[Discussion] Senate Reform

A failed experiment whereby board users were invited to advise the Senate, and instead attempted to replace the Senate.
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Vendetta
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[Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Vendetta » 2008-12-03 03:33pm

A recurring theme in This thread is that the Senate in it's current form is not percieved as fulfilling the task it was designed for, and that the perception of Senators is not as an administrative one but as an exclusive "club" on the board.

I propose that in order to restore the senate to it's original role as an administrative assistant to the board staff it be changed in the following ways:

Membership of the senate reduced to the administration and moderation staff plus 24 ordinary board members (accounting for an increased moderation staff as has been suggested, this would retain the senate at a reasonable size).

New members are nominated for the senate every three months, nominations take place in the House of Commons and any board user registered for more than three months may nominate or be nominated.

The current senate votes on the nominated individuals and chooses three new members from the pool of nominees. At the time these members enter the senate, the three longest serving members leave.

Membership of the senate is limited to two years, and members are not eligible for re-election until three months after their term expires.

I also propose that the operation of the senate be changed thusly:

Proposals and suggestions for improvements to the board and the rules for posting should first be posted in the House of Commons whether by a current Senator or ordinary user, after a set period of discussion the Senate votes to either support a suggestion or not.

Proposals for censure of members or other posting rule infractions not severe enough to be summarily dealt with by moderators arise in the Senate itself and are discussed there and voted on according to the voting rules of the Senate.

Also, since the current board software does not include notification of who is or is not a Senator, a sticky post should be placed in the Senate forum with a list of all current Senators.

Anyone else have any thoughts about where to take the Senate?

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Big Phil » 2008-12-03 03:38pm

The idea seems fine to me, if the goal is to develop a representative, functional body. Good luck getting this passed, however... :wink:
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Darth Fanboy » 2008-12-03 03:47pm

I like this proposal, but i'd like it more if you increase the time between nominations from 3 months to 4 or 6 months. 4 times a year to replace or re elect Senators seems a little much.
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Vendetta » 2008-12-03 03:50pm

I admit that that was a number pulled out of thin air. Specifics can be thrashed out depending on how much administrative work a rolling membership would create and how practical it is to get that done regularly.

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Darth Fanboy » 2008-12-03 03:54pm

The other issue with a rolling staff that I would bring up is that, if the Senate continues to be a private usergroup, then this is a proposal that would create more work for the staff, and although I like the idea I will also admit that any way it could be implemented without adding to that workload would greatly improve it as well.

But I think you are right on in putting this idea forward, because a rolling body would help alleviate many of the criticisms.
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Coyote » 2008-12-03 04:04pm

I, personally, would go with Fall nominations & votes, and 1-year service (Fall, because that's when many people go to school and the maximum number of participants have access to reliable internet). But that's just me...

Also, if the proposed loosening up of Editing privilges goes through (allowing editing pretty much everywhere except N&P and the Coliseum) then having the mods monitor who's a Senator and who isn't and playing "catch-up" with editing availability won't be a problem-- I'd just remove Editing entirely from Senate membership since it would only affect the N&P/Coliseum arenas.
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Libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to the phrase, "Work Will Make You Free."


In Libertarianism, there is no Government, so the Bosses are free to exploit the Workers.
In Communism, there is no Government, so the Workers are free to exploit the Bosses.
So in Libertarianism, man exploits man, but in Communism, its the other way around!

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Vendetta » 2008-12-03 06:18pm

Destructionator XIII wrote:
Vendetta wrote: any board user registered for more than three months may nominate or be nominated.
This seems unnecessary; someone here for less than three months isn't likely to pass ratification anyway, and if he does, maybe he deserves it.
Mostly it should stop idle sock nominations. It won't stop people preparing a sock in advance, of course, but it will set the "can people be arsed" bar a little higher.

