Revitalization of OVC-Discuss

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Sun Jan 28 2007 - 18:09:38 CST


OVC-Discuss has been an important forum for over 3.5 years. OVC is entering
a new phase and I envision this list will reflect that in the near future.

Actually, it wasn't always called "OVC-Discuss." Originally, it was called
"voting-project." "OVC" wasn't in the name because there was no OVC. The
first mention of "Open Voting Consortium" was on this list.

Subtle distinction, FYI: The first time I mentioned Open Voting Consortium,
it was "the open voting consortium." I was talking to Jay Teifertiller
about what to name "the open voting consortium." He said something like,
"is that what we want to call it?" I said, "what?" He said, "Open Voting
Consortium." In other words, "the open voting consortium" was descriptive,
not really intended as the name at first. Still, we often say, "the Open
Voting Consortium," when referring to OVC. The "the" is not necessary -
maybe not even good grammar. The first time I really noticed this was in
reading the Apr 8, 2004 Mercury News editorial. Note they didn't use "the"
as a prefix. Proper grammar ...

OVC was born on this list. All the ideas behind OVC have been laid out here
by the all people the got it going. You can read all about it in the
archives (maintained by OVC CTO David Mertz).

The list started out as names in a CC list. Once we reached a dozen or so
names, Arthur Keller took it upon himself to start the list (majordomo).
Over the next year or so, it reach about 100 subscribers. Arthur got tired
of majordomo list serve software, and switched to Mail Man. He changed the
name to OVC-Discuss at that time. Probably half the subscribers fell off at
that time. We gradually built back to around 100 subscribers.

Originally, most subscribers participated in the discussions. Over time, I
guess it fell into the 80-20 rule: Eighty percent comes from about twenty
percent of the people involved.

A sure sign your list has gone to hell in a hand basket: you fall way far
from the 80-20 rule... Like 80 percent is coming from five percent or so.
Another bad sign: too many announcements and cross postings. Once a list
becomes just another place that people include in their list of lists to
send out announcements, it's pretty much worthless. If you're on the list,
you are probably already receiving the same announcements from elsewhere.

So, one of the first requests I have to help re-vitalizing this list is to
cut down on announcements and cross-postings. We don't need them -
especially if they are not OVC-specific. In other words, if the
announcement says something about OVC, yes, we want to hear it. If it's not
specifically about OVC, probably it's not needed here unless it's a really
really important article.

Another problem with OVC-Discuss: Too much of what is happening with OVC is
being discussed elsewhere - not on this list. OVC-Discuss discussions have
become largely irrelevant to OVC! For example, Brent Turner has been the
most active OVC person out there over the last year or so and he's not even
on the list ... until today. I've added him to the list.

In addition, I've invited several others to the list, and they already
accepted. Jim Warren is a prominent technologist. He was the brains behind
Bowen's AB 1624 back in 1993.

I'm on Jim's private CC list and he's always sending me stuff. Mostly, it's
redundant. I've felt like saying (don't think I ever told him so), "if you
were on OVC-discuss, you'd know that everyone already knows this!" Now,
he's on the list. Please don't scare him away. Other new (like in today)
subscribers include Nancy Tobi of NH and the Election Defense Alliance, and
several members of CASE Ohio. Welcome to all the new subscribers!

I want to elevate the discussion here and get on with things that really
have to do with the mission of the OVC and OPEN VOTING. Two other
corporations are now in the OPEN VOTING family (although not quite
officially members of the consortium yet): Open Voting Solutions (a for
profit started by Dick Johnson and David Webber) and Open Voting Foundation
(a nonprofit started by Alan Dechert, Mimi Kennedy, and Lara Shaffer).

I'd like to see more discussions based on the strategic plan of OVC. I've
published that here:
Not much granularity here, but you can help fill it in.

We're still in phase one, expecting to move to phase two soon. You can help
us get there!

There are important public meetings in San Francisco coming up -- BOS and
Elections Commission. Let's talk about that, and organize. There are
important conferences coming up. Let's talk about those. Our web site
needs work. Let's talk about that.


-- Alan D.

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Received on Tue Jan 1 14:12:50 2008

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