Thunderbird Governance 2018 - Council Elections - method of conducting elections / nominating and voting

Goverenance TB governance at
Fri Jan 19 04:02:20 UTC 2018

This email is followup to tb-planning post on 2017/11/9!topic/tb-planning/U7QniGGFepo (and 
quoted  below), which  solicited community feedback about determining 
the electorate and the method of voting. (It should be noted the wording 
in that email was not consistent - in one place stated as "method of 
conducting elections", and in another "nominating and voting.")

This email provides the council's proposals based on that feedback 
including the rationale behind these proposals, and we request your 
feedback on the proposals and rationale.

Four people emailed in tb-planning which you can read in this thread 
(one of which was off topic), plus one person replied to 
governance at, quoted below [1] in the interest of full 
disclosure.  The council had hoped for more feedback, but we are 
certainly thankful for those that offered opinion and advice.  The 
sample size is small, but the feedback might be summarized as a) the 
process used was generally fair and worked well, b) maintain a public 
process and c) broaden the electorate, with some emphasis on including 
donors.  Additional comments worth highlighting

  * in the electorate discussion process, "candidates should be asked to
    not only introduce them self, but give answers to some of the
    burning questions Thunderbird is faced with." (yes, we can
    incorporate that)
  * in building the electorate, "I don't believe that we paid sufficient
    attention to making sure the electorate appropriately included all
    those who make significant contributions to Thunderbird...." (see

Council discussed this feedback.

Regarding broadening the electorate there are two key points:

  * Donors (of which there are 10,000) are of course extremely
    important, we understand the reasons people want to give donors a
    voice in this process, and we  have discussed this and other donor
    related issues several times in the past year.  But the challenges
    remain the same as in 2017, and so we *propose **not to include
    donors in this election cycle* for several reasons as follows... We
    do not have contact information for most donors, and it would be
    unfair to include some donors and not others (within reason). We
    don't have access to contribution amounts and therefore would be
    unable to set minimum requirements should that be deemed desirable. 
    Lastly, the vast majority of donors are likely not familiar with
    project issues, and also likely do not have an interest in
    Thunderbird governance, making them a relatively uniformed and less
    than ideal population to include in the electorate.

  * Given the positive feedback on tb-planning, and the quality of the
    2017 electorate pool (which netted 110 names) we *propose **t**o
    target the same communities and use the 2017 criteria *[2], which
    requires 20 hours of contribution in a 2-year time period and
    includes the ability for people to self nominate.  We have
    considered last year's list [2] and have not found nor has anyone
    proposed additional communities (other than donors), but we would
    welcome more. _*I*__*f you know of any group (contributor, support
    venue, ...) missing from the list we are eager to hear about them -
    please send it to us with a suggested contact in the group, so it
    can be considered for possible inclusion.*_

Regarding electorate discussion and electorate voting, we *propose *to 
use the same process which includes STV voting.  The reasons for doing 
so are the positive feedback on tb-planning, the lack of complaints 
expressed during the election process, no alternatives suggested to 
council, and no better methodologies in council discussions.  See 
previously posted by Gerv which describes last year's process.

Please see "Council Member Duties and Roles" 
which we have developed to help the community and electorate better 
understand what it means to be on the council.

_*With respect to the above proposals, if anyone has additional 
suggestions, *__*_*serious disagreement, *_ or need to discuss or ask 
questions that have not been previously posted, please post them now in 
public or email privately (your choice) so that we may consider them for 
this round of elections.*_

The next email on elections will request your feedback on council size, 
eligibility, and term overlaps.

Wayne (writing for the governance committee)

[1] one feedback email received at governance at

I think the last elections were held professionally and adequately. I
would think we should follow the same procedures.

I also agree with Gerv that the voting body should be expanded a little
to make sure we get all relevant contributors, and I would go even a
step further: we should also invite those who donated to Thunderbird (or
maybe a subset that donated more than a certain threshold) to vote.
(name withheld, because the feedback was not posted publicly)

[2] Electorate criteria - Contribute at least 20 hours in the timespan of two years. The idea is to admit people who have contributed to the Thunderbird project in any way, shape or form by

     Doing BMO triage
     Giving support on SUMO
     Sending patches
     Working on localisations
     Contributing add-ons to the ecosystem
     Helping the TB cause in Mozilla central
     Furthering the TB cause by constructive contributions to TB planning.
     Doing other things for TB, like public relations, blog post, social media, artwork, etc.

There is also the option to self-nominate in case we have overlooked someone in the published list.

On 11/9/2017 4:01 PM, Goverenance TB wrote:
> The Thunderbird Council 
> <> is 
> asking the community for feedback about Thunderbird governance, which 
> will be considered in designing the future of the council.  We 
> encourage you to help publicize this effort by posting this message in 
> its entirety in other venues frequented by Thunderbird users.
> We are splitting our requests for feedback into manageable pieces, 
> each of which will cover different aspects of governance. This is the 
> first message of a short series over the coming weeks. This first 
> request is for feedback specifically on the *method of conducting 
> elections*.  Future messages will cover other topics, for example 
> composition of the Council.
> Background - Past Elections
> The following is a summary of past elections.  To date three councils 
> have been elected, each using a different process.  In 2014 the first 
> Thunderbird Council of seven was elected 
> <> 
> by a typical nomination process of those present and simple majority 
> vote at a fall summit meeting of 22 very active Thunderbird contributors.
> In fall 2015 discussion began in tb-planning for the second council, 
> in such subjects as  "Council Elections" and "Reorganizing the 
> Council", with a goal of having the community elect the council. 
>  Voting in February 2016 used the following process 
> <>, 
> "The existing Council will serve as a nominating committee, and 
> recruit candidates who agree to serve on a renewed Council. (This 
> could be existing Council members or new people.) This slate of 
> candidates would then be presented to tb-planning for a single vote 
> [by anyone active on tb-planning], much like the one a year ago, to 
> see if there is consensus.".  The slate and voting process was 
> announced 
> <>, 
> and the results also posted on tb-planning 
> <>.
> In 2017 the third council election process 
> <> 
> established a public list of electors, who are active project 
> contributors per criteria defined by the Council.  Electors discussed 
> on the tb-election mailing list, and then nominated and voted to seat 
> seven council members using “ranked choice” with the STV method. 
> Results were announced on tb-planning 
> <>. 
> The election was run by volunteers who were not members of the 
> council. The council was pleased with the results, and there were no 
> major complaints from the community.
> 2018 Elections
> In this message we are looking for your feedback on the 2018 election 
> process, namely nominating and voting for council members.  Feedback 
> will be reviewed by the council, the results summarized back to the 
> community and used by the Thunderbird Council to inform the process to 
> be used in the 2018 election.Please send feedback (idea or concern) 
> with subject "Thunderbird Governance 2018 - Council Elections" (the 
> subject of this email) to governance at, *NOT 
> tb-planning*. Please formulate your feedback as a problem statement 
> <>, 
> with or without a potential solution.
> For example, you might offer feedback on defining the electorate, as 
> in the past this has been a challenging aspect of the process.
> "The electorate of 2017, while being inclusive, did not include 
> population X, and they should be included because of reason Y. And 
> here is how you might identify or define this population...”
> Additionally, we encourage you to respond if you think the previous 
> procedure used was adequate, so we can properly gauge the opinion of 
> the community for electing the Council.
> Please send your response by Monday November 20.  Please post this 
> message in its entirety in other venues frequented by Thunderbird users.
> Thank you for your interest in Thunderbird.
> The Thunderbird Council
> _______________________________________________
> tb-planning mailing list
> tb-planning at

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