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Ace Pace » 2008-12-04 02:35am

Vendetta wrote:
Mostly it should stop idle sock nominations. It won't stop people preparing a sock in advance, of course, but it will set the "can people be arsed" bar a little higher.
What sock puppet nominations? Why invent rules for no purpose to protect against a maybe of someone abusing power?
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2008-12-04 07:10am

Membership of the senate reduced to the administration and moderation staff plus 24 ordinary board members (accounting for an increased moderation staff as has been suggested, this would retain the senate at a reasonable size).
Why this number, and how do you define "ordinary board members?"
New members are nominated for the senate every three months, nominations take place in the House of Commons and any board user registered for more than three months may nominate or be nominated.
Every three months seems a bit much. Do we want a perpetual election cycle? Given how long a vote might take if people are busy/away, we might have elections all the time. Of course, this depends on how long a vote can be expected to take. I don't know about that, so maybe its not an issue.

Also, I would base elligebillity on post count. Personally, I would say above 1000 posts, both because its a nice solid number and to relieve any suspisions that I'm proposing this to allow my own nomination. :wink: In any case, post count is a better indication of someone's committment to and knowledge of the board, since someone could have been here for months and made only a handful of posts, while learning very little of the intricicies of the board. :) This seems to be the best way to prevent frivolous nominations of people who either shouldn't be Senators, or aren't well know/respected enough to win any way.
The current senate votes on the nominated individuals and chooses three new members from the pool of nominees. At the time these members enter the senate, the three longest serving members leave.
If the Senate picks its replacements, how will that alter the perception that its an "old boy's club?" Otherwise, I agree.
Membership of the senate is limited to two years, and members are not eligible for re-election until three months after their term expires.
Open to reelection in six months, given my above complaint.
I also propose that the operation of the senate be changed thusly:

Proposals and suggestions for improvements to the board and the rules for posting should first be posted in the House of Commons whether by a current Senator or ordinary user, after a set period of discussion the Senate votes to either support a suggestion or not.
I see no harm in this, but no gain either beyond preventing redundant threads in the Senate and House.
Proposals for censure of members or other posting rule infractions not severe enough to be summarily dealt with by moderators arise in the Senate itself and are discussed there and voted on according to the voting rules of the Senate.
Any particular reason why such points should be raised in the Senate while other points are raised in the House?
Also, since the current board software does not include notification of who is or is not a Senator, a sticky post should be placed in the Senate forum with a list of all current Senators.
I believe someone else has already covered this.
Anyone else have any thoughts about where to take the Senate?
I'll get back to you. :D
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Vendetta » 2008-12-04 07:40am

The Romulan Republic wrote:Why this number, and how do you define "ordinary board members?"
The number is arbitrary and open to refining as necessary. "Ordinary board members" means everyone not a mod or admin.
The Romulan Republic wrote:Also, I would base elligebillity on post count.
I wouldn't, because there are a number of low post count users who are extremely long term members who make good contributions (especially in SLAM), and anyone can be a spammy fucker. (Hell, I can't think of any reason other than idle curiosity to track post count anyway)
The Romulan Republic wrote:If the Senate picks its replacements, how will that alter the perception that its an "old boy's club?" Otherwise, I agree.
Because the nominations have to come from outside, and current members aren't eligible for renomination in the same cycle they leave in.
The Romulan Republic wrote:Any particular reason why such points should be raised in the Senate while other points are raised in the House?
Partly because right now given how various entrenched vendettas are gently simmering in the background I suspect that half the board wants to ban the other half, and you'd see nothing but ban polls for every member under the sun...

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2008-12-04 07:49am

The number is arbitrary and open to refining as necessary. "Ordinary board members" means everyone not a mod or admin.
Ok. That seems reasonable.
I wouldn't, because there are a number of low post count users who are extremely long term members who make good contributions (especially in SLAM), and anyone can be a spammy fucker. (Hell, I can't think of any reason other than idle curiosity to track post count anyway)
Fair point, but one can be around for a year and be a largely useless spammer.
Because the nominations have to come from outside, and current members aren't eligible for renomination in the same cycle they leave in.
Fair enough.
Partly because right now given how various entrenched vendettas are gently simmering in the background I suspect that half the board wants to ban the other half, and you'd see nothing but ban polls for every member under the sun...
A perfectly valid concern. You're probably right on this point.
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by CmdrWilkens » 2008-12-04 06:00pm

Vendetta wrote:A recurring theme in This thread is that the Senate in it's current form is not percieved as fulfilling the task it was designed for, and that the perception of Senators is not as an administrative one but as an exclusive "club" on the board.

