This is an effort to make a CommunityWikiGovernment.


Proposal 1

This is a proposal constitution for CommunityWikiGovernment.

The Reason Why

CommunityWiki has accumulated many treasures:

Reputation, however, is not something we own; Reputation is “other people’s story about you.” To keep our reputation active, we are obligated:

We are codifying our power structure into explicit rules, so that CommunityExpectations are clear, to protect our treasures, and to live up to our obligations.

In the process, we transform from a clique, into something more like a club.

Participation Roles

The CommunityWiki will divide participants into the following roles:


Privileges are roughly divided into the following categories:

Transitioning Between Roles

When someone first posts a comment, they are a visitor.

“How are guests made?”

Should conversation sustain for a month, and the community is on good terms with the person, then the person can roughly assume that they have become a guest, unless a CommunityMember should say otherwise.

After roughly a year of participation, the person should make a choice between being a CommunityMember, or an OccasionalContributor. This is not an automatic conversion, rather: Whoever notices first, the CommunityMembers?, or the GuestRole participant, should say something about it, and start the conversion process.

“How are CommunityMembers? made?”

CommunityMembers? can be made, when:

If a guest has been around for a year, the guest or CommunityMembers? should speak up. If there are the required number of CommunityMembers? present, then they should go through the routine.

The routine for making a CommunityMember is as follows:

If something really needs to go through quickly, then if 10 CommunityWiki members are present, and all the other conditions are met, (ie “No no votes,) then the 10 members can declare the vote finished.

Amending the Rules

Rules are amended by the sme process that new members are made.

Initial CommunityMembers

Each of the following may opt to be a CommunityMember. The default is to be an OccasionalContributor.

Initial OccasionalContributors

A guest more or less automatically becomes an OccasionalContributor after a year.

Many people decide not to become a CommunityMember, or show no interest in becoming a CommunityMember.

OccasionalContributors? are basically assumed to understand how the wiki works, and the rules, and have met newcomers, and so on.

OccasionalContributor is an esteemed role; Guests and Visitors should defer to an OccasionalContributor.

Last Words

It may seem that power is granted by the rules. However, this is not really the case.

The power is made by the network of relationships and interests. This government is really just present to communicate the agreements that have been made here, to clarify CommunityExpectations, and to explain why and how police acts work.

But the power really rests in the people here, and rules and locks really exist to the extent that they exist in our minds.

This constitution is not really set up to resolve differences between CommunityMembers?, who are more ore less expected to operate by consensus. But it does define the body of CommunityWiki.



I wrote this super-fast, and in my PlainTalk.

  • I’ve never made a government before.
  • I’ve probably missed a bunch of stuff, and I may well have gotten a lot of stuff totally wrong.
  • Others here may even have radically different ideas of what the community is, and what it should be. Part of this process, is just to figure out what we want to be, going forward in time.

I would consider this “ratified,” if a process like the vote above was met.

But I suspect we need to have conversation and change it around a bit, before “signing.”

It may well take 2 months before we complete dialog.

Well done, Lion. Especially given time constraints. I’ll at least monitor this important issue.

Thank you.

General announcement: We talked a little about these things in Ting 82; the most relevant parts are circa “08:29:53 PM”. That said, it’s kind of hard to follow: It’s an IRC transcript, after all. We addressed some of the questions seen above; Search the text for: “Do we need a CommunityWikiGovernment?”

“I’ve never made a government before.” - uugh, I like that one. Brilliant.

When reading I lingered a long time in the beginning thinking about the roles, if there weren’t some metaphoric five characters or items probably with icons but nothing came to my mind. There is still a scent of hierarcy, privilies is too strong for the fact that an anonymous newcomer has 97.8 % of all possible rights here already. Neutral point of view is not required on community-wiki, we are not admins in the wikipedia-sense as we are no encyclopedia (Wales’ concept), we are a jam-session. That makes things different. One is a predefined thing and in itself already justifies hierarcy, the other is making the whole current concept editable to everyone. In a jam you’re in when making a sound. There are no admins in a jam,

When you’re in a band, if someone comes in, and starts playing a radically different song, the group has a choice: To harmonize with that radically different song, or to reject that radically different song.

I personally feel that there is hierarchy on CommunityWiki, and I’m okay with that. It is my personal philosophy, articulated in CliquesAndCommunities, that some minimal degree of hierarchy is automatically present wherever a clique forms.

