When viewing details of an open (ongoing) election, generally only the list of auto-editors who have voted is provided . For closed elections, a vote tally of total yes and no votes are provided (for open elections, the proposer and seconders can also see the vote tally, as they are ineligible to vote).
Individual users' votes are always hidden (you can see your own vote, if any, and if the election is still open, change it). The election details go back as far as mid-2004, when the informal elections then held on the musicbrainz-users mailing list were replaced with an automated version.
Becoming an auto-editor
In order to become an auto-editor, you must first be nominated by an auto-editor, seconded by two other auto-editors, and then have your nomination accepted by a majority of the remaining auto-editors voting Yes or No.
There are no hard and fast prerequisite criteria that must be met before a user is "worthy" of being nominated, and while each situation may differ, the following are some general guidelines to keep in mind.
Auto-editors should have:
- experience with the various editing aspects of the site
- a clear grasp of the Style Guidelines
- a willingness to help and support other users
- the ability to take an objective point of view regarding the data they edit
- a reasonably significant volume of current activity
- Any auto-editor can nominate any user to become an auto-editor candidate.
- Up to two other auto-editors may second the candidate within a week from nomination.
- As soon as two seconds are made, the election is open for one week for other auto-editors to vote.
- The candidate is accepted if a simple majority (more than half) of non-abstaining auto-editors vote Yes.
- Otherwise the candidate is declined, but may be re-nominated in the future.
Any auto-editor who nominates or seconds a candidate cannot vote in the election itself.
- If you have a potential candidate for auto-editor status, first, do some more research: was this user nominated previously? How long has the user been active, and are they still active?
- Before nominating a user, you should check that the user is willing to be nominated. Many are, but some feel they are not ready, and others are not comfortable being discussed and voted on.
- To start a new election, click on "Nominate for auto-editor" on the profile page of the candidate.
- Create a topic in the autoeditors category of the forum to personally announce the nomination and give others a brief introduction to the candidate and why they should be elected.
- Up to two other auto-editors may second the nomination by going to the candidate's election page and clicking the "Second" button.
- If two seconds are not made within a week, the election is automatically canceled.
- If seconded twice, the election is then open for voting for a week. Auto-editors can vote by going to the candidate's election page. Possible choices are "Yes", "No", and "Abstain". A simple majority (not including abstentions or non-voters) is required to pass the election.
- At any time while the election is open, the original proposer can cancel the election, closing it to further votes, and leaving the nominee as a normal user.
There is some historical precedent for proposers to cancel elections that are close or controversial, in the interests of creating consensus; however this is not required. It is good form for the proposer (or seconders) to notify other auto-editors on the mailing list if the election is a close one, although they should not provide the actual tally (remember that other auto-editors cannot see the vote tally while the election is open)
Note: All the above actions can only be performed by a current auto-editor.
The auto-editors mailing list, like all of MusicBrainz' mailing lists, is a publicly readable list and was used to discuss nominations, as well as the election process and other issues related to auto-editors activities. Only auto-editors could post to this list.
Additionally, any candidate who was accepted as an auto-editor would be automatically subscribed to that mailing list; this was a mandatory subscription for all auto-editors.