I propose that in order to restore the senate to it's original role as an administrative assistant to the board staff it be changed in the following ways:

Let me say overall I like this and I just want to throw a few things out there for everyone to chew on:
Membership of the senate reduced to the administration and moderation staff plus 24 ordinary board members (accounting for an increased moderation staff as has been suggested, this would retain the senate at a reasonable size).
Mini-mods included or not? This is actually a question that is currently a bit unsettled as not all of the mini-mods are Senators and some of the Mini-mods should probably get shuffled out with the general Mod shakeup folks have been hinting at. Aside from that the Mod staff [were we to have 1 dedicated mod/forum, 2 SuperMods per category and a Chancellor with supermod powers] accounts for 17 users, since we are advocating more Mods than that call is 20 that actually pass muster. With 24 "Senators" that would give us 44 members...in other words I think a few more Senators would be worthwhile in that I would think 50 is about the minimum critical mass for getting a difference of opinion.
New members are nominated for the senate every three months, nominations take place in the House of Commons and any board user registered for more than three months may nominate or be nominated.

The current senate votes on the nominated individuals and chooses three new members from the pool of nominees. At the time these members enter the senate, the three longest serving members leave.

Membership of the senate is limited to two years, and members are not eligible for re-election until three months after their term expires.

I like the overall idea with a few modifications:
1) I think once/ six months would be better in terms of frequency. It takes time to run through an election process.
2) Two year terms are about right but we would now be rotating 6 Senators per nomination cycle
3) I don't like the term limits, if folks think a current senator is doing just fine then they should be able to re-nominate only any Senator nominated for re-election would have to recuse themselves from the vote.

I also propose that the operation of the senate be changed thusly:

Proposals and suggestions for improvements to the board and the rules for posting should first be posted in the House of Commons whether by a current Senator or ordinary user, after a set period of discussion the Senate votes to either support a suggestion or not.
We've been beating the 'set discussion period' thing to death and I keep coming back to the idea that setting any pre-determined limit is counter productive. I have no issue with board rule/policy suggestions originating in the HoC but I think a deadline for debate is foolish.
Proposals for censure of members or other posting rule infractions not severe enough to be summarily dealt with by moderators arise in the Senate itself and are discussed there and voted on according to the voting rules of the Senate.
Sounds good.
Also, since the current board software does not include notification of who is or is not a Senator, a sticky post should be placed in the Senate forum with a list of all current Senators.
Mostly covered under the rules for the Whip but I see your point...as an aside to others the Senate list only indicates if a user is a Senator but not a mini-mod or mod...in other words it doesn't list the total membership.


As a final aside I think new Moderator nominations, ethics complaints, censure, etc should proceed through the Senate.
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Darth Fanboy » 2008-12-04 06:26pm

CmdrWilkens wrote: As a final aside I think new Moderator nominations, ethics complaints, censure, etc should proceed through the Senate.
Why should new moderator nominations go solely through the Senate? The Senate has already allowed previous nomination efforts to stagnate for three weeks and then nothing else was said for three weeks.
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by GrandMasterTerwynn » 2008-12-04 06:31pm

Darth Fanboy wrote:
CmdrWilkens wrote: As a final aside I think new Moderator nominations, ethics complaints, censure, etc should proceed through the Senate.
Why should new moderator nominations go solely through the Senate? The Senate has already allowed previous nomination efforts to stagnate for three weeks and then nothing else was said for three weeks.
We've sortof made this a moot point by flinging open the doors to moderator nomination here. I'm assuming that it's got some sort of official blessing as Coyote created the official nomination thread here, and he's the HoC mod.

