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*Presidency Referendum Discussion Thread*

YYW
Posts: 36,249
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7/10/2016 3:44:03 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
This is the official referendum on the presidency discussion thread, and it is the first of two referenda we will have.

VOTING takes place in THIS THREAD:

http://www.debate.org...

The first decision is on the question of whether to abolish the presidency.

The second decision is on the question of whether to adopt the convention scheme. This thread is NOT about adopting the convention scheme, however. That will come after the end of this referendum, along with a unique discussion thread --although certainly people can discuss the conventions here if they desire.

We cannot decide to adopt the convention scheme in lieu of the presidency until we decide whether to keep the presidency, because whether to abolish the presidency is a different issue than whether to replace it with something else.

The reason for breaking the two decisions up is to ensure maximal representation, which is most fair to users. There are some people who desire to have you chose between three choices, which would result in an unrepresentative outcome.

The decision must be bifurcated because you can want both to abolish the presidency and adopt the convention scheme, OR you can want to abolish the presidency and not adopt the convention scheme.

Many people have very strong feelings on whether the presidency should remain or be abolished, and this thread shall serve the purpose of allowing them to talk about that in light of the referendum going on now.

Additionally, since the proposal will be considered in a week from now, it might be good for one of the conventions supporters, as well, to outline in a plain and clear fashion exactly what that is, and why they think it should be adopted.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,249
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7/10/2016 4:32:18 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
This is DDO's Brexit moment.

Curiously, the same people who opposed Brexit tend to oppose having a referendum on the presidency.
Tsar of DDO
tejretics
Posts: 6,080
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7/10/2016 5:09:33 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
The Presidency has damaged people, and has damaged the site. As such, it should be abolished. That's basically my opinion.

I disagree that the Presidency is "worthless" or anything like that. It has its uses... it grants greater legitimacy, in the eyes of newcomers, to the Outreach Program, and it could potentially act as a check to moderation (i.e. Harder's plan to reform it). But the harm is severe: as stated above, the Presidency damages people emotionally and intellectually. It spoils the DDO experience for people. The "drama" created by it is utterly pointless, and ends up kicking users out of the site.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
YYW
Posts: 36,249
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7/10/2016 5:21:34 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/10/2016 5:09:33 PM, tejretics wrote:
The Presidency has damaged people, and has damaged the site. As such, it should be abolished. That's basically my opinion.

I disagree that the Presidency is "worthless" or anything like that. It has its uses... it grants greater legitimacy, in the eyes of newcomers, to the Outreach Program, and it could potentially act as a check to moderation (i.e. Harder's plan to reform it). But the harm is severe: as stated above, the Presidency damages people emotionally and intellectually. It spoils the DDO experience for people. The "drama" created by it is utterly pointless, and ends up kicking users out of the site.

I think that's a reasonable perspective, but idk about how anything really "checks" moderation.

I'll also say that I have arrived at a new thinking towards moderation, and I've been considering for a few days now whether I should make a post about that or not... but there's enough for the forums to consider at this point.
Tsar of DDO
airmax1227
Posts: 13,233
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7/10/2016 8:09:00 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/10/2016 8:04:07 PM, Biodome wrote:
Did the voting thread disappear? Can't access it through the link.

That was essentially a poll on abolition. You can read about when the actual referendum may be held here:

https://www.debate.org...
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RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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7/20/2016 9:50:42 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/10/2016 5:09:33 PM, tejretics wrote:
I disagree that the Presidency is "worthless" or anything like that. It has its uses... it grants greater legitimacy, in the eyes of newcomers, to the Outreach Program, and it could potentially act as a check to moderation (i.e. Harder's plan to reform it).

I mildly disagree with your disagreement, Tej. :)

You don't need official authority for effective volunteerism, but you do need to be visible, active, committed, and have the broad respect of site membership. A presidency doesn't guarantee that, and doesn't monopolise it either -- essentially, it's less relevant to the quality of volunteerism than the way the community behaves toward its volunteers in the first place -- and that links to moderation.

I agree that moderation requires accountability, but that has to be to site policy and site administration. Nothing less will do, and since members can access site administration directly, nothing more is needed.

The rest I think, is ego and status games. In ordinary society a President can head an executive function -- but on DDO, we execute what? Or it can sometimes chair legislature -- but on DDO, what legislation? And in social clubs, a President is accountable to some charter of association -- but on DDO, what charter?

To the extent that there are a few valued member-run, recurrent functions (e.g. new member assistance, Mafia, vote coordination in formal debates), they'd be better run opt-in, and governed through small volunteer committees with simple charters for accountability and ease of hand-over over time.

But the harm is severe: the Presidency damages people emotionally and intellectually. It spoils the DDO experience for people. The "drama" created by it is utterly pointless, and ends up kicking users out of the site.

And here we strongly agree.

A competition for office with modest influence but no authority, no charter nor specific function cannot be other than divisive. Bonaparte pointed out that men will die for ribbons -- but on the Internet, they'll knife each other for them too, if you make ribbon-winning a traditional, periodic zero-sum game.

The Presidential elections periodically disrupt much of what this site is valued for, and do nothing for morale and member relations. They've been run as opt-out rather than opt-in -- and it's almost impossible to opt-out without pruning your friends-list. And like a sort of dark Seinfeld episode, Campaigns About Nothing have shown members I'd normally consider decent and respectful folk, at less than their best.

As psychologist Phil Zimbardo has reflected, when good apples go bad, it's generally not a single bad apple doing that, but a problem with the barrel.

So... dump the barrel.
tejretics
Posts: 6,080
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7/21/2016 10:35:11 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/20/2016 9:50:42 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 7/10/2016 5:09:33 PM, tejretics wrote:
I disagree that the Presidency is "worthless" or anything like that. It has its uses... it grants greater legitimacy, in the eyes of newcomers, to the Outreach Program, and it could potentially act as a check to moderation (i.e. Harder's plan to reform it).

I mildly disagree with your disagreement, Tej. :)

It's not necessary, but that doesn't diminish its potential worth.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass