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Muppet Wiki is a group project, and it's important that the group members have a say in the decisions that are made. Most of the time, we can make decisions and resolve conflicts through discussions on talk pages or on the Current Events page. Occasionally, group members will disagree strongly on an issue, and we get bogged down in a discussion that has no obvious resolution. In those cases, members can bring the question to a vote.
Step 1: Proposing a vote
If you feel like a vote is warranted, you should propose the vote on the talk page, as part of the discussion. The proposal needs to be seconded by another member before moving forward. If another member says that they'd like to discuss the matter more before a vote is called, you should respect that request, and keep talking about it.
Once the proposal is made and accepted, then you can move on. If there are multiple options to choose from, then set up a Nomination page (Step 2). If there are only two possible choices, then you can skip ahead to a Vote page (Step 3).
Step 2: Nomination page
A nomination page is an opportunity for wiki members to suggest resolutions for the issue.
Create a new page, with the title "Nominations: (Issue)" -- with the "Issue" being the question that you're trying to resolve. Post a brief, neutral summary of the issue, and then ask for members to post their suggestions for options to vote on.
Each option needs to be proposed by a member, and seconded by another member. If a proposed option doesn't get seconded, then it won't be included on the Vote page.
Members who participate on the Nomination page (either proposing or seconding) should sign and date stamp their contribution.
It's a nice idea for an individual member to only do one thing on a Nomination page -- set up the page, propose an option, or second an option. If you set up the Nomination page, then don't propose any options. Let other people do that. It'll help to build people's trust in the process if they have a role to play.
You should post an announcement of the nomination on the talk page where you've been discussing the issue, on the Current Events page, and on the Main Page.
A Nomination page should be up for at least 24 hours before the Vote page is created. The Nomination period must occur on a day between Monday and Friday.
Step 3: Vote page
Once you've established the options for the vote, open a Vote page, with the title "Vote: (Issue)".
The top of a Vote page should include the following:
- A brief, neutral summary of the issue
- A closing time for the vote (24 hours after it opens)
- An explanation of how to vote
- An explanation of how the results will be interpreted (see below)
Post the options as headings down the page, and open the vote.
You should post an announcement of the vote on the talk page where you've been discussing the issue, on the Current Events page, and on the Main Page.
During the voting period, anyone can feel free to encourage other members to vote by posting on user talk pages and reminding them about the vote.
Members vote by adding their name and date stamp under the option that they prefer. Members should only post a signature, without any extra comments. Members can feel free to change their vote at any time while the poll is open.
The Voting period must occur on a day between Monday and Friday.
Step 4: Closing the vote
After the 24 hour voting period, post a message at the top of the Vote page announcing that the vote is closed, and linking back to the original talk page for a discussion of the vote results.
A vote between two options must be decided by at least a two-thirds majority. If there's less than a two-thirds split, then that means the issue is still contentious, and it needs to go back to discussion. Deciding an issue by 51% will only lead to resentment from the other 49%.
A vote with three or more options must be decided by at least 50% of the votes cast. (A 40-30-30% split is not decisive.) If there's less than a 50% split, the issue goes back to discussion. At that point, it's possible to propose a "run-off" election between the top two options.
(There is an exception to this system: If there are three or more options, but only two of the options receive any votes, then it should be treated as if it were a two-option vote, and decided by a two-thirds majority. A 51-49-0% split is not decisive, and should go back to discussion.)
Step 5: Further discussion
It's important to note that going back to discussion does not mean that the vote was a failure. The voting process allows everyone to clarify their positions, and it encourages members who haven't been involved in the discussion to state their position and get involved. Going back to discussion and working toward consensus is a much better result than making a decision that some people are unhappy with.
The primary purpose of a vote is to encourage discussion and build the community. Deciding the actual question is secondary. The voting process should always be an opportunity to bring people together, and to encourage everyone to be an active participant in group decisions.