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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-11 06:21pm
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Steve wrote:
IIRC, wasn't the purpose of the House of Commons to allow plebes to directly and publicly recommend issues for Senate consideration and to discuss those issues and the Senate's debates on them? I don't remember if it was also intended to provide plebes a means to suggest, then nominate, candidates for elevation to the Senate.
So the purpose of the forum is to talk about things and make suggestions...but not for new Senators? There's a disconnect there. :P

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I might also ask what mechanism led to mods taking bans upon themselves again, aside from what appears to be the processes of Senate apathy and the mods no longer requesting the Senate to debate bans or titling of malcontents. As stated, we're back to ban by Star Chamber, not open and public debate by the Senate.
Technically, the mods can't ban, only the Admins, and they can pretty much do whatever the hell they want to do. The Senate is an advisory body only, and has been from the very beginning. The Admins NEVER needed Senate approval to do a damn thing. There have been multiple incidences of admins banning losers under Senate review before a vote has even been called. The implication that it's improper for admins to do their jobs and ban malcontents without the lethargic approval of the Senate is...well quite frankly, laughable.

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It would seem to me that the natural purpose of the Senate is a body of respected SDN posters who provide a check upon the power of the mods (though not Mike). If we are such, then the following should be true. When it comes to punishing bad or misbehaving posters., short of emergency bans necessary to prevent hacking or dealing with advertisers and the like, the Senate should vote upon banning members for their offenses and should also be the ones to decide whether to give a negative CT to posters who haven't quite done anything ban-worthy but who have certainly misbehaved or shown unwelcome behavior. The mods can petition the Senate to approve of such actions but, again short of an "emergency" situation, the Senate should be the ones to approve of a ban.
We were a check on moderators? Since when? Issues with moderators have almost exclusively been handled by other moderators and admins, and such matters are commonly held privately between the moderator and the complainant, as is board policy.

Quote:
Whether or not the Senate should have the power to put a misbehaving moderator on trial can be debated, though I don't see why we can't recommend a misbehaving or absentee mod be replaced. In conjunction with that, we should be willing to accept as condition of our status the responsibility of replacing mods who are removed due to resignation, retirement, removal, or prolonged absence.
Even if the Senate existed for this sole purpose, how often is this needed? Often enough to warrant a special usergroup that inflates itself every month or so? What is gained from this over just relying on the existing system?

Quote:
On top of that, the Senate would be the logical body to recommend new policies to Mike and the other admins/mods, either on our own initiative or supporting those recommended in the House of Commons.
I've noticed most people seem to be paying more attention to the House of Commons lately than the Senate.

Quote:
If we don't have these powers and duties, then certainly the Senate's purpose on the board becomes hollow. We become the fancy club of popular posters who only debate on how large our club should be and who, if anyone, should get to join. :P
Sorry, there should be more past tense here.

i'm going to be blunt. I have very little patience for things with no purpose, and that's what the Senate strikes me as. All the "lol fun" activities were co-opted by Testing long ago, what with their Testingstan Presidential runs and such. We've just been a bunch of pompous asses with ILLUSIONS, and I can't stress that enough, ILLUSIONS of power who have been taking ourselves way too damn seriously.

All the fun? The perks? They're gone. The edit perk is basically useless now that the board has a reasonable editing policy. The "Senator" tag? Useless and gone, rightly so. Having fun? No fun in the Senate, we are serious here, because we have POWER! Only not.

Let's look at our other "jobs". We were an early warning system for trolls and retards. They're rather limited these days, in a way, we worked ourselves into retirement here. Especially with the report button, Mods and Admins have a much easier time of tracking the few malcontents we have here.

Board policy? How about the vast majority of the people who USE the board, instead of a bunch of often-absent Senators? If the suggestions make sense, the admins can add them. Seems to work well so far, with the addition of various bits of code here and there.

Personally, I don't much see the point to the Senate right now. The fun part is being handled by Testing, where we can have mindless fun and all that, and the serious part is being handled, quite well as far as I can tell, by the HoC.

So far, the only things I've heard to keep the Senate running are advocating adding complexity and wasting time just to give us something to do. Not to make running the board easier for the admins and mods, but just to give us something to waste time with, and waste time we do. For what? To make us feel important?

