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Offline junker

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Proposed Changes
« on: November 06, 2017, 05:40:53 PM »
The small one:

1) The manifesto requires an update under T&C section 1 to correctly reflect a name for amendment authorization.


The big one:

2) Dissolution of the Zetetic Council. Parsifal has already noted elsewhere that the council is essentially dead, so I am proposing to dissolve it.

Aligning with #2 would be the removal of the "Zetetic Council Board," as it would no longer be needed. Additionally, the council currently has moderation ability over the forum "Earth Not a Globe Workshop." I propose this also be removed and delegated to standard forum moderation, with the exception that active members of that forum (such as Tom Bishop) should be able to maintain moderation ability if they desire it.

Not that the council has done anything regarding decision making for the society (the most recent post is almost two years old), but that function should return to the standard democratic process we use for the forum.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Proposed Changes
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2017, 09:12:15 PM »
I support the principle, but I believe it should come together with a write up on decision-making. I think it's fair to say that someone will have to facilitate the democratic process, even if they themselves happen to have little power otherwise. Dissolving the ZC is a no-brainer, but there's no point in just half-fixing the system.
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Offline Parsifal

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Re: Proposed Changes
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 09:43:30 AM »
I won't have much time to do anything concrete with this until the weekend. Some thoughts:

1) The manifesto requires an update under T&C section 1 to correctly reflect a name for amendment authorization.

I wrote up an amendment for this 2 years ago which I then forgot to actually apply. Is this wording still ok with everyone?

2) Dissolution of the Zetetic Council. Parsifal has already noted elsewhere that the council is essentially dead, so I am proposing to dissolve it.

Aligning with #2 would be the removal of the "Zetetic Council Board," as it would no longer be needed. Additionally, the council currently has moderation ability over the forum "Earth Not a Globe Workshop." I propose this also be removed and delegated to standard forum moderation, with the exception that active members of that forum (such as Tom Bishop) should be able to maintain moderation ability if they desire it.

Not that the council has done anything regarding decision making for the society (the most recent post is almost two years old), but that function should return to the standard democratic process we use for the forum.

Agree, but I think this should be put to a popular vote.

I support the principle, but I believe it should come together with a write up on decision-making. I think it's fair to say that someone will have to facilitate the democratic process, even if they themselves happen to have little power otherwise. Dissolving the ZC is a no-brainer, but there's no point in just half-fixing the system.

Do you think there is a problem with the current system? It seems to be working quite well from my point of view, so I would resist any such change as overengineering. Not everything needs to be codified in a document if things are working just fine without one.

I see dissolving the ZC as essentially a no-op, given how little they do. It changes nothing about how we make decisions.
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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Proposed Changes
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 03:22:38 PM »
Do you think there is a problem with the current system? It seems to be working quite well from my point of view, so I would resist any such change as overengineering. Not everything needs to be codified in a document if things are working just fine without one.
It works, except when it doesn't. Since you already brought up that thread, I'll just point out that this is a position I've held for years.

I was hoping to avoid bringing this up since it's now mostly resolved, but the EJ incident is the most obvious and most recent example. Because the system is not at all codified and relies on our (usually "your") common sense, it fails as soon as the de facto decision maker thinks that something doesn't require much consideration.

The spirit of collective decision-making was also further broken in that case when you expressed initial opposition to reverting your decision despite wide opposition. Again, you did eventually accept it and moved on, but this once again relied on whether or not you, personally, would be convinced. A simple process for deciding which decisions count as "major" and how to properly approach various class of decisions would both improve clarity of expectations between everyone, and it would remove some of the burden of personal responsibility. See, I really don't want to keep lambasting you over EJ, but in the end of the day it remains a matter of fact that you made the decision unilaterally, and then unilaterally resisted its reversion. What is one to do if next time you're not so easily convinced that something should happen?

Ultimately, this boils down to you being the first among equals. You have many times stated that this is not your intention, and I do believe you, but you're currently the only person who can press some buttons. If you don't like something, the buttons don't get pressed. If you like something, the buttons do get pressed, even if perhaps they shouldn't. To some extent, this is unresolvable - you'll always have the power to ignore any rules or their spirit by virtue of being the site owner. However, my personal impression of your character is that you generally wouldn't consciously do that. So, all we need is a little bit of guidance for whoever may be in charge of a particular decision. Perhaps that guidance should be a teeny-tiny bit binding. That's all.

I see dissolving the ZC as essentially a no-op, given how little they do. It changes nothing about how we make decisions.
They were our intended decision-making organ. Yes, it's broken, yes, it should go, but if we're not going to replace it with another process for decision-making, it's entirely meaningless either way. This is not a statement of objection to just dissolving ZC and letting things still be broken. It's more of a "While we're at this subject, how about we do things correctly?"
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 03:37:24 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Proposed Changes
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2017, 04:27:28 AM »
I did come up with a good plan for how the leadership council could be reorganized and democratic system could work for this society, based on the failings of how the Zetetic Council was set up. I described it here: https://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=4291.0

It will take some technical work and management duties. I don't mind working on it with someone, but don't want to feel alone on this.

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Offline Parsifal

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Re: Proposed Changes
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2017, 03:25:26 PM »
I have posted in the relevant thread regarding the amendment to the Manifesto. Regarding the abolition of the ZC, I personally am happy to go ahead with junker's proposal. If anyone has objections, please raise them in this thread. I will not act until either 72 hours have passed with no objections, or any objections raised have been resolved.

I was hoping to avoid bringing this up since it's now mostly resolved, but the EJ incident is the most obvious and most recent example. Because the system is not at all codified and relies on our (usually "your") common sense, it fails as soon as the de facto decision maker thinks that something doesn't require much consideration.

I don't consider this a failure. People have indicated in the past that they do not want to always be consulted on every issue. I'll refer to this thread another time, in which the first page has four different members saying that they do not want a democratic process for choosing moderators. Blanko even goes so far as to say:

I think you're overthinking this and trying to force changes where none are necessary. Do you think our current methods of action are flawed?

As it has been said, this is stemming from internal issues between you and pizaa. Don't blow it out of proportion.

Given that people (other than you, evidently) do not want change, and for as long as that remains the case, I consider it far more important that people have the ability to openly criticise changes as they are made. This is exactly what happened in the case of the "EJ incident". A decision was made that turned out to be a poor one in retrospect, people said they didn't like it, and the issue got resolved.

The spirit of collective decision-making was also further broken in that case when you expressed initial opposition to reverting your decision despite wide opposition.

Can you provide a citation for this claim? As far as my recollection of events goes, this never happened.

Again, you did eventually accept it and moved on, but this once again relied on whether or not you, personally, would be convinced. A simple process for deciding which decisions count as "major" and how to properly approach various class of decisions would both improve clarity of expectations between everyone, and it would remove some of the burden of personal responsibility. See, I really don't want to keep lambasting you over EJ, but in the end of the day it remains a matter of fact that you made the decision unilaterally, and then unilaterally resisted its reversion. What is one to do if next time you're not so easily convinced that something should happen?

Decisions are made "unilaterally" all the time, by anyone who makes substantial contributions. You "unilaterally" decide how to manage our social media presence. junker "unilaterally" decides which threads to split or move into CN. Thus far, I cannot think of a single instance where a poor decision has been made by anyone and could not be resolved within a reasonable timeframe after the fact, in any of these cases. Unless you have a counter-example, that makes this a strictly hypothetical problem.

If your goal is to prevent poor decisions from being made in the first place (it's hard to tell since you haven't suggested any concrete changes), that comes with the inherent trade-off of impeding people in the course of getting things done. Can you imagine yourself trying to maintain our Twitter account if we had to hold a vote on every other account we follow, for instance?

Ultimately, this boils down to you being the first among equals. You have many times stated that this is not your intention, and I do believe you, but you're currently the only person who can press some buttons. If you don't like something, the buttons don't get pressed. If you like something, the buttons do get pressed, even if perhaps they shouldn't. To some extent, this is unresolvable - you'll always have the power to ignore any rules or their spirit by virtue of being the site owner. However, my personal impression of your character is that you generally wouldn't consciously do that. So, all we need is a little bit of guidance for whoever may be in charge of a particular decision. Perhaps that guidance should be a teeny-tiny bit binding. That's all.

I am not opposed to such an idea in principle, I simply do not believe it is necessary, or that most people want it (based on the thread we've both been referencing). If others are in agreement with Pete here, please do speak up.

I did come up with a good plan for how the leadership council could be reorganized and democratic system could work for this society, based on the failings of how the Zetetic Council was set up. I described it here: https://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=4291.0

It will take some technical work and management duties. I don't mind working on it with someone, but don't want to feel alone on this.

I had somehow missed that this would infer voting rights on members last time I skimmed the thread. I only recalled it being about a membership register.

The problem I foresee here is that the democratic process in a volunteer community only really works once someone has already committed to undertaking a task. This is why I think the current democracy/"do-ocracy" hybrid system here works well. Smaller decisions are made by the people doing the work, and when larger decisions need to be made, they are brought to an informal vote. That is, votes are always on questions of "is this thing I'm already working on acceptable?" and not "do we want someone to work on a thing?".

If we change that so that we give the membership body the power to command that certain tasks be undertaken, all that's going to happen is that the outcome of voting will be ignored if nobody is interested in doing the work. That is one reason I believe the ZC fizzled out; there were a few occasions when a vote was taken to do some work, but when it came to the crunch nobody wanted to do it.
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Offline Mark_1984

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Re: Proposed Changes
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2017, 07:52:16 AM »
If you don't mind an opinion from an interloper.  I offer this opinion as I run a scale modelling forum which is larger than this forum and has been running longer, so have some considerable experience in forum management.
Your forum is too small to be worried about councils, and who moderates what, and who votes on what, and whatnot. I assume that there is an individual who owns (and pays for) the domain, and originally set up the forum.  This person has the forum's best interests at heart.  Let them designate an Administrator to manage the forum.  Have a group of global moderators who assist the admin.  Changes are discussed in private, public opinion sought when necessary.  The moderators will change as people come and go.  Most moderators seem to be enthusiastic for a couple of years or so before drifting away.  Strip away the complexity and make the management smaller, more efficient and autonomous. 

I've typed that as if telling you how to run your forum.  It's not meant that way, but merely some suggestions as to how you could improve.  I'm happy to discuss it with your management team if they like (but not interested in becoming part of it to be honest).

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Proposed Changes
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2017, 09:27:58 AM »
Given that people (other than you, evidently) do not want change, and for as long as that remains the case, I consider it far more important that people have the ability to openly criticise changes as they are made. This is exactly what happened in the case of the "EJ incident". A decision was made that turned out to be a poor one in retrospect, people said they didn't like it, and the issue got resolved.
In the end of the day, there's nothing I can do to stop you from making things worse around here. Personally, I'll keep removing myself from whichever thing you shit up next, because I continue not to want to be a part of a system where people put in hours of work into something only for you to waltz in and say "lol let's break it". I'll also continue trying to convince you to stop doing that.

This is not to deny the work you put in yourself, which is usually stellar and which clearly involves lots of effort (likely more than anyone else here) - it's just the apparent lack of respect for things others do, and your occasional tendency to forget that your thoughts are not automatically everyone's opinion that's a problem here. I also dislike the attitude of "nobody said anything therefore we'll go with my opinion and not yours" - it's a poor way of establishing what people want, and yet more evidence that we need proper guidelines on decision-making.

Can you provide a citation for this claim? As far as my recollection of events goes, this never happened.
To my knowledge, there was only one time you responded to any criticism of the decision, until people started opposing it so strongly that you had to undo it. That was when I first raised it as an issue on IRC, to which you responded along the lines of willing to give him a chance since he gave you reassurances via PM. Plenty of other people voiced their dissent on this forum and were given the silent treatment, all while you carried on doubling down on the EJ idiocy on John's forum, pretending that it's a serious proposal.

If you had at least paused the doubling-down while figuring out what's going on after a few signs of disagreement (let's ignore my own objection for the purpose of this assessment), I'd be willing to give you a benefit of the doubt; but as things are, I struggle to imagine a scenario in which you were giving it any consideration. You had made your decision, and you only chose to revert it because it was difficult to escape dissent anymore.

Decisions are made "unilaterally" all the time, by anyone who makes substantial contributions. You "unilaterally" decide how to manage our social media presence. junker "unilaterally" decides which threads to split or move into CN. Thus far, I cannot think of a single instance where a poor decision has been made by anyone and could not be resolved within a reasonable timeframe after the fact, in any of these cases. Unless you have a counter-example, that makes this a strictly hypothetical problem.

If your goal is to prevent poor decisions from being made in the first place (it's hard to tell since you haven't suggested any concrete changes), that comes with the inherent trade-off of impeding people in the course of getting things done. Can you imagine yourself trying to maintain our Twitter account if we had to hold a vote on every other account we follow, for instance?
Yes, Parsifal, any idea can be taken to a nonsensical extreme. That's why I made it abundantly clear in the posts above that I'm looking for 'a simple process for deciding which decisions count as "major"' (that's where things like "not voting on splitting every post" come into play) and "all we need is a little bit of guidance for whoever may be in charge of a particular decision".

Without having any guidelines on an issue, we can argue about whether or not appointing EJ as the negotiator, or you quietly undoing my actions behind my back (I note that you're not doing that with junker, so at least you've learned your lesson there) count as "major" decisions until the cows come home. Therefore, I propose establishing those guidelines. That way, expectations on both sides are clear. It does not, in my eyes, constitute a major paradigm shift in how things are being done - it merely provides clarity on what can be expected, and how things generally should be done. It obviously won't prevent all bad decisions from being made, and it obviously won't be fool-proof, but it may make it easier to resolve future disputes.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 09:45:34 AM by Pete Svarrior »
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