[Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

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[Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by RedImperator » 2009-10-09 04:17pm

There have been grumblings of late that the Senate is too big, perhaps much too big (according to Mr.Bean, it should be at least cut in half). I don't know how big the contingent actually is--so far, only Bean, Tevar, and Bear have openly advocated this position, at least in the threads I checked when I was doing my research for this post--but in the last several months we've had a number of Senate candidates lose without any apparent reason why. Now, it seems pretty unlikely that there's an organized bloc of Senators voting en masse to block all new nominees. Even among the three mentioned above, only Bear is on record consistently voting against candidates because he thinks the Senate is too big. However, there must be at least a few, we've had so little discussion about Senate candidates recently, there's no way to know why we're in this dry spell. This is one of the few possible contributing causes we can actually debate.

So, the big question: what's the ideal size of the Senate, and how do we get there without 1) causing a gigantic drama storm, 2) ossifying the Senate, and 3) excluding worthy new members?

My own position is that the Senate doesn't need a size cap, seeing as it's intended to be a reward for being a good member and a source of advice and suggestions for Mike, and neither of those goals are hurt by more members; indeed, a diversity of voices should make for more useful advice, not less. However, if we do need a cap, then the only fair way to achieve it is to limit the length of time people can be Senators. "The door closes with me" is neither fair to newer board members nor healthy for the Senate, having re-elections would be inordinately complex and likely unworkable (and risks the same people getting elected over and over anyway), and any attempt to expel members based on (de)merit will be a fucking disaster (at any rate, Greg put his foot down on that idea, which I agree is the best possible course of action). I can think of a couple ways to do that, but I'll hold off on making suggestions for now.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Thanas » 2009-10-09 04:21pm

I do not think there is an ideal size of the senate. However, I do wish that people who voted none would explain themselves a lot more than they currently do. In my opinion, if you voted against someone, you should at least have the courage to tell that person why you did so.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by The Yosemite Bear » 2009-10-09 06:58pm

I say first thing we do is kill all the lawyers.

nah, I agree with Thanus there's no set size.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Mr Bean » 2009-10-09 07:11pm

My last four votes have been against increasing the number of Senators and I will continue to vote against any future members for the foreseeable future since Senate talk is normally limited to at best a dozen participates with the remaining Senator's coming in only for votes.

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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Steve » 2009-10-09 07:50pm

That just means the Senate doesn't have much to talk about. Everything's quiet... which usually is a good thing you'd think.

I don't see why the Senate is considered too big right now, or why it must stop expanding based on its current size, certainly not when we see a worthy candidate brought forward for election.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Mad » 2009-10-09 07:51pm

Mr Bean wrote:My last four votes have been against increasing the number of Senators and I will continue to vote against any future members for the foreseeable future since Senate talk is normally limited to at best a dozen participates with the remaining Senator's coming in only for votes.
If only a certain percentage of Senators, statistically, are involved in discussions, then increasing the Senate's size will increase the number of Senators involved in discussions.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by LadyTevar » 2009-10-09 08:02pm

Actually, Red, I *have* gone on record stating the Senate is getting too big. I believe I stated this nearly a year ago, when we had 50 Senators.

That is why I will continue to vote "none" whenever a vote is brought up. If this makes Mr. Bean and I a "bloc" so be it.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by The Yosemite Bear » 2009-10-09 08:03pm

Alternatively we could just bump Beaner for being such a killjoy and wet blanket to discussion and free speech....
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Mr Bean » 2009-10-09 08:49pm

Mad wrote: If only a certain percentage of Senators, statistically, are involved in discussions, then increasing the Senate's size will increase the number of Senators involved in discussions.
The last person of any note we added to the Senate who has become a regular part of disscussions here is Thanas. And we have added several people since then all of which again posted once or twice, vote and not much more. Sure if we added another say fifty senators we might get another five people to add to the dozen we have. All it means is more people have to vote to reach min and discussions are again dominated by a handful of people who care to have discussions in the first place.