Unless someone can give me a legitimate purpose that the Senate helps the board run smoothly, I suggest we disband the Senate, lock this forum, and let the House of Commons take over.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-11 06:57pm
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Hotfoot wrote:
So the purpose of the forum is to talk about things and make suggestions...but not for new Senators? There's a disconnect there. :P


Um, I was saying I didn't remember if we intended for the HoC to also nominate Senators. I know the old system had the Senators nominating and then voting on new additions.

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Technically, the mods can't ban, only the Admins, and they can pretty much do whatever the hell they want to do. The Senate is an advisory body only, and has been from the very beginning. The Admins NEVER needed Senate approval to do a damn thing. There have been multiple incidences of admins banning losers under Senate review before a vote has even been called. The implication that it's improper for admins to do their jobs and ban malcontents without the lethargic approval of the Senate is...well quite frankly, laughable.


Sorry, I didn't recall if mods had ban power. If it's admin only I do agree that the admins having to get Senate approval is a bit farfetched, though I can see them looking to us for advice if they're uncertain of whether someone warrants a ban or accepting the recommendation of the Senate to impose one.

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We were a check on moderators? Since when? Issues with moderators have almost exclusively been handled by other moderators and admins, and such matters are commonly held privately between the moderator and the complainant, as is board policy.


I didn't say we actually were a check on mods, I said that was a natural purpose of the Senate.

Quote:
Even if the Senate existed for this sole purpose, how often is this needed? Often enough to warrant a special usergroup that inflates itself every month or so? What is gained from this over just relying on the existing system?


A) I didn't say the Senate existed just for this. B) I've been postulating logical powers for the Senate. If we don't have these powers and the functioning of the board does not require us to wield them, then, well, to continue on down...

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I've noticed most people seem to be paying more attention to the House of Commons lately than the Senate.


They have. The HoC, through full participation, takes activity from the Senate since even Senators participate in HoC threads.

Quote:
Sorry, there should be more past tense here.

i'm going to be blunt. I have very little patience for things with no purpose, and that's what the Senate strikes me as. All the "lol fun" activities were co-opted by Testing long ago, what with their Testingstan Presidential runs and such. We've just been a bunch of pompous asses with ILLUSIONS, and I can't stress that enough, ILLUSIONS of power who have been taking ourselves way too damn seriously.

All the fun? The perks? They're gone. The edit perk is basically useless now that the board has a reasonable editing policy. The "Senator" tag? Useless and gone, rightly so. Having fun? No fun in the Senate, we are serious here, because we have POWER! Only not.

Let's look at our other "jobs". We were an early warning system for trolls and retards. They're rather limited these days, in a way, we worked ourselves into retirement here. Especially with the report button, Mods and Admins have a much easier time of tracking the few malcontents we have here.

Board policy? How about the vast majority of the people who USE the board, instead of a bunch of often-absent Senators? If the suggestions make sense, the admins can add them. Seems to work well so far, with the addition of various bits of code here and there.

Personally, I don't much see the point to the Senate right now. The fun part is being handled by Testing, where we can have mindless fun and all that, and the serious part is being handled, quite well as far as I can tell, by the HoC.

So far, the only things I've heard to keep the Senate running are advocating adding complexity and wasting time just to give us something to do. Not to make running the board easier for the admins and mods, but just to give us something to waste time with, and waste time we do. For what? To make us feel important?

Unless someone can give me a legitimate purpose that the Senate helps the board run smoothly, I suggest we disband the Senate, lock this forum, and let the House of Commons take over.


I don't disagree with this. If the Senate is not intended as a body of respected posters to advise the administration staff and to request bans or other punishment for misconduct, it has no purpose other than to be a forum of "elite" members of the board with a fancy title (which, ironically, isn't even displayed on their profiles anymore) who have pretensions to importance. At that rate we might as well disband the Senate as a forum and simply assign the title "Senator" as an honorific to posters who contribute to SDN in some way (as an artist with pictures or stories, as an excellent debater, or a respected moderator), assuming we don't just dissolve the rank itself.

