Forum OpenACS Q&A: Spring 2004 OCT Elections: Procedure and Call for Nominations

The OCT (OpenACS Core Team) terms of Peter Marklund, Caroline Meeks, Tilmann Singer and Malte Sussdorf are expiring. (This is because they received fewest votes of the 9 members elected in October 2003; their terms end now so that OCT terms are staggered.) This means that 4 seats on OCT are up for election. Those elected will serve until Midnight UTC, 20 April 2005.

Voters and Nominations

Current OCT members, CVS committers and anyone who has posted at least twice to the forums in 90 days to 25 April may vote. The same persons are eligible be candidates for OCT, and may nominate others for this election.

Current OCT members (Peter, Caroline, Tilmann and Malte) are automatically nominated. (Please post here if you refuse the nomination.) For others, two nominations are required to be on the ballot. Nomination takes place by posting on this thread.


(All times are Midnight UTC on the day mentioned.)

Now: Nominations open.
Fri 21 May 2004: Nominations close. Preliminary ballot is published.
Sun 23 May 2004: Ballot is frozen at 23:00 UTC (those who have refused nomination are deleted). Voting begins at Midnight UTC.
Fri 4 June 2004: Voting ends.


We will use the same procedure as last time. Voting occurs by emailing your ballot to Your email may contain the names of up to 4 people from the ballot. Names must be copied verbatim from the ballot. If your email contains more than 4 names, only the first 4 listed are used.

Voters will receive an email ballot after 23:00 UTC on Sunday, 23 May 2004. The ballot will contain a list of all candidates. You may vote by replying to this email, deleting the names of all but 4 candidates.

Votes will by counted by myself and Jarkko Laine. None of us are members of OCT or candidates in this election.

Let the nominations begin!

I nominate Rocael Hernandez
I second Rocael "RocoLoco" Hernandez ...
I have to refuse the nomination because of lack of resources.
I nominate Bart Teeuwisse


I second Bart
I nominate Joel Aufrecht.
I second Joel
I nominate Andrew Grumet.
I second Andrew Grumet.
Second?  Third?  Anyway, Nth Joel and also suggest Jade Rubick.
Andrei: Candidates don't need to be Nthed where N > 2. 😉

I second Jade Rubick.

13: Personal statements (response to 1)
Posted by Guan Yang on

I'd like to invite all candidates to prepare a brief personal statement that will be published together with the ballot. You may get some inspiration from last election's statements. Feel free to link to a longer statement if you wish.

In particular, voters may want information on:

  1. Who you are.
  2. Your previous/current/future involvement in OpenACS, including contributions to the code or the project in general.
  3. Corporate affiliation where relevant, i.e. OpenACS-related.
  4. Ideas/plans for the direction of the OpenACS project.

14: Re: Personal statements (response to 13)
Posted by Lars Pind on

5. Level and form of commitment to help make those ideas/plans happen :)

I think I'll also have to bow out this time (thanks for nominating me, though). I would love to contribute back to the community by participating on the OCT, but I don't have the time at this point, and I also have been very happy with the technological leadership of the OCT up until this point.
Guan & Lars,

good topics to include in a personal statement. Looking at the statements of the previous elections I would recommend all candidates to prepare a statement covering the topics suggested by Guan and Lars.


Guan, where do the personal statements go?  Should I post mine here?
Posted by Andrew Grumet on
Here it is...

1. Who you are

My name is Andrew Grumet.  I live in Somerville, MA, USA and consult for MIT Sloan and a few other customers.

In addition to OpenACS/.LRN I am active in weblog technology, a member of the RSS Advisory Board and a co-author of Software Engineering of Internet Applications.  Please refer to the Projects section of my site map ( and to my weblog ( for more information.

2. Involvement

Before working with OpenACS I programmed with ACS at ArsDigita, which hired me in October, 1999.  I went independent in 2002, and soon after joined the Sloan team to help with the upgrade and launch of SloanSpace v2, on a codebase that was to become .LRN. I authored the wap and photo-album-lite packages, co-authored the rss-support package, and have contributed bugfixes here and there over the years.

