What is the Senate? (proposal for reform)

A failed experiment whereby board users were invited to advise the Senate, and instead attempted to replace the Senate.
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Re: What is the Senate? (proposal for reform)

Post by Havok » 2009-01-02 08:09pm

Destructionator XIII wrote:This seems like an obvious question, but one that I think needs clarification so the nomination process can get some sanity into it.

What is the Senate and what does it do?
Wow. It is an obvious question. It also has an obvious answer.

On today's episode of reading is your friend...
Rob Wilson wrote:RULES

1. With a Modicum of Power... - As Senators you can edit your own posts in any General Forum however should you ever be found to be abusing that power, first of all you'll have the Mods to answer to and when they are finished with you... you become my plaything, and once I'm finished with you, you lose your Senator-ship as a minimum!
Considering the members of this group I don't expect that to ever happen, but I'm laying out the punishment in plain sight right now.

2. Peon, I choose you! - Beginning on the 2nd of every month the forum shall be placed open for the nomination of prospective Senators. Nomination shall close on the 24th of each month (excepting February when it will close on the 21st). The nominees who have been seconded shall be placed into a poll by the Chancellor, the Whip, of an Executor whomever should be first available.

A. Procedure for Nominating -

I. Each Member of the Senate has the right to nominate one person per month. If someone has nominated the person you wanted already, then you can second that nomination. If two people have nominated the person you want then wait for the vote. A second does not count as a nomination thus a Member may both nominate one candidate and second any additional candidates they deem worthy of consideration.

II. When making your nomination, add a link to the persons profile (this allows other to search through all their posts of they wish and ensures they know just who it is you're talking about - not confusing RogueIce with Rogue 9 for instance). You should also provide a link(s) to thread(s) that showcase their abilities/contributions. You can link to individual posts by copying the url from the little page symbol in the section of their posts which contains their avatar and user info, if you so wish.

III. In the case of someone with a spotty record the evidence in their favour must be stronger than that required for a normal nomination. Don't be suprised if no one votes for them though.

IV. All Members are granted the right to nominate and vote for entry into the Senate excepting the Chancellor (not excepting those cases where the Chancellor must cast a deciding vote)

V. All nominations shall be considered. That said nominations of persons in bad standing with the Chancellor shall be considered for removal from the nomination process at the Chancellor's discretion. This may only occur upon notice to the nominating Senator and with the concurrence of at least four governors. (Except those barred from nomination due to requests to join the Senate as discussed below)

B. Other nomination rules

I. Only nominations and comments on the nominee's may be put in a [Member] thread, if you don't agree on a nomination, then don't vote for that person. Any flames or arguments in that thread will be deleted - no exceptions!

II. If you get asked (whether by PM, in a thread, IM, Chat, E-mail, Phone, Letter, or in person) by someone to nominate them, you have to inform the Senate so they can be barred from joining. Obviously this relies on your honesty, so don't disappoint us.

III. If you get asked to nominate someone else then inform the Senate and the nominee's will get a 90 day temporary ban from being nominated, we'll make a decision on whether to bar them after review of their board behavior and posting history (we'll certainly bar the person asking).

C. Membership Vote - The vote for entry into the senate shall be conducted beginning on the 24th of the month (21st in February) and be run according to the rules for Class C votes below.

3. One Senator, one vote - Aside from discussion on policy and the usual debauchery of the Senate the vast majority of duties fall under votes within a range of categories. All votes and the rules for undertaking them are as follows:

A. Categories of votes:

I.Category A:
Board Policies/Senate Rules/Usergroups/PermaBan

II.Category B
TempBan/Titling/Lesser Offenses/Resolutions

III.Category C
Election to the Senate

B. Special note for PermaBan votes

I. When a user, for violation of the Board Rules, is the subject of a permanent ban poll in the Senate, that user may be temporarily banned for the duration of the poll at the discretion of any administrator, or upon request by any two Senators other than the Senator who initiated the ban poll.

II. Should the Senate impose a temporary ban as punishment for violation of the Board Rules after considering a permanent ban, the Senate may elect to count the time spent banned during the poll towards the user's sentence

C. Quorum for votes

I.Category A votes required a quorum of 50% of eligible voters. Category B and C require a quorum of 40% of eligible votes.

II.Eligible voters are all members of the Senate, except the Chancellor, who are currently active. A member may be declared inactive when they have missed 10 consecutive votes or when they have notified the Chancellor or the Whip of their intention to be absent for a specified period of time. Thus for a 51 member Senate there are 50 eligible voters (after the chancellor is subtracted) with quorum at 25 and 20 votes respectively.