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by CmdrWilkens » 2008-12-04 06:33pm

Darth Fanboy wrote:
CmdrWilkens wrote: As a final aside I think new Moderator nominations, ethics complaints, censure, etc should proceed through the Senate.
Why should new moderator nominations go solely through the Senate? The Senate has already allowed previous nomination efforts to stagnate for three weeks and then nothing else was said for three weeks.
Because we have no power to do so? Let me repeat that...the Senate did nothing because it doesn't have the power to do anything.

RedImp posted a recruitment thread but ascension was at the discretion of the mods as the Senate itself has, and I'll say it a third time, no power to elevate anyone to Mod status.
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Darth Fanboy » 2008-12-04 06:36pm

Wilkens maybe I am misinterpreting, do you mean the Senate or are you including the HoC in that?
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Coyote » 2008-12-04 06:47pm

If we're going to keep the Senate (and I do think it is a good idea), then we simply should just delineate exactly what the Senate is. Is it merely an advisory body to the Mod staff? Or is is also supposed to represent the will of the people in regards to the Board's handling and policies?

In all this, I think it also important to remember-- seriously, how much effort & energy are we going to put into all this? I mean, it's fun to be here and reinvent the wheels of democracy, and all that, but it's a BBS. :wink:
Something about Libertarianism always bothered me. Then one day, I realized what it was:
Libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to the phrase, "Work Will Make You Free."


In Libertarianism, there is no Government, so the Bosses are free to exploit the Workers.
In Communism, there is no Government, so the Workers are free to exploit the Bosses.
So in Libertarianism, man exploits man, but in Communism, its the other way around!

If all you want to do is have some harmless, mindless fun, go H3RE INST3ADZ0RZ!!
Grrr! Fight my Brute, you pansy!

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Darth Fanboy » 2008-12-04 07:00pm

Waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy too much thought being put in to this right now, so i'm going to take a step back. I started getting active in this part of the forum because I think the board needs more moderators and wanted to bring the issue up peacefully but I don't want to be involved in trying to define the role of the Senate, that's what the Senate has been doing itself for months now and that's part of the reason people view it as ridiculous.
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Stark » 2008-12-04 07:11pm

Listen Vendetta, it was OBVIOUSLY all a joke okay? So don't take it seriously and it'll be fine!

Is this a serious solution to an OBVIOUSLY not serious problem?

BTW I'm digging how nobody has the balls to agree with me by name, that's really sweet and OBVIOUSLY not serious! :D

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Vendetta » 2008-12-04 08:07pm

Stark wrote:Listen Vendetta, it was OBVIOUSLY all a joke okay? So don't take it seriously and it'll be fine!

Is this a serious solution to an OBVIOUSLY not serious problem?

BTW I'm digging how nobody has the balls to agree with me by name, that's really sweet and OBVIOUSLY not serious! :D
Whether the senate was originally intended as a joke or not, that's not what it's currently being used as, nor has it ever been used that way. It's being used as, and defended by everyone who wants to keep it as, a serious component of the board's administration.

Also, given that the current atmosphere is that there is a problem with the culture of the board, and that cultural problem is as deeply evident in the senate as anywhere else, and possibly even more so, since many of the entrenched positions, grudges, and vendettas causing it involve or are between senators, then it is a serious problem.

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Coyote » 2008-12-04 08:09pm

Hey, we could go all out! There's a "PayPal" link, right? We could start Taxation! Charge by the postcount-- that'll cut down on spam posts, and bring in revenue per traffic! Mods and Admins would get paid!

...and we can then, umm, have a Defense Budget for the MESS and I can buy that nice new Glock 23 I wanted. And we can buy rubber pants for GALE, new shoes for SOS-NBA... :D
Something about Libertarianism always bothered me. Then one day, I realized what it was:
Libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to the phrase, "Work Will Make You Free."


In Libertarianism, there is no Government, so the Bosses are free to exploit the Workers.
In Communism, there is no Government, so the Workers are free to exploit the Bosses.
So in Libertarianism, man exploits man, but in Communism, its the other way around!

