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Another way to resolve the "Abstain" conundrum

Another way to resolve the "Abstain" conundrum

 
Old Jan 18, 11, 12:06 pm
  #1  
nsx
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Another way to resolve the "Abstain" conundrum

Over the past year or more the TalkBoard has attempted to find consensus on the issue of "Abstain" votes. Currently they function exactly the same as "No" votes, but some members like the fact that they make a "Soft No" statement rather than a "Strong No".

After thinking about this, I realized that the solution may be to more fully accommodate this preference for two versions of No, and to make it symmetric by having two versions of Yes. For example, we could allow the following options:
  • Support, meaning Strong Yes
  • Do Not Oppose, meaning Soft Yes
  • Do Not Support, meaning Soft No, precisely equivalent to the current Abstain
  • Oppose, meaning Strong No
The Soft Yes option is the mirror image of Abstain. Both Strong and Soft Yes would count as Yes, and both Strong and Soft No would count as No. The only difference from current rules would be terminology and the split of the current Yes into two options.

If No voters can have two ways to say it, then Yes voters should have the same freedom!

If the current TB opposes this and wants to have more ways to say No than to say Yes, then perhaps they would instead consider adopting the following voting menu:
  • Yes
  • Can't make up my mind, so No
  • No
  • Hell No
  • NFW
  • Not until Hell Freezes Over
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Old Jan 18, 11, 2:04 pm
  #2  
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But at the end of the day, the results are still the same & the calculations are still the same...Do Not Support is a publicly stated NO, whereas an Abstain isn't a committed No.

FWIW, I don't view it as a conundrum.
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Old Jan 18, 11, 2:27 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by bhatnasx View Post
But at the end of the day, the results are still the same & the calculations are still the same...Do Not Support is a publicly stated NO, whereas an Abstain isn't a committed No.
What terms would you prefer to indicate "No for now, but I am on the fence" and "Yes for now, but I am on the fence"? Abstain has the effect of the former without the necessary (IMHO) linguistic clarity. That lack of clarity is the crux of the issue.

We should be able to find a suitable set of words unless the TB truly wants to obfuscate soft opposition.
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Old Jan 18, 11, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
What terms would you prefer to indicate "No for now, but I am on the fence" and "Yes for now, but I am on the fence"?
How about: Get off the fence, do your homework on the issue, form a position, and vote 'yes' or 'no' -- which I'm betting is what most voters had in mind when they elected you.

This really shouldn't be this hard.
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Old Jan 18, 11, 6:59 pm
  #5  
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Totally agree with this assessment.... with at least two weeks for a vote (not including the time trying to get concensus before hand) there is plenty of time to form an opinion.

I almost want to suggest that you only allow a yes or no vote, no abstain... if you cannot have an opinion.. you don't vote... and if you do that too many times, you are voted off the island.

Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World View Post
How about: Get off the fence, do your homework on the issue, form a position, and vote 'yes' or 'no' -- which I'm betting is what most voters had in mind when they elected you.

This really shouldn't be this hard.
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Old Jan 18, 11, 7:05 pm
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Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World View Post
How about: Get off the fence, do your homework on the issue, form a position, and vote 'yes' or 'no' -- which I'm betting is what most voters had in mind when they elected you.

This really shouldn't be this hard.


Cheers.
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Old Jan 18, 11, 8:18 pm
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Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World View Post
How about: Get off the fence, do your homework on the issue, form a position, and vote 'yes' or 'no' -- which I'm betting is what most voters had in mind when they elected you.

This really shouldn't be this hard.
Very wise words!
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Old Jan 18, 11, 9:43 pm
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Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World View Post
How about: Get off the fence, do your homework on the issue, form a position, and vote 'yes' or 'no' -- which I'm betting is what most voters had in mind when they elected you.

This really shouldn't be this hard.
Wholly agree, and as this TalkBoard doesn't seem interested in a reform on this issue I am afraid.it's dead for now.
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Old Jan 18, 11, 11:08 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World View Post
How about: Get off the fence, do your homework on the issue, form a position, and vote 'yes' or 'no' -- which I'm betting is what most voters had in mind when they elected you.

This really shouldn't be this hard.
Completely and totally agree. One TBer abstained FIVE times in 2010 which is IMHO too many times.
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Old Jan 18, 11, 11:12 pm
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Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World View Post
How about: Get off the fence, do your homework on the issue, form a position, and vote 'yes' or 'no' -- which I'm betting is what most voters had in mind when they elected you.

This really shouldn't be this hard.
+1
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Old Jan 19, 11, 1:09 am
  #11  
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Add me to the voices struggling to see why you'd need two different ways to say yes or no.
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Old Jan 19, 11, 5:50 am
  #12  
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As a TB member, I abstained once that I recall, and I also accidentally missed one vote. And having been someone who abstained, I can actually see the sense of wharvey's suggestion:

I almost want to suggest that you only allow a yes or no vote, no abstain... if you cannot have an opinion.. you don't vote... and if you do that too many times, you are voted off the island.
Abstention should be a rare occurrence. If you are using it so frequently that you'd risk triggering the 'miss three votes and you are voted off by TB' exclusion, then you aren't really doing your job as a TB member.

But hey, I'm sure most of TB will continue to ignore the members they are supposed to represent on this matter
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Old Jan 19, 11, 6:59 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by wharvey View Post
I almost want to suggest that you only allow a yes or no vote, no abstain... if you cannot have an opinion.. you don't vote... and if you do that too many times, you are voted off the island.
I would be in support of this. Abstain really should mean "abstain".
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Old Jan 19, 11, 8:16 am
  #14  
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FWIW, when I was on the TB I offered to vote for either deleting the Abstain option or not counting it as a No. Neither of those options gained sufficient support.
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Old Jan 19, 11, 9:53 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by bhatnasx View Post

FWIW, I don't view it as a conundrum.
Neither do I.

Most on TalkBoard seldom abstain and most are also willing to discuss their reasons for any given vote, including the rare abstain and not voting.
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