The Senate was supposed to have some kind of bar to entry to only let the more responsible folks in but in order to start it off Mike added a good deal of old timers who simply thanked him for the extra rights that Senator's have and are content to vote from time to time to keep those rights and care little for the Senate itself or the topics discussed herein.
LadyTevar wrote:Actually, Red, I *have* gone on record stating the Senate is getting too big. I believe I stated this nearly a year ago, when we had 50 Senators.

That is why I will continue to vote "none" whenever a vote is brought up. If this makes Mr. Bean and I a "bloc" so be it.
Yah I'm part a Bloc! What should we do first? Ooh I know lets sell our votes to special interests in exchange for campaign contributions and soft-money kickbacks! That's always fun.

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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Spyder » 2009-10-09 09:02pm

Cap the vote threshold at a set number rather then a % of current senators. It'll make the polls easier to manage and makes the size of the senate irrelevant ensuring that any issues can be carried out by currently active senators.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by LadyTevar » 2009-10-09 09:15pm

Mr Bean wrote:Yah I'm part a Bloc! What should we do first? Ooh I know lets sell our votes to special interests in exchange for campaign contributions and soft-money kickbacks! That's always fun.
OH! That's a great idea. Do we have a Special Interest in mind, or are we going to see who gives us the Best Offer? :angelic:
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Steve » 2009-10-09 09:36pm

The Senate's not exactly been an active forum as of late, reducing opportunities for people to participate.

I mean, if we start hitting triple digit membership I would consider us starting to get too big, but at what, 55 members? Of which only about 34-40 seem to vote when such things come up? That's not exactly bloated. And it is categorically unfair to new, contributing members of the board that they be limited in their ability to join the Senate, namely leaving their only avenue being the resignation or removal of a sitting Senator.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by RedImperator » 2009-10-10 12:59am

The Yosemite Bear wrote:I say first thing we do is kill all the lawyers.

nah, I agree with Thanus there's no set size.
OK, I don't understand, then: why do you keep voting no on the grounds of "too big"? If where we're at is too big, what number is not too big?
Mr Bean wrote:My last four votes have been against increasing the number of Senators and I will continue to vote against any future members for the foreseeable future since Senate talk is normally limited to at best a dozen participates with the remaining Senator's coming in only for votes.
Mr Bean wrote:
Mad wrote: If only a certain percentage of Senators, statistically, are involved in discussions, then increasing the Senate's size will increase the number of Senators involved in discussions.
The last person of any note we added to the Senate who has become a regular part of disscussions here is Thanas. And we have added several people since then all of which again posted once or twice, vote and not much more. Sure if we added another say fifty senators we might get another five people to add to the dozen we have. All it means is more people have to vote to reach min and discussions are again dominated by a handful of people who care to have discussions in the first place.
Okay, let's examine this claim. Thanas was nominated in January of this year and elevated in February.

Bounty was nominated in February and elevated in March. Since then, he has multiple posts in the following threads:
[Discussion]: Schuyler Colfax
[Discussion]: Count Chocula
Dominus Atheos
[Discussion] Ending the Page 3 Lock

He started the following discussion:
PST Moderation

In addition, he has one post in the following threads:
Re: Whip
Re: chitoryu12
Repeal of Permanent Title for Darthdavid (discussion)
JasonB on the Wiki

That doesn't count any of the votes. As far as I can tell, he's voted in every election.

Bounty was elevated after Thanas, and has participated in the majority of discussions since then. Not counting "voted" posts, he's made 17 posts. For comparison, by my count, since he was elevated, you have 21.

But maybe Bounty was just a fluke. Or maybe you forgot he was elevated after Thanas. So let's move on.
------
Stuart was nominated in March and elevated in April. Since then, he has multiple posts in the following threads:
[Discussion]End HoC nomination at 15th of the month
[Discussion]Schuyler Colfax

Stuart has started no discussions. However, he has one post in the following topics:
Re: Whip
chitoryu12
[Discussion] TempBan length for SC
Notice before the floor - Myrmidon

By my count, Stuart has 12 posts. In the same time period, you have the exact same number of posts (besides votes).
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What about after Thanas? Tiriol was nominated in April and elevated in May. Since then, he has more than one post in the following topic:
[Discussion]Schuyler Colfax

He started no discussions of his own. He has one post each in the following threads:
[Discussion] VI for Ryan Thunder?
Repeal of Permanent Title for Darthdavid (discussion)

Tiriol has eight posts by my count (I have not included a joke introduction post in this thread. You made 12 in the same time period. It's worth noting that by the time Tiriol enters the Senate, we've ground to nearly a halt. Since he was elevated on 10 May, there have only been fifteen active topics in total.

