On occasion, the Stewards Council is called to vote by its Chair on things that affect the entire community. These votes happen online on the community mailing list. Anyone in the community can participate in the discussion, but only Stewards or their alternates can vote.
By default, votes consist of a two-week discussion period, followed by a three day voting period. The proposal may be modified based on the discussion right up until the voting begins. At the time of announcing the discussion period, the Chair may, at his or her discretion, shorten the discussion period. If a Steward objects to the shortening, the discussion period falls back to its default of two-weeks; otherwise, the discussion period is shortened.
Once a call for votes is posted, Stewards have 72 hours to vote. To vote, Stewards send an email response to the community list saying "+1" if in favor of the issue, or "-1" otherwise. Stewards or their alternates may abstain by simply not replying to the email, or by publicly responding that they are abstaining. A simple majority of the Stewards Council is required for a vote to pass. Only Stewards may vote, although the votes happen in the open, and anyone in the community is welcome to comment.
The Call for Vote should be crafted clearly, so that people know exactly what they are voting in favor of or against. The end time of both the discussion and voting periods should also be crafted clearly. Because our community is international, the timezone should be listed. Also, never end a vote at 12:00am, as the day too often confuses people. Better to end a vote at 11:59pm.
It is better to end a vote on a Monday than on a Sunday. Some people only work on their ID Commons emails during the work week.
Stewards should inform their alternates if they will be unable to vote. If there is uncertainty, alternates are free to vote on an issue, and their vote will count if their Steward does not vote. Under these circumstances, please make it clear that you are voting as an alternate. This will help the counting process.
If you plan on abstaining on a vote, we encourage you to respond with an email saying that you are abstaining, rather than simply not voting. Both are valid, but actively abstaining gives us a better understanding of people's stances on various issues.