At one time it may have been an interesting body to advise Mike and Dalton on forum matters and to provide a reward for SDN's best posters, a place to have some fun with each other, but as of now it's a hollow body with little to no purpose other than scratching itself on the back, deciding who, if any, are worthy of joining it, and sniping at non-Senators who don't like it.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-11 07:10pm
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Steve wrote:
Um, I was saying I didn't remember if we intended for the HoC to also nominate Senators. I know the old system had the Senators nominating and then voting on new additions.
It's a natural progression, there's not a thing wrong with it, since you know the Senate can choose to just ignore it if they want.

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Sorry, I didn't recall if mods had ban power. If it's admin only I do agree that the admins having to get Senate approval is a bit farfetched, though I can see them looking to us for advice if they're uncertain of whether someone warrants a ban or accepting the recommendation of the Senate to impose one.
As RogueIce pointed out to me, Supermods may have ban power, but not certainly not forum mods. I was pretty sure it was admins only, but I could well be wrong.

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I didn't say we actually were a check on mods, I said that was a natural purpose of the Senate.
Not really. The method for dealing with rogue mods has been around for a while, putting the Senate into the mix only adds more drama and complexity.

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A) I didn't say the Senate existed just for this. B) I've been postulating logical powers for the Senate. If we don't have these powers and the functioning of the board does not require us to wield them, then, well, to continue on down...
I know, but I'm saying that even with this, which would be about our only real duty to be honest, it's not much to base our continued existance on.

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They have. The HoC, through full participation, takes activity from the Senate since even Senators participate in HoC threads.
Indeed. After all, why have two discussions for the same subject?

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I don't disagree with this. If the Senate is not intended as a body of respected posters to advise the administration staff and to request bans or other punishment for misconduct, it has no purpose other than to be a forum of "elite" members of the board with a fancy title (which, ironically, isn't even displayed on their profiles anymore) who have pretensions to importance. At that rate we might as well disband the Senate as a forum and simply assign the title "Senator" as an honorific to posters who contribute to SDN in some way (as an artist with pictures or stories, as an excellent debater, or a respected moderator), assuming we don't just dissolve the rank itself.

At one time it may have been an interesting body to advise Mike and Dalton on forum matters and to provide a reward for SDN's best posters, a place to have some fun with each other, but as of now it's a hollow body with little to no purpose other than scratching itself on the back, deciding who, if any, are worthy of joining it, and sniping at non-Senators who don't like it.
I think it may be time to get a torch.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-11 11:51pm
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Hotfoot wrote:
Unless someone can give me a legitimate purpose that the Senate helps the board run smoothly, I suggest we disband the Senate, lock this forum, and let the House of Commons take over.


Is the Senate largely rudderless, except mostly for matters pertaining to its own self? Seems so. Have its original purposes been assumed by other groups, or forgotten? Hard to say otherwise. I don't think that's an argument in and of itself to shutter it, though.

Besides "The Senate is basically useless," two secondary threads to this discussion seem to have been "The Senate forgot how to have fun," and "What do you get for being a Senator anyway, except drama?" So why not make the Senate a recreational body instead of a policy body? We've got a Coliseum gathering dust - a ready way to identify a meritocratic "board elite." Bring back the Senator tags as badges of honor, whip up another perk or two (someone more creative help me out, perhaps?) and keep the Senate as a forum for the upper crust to talk about whatever upper-crustly things they want to. Make Senators the commentators and judges of the Coliseum matches, and make the Senate the place.

Maybe it's not the best idea ever, and it muddles the historical analogy, but it might be a way to revive a couple of moribund forums while cutting drama and increasing fun.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 12:15am
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An intriguing proposal.

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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 01:11am
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Well, as others are addressing the ultimate "purpose" of the Senate or whether it should continue to exist, I'll concentrate on practical mechanics. If the object of the exercise is to retain this body but trim down it's size to whatever constitutes a "reasonable" level (this to be determined at a later date), we can have two very simple means to accomplish this: strike those members who have been inactive for a certain number of months or votes, and hold nominations only twice yearly. There really is no need for a monthly nomination and implementing these two measures will accomplish by attrition the goal of limning down this forum within a few months at most.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 01:33am
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Patrick Degan wrote:
Well, as others are addressing the ultimate "purpose" of the Senate or whether it should continue to exist, I'll concentrate on practical mechanics. If the object of the exercise is to retain this body but trim down it's size to whatever constitutes a "reasonable" level (this to be determined at a later date), we can have two very simple means to accomplish this: strike those members who have been inactive for a certain number of months or votes, and hold nominations only twice yearly. There really is no need for a monthly nomination and implementing these two measures will accomplish by attrition the goal of limning down this forum within a few months at most.

