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A question for the presidential candidates.

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5/15/2014 10:03:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I originally wrote this to Bladerunner in a PM, and I haven't gone through it thoroughly enough to ensure that I've taken out references to him, so just generalize this to be directed to anyone when you read it.

How much power do you think a president has to move the site in a direction Juggle disagrees with? If, say, someone ran under a ticket advocating that, using a random example, swearing would be encouraged under their administration, do you think that Juggle would recognize him/her if they were elected? Would they only pick and choose to follow the suggestions that also fit their interests? If so, how can you say that the president would be anything but a spokesman to Juggle? They are in total control, and I think that they might as well do whatever they want, given that nothing the president does will influence them in any drastic respect. If the president has no real power in that respect, in what areas would he be able to do something that a normal non-elected user couldn't?

If I had to choose, I would probably vote for Bladerunner, but I think that the presidency has way too much emphasis put on it. It would make more sense for Juggle just to make the winner a moderator or something, just to give the election real weight. Even then, they're not just going to give mod powers to anyone - meaning that they might as well cut out any fluff and just appoint whoever they want to be a mod.

In fact, the position of a moderator only carries the weight that Juggle gives it - meaning that, if Airmax would, for example, ban everyone on the site, his mod powers would certainly be revoked. He does have a say, yeah, but only in the parameters already established by Juggle. There's nothing wrong with this, mind you, but I just think that the true nature of things isn't really said - instead, people seem to think that people in these positions have more power than they really do.

What do you think would be different between two scenarios - one in which you win the election, and one in which someone else does?

I hope that makes sense, and I hope I'm not coming off as being rude or whatever. I have no problems with you or Airmax or whoever else (I think you're all great members and the people who keep this site working).

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
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5/15/2014 10:26:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
(This is a slight revision of my response to bossy in the PM he sent)

Thanks for the thoughtful questions! You aren't coming off as rude at all, I don't think, so don't worry about it--I think it's good that folks have questions. I'm going to address things a bit out of order, I hope that's okay...

You asked how much power I think a president has to move the site in a direction Juggle disagrees with. The answer is: Not much.

But as far as I'm concerned, the job of the president is to make them agree with it--which then means it's not a direction they disagree with any more. It's part of why I think "president" is almost a misnomer, because it tends to make folks think it has more power than it really has, a point you bring up. I agree that sometimes there's too much emphasis put on the position of president, as though he has a magic wand to make things happen. The things in my platform that would require Juggle's help aren't things that I can promise--that's why I made some promises that I can do entirely on my own (such as the voting one) that can have a real concrete benefit for folks. The more ambitious things are to show folks the vision I have, in the hopes that it's a vision they share, that we can work on getting Juggle on board with (if they're not immediately on board with at least some of it already).

I don't intend to give them a list of demands if I get elected--I might not even be able to work on all of those things, but I'm trying to show the way I see us going--in the hopes that others would like to see us going the same way. At the risk of sounding too politician-y, my platform is an attempt to balance short term solutions with long term vision.

The presidency in general is really is more akin to a diplomatic position. The president is the diplomat of the nation of "users", trying to use his consular position in the nation of "Juggle" to get them to agree to what the users want. If that's not too twisted an analogy...

It's true--the relative lack of "real" power means a non-elected user could do much of the same things in theory. But at the same time, the same can be said for diplomats. If you wanted to go over to Russia and chat with Putin, you could in theory do everything a diplomat can. Look at Denis Rodman and North Korea! (Not that his friendship in NK has done anything for America, but still, he's gone over there and talked to the guy)

But you'd lack some of the information a diplomat has, and you wouldn't have that "foot in the door" as it were--Putin would be unlikely to even see you. Similarly, members HAVE gone directly to Juggle before, but the default person to go to Juggle is the president.

In the end, you're right that they can do whatever they want. But while there are some things that are absolutes for them,, for quite a lot of things they're open to options. (And I think even in those absolutes, there's probably room to try to change their mind...just a whole lot less room). But that the owners of a website can do whatever they want with that website is always the case. Here we have the owners of THIS place specifically reaching out, asking us to give them a representative.