Hierarchy can be harmful, hierarchy can be valuable. I write programs every day, that embody hierarchy. All programmers do.

What we want to do is not have the weak crushed by the strong, and so on.

If I am acting too strong, it is important for people to speak up, and I promise to be responsive to a CommunityMember. That said, I don’t feel a need to entertain the opinions or criticisms of outsiders.

If we were in charge of a large multi-national corporation or government that directly influenced the lives of billions of people, I would think that we had an obligation to find some way of resolving ForFewAndMany, and hearing and responding to popular sentiment.

But we are so far away and remote from that– we’re just people having conversations and occasionally making things. We may affect the lives of millions, or even billions, but the number of indirections is super-high. (Like the butterfly, flapping its wings.) We are not a formal institution, and I don’t think we are at the level of responsibility yet, such that we have to pick up the phone whenever a critic calls.

As it is: I say things, and people are interested. That is an intrinsically hierarchical relationship. Some people I want to have long term conversations and even personal relationships with, other people, I do not. This is an intrinsically hierarchical relationship, bounded by the realities of space & time and such.

Do We Need a CommunityWikiGovernment?

The first and most important question is, “Do we need a CommunityWikiGovernment?”

I personally need it, because I’m tired of answering questions about whether I am authoritative or not, compared to, say, sigi, or a newcomer.

A situation we ran into recently was:

  • LionKimbro was talking with two new people. Sigi made claims to the effect of: “Oh, you don’t need to pay much attention to what mean old Lion says; we can just make our own roles. Here, Andrew, or you, Freidimer, you can be the moderator. We are all the authorities.”

The net effect is that it looks like Sigi is basically right, and that Lion is just making up rules: that nobody cares about how many pages you make, and that what Sigi has to say about how things work here is okay, and that everyone is an equal with respect to CommunityWiki.

This is basically nonsense, and I can prove it’s nonsense, by going door-to-door, getting people to attest that, “Yes, this network of relationships exist, and, Yes, we would all be upset if Lion left, and no, sigi isn’t really a major contributor to this wiki, and yes, these things Lion is saying are more or less true, except that it does bring up interesting philosophical points P1, P2, P3, and I would disagree with X, Y, and Z, …”

Basically, this is too time consuming a venture, to do over and over, every time we get into a situation where authority needs to be established, and so on.

We exist as a clique (or a community, or whatever you want to call this small group of people,) with a particular dynamic of interests. SamRose and Lion are interested in one set of things. AlexSchroeder is only interested in people P1, P2, P3, and doesn’t really care for the rest. BayleShanks loves to talk about N, M, and T, but he’s gone right now. For the most part, this all just works. Participation and trust is tied to the people, and to the content, and there is a trust that things will be preserved, that there won’t be radical changes, that it’ll be here when we come back, relatively unscathed. We may change our minds about things, but respecting a FairProcess with the people we trust and so on.

To keep these trusts, without resorting to HardSecurity, we basically need agreements. And hey, we have those agreements. What we need, then, is to articulate those agreements. Those agreements, written down, will show to visitors and guests: “See? These are the things that we agree to. These are the things we think. This is how we structured ourselves.” “See that over there? Right there, it says, line 22, that if sigi’s being a jerk, in the eyes of a CommunityMember, that it’s okay for a CommunityMember to say: Buzz off! For an month or so. It says it right there. That’s how you know.”

Basically, it’s the same thing that I do manually, when I go around and say, “Folk, I need you to attest to the newcomers that this is the way we do things.”

I put on my suit, pull out my vcards, and manually start making phone calls. “Bayle! Good to talk with you! But, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. Yes, yes.. I know; But I’m in a bit of a hurry. Yes, see: There’s trouble on CommunityWiki. Yes, yes, … I need you come and attest what, to us, is the blatantly obvious. No, it’s not much fun, …”

Multiply that by N times, and you can see why I’m calling for CommunityWikiGovernment.

It’s basically the same thing, but in an automated form: We write it all down on a document, and there it is, for all to see. No need to make phone calls and so on; It’s just all right there in the document.

I actually see our work here as producing a thing.

There is something it is to think in the CommunityWiki way. We are not OpenMinded; We are only SelectivelyOpenMinded. There are ideas that we do not entertain, for a number of reasons. Some things seem blindingly obvious to us, that others think are not settled. There are many things that we are open to, that most people find blindingly obvious. We have a set, a setting, we have ideas, we have questions, we have rules, we have paths, and so on.

We have build a PageDatabase and ArgumentPyramids. We don’t want that all wiped away, or diluted.

Imagine what would happen to MeatballWiki if all the present residents left, and some brand new crop of people suddenly appeared in it, who were not experienced with wiki: It would be a horrible thing. “Oh, what’s this page: UseRealNames? Oh, screw that, what moron thought up that idea? Delete.” It would be a wreck. It would arguably set back the progress of wiki and online communities in general by several years. Such a thing cannot be allowed to happen.

It is similar, but not quite as severe, here. There is value here. I don’t want to see it ruined. I do not want to see it die prematurely. I know that many communities, waaay outside of here, have been influenced by what is here. The Interra project, the PlaNetWork?, the EvolutionarySalon, TomAtlee?’s democracy projects, and so many others: They all have been positively influenced by us, and many of them reference us.

If CommunityWiki as a community refuses to take ownership of its relationships, then why I am I investing myself here? Then why am I placing eggs into this nest? Why would I do such a thing?

Perhaps it’s just that I take my thoughts more seriously than other people. Perhaps other people do not care what comes of what they think and say. But I know that I do.

If CommunityWiki does not value this enough, if the cost of valuing our relationships is just so enormously high, that it cannot bother itself to discriminate and to secure, then I clearly need to move elsewhere.

If I move elsewhere, it’s likely that SamRose and AlexSchroeder lose interest. And that BayleShanks and EvanProdromou and EmileKroeger will never return. If I and they leave, then the vast majority of people here will not return. The community will die.

So, the proper thing to do is articulate the relationships. Make this a stable, safe place, for our conversations, and for TrustedLinkLanguage.

We don’t have to call it a “government,” if we don’t want to. But I’ll argue that that’s basically what it would be, once you get to the, “Oh, and these trusted relationships and people and expectations take priority over new people coming in, and you’re expected to respect CommunityMembers?.”

In some ways, the government already exists, (it is unavoidable, from the very beginning, of a group of people gathering together,) it just needs to be written down, to some small degree.

This is where we are at, as a Community. This is our next growth step, as far as I can see it.

So, in summary:

  • CommunityWiki is valuable.
  • Between ourselves, we have a nice, “soft” process, for deciding how to resolve situations. No rules necessary; We do like we’ve always done. We talk, we figure things out.
  • But when things involve outsiders, we need something that articulates the situation and our relationship with them. We need to be able to clearly speak not as just an individual, but with CollectiveSpeech, even though 4/5 of the members are gone or missing. The way the US government does it with a house, is with a Title. If people are pretending that your house is theirs, you just whip out the Title, and it says, “Oh, this house belongs to these people.” This is similar.

Lion, I am working on a response to this right now, and promise that I’ll post it as soon as I am done with it. Just wanted to let you know that I am engaged with this.

Thank you, Sam; I’m eager to hear what you have to say.

In the meantime: Does anybody else have anything to say? Perhaps about the general idea of a CommunityWikiGovernment?

Maybe someone (you, dear reader,) think that this is a really, really, dumb idea? Because, it’s okay with me if that’s the first thought that hits your mind.

I just need some sense of where we’re at with this idea.

I don’t know whether this is a common thing in the US, but the German countries have a strong tradition of forming associations (see CorporateMembership). There, you have a mini-government. And their problems are common knowledge: Overworked board, long discussions, few accomplishments, a lot of frustration.

I generally dislike them.

Smaller groups have the benefit of running smoothly with an informal set of rules. Thus, before forming a little government in order have a framework within which I could defend my edits and my ideas of the site against people like Sigi or Ernst Gruber or any other person I dislike, I prefer we split up.

After all, we’re not limited to the real world. If Sigi and I lived in the same space, a government would be necessary because there’s little avoiding each other. But avoiding is easy online. Just split the site and split the community.

It’s not unethical. It’s not evil. It’s the right thing to do.

(But see below for a change of heart.)

I am pretty interested in both types of solution. By the way you can combine them as well - and this might be a good evolutionary schema for testing new wiki processes. What are the technical details of splitting? I am affraid that in practice we shall split with just one person.

I’m aware of the inherent injustice of splitting a community if there’s the risk that one of the parts is too small to be viable. Without an audience that is split alongside, it is more of an amputation: The smaller part withers away and dies.

Then again, perhaps in such a situation the smaller part merits to wither away. Consider Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, London: People have a right to speak, but they don’t have the right to an audience. If everybody walks away, you don’t have the right to follow them to their dinner tables.

