From electowiki

On February 15, 2021 (and for the rest of the month of February), the election-methods mailing list (the "EM-list") is celebrating its 25th birthday!!! The EM-list is a mailing list that was started in 1996 and continues to host discussions with electoral system experts and activists.[1] User:RobLa jumped the gun when he sent the "Happy Birthday" note to the mailing list.[2]

Purpose[edit | edit source]

The list has long been intended a place for the discussion of the nitty-gritty details of single-winner election reform, the relative merits of different proportional representation systems, and the technical underpinnings of all election methods. "election-methods-list" discussions tend to be technical in nature (or at least, very laden with jargon), with the ultimate goal of providing recommendations and educational material to the electoral reform movement.

History[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has an article on:

The list was started in 1996 by Rob Lanphier.[3]. Rob Lanphier is "User:RobLa" on this wiki</ref>. It was started as an unofficial spinoff to the "ER-list", which was more concerned about promoting single-winner STV than diving into the weeds about the theory of electoral systems.

The first message[edit | edit source]

Subject: New "election-methods" list
From: Rob Lanphier [4]
Date: Thu Feb 15 21:34:05 PST 1996
To: [elections-reform, election-methods][5]

I'm starting up an "election-methods-list" list to discuss single-winner
reform, the relative merits of different PR systems, and the technical
underpinnings of all election methods. This list is intended to
compliment, not to replace, the existing "elections-reform" list.

Please continue to discuss the various electoral reform movements in the
U.S. and throughout the world in the "elections-reform" list.
"elections-reform" is still the best forum for discussing strategies used
in reform campaigns, specific legislation addressing reform, and
educational material about reform.

What is the difference, you ask? "election-methods-list" discussions will
most likely be more technical in nature, with the ultimate goal of
providing recommendations and educational material to the members of
"elections-reform". There have been complaints in the past that
discussions on "elections-reform" have been too technical, and
"election-methods-list" has been created to offload the more prolific
technical discussions to "elections-reform". It lets folks use
"elections-reform" to stay abreast of current activity in electoral
reform without fear of their inbox exploding.

To subscribe to "election-methods-list", send mail to majordomo at eskimo.com
with no subject line (any subject will be ignored), and the following one
line in the body of your message:

subscribe election-methods-list

My apologies to anybody who stumbled on the web page that I set up a week
ago at http://www.eskimo.com/~robla/cpr/election-methods.html[6] and tried
to subscribe (and failed, because the list didn't exist yet). In the time I
was waiting for the list to get set up, I set up the web page.
Everything should *now* work according to the instructions on that page.

That's all there is to it. Let me know if you have any questions about
the new list.

Rob Lanphier
[<insert Rob's old email address here>][4]
http://www.eskimo.com/~robla [<< Rob's old website]

1996[edit | edit source]

main article: EM-list archive

The first message is not the only message that was sent in 1996. See the following links for other messages:

See the rest of the 1996 archive here: https://electorama.com/em/archive.html#1996

February 1996[edit | edit source]

Later history[edit | edit source]

main article: EM-list archive

The archive for the election-methods mailing list is scattered all over the place.

  • During its first few years, "election-methods" it was on "eskimo.com", and was originally a "Majordomo" list.
  • In 2003, the list moved to the newly-formed Electorama.com website on Dreamhost, and transitioned to becoming a GNU Mailman-based mailing list.[7]
  • The old "Electowiki" wiki, hosted on Dreamhost was copied the Miraheze infrastructure in 2018 and rebranded "electowiki" (with a lowercase "e"). The old "Electowiki" wiki is still running to serve up history of articles written prior to 2018.
  • As of 2021, EM-list remains hosted on Dreamhost

Future[edit | edit source]

Who knows?

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. https://electorama.com/em/
  2. http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/2021-February/002713.html
  3. First message to the new EM-list on February 15, 1996: http://lists.electorama.com/pipermail/election-methods-electorama.com/1996-February/065327.html
  4. a b robla@eskimo.com was Rob's personal email address at the time. See the archived version of "" http://www.eskimo.com/~robla/#misc to see my PGP key at the time.
  5. User:RobLa is pretty sure he sent this email to both ER-list and EM-list
  6. User:RobLa's old "politics" page can now be found at Internet Archive at this address: http://www.eskimo.com/~robla/politics/index.html
  7. election-methods list move -- Rob Lanphier, 2003 March 4</nowiki> -- [EM] election-methods list move -- Rob Lanphier, 2003 March 4