later than that date will be counted.
  3. A repeat of the CFV should be posted half way through the vote, but it shall be a repeat of the same CFV on the SAME proposal (see #5 below).
  4. ONLY votes MAILED to the votetaking organisation will count. Votes posted to the net for any reason (including inability to get mail to the votetaking organisation) and proxy votes (such as having a mailing list maintainer claim a vote for each member of the list) will not be counted.
  5. Votes may not be transferred to other, similar proposals. A vote shall count only for the EXACT proposal that it is a response to. In particular, a vote for or against a particular newsgroup shall NOT be counted as a vote for or against a newsgroup with a modified name, charter, moderation status or moderator.
  6. Votes SHALL be explicit answers to the questions as put. They SHALL be submitted on the ballot paper in accordance with the voting instructions and SHALL include, in addition to the actual vote
    1. The voter's name;
    2. The voter's email address, which must be valid since the votetaker will send email to it, and it is to be published in the result.
    They MAY also include such further information as may be requested for the purpose of identifying that voter's posts to usenet or, alternatively, an affirmation that they do not currently post to usenet.

    The votetaker will determine the validity of each vote with respect to the voting instructions and MAY seek further clarification from the voter. If the votetaker determines that a vote is invalid, the votetaker SHOULD so inform the voter as specified in section 11.

  7. A vote should be run only for a single group proposal. Several votes for related groups may be included in the same CFV, provided the voter has the opportunity to vote independently for each one. A particuler vote may be specified as being dependent on the result of an earlier one (e.g. the creation of a group may depend on the prior removal of some other group), but decision trees of excessive complexity should be avoided.
  8. When a vote calls for a choice between several mutually exclusive options, an alternative "Reopen Discussion" (ROD) option shall be included. Additionally, this option shall be included in any ballot should the committee so request, or if 4 or more people so petition, by e- mailing, during the RFD stage. If ROD succeeds, the proponent should issue a new RFD containing further options. The ROD option shall not be offered after the second distinct vote on any one proposal.
  9. For a vote between several mutually exclusive options, the voters shall be asked to indicate their relative preference amongst the given options, which shall include the status quo (if one exists) and may include "Reopen Discussion" (ROD). It is permitted to give the same preference level to more than one option; voters should be encouraged to ascribe some preference level to each option.
  10. Where the vote paper has been sent via an autoresponder, or direct mail from the votetaking organisation only, only vote papers that have been requested by these methods will be counted towards formal votes. This is in addition to the sending of an acknowledgement of receipt and validity of vote.
  11. Formal acknowledgements: - The votetaking organisation SHALL send a formal acknowledgement within 5 days of receiving a vote, this SHALL include
    1. The persons name
    2. The persons e-mail address
    3. An indication of their vote
    If a vote does not contain the required information, the acknowledgement SHALL include as much of it as is available, plus an indication that the voter should resubmit his vote. It SHOULD be pointed out that the vote has NOT been counted in its current incomplete status.

    Any other information is at the votetaking organisation's discretion.

  12. The votetaking organisation may halt and, if appropriate, restart the Vote if any irregularity becomes apparent. Moreover, in the event of any allegation that the Vote is being conducted in violation of these rules which seems to the Committee to be well founded, the Committee may require such a halt and/or restart. Alternatively (but only with the agreement of the votetaking organisation), it may be allowed to continue after rectification of the problem.

The Result

  1. At the completion of the voting period, the votetaking organisation shall post the result to, and to all the other groups or mailing lists that the original CFV was posted to. It shall include the E-mail addresses and the names of all the voters, together with which way each one voted, so that the results can be verified.
  2. AFTER the vote result is posted, there will be a 5 day waiting period, beginning when the voting results actually appear in, during which the net will have a chance to correct any errors in the voter list or the voting procedure. If the vote was successful, and if there were no serious objections that might invalidate it, will issue the appropriate 'newgroup' and/or 'rmgroup' control messages.
  3. In normal circumstances, a vote will succeed if a majority of the valid votes are FOR and if the number FOR is at least 12 greater than the number AGAINST. If the vote does not succeed, then the Status Quo shall prevail (which usually means that a group is not created).

    Exceptionally, where there is no Status Quo to revert to (the matter HAS to be decided one way or the other) the Committee may sanction a vote requiring a simple majority.

  4. For a vote between several mutually exclusive options, the votetaking organisation will establish, for each possible pair of options A and B, how many voters prefer A over B and vice versa. All options which are not preferred to the status quo (if present) by the required margin are eliminated. If this eliminates all options, then the status quo shall prevail. The option which is accepted is the one remaining option which is not outvoted by any other (if there are two or more such options, the tie shall be resolved by lot). If there is no absolute preferred candidate of those remaining, the result shall be as if ROD were successful.
  5. If multiple votes are submitted using a single email address, only the last one of those votes received by the votetaker within the voting period will be counted, even if that email address is used by more than one person. Where it is believed that several votes have been submitted by one person using multiple email addresses in an attempt to bypass these restrictions, those votes SHALL all be rejected.
  6. All objections and appeals to the result will be decided by the Committee. Their decisions will be posted to

Rule Changes

Any changes to these rules, or those in the companion documents, shall be proposed in an RFD in accordance with the GUIDELINES FOR GROUP CREATION WITHIN THE UK HIERARCHY, insofar as they are applicable. RFDs for rule changes shall be discussed in the newsgroup, and this will be the definitive record of discussion.

Editorial Note

The method of determining the result when there are several mutually exclusive options, as described in paragraph 4 of The Result, is essentially that devised by the French mathematician the Marquis de Condorcet (1743-94).

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