III.Votes for abstention shall count towards meeting quorum but will not count either for or against any measure being voted.

D. Majorities for passage

I.Category A votes will require a 60% majority voting in favor for the resolution to pass. Category B requires a simple majority of votes in favor, which is 50% of voters plus 1. Category C requires a plurality of votes.

II.By example with 50 total votes (not counting abstentions) Category A would require 30 members in favor, Category B 26 members, and Category C the greatest number amongst all votes no for abstention.

III.The Chancellor may exercise the power to cast deciding votes in any case where one additional vote would reach the passing threshold for any category.

E. Voting administration

I.The Whip should be notified when any vote is begun so that notification may be given to all Senate Members. Upon notification or in cases where the Whip begins the thread all active members of the Senate shall be notified by PM and given a URL link to the thread.

II.From the point of opening a vote thread there shall be a time limit of 7 days during which to conduct voting. All votes will be final at the end of this period.

III.In all votes the option shall be given to abstain for members to register for quorum but not count towards any verdict

4. Democracy in inaction - You, yes you lucky few, get to discuss board policy! You can float your own idea's for discussion, you can float your friends idea's if you wish, and when the Mods make a policy decision you get to comment on it. And unlike anyone else that might discuss/comment on it, you actually get to have an impact. Go you!

5. Power to the People - Part of your job as Senators is to discuss that which is bothering the masses as such bringin matters to the Senate attention should be done quickly and coherently.

A.If your friends want to make suggestions then you can pass them along, however you must make it plain that it is on behalf of someone else (don't have to give names) and the person(s) that asked you should know that it's not automatic that their suggestions will get approved.

B. The procedure for non-members to contact Senate members is now available here. Should a non-member ask how to get points raised etc, you can now give them that link. though the thread is clearly named and stickied in the Senate.

C. Should you get harassed by someone to push a point for you, or getting angry because they think you let them down. Report them to a Mod or myself - they will get a minimum of a temp-ban. I will not countenance anyone harassing the Senate members.

6. Thumbs up, Thumbs down- You, and you alone, get to vote on Custom titles, Ban polls, new Usergroups and your own wages... damn you don't get paid, ah well at least you can vote on the first three.

7. Your Father smelt of Elderberries - Yes you can say what you like in here, and none of the non-Senators can reply or defend themselves. They can only look on in envy and disgust. However, I expect the members to behave themselves. You got in here on good conduct, don't change now.

8. Offices

A. The Chancellor

I. The Last word - In any vote, the Chancellor can only vote to break a tie. The Chancellor may not vote at any other time, nor show favourtism to a particular choice during the Polls duration. See the voting rules if you need clarification.

II. I have the Pooowweeer - When the Chancellor is away for a protracted period, his duties are shared by the Executors and the Emperor. They are bound by the same duties as the Chancellor when acting on his behalf. This does not, however, include restriction to the Chancellor's voting limitation. The Executors and the Emperor may continue to vote in all situations. Be aware though that the Emperor owns the Board and can act any way he wishes. Don't fuck him off!

B. The Whip

I. The Whip shall be elected from amongst the membership of the senate according to the rules of a Class C vote, the members nominating and seconding those persons they feel worthy of holding the post.

II.The Whip shall serve a term of one year unless resigning with due notice to the Chancellor and the Executors. At the end of each term the Whip shall be subject to a vote of confidence. This vote shall be for continuing the Whip's term or subjecting the post to a general election. It shall be conduted as a Category B vote. If the motion passes the Whip shall continue to serve. If the motion fails a period of one month shall be opened for new nominations. At the end of the month the election shall occur as in I. above. There is no limit to the number of terms a Whip may serve.

III.The Duties of the Whip shall be as follows:

a) Notifying all active members of the senate when any vote is occuring.
b) In absence of the Chancellor open all votes for membership comencing on the 24th (21st in February) of the month.
c) Maintain a current list of all active senators and hold count against quorum for all votes before the Senate.
d) Ensure all votes are conducted according to the rules of the Senate
e) Perform all other such duties as shall be assigned by the Chancellor, the Emperor, or the Executors.


1. Sig you sir - Pretty soon the rules on Sigs are going to change (and as above you get to discuss and vote on them), and that means you get more leeway on your sigs and your avatars.