Also remember that some people could pertain to both communities.

As for the technicalities, I think I will copy the page database over to an Oddwiki, and then it will be the responsibility of others to set up NearLinks to this site, if they want, and optionally to mark their own copy of pages as deleted if they don’t want their own copies of particular pages.

The author understands Lion to save the goodies of CommunityWiki. On the other hand it appears almost certain, that new creative people will go to that wiki, where there is more freedom for expressing new ideas. – FridemarPache

Wow, one great thing about CommunityWiki is that it we really seem to, in one way or another, pull out many of the possible “sides” in a given debate.

I think that right now we do not have a government, as mentioned already by Lion. Looking around the wiki, it appears that conflicts and issues are either resolved among people involved, or resolved by Alex if people can’t settle it on their own.

I value this space, and I generally have no problem with anyone in it. Although I do wish that people apparently causing grief to others in this space (ie sigi causing grief to LionKimbro and AlexSchroeder) would cease being confrontational, and instead civilly discuss and resolve their issues like an adult. Don’t push people with confrontation to their limits of personal tolerance.

There can only be an actual government here in CommunityWiki if the majority of us, and Alex (the physical owner of this space) agrees that there should be one.

The thing, or SocialNorm? that can (potentially and theoretically) resolve this and all future community conflicts is for everyone to AssumeGoodFaith, and possibly AssumeStupidityNotMalice.

Thus, if, for instance, sigi does something that is undesireable, hopefully we have already applied AssumeGoodFaith and/or AssumeStupidityNotMalice. This would mean explaining to sigi why what he is doing is undesireable. Now, we can then judge by sigi, or whomever’s reaction whether they also AssumeGoodFaith for why people have reacted that way to him/her.

AssumeGoodFaith requires that all parties involved AssumeGoodFaith. If one party does not, then AssumeGoodFaith fails. So, I am guessing that what we are talking about here is what happens when AssumeGoodFaith fails (unless we are not generally defaulting to AssumeGoodFaith. If not it is my humble opinion that we should.)

I am guessing without investigating that people did AssumeGoodFaith, but that it failed. If so, and if we don’t or won’t explore creating a government, then it seems reasonable that Alex will take the actions he is talking about. I recommend that in the future, we make it explicit with people causing conflict that we will start out applying AssumeGoodFaith, and it is up to the conflict-causer to make AssumeGoodFaith succeed or fail.

Wow, I’ll bet this page will be get prime Google-ranking for “AssumeGoodFaith” in no time. :-)

RadomirDopieralski, Dan, and I, are having a conversation in IRC right now, which asks and answers a lot of the key questions here.

I think it sheds a lot of light; I’ll publish it when we’re done, and perhaps summarize it.

OK- done: It’s CommunityWikiGovernmentIrcConversation.

And I personally feel that it went a long way to explaining the various concerns, and reasonings, and so on.

“Government” seems like a bit of a strong term, but I can’t think of a better one.

It seems that the spirit is pretty much to extend the role of BenevolentDictator to all regulars, which should also work fine. The only downside is that it’s a bit more complicated to explain than “X’s word is law”, hence the constitution, etc. “Benevolent Oligarchy”? :)

I’ve missed a lot of the recent discussion (I’m not that passionate about the SourceOfEthics, and am in France again with no computer outside of work), I’m glad to see that some new people are around :)

Maybe the RightToFork should be stressed somewhere in the “rules” - if someone forks, we’ll link to him somewhere. That’d make the right more “real”, though maybe this isn’t the place to talk about that.

I think the example “A situation we ran into recently was” under “Do we need a government?” should be moved to the top of the page, because it answers the question of “what’s wrong that we are trying to fix”.

As in the past, I support the proposition that we should have a (small) written constitution and an explicit membership list. As Lion states, it is desirable to have an efficient way to convince newcomers that what one of us says is “the way we do things around here” actually is.

I would prefer to do this than to split the wiki. I think that it is possible for us to develop an efficient, online, “asynchronous” governance system that will allow our objectives to be achieved without burdening all of us with lengthly meetings. Yes, this means we will have to succeed in creating something more efficient than the rules of order which physical organizations use for their board meetings. However, those systems were not designed with asynchronous telecommunications media in mind, so it is plausible that better systems are possible.

Bias warning: the development of more efficient “rules of order” has been a long-term project of mine for awhile.