I think you're quite missing the point. Size is not an issue. Purpose is. If there is no purpose, there need be no Senate. Thus, the size of a nonexistent body becomes irrelevant.

Seriously, do you think automobile designers decide on the overall mass of a design before they even determine what purpose it should serve?

To steal a phrase from middle management, think OUTSIDE the box, only do it for real. Let's assume that tomorrow, there is no Senate. What does the board need under that model? Does it actually "need" anything? So far, most of the "suggestions" to re-purpose the senate are just vain flailing to give Senators something to do. It is a circular position to continue a tradition for the sake of continuing it. It serves no purpose save to buff the egos of those in it, which isn't something I'm desperately going to latch on to.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 01:53am
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Hotfoot wrote:
So far, most of the "suggestions" to re-purpose the senate are just vain flailing to give Senators something to do. It is a circular position to continue a tradition for the sake of continuing it. It serves no purpose save to buff the egos of those in it, which isn't something I'm desperately going to latch on to.


In case my off-the-cuff idea is included in this, I'd just like to say that the country-club Senate would have to start with blank membership rolls. Grandfathering people in around any kind of admission earned on merit isn't proper.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 02:47am
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Hotfoot wrote:
Patrick Degan wrote:
Well, as others are addressing the ultimate "purpose" of the Senate or whether it should continue to exist, I'll concentrate on practical mechanics. If the object of the exercise is to retain this body but trim down it's size to whatever constitutes a "reasonable" level (this to be determined at a later date), we can have two very simple means to accomplish this: strike those members who have been inactive for a certain number of months or votes, and hold nominations only twice yearly. There really is no need for a monthly nomination and implementing these two measures will accomplish by attrition the goal of limning down this forum within a few months at most.

I think you're quite missing the point. Size is not an issue. Purpose is. If there is no purpose, there need be no Senate. Thus, the size of a nonexistent body becomes irrelevant.

Seriously, do you think automobile designers decide on the overall mass of a design before they even determine what purpose it should serve?

To steal a phrase from middle management, think OUTSIDE the box, only do it for real. Let's assume that tomorrow, there is no Senate. What does the board need under that model? Does it actually "need" anything? So far, most of the "suggestions" to re-purpose the senate are just vain flailing to give Senators something to do. It is a circular position to continue a tradition for the sake of continuing it. It serves no purpose save to buff the egos of those in it, which isn't something I'm desperately going to latch on to.


It seems I may not be the only one "missing the point". Because it's rather curious if, as you say, there is no reason for the existence of the Senate, that you are even bothering with arguing the issue instead of simply dropping out of it altogether. Why should you even care?

As for myself, if Mike decided to abolish this little subgroup tomorrow, then I'm just as I was before I was offered membership in it: back to being an ordinary member of SDNet. Same as if we voted ourselves out of existence (which seems absurd to go through such a motion if, as you are arguing, this body hasn't even a justifiable reason for being) or just let it atrophy. What will be, will be.

Beyond that, surely you must realise the absurdity of attempting to argue the raison d'etre of something which is part of what is, essentially, a hobby —an activity/interest which by strict criteria serves no practical purpose to begin with.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 03:00am
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Patrick Degan wrote:
It seems I may not be the only one "missing the point". Because it's rather curious if, as you say, there is no reason for the existence of the Senate, that you are even bothering with arguing the issue instead of simply dropping out of it altogether. Why should you even care?

As for myself, if Mike decided to abolish this little subgroup tomorrow, then I'm just as I was before I was offered membership in it: back to being an ordinary member of SDNet. Same as if we voted ourselves out of existence (which seems absurd to go through such a motion if, as you are arguing, this body hasn't even a justifiable reason for being) or just let it atrophy. What will be, will be.

Beyond that, surely you must realise the absurdity of attempting to argue the raison d'etre of something which is part of what is, essentially, a hobby —an activity/interest which by strict criteria serves no practical purpose to begin with.
I'm trying to get everyone to open their damn eyes and see the reality of the situation. The Senate is a useless body and scrambling to keep it open is a waste of time and effort. I'm willing to listen to reasonable arguments or suggestions that gives the Senate an actual purpose, but right now, I'm not hearing any, period.