And at any rate, he made more than one or two posts.
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There was no successful nominee from May.
------
So far as I can tell, there were no vote at all on the nominees from June.
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Steve was nominated in July and elevated in August. Since then, he has made multiple posts in the following topics:
Offering condolences to Alyeska Note that he started that discussion.
He has posted twice so far in this discussion.

As mentioned above, he started this thread. He also has one post in the following thread:
[Discussion] Testing page 3 lock

Note that I am not counting a further post in this thread, in which he wished Coyote well in an administrative announcement.

Steve has made five posts since he was elevated in August. Note that since he was elevated, there have been all of four discussions which were not announcements or votes; he posted in three of them, including this one. And he still posted more than "once or twice".
------
There were no elevations from the August nominees.
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There were no elevations from the September nominees.

So, your stated reason for not elevating anyone is that only a small percentage of Senators are participating. This is, flatly, bizarre, and Mad quite rightly pointed out the flaw in your logic: if the present Senators aren't participating, the most logical thing to do is to bring in new Senators. Your counter-argument was that the new Senators aren't participating either. You offer as evidence the fact that no Senator since Thanas in January has become an active participant, posting no more than "once or twice". This is factually untrue, as evidenced above. To review: Bounty, since he was elevated, has become one of the most active Senators. Stuart has posted exactly as many times as you. Tiriol is not a particularly active poster in general, but still found time to make 2/3 as many posts as you. Steve has had almost no opportunity to participate.

So, that's that. By your criteria, the new Senators are participating. By any measure, they're about as active as the old Senators. Yes, the Senate is quiet, but I'd chalk that up to 1) the House of Commons taking over discussions that formerly happened up here, and 2) a gradual creep of decision-making back into the mod forum. The last time the Senate voted to ban anyone was all the way back in January (Graeme Dice). Since then, eight more people have been banned. The Senate did vote to temp-ban Colefail, but that vote was cut short when the mods permbanned him without a vote. Since the Senate was explicitly formed to restore a measure of democracy to the banning process, this means that for the entirety of 2009, the Senate has been essentially stripped of one of its major duties. Its other purpose was to provide a forum to criticize board policies and make suggestions; that function is now split with the HoC. To take one example, the discussion about the Page 3 lock lasted two pages in the Senate and lasted 49 posts. The same discussion in the HoC lasted six pages and 130 posts. The HoC discussion on this topic is already longer than this one.

Oh, and just for the record: despite how quiet the Senate has been, the last time the Senate failed to reach a quorum was April 2007. So I think we're safe from that particular bugbear, too.
The Senate was supposed to have some kind of bar to entry to only let the more responsible folks in but in order to start it off Mike added a good deal of old timers who simply thanked him for the extra rights that Senator's have and are content to vote from time to time to keep those rights and care little for the Senate itself or the topics discussed herein
Okay, so if I'm reading between the lines correctly here, you're complaining that many of the charter members barely participate in the Senate. You've stated in the past you think the Senate should be half its present size; putting the two together, I'm guessing you'd like to kick those people out of the Senate.

All right, fine. Here's how you can do it: if you propose more stringent requirements to be considered "active", I'll read them and I'll vote for them if I think they're reasonable, and I figure there's a fair chance a majority of the Senate will as well.

What I don't understand is how you can possibly start from here and end up at "We shouldn't have any new Senators". Your one stated reason was entirely false; moreover, it would have taken five minutes of research to realize that (I knew you were totally wrong the minute I searched for all of Bounty's posts in the Senate; finding out Stuart, Tiriol, and Steve were also active was just gravy). And even if it was true, that would be an argument for improving the nomination process, not ending all admissions.