Now, details. I think the five roles above (CommunityMember,OccasionalContributor, GuestRole, VisitorRole, DifficultPerson) are more than we need to codify into law. I think we only really need three roles: CommunityMember (someone who has a vote; someone who has been approved by other community members to be on the membership list), DifficultPerson (sort of an anti-list; a list of people whom the community members have voted to censure); and everyone else.

I think the roles of OccasionalContributor, GuestRole, VisitorRole ARE real ROLES, but that stuff can be enforced by social convention in the usual fashion. In the principal of MinimalLaw, I would like to minimize the complexity of the legal system.

I would like to note that the minimum that you need for a constitution is a membership list and a legislative system for making rules and amending the constitution (see BootstrapConstitution).

Since the only problem we are trying to solve is to allow whoever is around (out of the Members) to speak authoritatively to other people, the membership list alone accomplishes most of this. As Emile said, Benevolent Oligarchy.

The rest of it can be accomplished by having a few Rules (laws passed by the legislative process) which are voted upon by the members and which can be referred to to convince people that yes, this really is the way we do things around here.

Just as I think the five-role system is more complex than we need, I think the Privileges which attach to these roles are more than we need. I don’t think things like “refactoring lots of pages” needs to be constrained legislatively in the constitution; I think social convention is enough for most of it. For the rest, we could pass a Rule saying “If you are relatively new, don’t make too many big changes too quickly, because we don’t have time to absorb it (see IntegrationAndIdentity). ‘Too many too quickly’ is to be interpreted in the judgement of any Member or anyone who has been here for more than a few months.”.

Then, if newcomers are making too many changes too quickly, a Member or an OccasionalContributor can point to that rule and tell them to stop. It will be clear to the newcomer that the Member has the authority to do so. However, this way we would avoid having to precisely codify very much social structure into the constitution.

I agree; I especially liked the simplifications.

Question: What about CommunityDoesNotAgree?

LionKimbro says, “Too many pages from the newcomer,” MattisManzel says, “No; Give room to breath,” – what is the newcomer to make of it?

Hmm, I think the rule we pass should specify what happens in that case. I am fine either way (if the rule says that any single community member’s request is enough to halt the newcomer, or if the rule says that almost all community members present must agree).

BTW, I wrote a different constitution proposal at the bottom of CommunityWikiConstitution.

LiquidDemocracy! Of course! That solves our “they’re not present” problem. :)

I like the Constitution (difficult) vs. Rule (easy) split; The LiquidDemocracy; the “Kernel” system.


  • I’m not clear to me: Is “Delay” the same as “Abstain?” Is it the same thing as “I haven’t made up my mind yet?” When a vote starts, is everybody automatically in delay?
  • Also: Proposal 2 has a “quorum” of ceil(sqrt(members)) affirmative votes. With 17 members, this is 3. Nr.r…. Wouldn’t that be 5? Because, sqrt(17) = 4.12, and the ceiling is 5..? You need 5 yes votes to pass..?

Your proposal has my enthusiastic support. :)

I answered these two concerns near the bottom of CommunityWikiConstitutionBayleShanks

Given the special powers of members, i think there should be an easy way of identifying them as such, such as a label under their picture. In fact, the role you describe seems less like what i usually think of as “member” and more like moderators.

For membership, you propose:

  • A long initial probationary period
  • A tiered progressive tiered initiation system with a test at each tier.
  • An affirmative concensus vote in support
  • A second probationary period durring which cosensus must be maintained.

That’s a lot. In fact, it is the most restrictive system of membersip tests that I have seen in 35+ years of working with organizations, including four organizations doing felony civil disobedience with a serious fear of agents and provocateurs.

The mechanism also seems like it could stifle interesting discussion by discouraging the admission to membership of folks with conflicting views. This is fine if you are trying to work together to develop a particular shared position. Are you? I would have guessed not. And it might not be true if the members share a clear and explicit value of recruiting diverse views. Do you?

Aren’t there only 2 tiers- voting member, and non-voting member?

And 1 test for membership- If you can get 90% of the vote, over 2 months?

I agree that it is hard to get consensus on membership.

The Emma Goldman Finishing School, a local activist housing thing, as I understand it, requires consensus amongst all members, for a new person to come in. Also, it takes roughly a month or two of dialog. 2 months may seem like a long time, but this is in the slow-time of the online world, with only N interactions per unit time.

