A Voting Scheme That Promotes Diversity

I was going to leave a comment on Ed Merks blog entry on “One Committer, One Vote?”, but I found I filled up the space. That probably means I should do it in my own blog.

For those who haven’t read Ed’s blog, he reminds us of the Eclipse voting rule that all committers voting in the board elections get their votes lumped together with others working for the same organization. One organization, one vote. And yeah, if you work at IBM like I did when I learned about this, it leaves you feeling pretty insignificant in these things since you only get such a small fraction of one vote.

But I like this rule. I think it does a great job at promoting diversity. When the Eclipse Foundation was started the board went through a huge effort of making sure that Eclipse was seen as independent from its creator, IBM. To do that, they really needed, and still do need, to ensure as many organizations have a voice on the board as feasible. And this rule helps that by giving people outside IBM more of a chance of winning a board seat.

Now, it doesn’t shut out people working for large organizations. The other good thing it does is encourage committers working for those organizations to reach out to the greater Eclipse community and not stay hidden behind the corporate walls. And I look at the IBMers running for the board this year and I can say they do just that. So even with this rule, I’m not sure I have much more of a chance of winning than they do. And that’s good for Eclipse all round.