[OpenStack Foundation] Individual Member Election Statistics

Sean Chen xuchenx at gmail.com
Wed Oct 3 06:14:59 UTC 2012

I applaud James and Matt for taking their time to quantify our
election metrics and measuring what we can do next.

              Source of Votes for Top 6 Candidates
|      Name      |  Employer | %Employer | %Major | %Minor | %None |
|                | Dell      |    86 %   |   5 %  |   4 %  |   5 % |
|                | HP        |    75 %   |   9 %  |   9 %  |   6 % |
|                | SINA      |           |        |  27 %  |  52 % |
|                | Dell      |    88 %   |   5 %  |   3 %  |   4 % |
|                | 99cloud   |           |        |  28 %  |  54 % |
|                | Rackspace |    76 %   |  12 %  |   6 %  |   6 % |

>From the Source of Votes, the Top 6 Candidates all have a single
source accounting for more than half of their votes, be it %Employer
or %None. Basically HP, Dell, Rackspace and None represent almost 90%
of the global openstack community driving the foundation membership
(5000 strong or is it?) and they like to vote.

We can look into how Linux Foundation runs its individual membership program.

On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 4:09 PM, Matt Joyce <matt at nycresistor.com> wrote:
> I'll respond in line.  Since there is a bit more here than a single
> simple response.
> On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 3:06 PM, Stefano Maffulli <stefano at openstack.org> wrote:
>> On 10/02/2012 01:29 PM, Matt Joyce wrote:
>>> The question that remains however, is...
>>>  Are the foundation elections being manipulated?
>> I would like to understand why you're asking such unfair question.
> I don't think it is an unfair question.  The data has some pretty
> glaring anomalies which I've taken the time to point out.  I believe
> that's acceptable open debate under the community code of conduct, and
> as I said I think it's important.  Quantifying our metrics and
> measuring what we can is the first step.  Correlating is the second.
> If we wish to be able to provide useful recommendations based on the
> data released earlier in this thread we'll need a healthy
> participatory discussion on what this data can be tied to and whether
> or not it is relevant.  This will provide us with a path to provide
> formal peer reviewed analysis and recommendations built not on the
> data we have and not the data we don't.
>> Do you think that people got elected without deserving their seat? If you
>> think this is the case, please speak up: you can talk to Jonathan or to
>> the Foundation's lawyer.
> I assess "deserving their seat" as being a function solely of the
> election.  As it should be and is claimed to be.
> As stated, the foundation membership requires ALL members to avoid
> manipulating the election results.  However the data seems to indicate
> that manipulation may have occurred.  If I had specific and DEFINITE
> evidence of manipulation I would of course forward that to the
> foundation lawyer.  I have been clear in saying I have no such
> evidence.  However there is clearly a large number of anomalies in the
> election results that would be best explained as being the result of
> manipulation ( as far as I can tell ).  The real cause for concern
> here is that there is no way to confirm that manipulation of the
> election did not occur, and there are unexplained anomalies in the
> results that very clearly affected the elections in a serious way.  4
> out of 11 of the top results in the election were elected by
> co-workers ( greater than 75% of their total votes came from their own
> employees), and not by a matched percentage of outside users.  With
> three companies having members totally nearly the entirety of the rest
> of the membership each, I cannot discount the possibility that
> intentional manipulation has occurred.  I just can't.  The numbers are
> there.  It's just plain overwhelmingly suspicious.
> So I have to ask if the election procedures as they exist today
> reflect the foundation users real desires.  Based on the numbers I
> have, I suspect that is not the case.  So, do I believe that people
> got elected without "deserving" their seats?
> Let me respond by saying.
> Logically I cannot say definitely that the people elected in the
> foundation elections were done so without outside manipulation.  There
> are anomalies in the data we have that cause me to believe there is a
> very real possibility that the election was manipulated.
> However, without proof that the election was manipulated, it would
> appear we must accept the results of the election as being valid.
> Thus the members elected deserve their seats as far as procedure
> dictates ( or my understanding of procedure anyways ).
> The fact remains however, that there is no means to verify the
> election was not manipulated, and there is evidence that suggests it
> may have been.  I am concerned by that and I think open discussion and
> debate concerning that issue is valuable to the foundation and the
> openstack community.  More to the point it's necessary.  People will
> look at these numbers and draw conclusions from them on their own.
> Fact is I can't explain the numbers as they exist today without
> assuming direct manipulation of the election.
>> The thing is that the Foundation was designed to have very little
>> barrier to entry for Individual members. With such design, of course
