Closing Steering Committee voting polls

There is a big issue with the current Steering Committee forum voting process. Currently, only the person who creates the polls are able to close them. The Steering Committee member who counts and confirms a vote is often not the person who started it, so it’s possible for the votes to change after a proposal has already been approved or rejected. Last time I counted a vote, I screenshotted the poll and pasted it in, but that’s not at all an ideal solution. We need to figure out permissions so all Steering Commitee members can close polls.

@gwmngilfen/other forum admins, is this something that can be addressed in the short term? If not, we may need to consider reverting to our old processes, as this poses a big transparency problem about what the actual votes were.

If you make all the steering committee members Discourse admins then they would have the right permissions? :man_shrugging:

Yeah, we might have to go that route unless there’s a way to make this more granular.

Making all SC members forum admins doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. But yes, this is definitely a problem.

How about the following work-around for now: once a SC poll needs to be closed, one SC members pings an appropriate group (admins? moderators?) who have sufficient rights to close the poll. A member of that group closes the poll and adds another comment that it has been closed, and then SC members can count the votes.

Does @moderators have sufficient rights to do this? Or do you need even more rights (like admin rights)? (Also I just got the message “You cannot mention group moderators”, so I’m not sure I can actually ping them this way…)

There is an option to automatically close the poll, would that work for your purposes?

Automatically close poll:
Allows the poll creator to set a date/time for the poll to close automatically. Unlike manually closed polls, auto-closed polls cannot be re-opened.
Create a poll that others can vote on - users - Discourse Meta

Currently, the workflow says to not set the close date because this cannot be changed later. If the forum moderators / admins can change this, I think it would be the best solution to set the closing date.

If it’s necessary to change it, which I think won’t be really often, we would ping them. This means the SC members don’t need more permissions, we don’t have to ask others to close the poll in case the person who created the vote isn’t around and we don’t have to find any other weird work-around.

I think most votes won’t be extended, so this might be the best solution. What do you think?

It would be great if the closing date could be changed by mods / admins without losing the votes so far. In that case, I’m happy with having to ping mods / admins in case the date needs to be adjusted.

@gwmngilfen do you know whether mods / admins can do this?

Isn’t it an exceptional case when we need to prolong a poll? Does anyone need this often?
How about setting up a closing date with a note that it can be prolonged on a need by creating an additional poll? Maybe a stupid idea though, just trying to brainstorm in case there’s no better solution.

Why don’t we test it out in this thread. Someone on the SC create a poll with a close date and add a few votes.

Then one of the mods/admins pop in and change the end date and see if that impacts the existing votes or not.

Hey folks! Happy New Year :slight_smile:

We can’t. As of today, the BBCode of a poll can’t be edited by anyone after about 10mins (grace period for typos). As you know, this is to protect the poll from having material changes made to its options which could affect existing votes, but it means we can’t alter the auto-close either. I will ask CDCK if there is a workaround, but for now let’s assume not.

This will work, of course, and since the staff team is ~10 people and geographically spread, you should get a response. For extra speed, the Flag button will put it in our moderator queue.

(For the record - in the longer term I do want to give more powers to more people, including the Steering Committee, but the forum is still quite new and we are feeling our way forward)

This is perhaps another consequence of using tags rather than categories. If there was an SC category I could make you category-moderators and then any of you could close it. However, I stand by my reasoning that 30 subcategories is still a worse problem than thing like this :slight_smile:

Pinging us or using an auto-close date should work for now, but I agree we’ll need a better solution because as more dev groups move over and want to hold polls we (the staff) will need to avoid becoming a bottleneck. I’ll look into it and report back - thanks!

This is a test poll. Nothng to see here.

  • Yes
  • No
0 voters
  • test
0 voters

We discussed the issue in today’s meeting and played around with the different options above but didn’t come to any conclusions. We discussed trying out the auto-close feature but are worried about not being able to extend votes. The current policy says:

  • Do not set the close date because this cannot be changed later

Our policy also says:

  • The next day after the last day of the vote, the Committee person:
    • Closes the polls.

which is currently impossible due to permissions issues.

We have a lot of votes coming up, so I’d like to figure this out sooner rather than later.

I’ve written to CDCK to ask what options we have, and I’ll report back once I have more answers. However, assuming I haven’t missed anything and we’d be waiting on dev work, then I think you have three options:

  1. Update the policy to use auto-close and accept the hit on the small number of votes that need to be extended from time to time. It feels like this is infrequent, and use of group mentions, @here, etc could keep engagement high enough to reduce this even more.
  2. Use open-ended polls and accept that votes might be open for a day or two longer than intended in some cases. I can’t speak for all votes, but the ones I’ve been involved in have generally been strong majorities - a few extra votes either way after the deadline would have made no difference.
  3. Use open-ended polls and get help from the staff team to close them on time if needed.

I lean towards (3) until we can get a better answers from CDCK (and get better data on whether (1) is still a problem here on the forum, we don’t really know yet). It works today and doesn’t need to scale until more groups are regularly using structured votes as the SC does. There are enough staff, and enough SC members to ping them, that we can get votes closed at the right time. Personally I’m happy to be pinged a few days in advance, and I can set a timed bookmark to remind me close the poll.

Does that help in the short term while we investigate the options?

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We just discussed this again during the meeting, we’ll probably stick to 3 (or 2 if we cannot reach someone) for now.