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24 Sep 2016

Why don't people vote for TAB candidates?

Dear Members,

I’ll be blunt. I am confused, even appalled, at the low participation rates for TAB elections (currently less than 5%).

Perhaps it is not as visible as it should be, but TAB is one of the most critical bodies of RDA. They are the community’s voice to Council. They are the frontline guardians of the RDA mission. They are the facilitators of inter-group connections within RDA. They have prepared a nice description of what TAB does.

They take their role as elected servants of the community very seriously and are amazingly dedicated.

So it surprises me that so few people vote. Perhaps you think you don’t sufficiently know the candidates. So please talk to your friends; some will know them. I also guarantee that all candidates will answer email questions. And you need not vote for four candidates, just those you feel would be good.

TAB is central to how RDA operates and evolves. If you are involved in RDA and care about the future of data sharing, you owe it to yourself to vote in the TAB election. If you don't vote, please tell me why in the comments.

Vote Now (Note: you must be logged in to vote.)

Yours in democracy,


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There are 4 comments on "Why don't people vote for TAB candidates?".

  • Jonathan Tedds's picture

    Author: Jonathan Tedds

    Date: 24 Sep, 2016

    Hi Mark - I just voted but took a few mins to work out I had to reload the vote page to be able to vote! May be enough to put some of, daft as it may sound!

  • Mustapha Mokrane's picture

    Author: Mustapha Mokrane

    Date: 25 Sep, 2016

    Hi Mark,

    5% of 4000 members is about 200 votes (including mine). I've always been a fervent supporter of mandatory vote for true democracy. If you don't vote it means you're not sufficiently involved/interested and thus not an 'active member' of the community...You might remember when I said at multiple occasions that signing up on the RDA website for RDA membership and joining WGs and IGs by a simple click was not committing to the cause. As a result, I guess that many who had an interest initially do not feel they have a duty to vote. Happy to share other thoughts if you are interested to hear them.



  • Elise Dunham's picture

    Author: Elise Dunham

    Date: 26 Sep, 2016

    Hi Mark - I wonder if there could be an element of post-Plenary fatigue/catch-up. Personally, I tried to vote while at the Plenary, and either I was too early, it was before a snag in the worklow was addressed, or I had some kind of caching/reloading problem and short patience. Even though it didn't work out then, I can say with certainty that when I was at the Plenary, I was in the perfect headspace for devoting the time it takes to read up on candidates and vote.

    Since the Plenary, I've been devoting a lot of personal resources toward a) catching up at work and b) keeping momentum going for the RDA group I'm involved in. When prioritizing my work and efforts, those are taking precendent over keeping up with many things, including my plans to cast my votes for TAB. Your note caught my attention today. It might be worth noting that, eveh though you posted and tweeted this 3 days ago, I didn't see it until today, thanks to a 2-day-old RT by someone who added #RDAPlenary, which I'm still tracking. I'm sure there was an email recently, but I didn't act on it at the time for [insert whatever excuse/potentially valid reason here]. 

    I would hope that many RDA members understand the importance of voting and are interested in learning more about TAB. At the end of the day, information overload is real, and there is always more the can be done to make sure messages get to folks at a time they are receptive to hearing them. 

    Since this note came to my attention at a great time, I'm going to go vote now!

  • Mark Parsons's picture

    Author: Mark Parsons

    Date: 27 Sep, 2016

    Thanks for the feedback all. There were some good suggestions via Twitter too.  Although I think there are many other (more valuable) ways to contribute to RDA, I would think we could get a 10-15% turnout. That's apparently more reasonable for professional societies and other member organisations.

    Certainly making the interface more intuitive will help, but probably not a whole lot. We'll do what we can.

    I think it is a very interesting point that the Plenary may not be the best time for voting. That was something that came from our original Governance Document, and I think there may have even been an initial vision of physical voting. Shifting the election to another time might allow people to better engage (one person suggested linking it to the Plenary registration). It might also smooth TAB member transitions.

    We'll continue to discuss within TAB and Council, but additional feedback is always welcome.

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