I don't plan on agitating for the president to have mod powers, because they are different roles. I think that airmax did fine in both, but I feel like it's easier for him to focus on his job now, and (assuming he gets along with the president) just help the president in his job, than it was when airmax had both jobs.

Mods are chosen by juggle because of the real power that they do have. But leadership does not necessarily require power. Good leaders use their authority to lead without having to HAVE power. Don't get me wrong--this is the internet, there's going to have to be someone with power, because the internet has many an idiot, hence the mods. But while the mods are dealing with the nitty gritty of s****y people, the president is, hopefully, dealing with more lofty aspirations. (With overlap, presuming they're working together well, of course).

You asked what would be different in the two scenarios, one where I win, and one where I lose.

That strongly depends on who wins in the scenario where I lose, though...and I'm not going to say anything in any direction about the other candidates running at present, except that they're fine members.

Obviously, I think I can do the best job, which is why I'm running. But that doesn't mean I think the sky would fall if another qualified member beat me. If they did, I would support them as much as I could on whatever they'd let me help on. I'd hope they can cultivate the kind of rapport with the mods, Juggle, and the users that we can all get what we want. I might be pessimistic and, again depending on who it is, might be VERY pessimistic on the odds of that... but it would be my hope.

If I win, I have a great deal of confidence that I can work with the mods and Juggle to represent the community--I know I've helped with some things that they liked, so I believe they like the cut of my jib, and I've worked with airmax on several things successfully as well.

So to stop beating around the bush, I guess the difference is my confidence level in things improving. Which sounds arrogant when I read it... but I really am confident I can work with the community, the mods, and Juggle to get things done that make all of us happier. I love this place, and I wouldn't have run if I didn't really think I can make a difference, and I think I can make the most and best difference...but I don't actually care that it's ME making the difference; the title is not why I'm running.

I hope that's a good and not too rambling answer for you...I'm at work (revision note: still at work!), which means it's harder to make sure I keep my tendency towards longwindedness in check, but I wanted to respond promptly.
Assistant moderator to airmax1227. PM me with any questions or concerns!
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5/16/2014 2:07:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Good questions, which I'm glad you asked.

On the president's power to move the site in a direction Juggle disagrees with

I think first we need to establish what Juggle's ideas for the direction of the site are and, to my mind, this is fairly simple. Juggle have stated that they will develop the areas of the site which get the most traffic - which would indicate that Juggle want more traffic for the site, which is hardly surprising.

What I don't think they care that much about is where that traffic goes - so if the President were to actively encourage new users to join for the Debates and Forums, I think Juggle would still be pleased, because traffic leads to ad revenue and this makes Juggle happy.

But it's also important to remember that, as you said, the president doesn't actually have that much more power than the rest of the community other than a mandate and discussion channels with Juggle. This means that I don't think there's much more they could do to encourage dissent merely by virtue of being the president. The president can swear in their forum posts, but any of us can do that. The president simply doesn't have the power or leverage to combat things such as the moderation policy to anyone's detriment other than their own.

So from a behavioural point of view, it's hard to imagine how a president could really do much to go against Juggle's ideas. From the point of view of site traffic, any president whose efforts inspire more traffic is bound to be liked by Juggle.

On winning and losing

This is an interesting question for me because - as I openly stated in my platform thread - I am running in this election to show that a platform like mine does demonstrate public support in the hope that other campaigns will recognise this and amend aspects of their platforms, at which point I will drop out.

There isn't that much difference between me being elected and not being elected because I'd still like to support the administration of whoever does win - because I have no emotional investment in winning this race and, indeed, am entering the race with pretty much total certainty that it is a race I will not win. I'm here to exert pressure more than anything else and, if people like my ideas, I'd be delighted to work with the winning candidate and that is my active plan.

And if I were elected... I know that I would need all the help I can get. The presidency has to be collaborative, and I think every candidate has spoken about other positions they would create around them in the event of election.

Hope this answered your questions.
I'm back (ish).