[EM] Noise (Was: Credentials?)

Ken Kuhlman ken at redlagoon.net
Fri Jan 19 15:23:11 PST 2007

On 1/19/07, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <abd at lomaxdesign.com> wrote:
> At 12:33 PM 1/19/2007, Ken Kuhlman wrote:
> >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.

Sure, we could turn the czar into a bureaucrat & neuter them until
they're powerless outside  of a narrowly defined set of rules we
create for them.

However, Robert's Rules are designed for meetings with a defined
agenda, and this listserv isn't really a meeting, nor does it have a
defined agenda.  We could probably impose a bunch of rules on
ourselves to make make RONR more applicable, but it's not clear to me
that the result would be an improvement over the free-wheeling debate
we have currently.

There are also a host of practical problems.. Who would serve as
chair? What would be their incentive to run for office?  And what
election method would be used to select them? :-)

Elected leaders are sometimes a necessary evil, but they are a poor
substitute for direct democracy within a group of informed individuals
full of enlightened self-interest.

> >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.

I'm sorry to be so harsh, but "I don't have time to think about your
suggestion, so I'm just going to tell you what I've already decided"
isn't good enough.  In fact, you've given me another reason to argue
against moderation.

On the surface, your comment is inoffensive.  Your post is polite, and
well-enough reasoned. You've certainly given no reason for a potential
moderator to reject your post.  However, by ignoring the proposal at
hand & redirecting to your own agenda, you've engaged in a degree of
slight-of-hand.  If given the opportunity, I would rank your response
low to medium low.  You might find reason to do the same to this reply
of mine.  I assert there's value in being able to do that.

If we can agree on that much, then the question becomes "what do we do
with these post ratings?  how shall they be aggregated?  what impact
should sustained low quality posting have on an individual?"   Since
we're a bunch of people who love to argue, would could probably carry
on over those questions indefinitely.  For the sake of making progress
on a very important issue that's been neglected for too long, I
propose that the group adopt an existing set of standards.  Nabble has
an interesting system established, though there may be others worth

> 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.

I agree enough with this sentiment to let it stand without argument
(my concerns about Range don't really come into play in these
conditions).   So, let's hear some more arguments so that we can move
towards that consensus!


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