If all you want to do is have some harmless, mindless fun, go H3RE INST3ADZ0RZ!!
Grrr! Fight my Brute, you pansy!

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Coyote » 2008-12-04 08:12pm

Vendetta wrote: Whether the senate was originally intended as a joke or not, that's not what it's currently being used as, nor has it ever been used that way. It's being used as, and defended by everyone who wants to keep it as, a serious component of the board's administration.

Also, given that the current atmosphere is that there is a problem with the culture of the board, and that cultural problem is as deeply evident in the senate as anywhere else, and possibly even more so, since many of the entrenched positions, grudges, and vendettas causing it involve or are between senators, then it is a serious problem.
And, seriously, that is one of the things I'd like to iron out in all this, while of course bearing in mind that we're not going to get everyone to get along entirely, or in many cases to even like each other.
Something about Libertarianism always bothered me. Then one day, I realized what it was:
Libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to the phrase, "Work Will Make You Free."


In Libertarianism, there is no Government, so the Bosses are free to exploit the Workers.
In Communism, there is no Government, so the Workers are free to exploit the Bosses.
So in Libertarianism, man exploits man, but in Communism, its the other way around!

If all you want to do is have some harmless, mindless fun, go H3RE INST3ADZ0RZ!!
Grrr! Fight my Brute, you pansy!

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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by CmdrWilkens » 2008-12-05 08:28am

Darth Fanboy wrote:Wilkens maybe I am misinterpreting, do you mean the Senate or are you including the HoC in that?
I mean both. Right now, and I'm only speaking of right now, neither the Senate nor the HoC has any actual power to grant Mod status to a member. That remains in the sole proprietary hands of the current Admin staff. The Senate hasn't acted because the Senate can't act. Both Red's thread and Coyote's thread are places where folks can express interest, think of it as CareerBuilder.com for forum moderators, but the people who will do the actual selection are the Admins.
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Darth Fanboy » 2008-12-05 11:27am

CmdrWilkens wrote: I mean both. Right now, and I'm only speaking of right now,
Ok cool, I misinterpreted.
neither the Senate nor the HoC has any actual power to grant Mod status to a member. That remains in the sole proprietary hands of the current Admin staff.
I've said repeatedly that I know this, and that the whole point of asking about it in here is to figure out if this is what everyone else wants, and it seems to be the case. Nobody has come out and argued that more mods are not needed, even when they do not believe more mods is going to solve most of the problems going on lately.
The Senate hasn't acted because the Senate can't act. Both Red's thread and Coyote's thread are places where folks can express interest, think of it as CareerBuilder.com for forum moderators, but the people who will do the actual selection are the Admins.
I count those threads in the Senate as "acting." But I also watched as those ideas died for three weeks without any kind of responses and I feel it is important to keep this discussion going now because of how badly it is needed.
"If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little."
-George Carlin (1937-2008)

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Coyote
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Re: [Discussion] Senate Reform

Post by Coyote » 2008-12-05 01:31pm

This stuff will only go so far as people carry it. Let's take a look at the House of Commons so far-- there's really just a couple dozen non-Senators posting here, and of that group, there's maybe about a dozen of them that are posting regularly (ie, Vendetta, Starglider, Ray245, Coffee, Havokeff, etc).

What I most assuredly do NOT want to hear is a bunch of whimpering in the future after decisions are made. No one needs their "special helmet" on to post here; any voice can be heard. If we elect Mods here based on, what, three dozen peoples' votes, and people complain later about thoise Mods representing "a few", I will have a nanotech-sized violin play a few bars of sympathy for them.
Something about Libertarianism always bothered me. Then one day, I realized what it was:
Libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to the phrase, "Work Will Make You Free."


In Libertarianism, there is no Government, so the Bosses are free to exploit the Workers.
In Communism, there is no Government, so the Workers are free to exploit the Bosses.
So in Libertarianism, man exploits man, but in Communism, its the other way around!

If all you want to do is have some harmless, mindless fun, go H3RE INST3ADZ0RZ!!
Grrr! Fight my Brute, you pansy!

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