[JSR348-130] abstentions are embodiment of agreement to disagree Created: 21/Sep/11  Updated: 22/Sep/11  Resolved: 22/Sep/11

Status: Closed
Project: jsr348
Component/s: Standing Rules
Affects Version/s: None
Fix Version/s: None

Type: Bug Priority: Major
Reporter: sean_sheedy Assignee: pcurran
Resolution: Fixed Votes: 0
Labels: None
Remaining Estimate: Not Specified
Time Spent: Not Specified
Original Estimate: Not Specified


standing rules

109-110 - strike "Explicit abstentions are strongly discouraged" as members may choose to step aside rather than block progress; yeah, the "minimum 5 yes votes" rule may kick in, but if it does it's a strong sign that something about what's being voted on needs to be fixed.

PC> I disagree. Abstentions are strongly discouraged. This doesn't mean they are prohibited. We could soften by striking "discouraged."

SS> why strongly discouraged? permits members to respectfully disagree without blocking the process. how about "Abstentions should be avoided, but can be used, for example, by a member who objects to that being voted on, but wishes not to stand in the way of the process."

Comment by pcurran [ 21/Sep/11 ]

I've modified the relevant section to read:

EC voting Members may cast three types of votes: "yes", "no" and “abstain”. Abstentions are discouraged, but may be used by members who are unwilling to support the motion but who do not wish to block further progress. “No” votes are strongly discouraged.

Note that I removed the statement that abstentions are equivalent to 'no' votes since I'm not sure that they should be. They are simply not counted, which is probably different

Eduardo: do you agree?

Comment by pcurran [ 21/Sep/11 ]

Resolved as per previous comment.

Comment by pcurran [ 22/Sep/11 ]

I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote "No votes are strongly discouraged."

This is obviously wrong. I'll delete that sentence.

Comment by pcurran [ 22/Sep/11 ]

The relevant section now reads:

EC voting members may cast three types of votes: "yes", "no" and “abstain”. Abstentions are discouraged, but may be used by members who are unwilling to support the motion but who do not wish to block further progress. Abstentions should be accompanied by comments. “No” votes should be accompanied by an explanation of the changes (if any) that would permit a change of the vote to "yes". EC members are strongly discouraged from not voting at all.

Comment by pcurran [ 22/Sep/11 ]

Made yet another change - need to record it here.

Comment by eduardo [ 22/Sep/11 ]

Patrick, the sentence "For the purpose of calculating the voting result, only the votes cast are taken into account. " which follows this paragraph (I'm assuming that sentence has not been deleted, I don't have access to the absolutely latest document with total confidence) means that your conclusion may be wrong. There is a difference between abstaining from a vote by not casting a vote, in which case your voice is not counted because you have not voiced anything, and abstaining by voting "abstain". In the latter case you have cast a vote, and you have in fact modified the result because it is counted in calculating the result. So, if by saying "They [abstentions] are simply not counted" you mean "votes not cast are not counted" you are right; if you mean "votes cast as 'I abstain' are not counted", you are wrong. Consider the case of 10 possible votes; if 5 vote yes and 5 vote no, there is a tie. If 4 vote yes and 5 vote no, and one does not vote, the no votes win. But if 4 vote yes, 5 vote no and one votes "abstain", there is a tie again, because there are only 5 no votes out of 10, and that is not a majority. So in this case the "abstain" vote counts in fact as a yes vote. The reverse case would also be true (5 yes, 4 no, 1 "abstain"), so the true statement would be that by voting "abstain" one sides against the majority amongst the yes/no votes, whichever that may be.

Comment by pcurran [ 22/Sep/11 ]

I've always assumed that we treated abstentions as equivalent to not voting...

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