New home for this forum/community

We had our Zoom conference last night, hosted by @Sara_Wolf and with me, Keith Edmonds, Jonathan Bright, Rob Lanphier, David Hinds and Felix Sargent attending (Felix for part of the time), and decided to move forward with the idea of me hosting a NodeBB forum on Heroku, along the lines of what I proposed here last week: Alternatives to the CES Forum
I’m hoping to have it up before this one comes down at the end of the month.

We haven’t worked out all the details, but you can learn more at this document:
(at bottom I’ve pasted the most important stuff decided at the meeting)
You can also attend our next conference, July 14th at 7pm Pacific at the same Zoom link.

Note that we’re doing this with an “interim counsel” that will presumably live on in some form, so this isn’t just me controlling the forum as I wish, nor is it just Equal Vote controlling it. There will be a mission statement (which will be posted on the Equal Vote site) that will state a lot of things about how it is to be run. My personal position is that it will be democratically controlled, and that there will be guarantees that no one person can shut it down for whatever reason without a proper “handoff.” My hope is that CES continues with some level of involvement, but it isn’t a requirement.

We will put a lot of thought into how it will be moderated, with my personal hope being that we can use our own favorite voting methods to elect a chief moderator from the community every few months. We also will attempt to make clear that the forum isn’t about advancing any specific voting method – it will be “non-partisan” in that sense.

Our intention is to archive this CES forum statically and host it at the same place, so history won’t be erased. We can’t easily just move it to a new location, since it contains such things as emails and passwords, but at some point in the future we might be able to load the old conversations into the new forum.

We welcome input on ideas for the new forum, and if you have technical or graphic skills and want to help out, please let us know. (this thread being as good a place as any to post thoughts, but PMs or email also welcome if you prefer communicate privately)

I suggest checking out NodeBB:

I have a ton of ideas myself, and, while of course I will be subject to consensus on making modifications to the forum, at least I know that I won’t have to beg someone to do the technical hard work of putting them into place. :slight_smile: (example: sophisticated voting widgets/simulators/visualizers that can be built into the forum as plugins, or at least hosted on the same site; code repositories for those, and so on)

I’m looking forward to getting this up and running, and thank everyone for entrusting me with this responsibility.

rjbrown at gmail

Here are some of the most important details from the document (again:, the actual motions that were passed by consensus:

Motion to create an interim council for the forum and elect the meeting participants from this meeting - (Felix nominated but not in attendance) Passed by consensus!

Sara’s Motion: Create a new autonomous forum governed by a community board and mission statement, working in coalition with Equal Vote, and linked from the Equal Vote website. (It could be linked from other websites as well.) Consensus passed!

Rob Brown’s Motion: To take on hosting a NodeBB forum on Heroku. It would be an autonomous coalition partner of Equal Vote. The rules for moderation and “passing the keys” to the next generation of maintainers will be decided and stated up front. Sara Wolk to help set up the formalities of the organization and the partnership to Equal Vote. Consensus with Rob Lanphier abstaining.

Motion: to do due diligence and apply best practices to protect and minimize the storage of PII of users, with these responsibilities explicitly delegated to specific responsible individuals trusted by the council/board. Consensus vote

Next week: Same time same link, Tuesday the 14th:
Rob Brown will write up a summary post on the CES forum.
Sara will write up draft bylaws for the Forum organization to use as a starting point:


This all sounds very positive. If this forum can be archived then that would be excellent. And I presume the previous Google Group is staying put even if they’re closing it for new posts?

I understand the Google group is going to be removed. If someone wants to scrape it I can host a static archive.


Thank you Rob Brown and all!


The Google group, at its head, still points to the present group, even though the present group is doomed.

I must have misremembered what Smith said about the consensus of Republican rank and file regarding Kasich, because here he says just the opposite:

Gallup considers the DIFFERENCE between %voters who consider a
candidate “favorable” minus % who consider “unfavorable”
as their “net favorability rating.” This is rather annoying since I
want to know both the numbers, not merely their difference.
But anyhow, this table

gives the net favorabilities of various presidential candidates during
1Dec 2011-11Jan 2012
within 3 categories of voters: Dem, Repub, and Indpt. Here is my copy of
that table:

CANDDT Repubs Indpts Democs
Jeb Bush +13 -13 -30
B.Carson +47 +5 -26
C.Christie +23 -3 -24
Ted Cruz +51 -3 -37
C.Fiorina +30 +1 -20
Huckabee +40 -6 -34
J.Kasich +7 -1 -4
M.Rubio +46 +4 -28
Don.Trump +27 -27 -70

So that is interesting. Even though countrywide, Kasich
was the most-approved Republican candidate,
this suggests that he actually was the LEAST approved
among Republican voters only!
And Trump won the Republican nomination despite being
in the bottom half of the pack –
ranked 6th among 9 republican candidates – in
terms of approval-by-republicans (as measured by “net favorability”).