P.S. Talking about the absurdity of showing the Senate they have no clothes when you're arguing how many suits to order is hilarious.

As for the "whatever shall be shall be" attitude, how laughable is that? It HIGHLIGHTS the ridiculous nature of the current Senate that so few are willing to argue the point or even care about the results. When the very existence of the very Senate itself is the discussion, we have such anemic arguments as "whatever will be shall be".

The only reason I'm even discussing this here in these echo chambers instead of in the HoC is because a thread was made here and I figured a voice of reason might need to be heard IN the Senate as well as all the other voices from the HoC. It seems I was right.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 03:08am
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My initial responses to this have been well Snarky, my opinion is that if it's not broke please stop fucking with it.

I mean it, get your fingers out of the machinery of the senate NOW before you hurt yourself.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 03:15am
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The Yosemite Bear wrote:
My initial responses to this have been well Snarky, my opinion is that if it's not broke please stop fucking with it.

I mean it, get your fingers out of the machinery of the senate NOW before you hurt yourself.
Bear, the windmills are in the other direction.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 05:52am
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This has been a long time coming.

I think the Senate lost whatever little meaning it had left when the HoC was started and turned out to work vastly better. The original point of the Senate, as far as I remember from my newbie days back then, was to provide an outlet for the nuts-and-bolts suggestions for the board that wouldn't conflict with the "no discussing board policy, like it or leave it" rule. Again, from my then-outside POV, it seemed as if there was a desire by Mike, or whoever came up with the idea, of having a place where people could give constructive criticism as to how the board could be run better, and to limit the noise by restricting access to posters in good standing.

That's what the HoC does now. And it does it better, because the moment you leave the definition of a "good member" up to the supposed good members you get... this. Inertia. The HoC has its share of loud-mouths, but to be honest the signal-to-noise ratio does not compare unfavourably to that of the Senate. At all.

Everything else about the Senate, the tags and the roleplaying and the "perks", that's all window dressing. It shouldn't matter. If you are a poster in good standing you should be able to go into the HoC and have your voice heard and be taken seriously, Senate vote or not. I dare say that there are members who are not in good standing according to the Senate but who still have more influence and a more respected viewpoint than this supposed, self-selected "elite".

The sane option now would be to call the Senate experiment a failure and move on. It was a nice idea, and it spawned the HoC as a functional alternative, but it turns out the Senators just can't run the Senate competently. The board now has an open forum where issues can be discussed in a civilized and intelligent matter; there is no more need for a subgroup of supposedly "better" posters, because if you can't make your point in the snake pit, you shouldn't have been in the Senate in the first place.

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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 08:56am
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Bounty wrote:
This has been a long time coming.

I think the Senate lost whatever little meaning it had left when the HoC was started and turned out to work vastly better. The original point of the Senate, as far as I remember from my newbie days back then, was to provide an outlet for the nuts-and-bolts suggestions for the board that wouldn't conflict with the "no discussing board policy, like it or leave it" rule. Again, from my then-outside POV, it seemed as if there was a desire by Mike, or whoever came up with the idea, of having a place where people could give constructive criticism as to how the board could be run better, and to limit the noise by restricting access to posters in good standing.

That's what the HoC does now. And it does it better, because the moment you leave the definition of a "good member" up to the supposed good members you get... this. Inertia. The HoC has its share of loud-mouths, but to be honest the signal-to-noise ratio does not compare unfavourably to that of the Senate. At all.

Everything else about the Senate, the tags and the roleplaying and the "perks", that's all window dressing. It shouldn't matter. If you are a poster in good standing you should be able to go into the HoC and have your voice heard and be taken seriously, Senate vote or not. I dare say that there are members who are not in good standing according to the Senate but who still have more influence and a more respected viewpoint than this supposed, self-selected "elite".

The sane option now would be to call the Senate experiment a failure and move on. It was a nice idea, and it spawned the HoC as a functional alternative, but it turns out the Senators just can't run the Senate competently. The board now has an open forum where issues can be discussed in a civilized and intelligent matter; there is no more need for a subgroup of supposedly "better" posters, because if you can't make your point in the snake pit, you shouldn't have been in the Senate in the first place.


