Well actually, one catches a train, one other hops on a bus, and the rest are already in the saloon: 5 out of the 7 newly elected board members have prior involvement with the Club or Supporters Trust. The numbers are made up by a charistmatic local, and one member who’s been heavily involved since early days by contributing the online community, forum administration, voting procedures etc.
This has angered some, and given rise to conspiracy theories, countered by accusations of sour grapes. It seems to have surprised everyone, not least the board members themselves. Most people voted for a “balanced board”; unfortunately with a vast choice of candidates (many of whom appeared to have no distinguishing characteristics or skills) they did not vote for the same people.
There’s some great statistical analysis on the forums, which seems to show that:
1) most people wanted 2 candidates who were local / already involved with MyFC. Because there were only a few of these candidates, their share of the vote was higher than a “random” candidate.
2) most people voted for at least one “international” candidate. But because no single candidate stood out as “the international choice”, these votes were spread between them all.
Hogswell suggests that proportional representation would have produced the balanced board that most people favoured, but of course this would require Kent/UK/International to be different “parties”. This could be something the Society considers in future, but until the board get to grips with the day to day running of the Society, there’s no real mandate for this. Those that argued that “there should be international representation” could never make a convincing argument for why this was so, whereas the argument for having local members, especially those already involved in the club, was more obvious to most.
Footy19’s analysis shows that higher turnout wouldn’t have changed either of these two factors, and therefore the result would have been the same.
So did the Wisdom of Crowds apply? Perhaps, but only within the context of the information they were provided. There was a lack of clarity about the duties of the board and the role they would play in communications between the Club, Members and Operator, so it’s no wonder that the “average” choice was to keep things in safe hands.
There’s also an assumption amongst the less geeky members that the Operator is qualified and able to nurture a unique online community, without realising that there’s no template for this. There are many examples of collaborative projects on the Internet, but those of us that understand the web need to explain to those that don’t. The Society isn’t going to appear overnight, we need to create the Republic of Football where we are.