Warren D. Smith <-- add your endorsement (by clicking
“endorse” as 1st step)

This tool seems like the best bet:
It is just a bash script, and requires sort, curl, sed, and awk, so it should work on a Mac or linux box, not sure what steps you have to take in Windows to get it to run but probably not much. Apparently bash scripts run under Windows 10 now.

If anyone wants to mess around with this, that would be awesome. If you can get it in some reasonable text format, I can convert it into html pages that will be easily indexed by search engines.

I’m not sure what the time frame is for the group being taken down, but at least with this forum, I think we have till the end of the year to get its content, so it isn’t a high priority for me.

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The readme of the crawler tool says it downloads all (original) messages (parentheses theirs). I wonder whether this means it leaves out the followup comments.

Dunno what it means by original, but if it doesn’t get followups that seems like it would just be considered useless, so I’m thinking it can’t mean that. Maybe… hopefully… it means it ignores copied reply content, which would be a good thing.

I think its silly for CES to delete the Google group. The whole thing is just going to leave a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of people in the community, but that’s their call I guess. We’re taking steps to make sure it can’t happen again… you don’t have to trust me, we’re forming a coalition that owns the board/data/etc and makes some clear promises to the community regarding its future etc.


I agree, but all I read here on this forum from @fsargent was that they’d be disabling it (which isn’t necessarily the same thing). Did you hear explicitly that they would be?

Maybe I misinterpreted that. It would be a plus if the Google group stayed up but in inactive form. It would be best if it pointed people to our new group as well.

Sorry I was unable to make it tonight. Something came up that took much longer than I expected.

Should we decide on a temporary home for in case the new server somehow isn’t ready in time?

At the very least there is a Reddit community that Sara created. There is value in using Reddit if only to make all those Reddit users aware our “better” community.

I’m waiting to for our committee to settle on a domain (It think there’s going to be a public vote?) and hopefully the new forum will be up before this one comes down. If not, there is the Reddit community, and maybe even a better idea would be to just spend the time refining your thoughts and ideas with the knowledge that you’ll be able to post them when the forum is good to go. :slight_smile:

There’s a committee on this? I know there have been many discussions about it earlier that I was too busy to join since last week was finals week for me and the 2 weeks prior to that I was also pretty busy but if there are any future meetings on this I would love to participate.

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Yep, I guess at this point it is a temporary committee but the idea is to have a more permanent one little organization. I imagine you’d be welcome to be on the committee if you wanted to be.

Also, you are also welcome to work more directly with me as to the technical side of it. I don’t make decisions alone on certain things, but in terms of putting the forum up and maintaining it, that’ll presumably be mostly me. Feel free to get in touch directly via PM or rjbrown at gmail. If the discussion is likely to be extensive, I always prefer videochat or phone, since I’m pressed for time as well.

Will this new forum allow images to easily be embedded into forum posts? Because since my summer summer semester just recently ended I have now been working on multi-winner visualizations of voting methods similar to these other ones I have used it to map out both apportionment algorithms and single winner voting methods. I would love it if the new forum allows such images to be easily embedded into forum posts so I don’t have to provide external links to them. Reddit does have something like this but it only supports one image and when posting an image you have to post the description in the comments so you can’t really intermix both embedded images with text describing those images unless you embed the text in the images which is annoying. I guess in the the worst case I can still use imgur links.

Sure that’s the plan. The plan is the that the new forum will be NodeBB.

Long term, I’m hoping we’ll be able to add other things as well, such as voting widgets/visualizers/simulators etc. Embedded codepens would be awesome.

Both the front and back end will be Javascript, and the board will be hosted at Heroku rather than a forum hosting service, so that means that we are unlimited in what we can add to it (beyond the time and effort needed to do so)

Could such widgets/visualizers/simulators be in c++? That is the coding language that I know the best and is also what my visualizer/simulation thing is coded in.

I’ve also spent a lot of time planning out how I organize the code (I have a lot of abstract classes and stuff that make it a lot easier to create multi-winner methods related to other multi-winner methods) in it so it can be easily reused for future projects and I also have files in it for dozens of multi-winner methods so I’m hopping that once I’m done I can post the code to github so other people can use all the methods in it for other projects. So it would be great if this code could get a lot of reuse on the new forum.