The problem with this "poster in good standing" is that without outside rules to determine it, it becomes very hard to determine who actually IS a poster in good standing. And once the outside rules set in to determine who is a poster of good standing and whose opinions should carry weight on that merit, The House of Commons gets its very own "elite" whose opinions mean more than others'. As it currently stands, the Senate is the supposed elite of the run-of-the-mill posters (discounting, of course, moderators, administrators and Mike) and the House of Commons is the place where EVERYONE can voice their ideas, even those who aren't necessarily highly regarded. We would, in effect, create another, invisible Senate.

And about the "snake pit" comment: even good posts do disappear if overwhelmed by sheer volume of text or posts. It has happened in News & Politics before. And not all Senators got into the Senate on the merits of debating skills or aggressiveness. Some became Senators due to their informative posts or general good conduct and nature. Sometimes it just might be wise to listen to posters who don't necessarily want to engage in lengthy debates or who aren't ready or willing to start a shouting match.

However, I would very much like some mechanism where the Senate could review the Senators' conduct: have they continued to be upstanding posters or have they lapsed? Do they drag personal vendettas before the Senate, or do they stay neutral (or as neutral as possible)? How long have they been Senators and how much they have engaged in Senate's discussions, votes etc.? It would create at least some change among the Senators' ranks and remove some of the Good Old Boys' club perception. It wouldn't stop the Senate from electing new members, but it would probably take out some of the less exemplar Senators. Originally at least the Senators were supposed to be recognized as good or even outstanding posters. This would, I think, remove at least some bitterness towards the Senate that is currently present if the Senators were actually required to be good posters even AFTER getting into the Senate. Currently there doesn't seem to be much peer review on the subject.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 09:19am
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The problem with this "poster in good standing" is that without outside rules to determine it, it becomes very hard to determine who actually IS a poster in good standing.


This statement does not even make sense. You are either a poster with good ideas that people listen to, or you aren't. If you need some sort of outside body to make up arbitrary rules to confirm your competence, you are obviously doing it wrong. This is a web board, not an accreditation committee.

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We would, in effect, create another, invisible Senate.


We would be creating an organic Senate, using the same principle as the one we use in every thread: that a well-reasoned and relevant post will draw more attention than spam and stupidity would. This is the exact same criterion used when the original Senate was picked, only this time you don't need to formalize the procedure or quarantine the elite.

Quote:
And about the "snake pit" comment: even good posts do disappear if overwhelmed by sheer volume of text or posts. It has happened in News & Politics before. And not all Senators got into the Senate on the merits of debating skills or aggressiveness. Some became Senators due to their informative posts or general good conduct and nature. Sometimes it just might be wise to listen to posters who don't necessarily want to engage in lengthy debates or who aren't ready or willing to start a shouting match.


Then it is up to the moderators of the HoC to keep discussions on-topic and stop them from devolving into shouting matches. Which they seem to be doing just fine. Taking into account the size disparity, the HoC doesn't appear to have a major problem with individual posters' points not getting through.

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However, I would very much like some mechanism where the Senate could review the Senators' conduct


And so we circle back to making the Senate 'work' without even establishing why, or if, it should work.

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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 10:12am
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Bounty wrote:
We would be creating an organic Senate, using the same principle as the one we use in every thread: that a well-reasoned and relevant post will draw more attention than spam and stupidity would. This is the exact same criterion used when the original Senate was picked, only this time you don't need to formalize the procedure or quarantine the elite.


But that won't work as well as the current senate does. In there, we all know that we are supposed to be members whose opinions carry weight. Outside, it would be very hard to reply or find a good posts if it is filled in posts of Spam.Unless you want a heavily moderated HoC and then we might just as well call it the senate 2.0.

And honestly, all of this "disband the senate" talk is just that, talk. If you want to, make a motion for a vote. And even then you would need consent from Mike/admins to make that change stick.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 11:26am
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You know, there's an easy way for the Senate to regain one of its functions--the mods could start referring disciplinary matters to the Senate again, rather than just summarily banning people. That was one of Mike's primary reasons for creating the Senate in the first place: restoring democracy and transparency to the disciplinary process. He even, if I recall correctly, explicitly used the words "star chamber" to describe the old way of banning people.

