We had a lot of questions submitted to the candidates by voters last year, and we’re expecting even more this year. We all want to know what they think of the particular area of the organization we care about.
However in order to be fair to both voters and the candidates we need to balance the needs of each group. So for the big questions that come up every year, we’ll be asking the candidates to write a mini manifesto, in a question-and-answer format about their goals for the OTW and its projects. This will be available at the same time as their biographies, so you can read these before writing in with questions.
Secondly, we’ll organize the questions that are sent in by voters. All the questions will be gathered in advance. The Elections Officer will combine questions that are essentially identical while endeavoring to preserve nuance, taking advice from the current board if needed. Candidates will then be sent those questions over a rolling period, with 24 hours to answer, and a maximum word count of 200 words per question. This will mean that we preserve the quick-response, chat-style feel, but prevent the candidates from getting overworked trying to write long essays.
Late answers will be marked as such on the website if submitted within 12 hours. Anything more than 12 hours late will not be posted. The candidates collectively have one week to answer all the questions. Over that week, each candidate notifies the elections officer when they are ready for a new batch of questions. The batch is sent, and that candidate has 24 hours to respond. They can’t have the next batch until they have answered the previous set. All answers to all batches are due at the end of the week, with the number of batches designed to give a day or two without questions assuming a rate of one batch per day. If a candidate wants, they can answer all the batches one after another over the course of a single day, or spread it out over a week.
In this manner we hope to give candidates sufficient time to reflect on the questions and manage their schedules while also offering voters a short-term response to their concerns in a more clearly presented format.