[EM] Noise (Was: Credentials?)

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Fri Jan 19 10:26:43 PST 2007

At 12:33 PM 1/19/2007, Ken Kuhlman wrote:
>Do you find it at all ironic to be recommending the establishment of 
>a dictator
>to solve the problems of a group dedicated to promoting democracy &
>election methods?

I did, and I wrote to him.

>Free speech may be messy, but it's better than selling our souls &
>bowing before a moderator czar.

That's not the only possible solution. Indeed, the solution has been 
known as in widespread use for a long, long time. It's called 
Robert's Rules of Order, and the chair is the equivalent of a 
moderator; the members of the "meeting" have absolute authority over 
the chair at all times, the chair merely acts as the servant of the 
majority, with the proper respect accorded to minority opinion that 
is enshrined in Robert's Rules.

Which allows the expression of any opinion, but under rules of order.

>Perhaps there's another method of organizing the group that can help
>alleviate some of the pain, however.   I recently ran across the free
>list serving site Nabble, which has an innovative solution to these
>problems.  Take a look at www.nabble.com, particularly the FAQ
>question here: http://www.nabble.com/help/Answer.jtp?id=28.
>Does anyone have experience with Nabble, or know of other reasonable
>solutions to this problem?  It's time we stop pretending the problem
>doesn't exist.

At this stage, there is a simple solution. I've got the flu today and 
a headache, so I don't have the strength to look at Nabble. But, 
quite simply, the group should have an active moderator with the 
power to put a member who is disruptive to the list, causing harm, 
defined, if necessary, by vote. At this stage, it is quite sufficient 
to guarantee freedom of speech that nothing the moderator does is 
secret, and, further, that the moderator will respect a vote of the 
"membership." Votes under RR are almost always simple Yes/No 
questions; the amendment process is used to make the kinds of 
refinement of the question that is reflected in Condorcet or Range 
criteria, so we don't need to use advanced election methods in the process.

However, where there are a number of choices to be made, Range is 
excellent for gathering information about the state of the 
membership, for the use of the moderator as well as for the members 
should a motion be presented for vote. A Range vote could drastically 
shorten the deliberative time necessary to discover consensus, and 
groups like this should always attempt to reach broad consensus, 
particularly before taking drastic action.

A moderator is trusted to take such action is necessary *prior* to a 
group decision, but subject to review and appeal....

There are ways to keep this tidy, this list does not have to become 
cluttered with arguments about process that distract from its 
purpose, but I'll leave a description of those ways for later....

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