Having just read your post in the HoC, I don't know why you didn't just post that again, rather than this ridiculous justification. It's radical, but it would shake things up. Having said that, if you can't get your proposal passed, what's the point of continuing to vote down everyone who's nominated to enter? It won't make the situation any better, and judging by the last four, it won't make it any worse to let them in. As it stands, voting no on everyone means the same fossilized Senators sit around gathering more dust. Really, the only way it makes sense is as a deliberate strategy: choke the Senate until it dies completely and everyone agrees it's useless, and then either blow it up and start again or just disband it completely. Which, if that's actually what you're thinking, I'd rather you just come out and say it.
LadyTevar wrote:Actually, Red, I *have* gone on record stating the Senate is getting too big. I believe I stated this nearly a year ago, when we had 50 Senators.
That's probably why I listed you as one of the three people opposed to adding any new Senators.
That is why I will continue to vote "none" whenever a vote is brought up. If this makes Mr. Bean and I a "bloc" so be it.
You know, I think Bean's stated reasoning is deeply flawed and based on bad data, but at least he made an argument. As near as I can tell, your position is "We've reached an arbitrary number of Senators; now we're not going to let anyone else in." If you've ever given any kind of reasoning for setting 50 as the number, I'd love to see it.

And then once you've done that, perhaps you could explain why keeping the number at 50 means nobody new ever enters. If there really is a good reason for stopping at a certain number, that's the worst possible way to do it. It just contributes to the impression the Senate is a Super Special Club for old-time ASVSers and whoever was popular in 2006, and it's not even slightly fair to newer members. You want to keep the number at 50? Fine--we'll cycle people out by seniority, starting with the original members (we'll draw names out of a hat until they're--we're--all gone). Every month, we'll give one member a gold watch and a shiny "Senator Emeritus" title, and bring somebody new in to replace him.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Thanas » 2009-10-10 05:45am

I would pretty much agree with Red here. My other proposal would be to vastly lower the limit inactive senators get - that is, if they do miss two votes in a row, they are booted out (and if there are real RL reasons for why they cannot spend five minutes on reading and voting, then they can explain to the chancellor and he can place them on an inactive list).

Also, I would welcome mandatory reelections. That means, every year after having been elected to the senate, they have to be confirmed for reelection.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Hotfoot » 2009-10-10 10:52am

Re-elections get messy and waste time. The only purpose they really serve is giving us all something to do when there is really nothing to do at all.

Personally, I'm laughing at the people who were continually coming down on the House of Commons as a perpetually useless idea when in fact if it weren't for the participants there, we'd have had virtually nothing to talk about for, well, months.

And honestly, there's the thing. With the House of Commons making suggestions, a few times, the Senate itself has been bypassed completely, when good suggestions are made, rather than waiting on a vote per se, action can simply be taken.

I've actually voted "none" on the last several elections for the simple reason that I think the Senate has become slightly useless over the last several months, and that adding more people is only likely to cause discussion about, well, nothing in particular. Maybe not the best of reasoning overall, but hey.

As for things being slow, yes that is a good thing. The more cobwebs that grow on the Senate the better. I remember back in the beginning, when the Senate was a way to do two things: Fuck around and be spammy for the shit of it and bring bannable members to the attention of Mike and the Admins. Okay, there's a little bit in there about deciding board policy and all that, but it was rarely invoked. Then we got too serious, because we took the serious parts of our job to be super serious, and went from there. The spammy "lol budgets for martinis" funny part pretty much went to the wayside in favor of "srs bzns" and people thought that they had actual power, instead of being an advisory board that could have some fun most of the time.

So there I go.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by CmdrWilkens » 2009-10-10 01:31pm

Thanas wrote:I would pretty much agree with Red here. My other proposal would be to vastly lower the limit inactive senators get - that is, if they do miss two votes in a row, they are booted out (and if there are real RL reasons for why they cannot spend five minutes on reading and voting, then they can explain to the chancellor and he can place them on an inactive list).