>> large corporations will have more members and of course they will vote
>> for their colleagues, if nothing else because those are names they
>> recognise.
> Yes, this has been said before.  However, without a means to verify
> that manipulation of the election has not occurred, and with clear
> anomalies in the election results that remain unexplained I have to
> ask if this was the right call.  As far as I can tell we've provided a
> means to game the elections and eliminated any means of verifying the
> authenticity of the results.  We don't have a specified threshold of
> percentage error we're willing to tolerate here.  This is entirely too
> ambiguous for me, and with three companies that do NOT represent the
> 3/4ths of the global openstack community driving the foundation
> membership ( as far as any numbers I've seen can indicate ), I have to
> ask if this works at all.  This is pretty damned important and the
> numbers don't assuage my concerns, they exacerbate them.
>> With such design, the Foundation has put in place checks and balances
>> *after* the joining process to avoid giving too much power to Platinum
>> sponsors and corporations in general. Like all systems, it can be
>> improved but we need to at least make it run a few times before saying
>> it's broken.
> There's a heck of a lot more that we can do to track this stuff.  I am
> pleased as punch to see the data sets and collection utilities we have
> seen brought forth by the community.  I think a healthy analysis of
> that data, and the collection of more data can be used to help
> identify problems in the electoral process.  I think discussion and
> debate is a good thing even at this early juncture.  However, at the
> same time the severity of the anomalies in out first ever elections
> are severe and that DOES taint the election results.
> The checks and balances in place today do nothing to limit or even
> identify external manipulation of the foundation membership elections.
>  I'm all for not solving problems we don't have, but the numbers as
> they exist today tell us we have a problem we need to solve.  Direct
> manipulation of the foundation membership election is not only
> possible, the numbers as they exist today match what a manipulation of
> the foundation membership elections would look like had it definitely
> occurred.
>> I'd like to bring the focus on the people that have been elected, help
>> them do the interests of the category they've been elected to represent.
>> If they do then we can stop the speculations around OpenStack and the
>> power of its corporate members (there are quite a few haters out there
>> that do that job nicely already). If they don't, then we have tools in
>> the bylaws to remove them.
> Personally I think everyone who ran for the director positions was
> well qualified and even among the folks I've identified as having
> anomalous results I think the folks are exceptionally capable and well
> qualified for the director seats.  Heck I think I even voted for rob
> hirschfeld ( whom was identified as having anomalous results ).  I
> certainly think Monty Taylor ( also anomalous results ) is an amazing
> contributor and will do phenomenal work on the board.  I don't think
> either of these guys from my past experience would ever seek to
> manipulate the elections themselves.  But I have no doubt people in
> our industry would take actions that could be construed as direct
> manipulation.  I'm not about to call anyone out as being unqualified.
> That's not the point of this thread or my post.  Nor is it the goal of
> this discussion to assist new directors.  This thread is regarding the
> analysis of data returned from foundation election audits.  I want to
> make that audit more complete.  I want to be able to identify
> suspicious anomalies in our electoral data results.  I want a baseline
> that I can correlate to our existing community participation metrics
> that can explain the way the voting is occurring. I want to formalize
> our approach to analyzing results and then be able to provide
> quantifiable metrics to support recommendations for how elections can
> happen better.  In that I think you may have missed my goal entirely
> as well as the point of releasing this data.
> Stefano.  I love OpenStack as much as you do.  And I respect everyone
> in this community.  This is not an attack on the community, or the
> directors.  This is an honest nothing held back discussion of hard
> numbers.  That is all.  I do have opinions, and they color the tenor
> of my text.  I do my best to remain objective.  I fail occasionally
> and I apologize for that in advance.  But this isn't a bogus issue.
> TL;DR summary.
> If a company had intended to directly manipulate the foundation
> elections and proceeded in the most obvious manner, the election
> results demonstrated by Dell in this data set would very nearly match
> what you would expect.  You can call that coincidence if you want.
> But it's not just Dell.  HP matches it, and Rackspace is right there
> next to them sitting in the exact same predictable distribution range.
>  I am concerned because every ounce of data we have screams that there
> is a clear correlation to direct manipulation of the election and
> nothing to explain that correlation is anything but that.
> -Matt
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