A few thoughts/suggestions – not "conclusions"!
There is quite a difference between determining a list of the "Most Important (however defined) 200 WHS" and one of "200 WHS which best represent this World and its history". When I first suggested this exercise I was thinking about the former - if this meant we came up with a list of 200 sites in Europe or including every "Castle/Fortification" site then so be it!!
But in fact we won't will we? None of us is free of cultural bias but, as Colvin says above, we have a reasonable track record on this matter. I personally feel that we shouldn't impose numbers or %ages by type or area on the list we determine but should cover what we want in the question we pose.
I think it would be difficult anyway to come up with a fully representative list using just 200 sites out of the 1031. Best to leave it to the question and the knowledge/sense of our Community?
I quite like the idea of a 2 stage process as per Els's suggestion – reducing the 1031 to a smaller number on which we then vote. I suppose we could encompass both of the ideas above - Develop a "Rounded List" of (say approx) 400 by discussion and then vote on the most important 200 from among them? I think that the chances of the former list leaving out a significant site for voting upon is fairly slight and can be allowed for
The activity of discussing and arriving at the first list could be as interesting (or more) than the second – it would force us to improve our knowledge of the sites and consider our cultural and geographic "prejudices"! It would also create what Assif is looking for using a more reasonable number of sites?
We already have a reasonably good categorisation of the WHS in the form of the 68 categories to which we have assigned all WHS. They provide some geographical division already (I agree that this is not the case for Natural sites but we can easily take that aspect into account from each list –desert, marine, fauna etc). I have lost how to get to this via the current tabs but this links to an old format http://www.worldheritagesite.org/themehome.php
We could each take a few Categories and reduce them by around 60% on average to what we thought should be in the c400 for voting (A few sites are in more than 1 category – ok they will have 2 chances!). If anyone felt strongly about an exclusion (or inclusion) then they could initiate a discussion. In so doing we would identify, for instance, which, of the 43 sites which are primarily "Military Fortifications" are the most significant - of some interest just in itself? If we finished up with a few more than 400 for the vote it wouldn't really matter. If the number began to increase by too much then we might have to have "mini votes" I guess!
We need a common format for "reporting" on this first "cull" - do we do just do it on the Forum by pasting a full list of the names of our assigned category with an "N" against those we suggest be removed from the voting list (or a "?" where we want a discussion?), together with any "explanations" for the proposals which we might wish to give? Then let the discussion begin? Some categories are as small as 1 or 2 sites and only 1 (Cultural Landscapes) is over 100. Some categories might get excluded altogether from the Voting list in this process. Some Categories might justify being kept at above 40% of the original. This is the part of the exercise which is going to take the longest – say until March with voting in April?
Regarding the vote – I would expect us to have around the same number of voters +/- a few as for the Top 50 missing (c100?). I suppose there might be someone who is very put out that e.g Luxemburg didn't make it onto the ballot paper! We either say "tough" or allow such voters to add a few (e.g up to 5) extra sites onto the List. There will always be those who want to vote for "fringe" candidates!
I presume the Voting paper would look like our normal Visited Tick List so it could list the chosen c400 but (if we so decide) have the other c600 below for a small number of additions? We would need to consider in what sequence the chosen c400 would be shown. By Category would help focus the mind onto what each site is about and what its "competitors" in that category were? Unlike the Top 50 vote where we only voted for 20 I would have thought we should each vote for 200 – as with the Top 50 list our vote can be kept and shown for posterity both for our own interest and as "evidence" against us!