Here's another idea to make the Senate relevant again: let the Senate actually make binding policy decisions, subject to veto only by Mike.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 11:43am
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RedImperator wrote:
You know, there's an easy way for the Senate to regain one of its functions--the mods could start referring disciplinary matters to the Senate again, rather than just summarily banning people. That was one of Mike's primary reasons for creating the Senate in the first place: restoring democracy and transparency to the disciplinary process. He even, if I recall correctly, explicitly used the words "star chamber" to describe the old way of banning people.

Here's another idea to make the Senate relevant again: let the Senate actually make binding policy decisions, subject to veto only by Mike.
You're missing my key distinction here. I'm not asking how to make the Senate relevant by adding levels of complexity, I'm asking how to make it USEFUL, helping the board run smoothly. Letting the Senate make binding policy decisions is laughable, we NEVER had that power, and rightly so. Mike can see our suggestions, but if he doesn't want to do it, he's not going to, end of story.

As far as punishments, the Senate has failed there rather spectacularly. By the time a case gets to us, it's usually beyond all hope anyway (We title people? Since when?). Granted, not always, but those have been exceedingly rare cases. Here's an easier way it can be done: put a thread up in the House of Commons, where the accused can even try to defend themselves. Not that it would really be necessary. Most of the trolls we've been getting lately have been of the self-destructing kind.

What I'm seeing in all of these arguments, and what I'm trying to show to everyone through rational discussion, is that the Senate has outlived its usefulness to the board. It was a good idea when it started, but the need for it has diminished over time and it went from being fun and a reward for solid members to a self-important echo chamber where nothing ever gets done.

The Senate is not some sort of hallowed institution people. It's not some business that's "too big to fail". I say we scrap it, let the House of Commons take over, and move on. If we really do need a senate-like body again for a specific reason, then we can easily create it at that time and move on.

As for making a vote, well, let's face it. Some people may enjoy the feeling of supposed power they get from being in the Senate. I am trying to appeal to their reason first, so that in the case that the Admins don't step in and abolish it anyway, a vote might actually pass. If our largely absent base of Senators rolls out of bed to find a PM asking them to destroy the Senate, they may just be so shocked and incensed that they would immediately vote "No" and thus we continue on as a flock of lame ducks.

I will put forward a proper vote soon enough, but before then I want to hear all the opposition to this movement. In fairness, there may be a legitimate use of the Senate I have overlooked that may justify its continued existence.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 11:48am
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If the overall size of the Senate is indeed considered to be a problem, then what is the size that does not constitute a problem? I understand that the current membership is 55 people. If that is believed to be an acceptable size, then the problem becomes how to keep it there. If 55 is considered too large, then the problem becomes how can it be reduced to the selected size?

In this context, I believe that blindly voting against any new member is the worst of all possible actions. It might acheive the desired result but does so at the cost of making the Senate an old-boys club, inaccessible to the evolving membership and thus increasingly irrelevent to it. A better solution should be found.

I propose the following. The membership list of the Senate includes the date on which each member joined. They can, therefore, be ranked by duration of membership. If several were elevated on the same day, they can be listed in alphabetical order for that day. Then, when a new member is proposed for elevation, each new member is paired with the longest-serving existing member and the Senate gets to chose between them (the "Nobody" vote being eliminated since it duplicates the effect of voting for the existing member). If the proposed new member wins, he takes the existing member's seat. If the existing member wins, then no change.

If it is desired to whittle down the number of members, then this can be done by simply facing off the two longest-serving members against one proposed new member. This would quickly whittle down the number to any desired level.

This system would require a certain level of administrative paperwork (and the details of the existing member's voting and posting record would have to be made public) but the basic problem would be solved.

This, of course, does not address the problem of why the Senate exists at all. Here, I agree with Red Imperator that disciplinary problems should be referred to the Senate for final disposition (subject only to Mike's Veto of course). It seems to me that the loss of this power is a retrograde step and one that should be reversed.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 12:30pm
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I find Stuart's solution for the new members to be an excellent idea.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 12:42pm
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That is an interesting method. I'm not convinced that "The Senate is too big" or "The Senate could become too big" are even 'problems' that demand attention, though. As originally designed, a big Senate would have just meant more voices in the discussions - not necessarily a bad thing, certainly not a crisis.

