Votes on Discourse

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Discourse includes a voting system which is not so light (see example below) :

  • In favor
  • Against
  • Blank vote

0 voters

Comments can be posted as any other post in the topic, which may be enough to explain your vote.

I voted “blank” because I have no idea what’s the vote about :wink:


We can use as answers for example, yes, no (explain why below), abstain. But is a simple voting system as it seems. Maybe somebody else knows how we can get more settings/options

You can choose single choice or multiple choices, that’s all but I think it’s enough is most cases.

As a voter, you can change your vote, and cancel it too, until voting is closed (manually).

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In its current iteration this poll cannot replace the voting process on the wiki. The current process forces contributors to consider their reasons for abstaining or rejecting and to summarize them along with their vote. For the purposes of the proposal process this is a valuable point, because the reasons for rejecting a proposal can also be used to amend and improve its next iteration. Voting is also not anonymous.

That does not mean Discourse cannot be used to move the tagging voting process here¹ and make it more accessible, but it would need a plugin (Discourse can be extended with plugins), possibly a custom one.

1: Provided that there is enough support in the community to consider that move.


Discourse polls have some additional settings that are described here:

One could only vote on the wiki.

Discourse vote could be public :

Vote could be closed automatically at a given date (In this case, it is not possible to reopen it).

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Yes, there’s an option to show who voted (it’s also documented on the documentation page linked by @nukeador), so that requirement is fulfilled.

Adding comments directly to a vote would probably require a (custom?) plugin. Alternatively we could ask people to leave the reason for their vote as a post in the thread. It would remain to be seen how well that works in practice.



And/or discuss the proposal, before voting

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This sounds to me, like a great idea! I, like others here, am not convinced by the limitation that a comment can not be submitted along with the post–many votes on the wiki don’t have comments and those who wish to comment can do so below the tagging proposal.

Seems to me this would be a great way to do votes on tagging proposals! Surely we would get more engagement here than the archaic wiki way of voting.

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Can we get example how it works? Linked image shows bunch of images and it seems to scale poorly with large vote count (compare how hard it would be to spot someone who voted without explanation)


That will turn it from something that strongly encourages feedback to pure vote, with even more people not reading proposal and voting as instructed by someone


You can see live examples of all polls here

Note: you may need to disable adblock to see avatar list

To see voter list one needs to hover on each separate vote. That is not really usable and will result in significant increase of “no” votes without substantial comments.

I see avatars with ublock enabled.

What do you want to do with voters names? They also describe an option to export the info if you want to play with the data.

“no” in proposal process should have an explanation for it. Discourse as is will heavily encourage blank “no” vote without reasoning.

So this users will need to be asked to provide explanation (and possibly having their blank “no” invalidated)

How is that currently handled in other platforms where the voting takes place?

See Proposed features/Loading dock details - OpenStreetMap Wiki (so far noone was against) and Be:Belarus language issues/Migration proposal - OpenStreetMap Wiki (unusual non-English one) and Proposed features/couloir 2 - OpenStreetMap Wiki for completed one with plenty no votes that have an explanation.

Voting instructions make clear that one should provide reasoning for “no” vote and it is visible at glance that it is followed in general.

The current voting process is just done by everyone editing the same wiki page. It’s not a voting platform and doesn’t really handle anything, but people seem to follow the instructions well enough most of the time.

Here’s a Google form I just put together showing how a voting platform would ideally handle OSM proposal voting. It allows an approve vote through without comments, but requires that the vote enter comments if they select oppose or abstain.

I feel as if this move would lead to focussing on counting the votes rather than on the process, where everything happens before the actual voting, which typically is a pro forma, because critical aspects have already been solved in the phase before.