2. Now moor mizpelligns - Yep, as mentioned in Rule 1, you can edit away on your posts in all the general forums with gay abandon. Just be aware that trying to win a debate by changing what you said will be the very last thing you ever want to think about!

3. Time to Horse around - The new Horsemen/women will be chosen from within the Senators, and new Mods get chosen from the Horsemen. You too could cause fear and terror to decend upon the masses (in HOS anyway). :)

4. Where everybody knows your name - That Senator tag means that everyone knows you have a bit (a very tiny bit admittedly) of clout, it also means that you have proven your Debating skills. It doesn't ensure you'll also get respect, but it can't hurt. 8)

5. Crystal Balls - who knows what the future will bring, but hopefully more perks. :D


1. Clear as mud - As mentioned in above, you guys get to discuss board policy, and discuss points raised by others. You can also air any problems you may believe exists that needs addressed. There are doubtless other types of thread that will come into existance on the Forum, so they need a heads up in the title :

[Discussion] = a talk about board policies.
[Point] = A point of interest either your own or one that has been passed to you for discussion by an other board member (remember Rule 4).
[Problem?] = Something you feel is wrong and needs to be debated or cleared up. However it should be something that can only be mentioned here (board software issues are handled in OT for instance).
[Vote] = These will only be started by Governors and above in the case of serious votes.
[Voted] = A vote thread that is closed. When the title of a poll is amended to this, then too late the poll is closed.
[Member] - Thread for nominating new members. A new one every 2nd of the month.
[Poll] = Something silly, a perfect example would be Skimmer's Budget Poll thread. the Board automatically adds this so you don't need to worry.

2. Oh yeah. Says who? - If your going to raise a Problem, or have a discussion, then make sure you can back up your arguements. Take the time to research your points and provide evidence for your stand if required. You're all seasoned debators, so this should be natural, but I'm laying it out here so there are no excuses.

3. Well Done or Medium Rare - The serious threads in here are a no flame area. You can't agree with someone, then can vent outside the thread. I'm not saying no swearing (after all saying "It's fucking clear" adds emphasis), but attacks on another member in a Serious thread will get you par-boiled by me as a minimum!
i) If you lose an argument I expect you to concede the fact and move on.
ii) The phrase 'Concession accepted' will be an automatic admission of losing on the part of whoever uses it in a serious debate.

4. Wheeeeee - The rest of the time this place is for fun, and pretending to be crooked politicians, so if it doesn't carry a Serious thread label Crack on and have fun. :D
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Re: What is the Senate? (proposal for reform)

Post by Dominus Atheos » 2009-01-02 08:32pm

Destructionator XIII wrote:If it is primarily a committee for advising the admins, the nominees should demonstrate some competency in running boards. Or something. Honestly, if this is what it is, it has no purpose existing. The admins and mods can make their own decisions, maybe with the HoC's input if they want it; the Senate is plenty redundant.
Mods don't make policy. There is exactly one person one this board who makes policy, and he may be to busy with other things to think about policy, and he has no idea what policies the board wants. If someone has an idea about a new policy or change to an existing policy, they can PM a Senator and the Senator can bring it up in the Senate, then they can discuss whether or not it's a good idea, and make a recommendation to Mike about it, then he can implement it or not.

As for how they should be chosen, it should be a meritocracy. If a poster can prove he's not an idiot and has good opinions, can make insightful comments, and knows to shut up when he doesn't have an insightful comment or opinion worth expressing, then he should be allowed to join.

And obviously they can vote on whether or not to ban someone. I wouldn't want the 2950 other non-mods or senators getting a say in that.

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Re: What is the Senate? (proposal for reform)

Post by CmdrWilkens » 2009-01-03 02:56pm

The one proposal that DOES seem to keep popping up is a limitation on the number of senators, that is requiring them to run for re-election as it were. Right now there are 50 "Active" Senate members and 57 total members which includes all board staff (mods/admins). Roughly speaking the Senate is comprised of about 35 non-staff and 22 staff members off the back of the envelope. I'm throwing the numbers out there on the off chance that somebody could come up with a system for cycling through the Seante that makes sense.
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Re: What is the Senate? (proposal for reform)

Post by Havok » 2009-01-03 04:48pm

How about one Senator for every forum and sub-forum, not including the private forums, announcements, the Coliseum and the senate, which I believe puts the total at 23. Since people seem to want a US type system, each forum could act like a state having one senate seat per.

You could possibly extend this to the HoC, having a certain number of reps based on the amount of forums and do yearly elections for new members in both.
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