06 Jan 2002: Complaints to UK_VOTING

From: control@usenet.org.uk
Date: Sun, 06 Jan 2002 09:27:47 +0000
Subject: NOTICE: Complaints to UK_VOTING
Newsgroups: uk.net.news.announce,uk.net.news.config,uk.net.news.management


I have been authorised by UKVoting members to post the following
statement on behalf of UKVoting.

UKVoting have received complaints from Three individuals regarding a
votetaker's (Richard Ashton) conduct during the recent Committee

These complaints are summarised thus:

(i) That Richard, being the secondary votetaker, made comments in the
newsgroup that were "abusive, dismissive and generally obstructive"
and that Richard showed "obstreperousness and bias".

(ii) That Richard implied that the first complainant (Paul Cummins)
had committed or attempted to commit vote-fraud in the posting that
mentioned "Dr Charlatan and Mr Votefraud".

(iii) Richard gave out information about the progress of the vote.

(iv) Richard made comments that would be taken by others to imply that
the second complainant (Allen Hughes) had acted improperly w.r.t. the

(v) Richard had used privilidged information as a basis for his

These complaints were received by UKVoting, and the complaints were
fully considered by the membership of UKVoting before this statement
was prepared.

UKVoting's responses to these complaints are as follows:


Votetakers are required to be neutral on any vote that they take, and
to refrain from taking any vote where they are unable to be neutral.

There is no requirement for a votetaker to refrain from any other
discussion on Usenet, including discussions in the uk.net.news.*

The complainant was not a candidate in the elections, and therefore
Richard Aston's opinions of him do not fall within the requirement for

At no time has any complaint been made against Richard Ashton which
challenges his impartiality or technical competence with regard to
vote taking.

Therefore, the request for disciplinary action against Richard Ashton
is rejected as unfounded.


The complainant alleges that Richard Ashton's wording implied an
accusation of votefraud against the first complainant, UKVoting notes

The complainant also published this complaint to
uk.net.news.management in Message-ID:

Several follow-ups were posted to this, all of them disagreeing with
the complainant and at least one of which (Message-ID:
<K3XJCpjKn+F8EwiX@tarrcity.demon.co.uk>) included a detailed rebuttal
of the complaint.

The complainant appeared to accept the refutation of his complaint in
uk.net.news.management, at least to the extent that he did not
challenge the refutation publicly.

Therefore, this complaint is also rejected as unfounded.


UKVoting notes that votetakers have in the past given progress reports
to the UK Usenet community when there have been significant delays in
publishing vote results. However there is no formal procedure within
UKVoting concerning progress reports.

In the light of this complaint, UKVoting members will examine whether
or not a formal progress report procedure should be implemented.

UKVoting will not take any action against Richard Ashton over this


After reasoned and considered discussion, UKVoting is completely
satisfied that the comments indicated were within the realm of
'personal opinion'.


Covered by the rebutal in ii.

As a result of the above discussion, UKVoting is considering revising
it's internal procedures to include what comments are and are not
appropriate for a votetaker when they might be interpreted by any
reader as being related to a vote about which the votetaker might have
unpublished knowledge.

UKVoting would like to thank the UK Usenet community for their
patience whilst these complaints were considered. Any allegation of
improper behaviour by a votetaker is a serious matter, and these
allegations must be considered fully before a response is made. The
publication of this statement has also been delayed by some members of
UKVoting not being fully avalaible due to personal reasons.

Robert Irvine
Head Of UKVoting

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