Also, I would welcome mandatory reelections. That means, every year after having been elected to the senate, they have to be confirmed for reelection.
The only problem with this is that tracking who votes and who doesn't is a bit more complex as I will state flat out that I'm against requiring folks to post in vote threads that they have voted (I don't object to folks choosing to do so but I think its mostly a useless +!1 kinda post). So how non votes are tracked comes by a two level process:

- After the end of the voting period I check my PM outbox (there is a further problem with this in a moment). Any Senator who has not checked their PMs and at least read the acknowledgement is considered a non-vote unless
- After checking who didn't read their PMs I then check the vote thread and if a senator posted in the thread they are considered to have voted.

The problem is that when you PM multiple individuals so long as one of them reads the PM then it disappears from my outbox and all the folks on that are considered as having voted. The solution would be to switch back to individual PMs but frankly without an active Whip to help out (he is inactive as announced) that is gonna take a shitload more time than life with a newborn will allot me.

That said I have no issue with bringing members before the Senate for removal if they miss a certain number of consecutive votes so if anyone has a solution for the vote tracking issue I will happily begin rounding up the complacent amongst us.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Thanas » 2009-10-10 02:30pm

Choose someone as quasi-whip until Coyote returns and then start tracking?

Anyway, I just don't get it. 16 votes were for noone and so far there has been no other reason put forward for why we have not elected anyone in over four months than "I don't like it".
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by CmdrWilkens » 2009-10-10 06:00pm

Thanas wrote:Choose someone as quasi-whip until Coyote returns and then start tracking?
I'd be fine honestly if someone wants to help step up in to the role, we could go back to individual notifications and anyone who misses 4 straight votes gets brought before the Senate (or some other number of consecutive votes)
Anyway, I just don't get it. 16 votes were for noone and so far there has been no other reason put forward for why we have not elected anyone in over four months than "I don't like it".
Honestly I'm fine with that, sure it would be nice to know why a person voted the way they did (much as I would like to know why folks voted for Bush II in '04) but I hold to the idea of a secret ballot. If someone wishes to declare their opposition or support for a measure then power to them but I would vigorously oppose any measure that would seek to require a member explain their votes.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Thanas » 2009-10-10 06:08pm

CmdrWilkens wrote:
Thanas wrote:Choose someone as quasi-whip until Coyote returns and then start tracking?
I'd be fine honestly if someone wants to help step up in to the role, we could go back to individual notifications and anyone who misses 4 straight votes gets brought before the Senate (or some other number of consecutive votes)
I'd be up for it (until Coyote returns, that is).
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Stark » 2009-10-10 07:01pm

In previous discussion on this issue, I believe that Publius expressed his view of the Senate as a body membership of which involved no responsibilities, that was a reward for quality posters. I also remember from that period no consensus within The senate on what it 'should' be or entail. Bean has been the loudest proponent of the 'make it exclusive' concept.

I think, personally, that much of what Hav says is true. The senate is 'inactive' because activity has moved up to mods or down to house of whining. Senate votes aren't even required for summary bans or policy changes. I believe a clear vision for the senate going forward needs to be identified, and those who disagree or don't care should be removed after this is determined. Keeping votes moving s fine, but anyone paying attention doesn't need Wilkins' hard work to remind them.

In short, I think the senate now does the ban-voting just fine. Any grander ideas about policy discussion or tryhard playacting need an internal consensus. At the moment the senate appears to consist of several different attitudes which only find common ground in banvotes.

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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Tiriol » 2009-10-11 03:48am

I, for one, see some difficulties in enlarging the Senate, which can be summed by Stark's post: what is to be the Senate's role? If we are going to be an advisory body, then so be it, no harm in making the Senate bigger. However, if there is to be votes concerning the fates of posters, then I'd rather see a more manageable size of the Senate so that the quorum can be established in some decent amount of time. This option would either require us to stop electing new members or finally letting go of some of our more inactive or older members, whoever they may be.

I must admit that my own posting is sporadic at best, so if the ax would fall upon my neck in this case, so to speak, I wouldn't hold any ill will. That's just how things are, no use in crying over them. Since a vast majority of the Senate is composed of adults, I see no reason why others wouldn't have the same composure and understanding of the situation.