Right now, with uncertainty whether a Senate of any size has a reason for existing, it's a solution in search of a problem.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 12:47pm
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Stuart wrote:
If the overall size of the Senate is indeed considered to be a problem, then what is the size that does not constitute a problem? I understand that the current membership is 55 people. If that is believed to be an acceptable size, then the problem becomes how to keep it there. If 55 is considered too large, then the problem becomes how can it be reduced to the selected size?
I don't think size is the problem, I think the problem is that of utility. Even if the Senate were a smaller, more manageable body, it would still lack a useful purpose. A fancy method of getting rid of the dead weight which is bound to add more drama thanks to the nature of social dynamics, to say nothing of the additional busywork needed to maintain the system, well, you get the idea. No sir, I don't like it.

Quote:
This, of course, does not address the problem of why the Senate exists at all. Here, I agree with Red Imperator that disciplinary problems should be referred to the Senate for final disposition (subject only to Mike's Veto of course). It seems to me that the loss of this power is a retrograde step and one that should be reversed.
Again, what loss of power? Do you actually want me to go through the list of banned individuals who have been banned without official resolved votes from the Senate from the time the Senate was created? We have NEVER, EVER acted as a body that has stopped an admin or supermod from banning someone who deserves banning. At most, we've only dragged it out long enough to give them more rope to hang themselves with.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 04:20pm
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Hotfoot wrote:
Again, what loss of power? Do you actually want me to go through the list of banned individuals who have been banned without official resolved votes from the Senate from the time the Senate was created? We have NEVER, EVER acted as a body that has stopped an admin or supermod from banning someone who deserves banning. At most, we've only dragged it out long enough to give them more rope to hang themselves with.


Why don't you do that? I know I've seen threads where banning someone was debated and voted upon and I would be interested in seeing if there were any who didn't get such hearings and who they were, what their offenses were.

Then, once those facts are determined, we can debate whether the Senate being ignored is a good thing, or whether the banning of a poster should be decided upon here, in a publicly-viewable discussion - or "trial", if you will - within the Senate, or in the private forums of Mods and Admins where there is no transparency.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 04:49pm
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There are 188 threads in the parting shots forum, which by no means is a purely accurate measure of how many people have been banned, but just as an off the cuff number, it's a good basis to work on. On the first page, only about 12 out of the 50 threads listed are polls from the Senate. Page 2 has 8, page 3 has 9, and page 4 has 15. It should be noted that I'm only counting the poll type threads, and not any of the others, because, you know, I'm not wasting my time to prove something that should be readily apparent. It should be noted that on page 3 and 4, the bannings predate the Senate itself.

This means that, at most, the roughly 200 bannings in the parting shots forum had...20 contributions from the Senate. About 10% overall, let's say 25% of the bannings since its inception to be generous.

If you want an example of a higher authority overriding an existing Senate discussion, you need look no further than the banning of Elite Pwnage AKA Colfax. Now I'm going on record here as saying I'm glad he's gone and I think GR did the right thing. Thanas came in with a new piece of evidence and instead of the matter going to the Senate for a second time under this light, GR banned him on the spot for good, instead of the temp ban the Senate had decided on.

This is not new, this is not some shocking revelation. The Senate never had any power at all, save what the Admins and now Supermods allowed us. And if they got tired of sitting on their thumbs waiting for us to come to a decision after days or weeks of deliberation, they would act, because it was in the board's best interest to do so. And do so they should, because it works and it keeps things running smoothly.

That this is an issue that even requires clarification just shows how far down the rabbit hole we've really gone.



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 Post subject: Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate PostPosted: 2009-10-12 04:55pm
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The Senate is proactive and busy, result: Massive shitstorm over the Senate being a site for continuous unending drama.
The Senate is reactive and quiet, result: People declare the Senate to be useless and that it doesn't do anything.


The obvious conclusion is that people just hate the Senate no matter what it does, and that this thread is therefore entirely irrelevant. We have tried pandering to this certain clique which engineers most of the board drama out of their own boredom and amusement at the results, who have no real personal investment in the community, and as we can see they will never be satisfied, and this issue should simply be dropped and further protestation ignored.



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