3. Affiliation

I'm an independent working closely with Sloan on .LRN.

4. Ideas/plans

Here are some directions, some of which we're already moving in, that I support and would advocate for

- Encourage and publicize innovation in OpenACS.  I know, I know,  "innovation" is overused but like obscenity I know it when I see it.  The translation server is innovative.  Peoples' eyes light up when I describe to them how it works.  We need more of that IMO, and to take credit when we innovate.

- Search for the win-wins.  There's a lot of energy here, but also a lot of diversity.  The trick is to identify the shared goals and build on each other's work as much as we possibly can.  For example, Vienna did some fascinating customizations that, assuming Vienna wants to share, we should review and bring in where appropriate.  I think everybody knows this---I'm just highlighting it---and maybe someone is already going after Vienna.

- Improve the user experience across the boards.  A lot of great ideas about page flow and features got lost in the ACS 3x to 4x transition and still haven't found their way back in.  One example is keyworded email notifications.  Another is a single, site-wide page where a moderator can examine content posted by, e.g., just the newly registered users.  Somebody must need these.

- Identify and weed out cruft.  I'm not talking about -deprecated procs here, but big things that make it hard to develop on OpenACS.  The procedural logic layer in the database, for example.  It adds hours to days of development time often with little to no benefit.  Can we get rid of it?  This discussion is already taking place.

5. Commitment

I am involved in a number of different projects and would only be able to spend a few hours per week in this role.  I'd expect to attend OCT meetings but am otherwise pretty flexible and can go where needed.  Examples: If nobody is working with Vienna I'd be happy to spend OCT cycles on that.  I can help identify lost but useful features such as "new stuff", try to identify people who need them, and cheerlead as they implement.  I can evangelize.

19: Error in the ballot (response to 1)
Posted by Guan Yang on
The ballot that people were emailed said:

Remove everything above this line and the four you want to vote for

This should have been:

Remove everything except the four names you want to vote for

I.e. your ballot should have contained the names of those you want to vote for.


Results are available here in the form of my verification sheet. Joel Aufrecht, Malte Sussdorff and Rocael Hernandez won. There's a tie in the 4th position between Andrew Grumet and Caroline Meeks that we'll ask them to resolve. (We're recommending a knife fight, but maybe tossing a coin would be safer. 😉)
Guan, Jarkko, thanks a lot for taking the time to conduct this vote and giving us the results. Thanks a lot also to the 72 voters who took their time to vote.

As for the tie, I've got a couple of suggestions (one of which should make it into a TIP, as we seem to develop a habbit of ties)

- Throw a coin
- Enlarge the OCT
- Let Andrew and Caroline talk it out between themselves
- Ask the other eight OCT members to make a quick vote

there's something called a runoff that is standard practice in these situations.


I am in favor of letting Caroline and Andrew decide which
of them wants to do it (or request a runoff if that's what they would prefer to do).
Would a runoff election (I don't know the term, sorry), mean to have a new election just between the two with one vote for each voter? If yes, I'd favour for any method to avoid this as we should not put too much strain on the electorate (though I do agree it is standard procedure).
Andrew and I spoke on the phone and we suggest that we split the term.  Andrew will take the first 6 months and I will take the second 6 months. If for any reason Andrew can not complete his 6 month term I will take it over the position.

We thought this was basically fair. It’s a slight advantage that Andrew does have the capability to run again in 6 months, but I felt it was important that he be on the OCT this summer while Sloan is upgrading. My goals are all long term so 6 months off is no big deal. I'll still be here.

My suggestion for a general TIP:  In the event of a tie, split the term and if any OCT member resigns or is unable to complete their term, the person who tied and is not currently serving their half term would automatically take any vacant seat.

I would like to thank everyone who voted and especially Guan for all his hard work.

Confirming that Caroline's post accurately reflects our discussion.  Thanks everyone.
Dang! I thought we would get to see a knife fight 😊

No, really, what a nice way to settle this.

Congratulations to everyone. This might make a good News posting.