However, a little tangent about Senators' inactivity: it is possible that there aren't that many things that require Senate's attention or any discussion about it. The last two banned members, for example, were banned not due to a Senate vote, but rather by some higher-ups on their own initiative. And usually serious discussion is generated only when someone brings forth new ideas or notes some sort of problem on the boards; the time of silly topics like "martini budget raise" seem to have passed during the early days of the Senate. Of course, some are more active and willing to take initiative (like the possibility of a board banner for Sir Nitram getting its own thread), but mostly there's not even that. It may be hard to be an active Senate poster if there is nothing to discuss about, nobody brings anything discussion-worthy to your attention and there aren't silly threads any more. Just about the only reliable way to see if a Senator is currently bothering at all with the Senate are the votes; and in the history of the Senate, I think that only three Senators have been removed due to their inactivity.

In short: some clarification to the Senate's actual role might be nice and some definition of "inactive" might also be nice - and how to keep track of inactivity, which, as Wilkens pointed out, may be a little problematic until we get our Whip back.
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Hotfoot » 2009-10-11 04:08am

I actually have some honest questions I'd like some input on.

1. If the Senate were abolished tomorrow and replaced in function by the House of Commons, what would be lost? This applies to our individual losses as Senators and the loss to the board overall?

2. If we were to give the Senate ACTUAL power, what power would that be? What role should the Senate serve? Should we be mini-mods? Something less? Something more?

3. Given that the original point to the Senate was that it was supposed to be a reward, a playground with the possible promise of power, what perks should be given to Senators? What manner of privilege should we have?
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by GrandMasterTerwynn » 2009-10-11 02:55pm

Hotfoot wrote:I actually have some honest questions I'd like some input on.

1. If the Senate were abolished tomorrow and replaced in function by the House of Commons, what would be lost? This applies to our individual losses as Senators and the loss to the board overall?
We used to get actual tags which denoted who was, and wasn't a Senator. Also, on the old board software, Senators had unlimited post-editing abilities that the unwashed masses weren't permitted; we don't have this now. So, abolishing the Senate tomorrow wouldn't really remove the recognition that being a member of the Senate confers (since it doesn't confer any to begin with.) At the moment, it doesn't really serve any function, since the function of making suggestions about peripheral things related to the running of the board has been effectively hijacked by the SRS BZNSS Annex of Testingstan House of Commons; and we seem to have gone back to banning by Star Chamber.
2. If we were to give the Senate ACTUAL power, what power would that be? What role should the Senate serve? Should we be mini-mods? Something less? Something more?
If we were to give Senators actual moderating capabilities, we'd probably have to reduce the size of the Senate drastically, with each Senator being vetted by the board staff. While having a bunch of new mini-mods would end complaints of the board being under-staffed once and for all, we would probably invoke the opposite complaint . . . that the board would now be grossly overstaffed for its size and level of activity. If one were to give Senators any moderating power at all, we could make it so that Senators could be allowed to use the Report button for general moderating attention (i.e. the "Hall monitor",) beyond the "fire alarm" purpose that is currently allowed to everyone who who isn't a moderator. Though this does smack of backseat moderating (though, in theory, Senators with actual power should have some actual responsibility and authority,) and I'm not sure if it would do anything useful beyond increasing the workload of the board staff.
3. Given that the original point to the Senate was that it was supposed to be a reward, a playground with the possible promise of power, what perks should be given to Senators? What manner of privilege should we have?
Bring back the "Senator" tag (why did that go away to begin with)? If we want to give rewards and recognition, then we ought to have something that easily distinguishes a Senator from someone who isn't one. Leave the Senate sub-forum as a playground, but divest it of any actual authority. That way, we can recognize and honor people who deserve to be honored without having months go by where "None of the Above" wins elections because people feel that the Senate is growing too large and unwieldy for a body that's supposed to have some authority. That, or abolish the House of Commons and return the discussions that start there to the Senate.

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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Steve » 2009-10-11 05:39pm

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
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Re: [Discussion]Ideal size of the Senate

Post by Hotfoot » 2009-10-11 06:21pm

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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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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