information is the essence of good elections

[See also this followup, which goes into much greater depth and is important to read for anyone who is interested in the subject of this post.]

I’d like to join those (1, 2, 3) who are kindly asking Murray to retract his comments and use this year’s elections to really voice his opinion. –Og

I’m not really ready to comment in detail about Murray’s post (I haven’t read more than the first two sentences of Murray’s post, and suffice for now to say that Jeff is a very good personal friend, but I think he and I would both agree that we’ve had several frustrating clashes when we’ve worked together) and I haven’t read any of the linked calls for retraction. (I’m really pressed for time today.)

But suffice to say that by posting now, Murray is exactly using this year’s elections to voice his opinion, and any calls for retraction on that grounds are misguided.

Murray’s post is exactly is what elections are about- people pooling their information, and then making decisions based on that pooled information. You may disagree with the content of Murray’s post, his language, his timing, or his choice of medium. You may certainly call on him to restate it in less rude terms, or apologize for the highly negative way in which he provided the information.

But he has provided information, and allowed people to discuss the information, reply to it, combat it, and in the end make their own private, anonymous judgments on the validity of it. That is the essence of a fair, free election, and that core of his act should be applauded, not retracted or apologized for.

[Ed. later: I should add that I think not voting for Og is an overreaction; I voted for him and look forward to working with him, and this doesn’t change that. I spoke very strongly in this post because I have given a lot of thought to voting and information, since I did a lot of political philosophy, with a focus in deliberative democracy, in college. But if you haven’t done that, it is pretty easy to overreact and speak unclearly when you see something like this going on, so I don’t hold that against Og. The important thing is to focus on the substantive discussion (good or bar) around Murray’s post, not to focus on how Og responded.]

20 thoughts on “information is the essence of good elections”

  1. Hear hear.

    It’s hugely important that GNOME doesn’t degenerate into the kind of flame wars which cause so much damage to, say, Debian. But one does not do so by demanding civility above all other considerations, especially in situations like this where the schism in question is deep-rooted and appears to have a measure of popular support.

    – Chris

  2. […] have even decided no to vote for me because of it. Wow… For instance, my good friend Luis quoted me on his last post and based on what he wrote one would think I’m telling people to shut up […]

  3. While I have no problem with anyone using their blog to say whatever they want (how could I really?) I think Murray went beyond what is acceptable and those concerns that he started off expressing about Jeff’s suitablity for foundation board became little more than personal attacks designed to hurt. I don’t think what Murray did was anything more than what we used to do as 9 year olds in primary school when we’d write “I hate Bob signed:” on a sheet of paper and pass it round the class, making sure it didn’t get to Bob’s desk…

    And we got in a lot of shit when we were caught too.

    A lot of people have jumped on the “yeah, murray’s right” bandwagon when the only thing they actually have the ability to agree with is that Jeff is crap at adding people to pogo. But that was one tiny example in Murray’s rant.

    I just think its sad that he did it and that he felt it was the right thing to do, and have lost a far amount of respect for him, and will be trying my best to avoid dealing with him as much as possible

  4. “I think Murray went beyond what is acceptable”

    I should clarify: beyond what is an acceptable way for a member of society to express how they are feeling. I felt that how I left it before implied that there were things that acceptable for writing in blogs and things that were not…or something, I’ve confused myself now. Argh. I’ll go away now

  5. “But he has provided information”

    That’s not clear, at least not to me as an outsider.

  6. Luis, are you unable to distinguish criticism (“the man is does no good for Gnome, rarely keeps his promises, and is very liberal with truth”) with outright defamation (“the man is mentally ill”)?

    A court case based on this would be over in minutes and Murray would not like the outcome. I don’t think Jeff will go through the trouble, but he could easily nail Murray on the wall.

  7. Luis: “I should add that I think not voting for Og is an overreaction”. The way I understood his first post, it is not an overreaction. People should be able to speak up and if Og did not agree to this I wouldn’t want him on the board (to be very clear: he does want people to speak up). Later he clarified what he meant (although I still don’t really see how to interpret his first post different different.. first part yes, the update not). Anyway, to avoid confusion I’ll update the blog with this later.

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