Well, perhaps i am reading it wrong, but it looks to me like in order to move from outsider to member you have to be a visitor, then a guest, with an optional contributor stage. Counting outsider and member, that’s five levels of ascending trust, each with a transition rule and an associated level of privilege.

I can not find any reference to a 90 percent vote above. All i see is a consensus requirement.

The text doesn’t appear to say that people have two months to reach consensus. So far as i can see, there is no upper bound on the time to reach consensus. It says that, having reached it, it has to be maintained continuously for two additional months. It is not clear to me how consensus over two months is supposed to be established procedurally. By the silence of those who could retract their vote? By a second vote at the end of the period? Can someone not initially part of the consensus retract or veto? Is there any requirement to engage in a deliberative process before casting a vote, or to give reasons afterwards?

I suspect that the month or two of dialogue for the EGFS often starts with folks they do not know that well, rather than people who have been active community members for at least a year, as required here.

To me, the two-month thing seems like an unnecessary complication, taking the place of something you do not have and need, a rule for removing members who have become inactive, are having a psychotic break, can’t stop insulting member 2 who ran of with their true love, etc. I would recommend an automatic process for the inactive, suspendable at the discretion of the other members, and some supermajority for removal – 2/3 or 3/4 are common.

And i am still unclear about the extent to which the community values diversity of views and how that value, if it exists, is expressed proceedurally.

Oh; Lately, we’ve moved to talking about the proposal on CommunityWikiConstitution. There’s a second proposal– Bayle wrote it.

And i am still unclear about the extent to which the community values diversity of views and how that value, if it exists, is expressed proceedurally.

I like this quote a lot. The feeling is mutual. :) “How are we SelectivelyOpenMinded?” Good question. This is one of those questions we answer by living and testing and experimenting, I think, rather than performing a focused inquiry. I know that I do not have a clear and lucid answer.

One thing about government is that more trust generally requires less layers of process. Plus, visible trust reinforces a collective, yet potentially diverse aggregation of the community definition of “trust’. Yet, I think that TrustMetrics? may be too complicated for us to employ here and now in CommunityWiki. Still, it’s worth thinking about. TrustMetrics?, and maybe some form of ValueMetrics? can help people express, individually, how they see other people living up to expressed SocialNorms?, like DontHateThePlayer, AssumeGoodwill?, etc.

It is harder, I think, to work with SoftSecurity, when it is hard for some invested people to see what the SoftSecurity problem is.

I think that potential concept of a CommunityWikiConstitution is good. I think that AndrewHoerner raises a great point, that we perhaps need a provision diversity of views (provisions which have ebeen expressed in CommunityWiki with social norms like SoftSecurity, and AvoidConflict, DontHateThePlayer etc etc etc). But, we lack a way to make these work well when someone pushes these SocialNorms? to their limits. We perhaps need a way to reinforce these SocialNorms?, and a way to collectively judge when these social norms are not working, and why how they are failing. If a one or a few trouble makers can make the SoftSecurity and other open-oriented SocialNorms? fail, then it is maybe worth re-thinking:

  • How the community knows whether it’s SocialNorms? work.
  • What the community can be expected to do when SocialNorms? appear not to be working.
  • What is expected of community members to help SocialNorms? work and remain sustainable.

…that we perhaps need a provision diversity of views (provisions which have ebeen expressed in CommunityWiki with social norms like SoftSecurity, and AvoidConflict, DontHateThePlayer etc etc etc).

Hm; I don’t think I agree, on two accounts:

SoftSecurity: “How do we secure the environment, without having to use mandatory registration, user passwords & accounts, ..?”

AvoidConflict: “How do we handle unwanted conflict?”

DontHateThePlayer: “How should we think of others, who bring up conflict?”

None of these, as far as I can tell, answer: “How diverse should the views held within CommunityWiki be?”

I personally think the answer is: “Not much.” I’m actually in favor of sectarianism, amongst small groups (EcosystemOfNetworks, Creative Network.) In our own wiki, that spells: WikiSectarianism. The vast majority of cliques I have belonged to, in my life, have been sectarian. People don’t like to think of themselves that way, but it’s true.

Yes Diversity: Interesting new ideas, that come from the worldview and interests of the participants.

No Diversity: Diversity for the sake of diversity, DeepDisagreement, diversity where things seem uninteresting to “us,” or somehow “unfocuses” us from our jam.

I don’t think codification is required, but I’d prefer to be more explicit in saying: CommunityWiki is a clique. Unabashedly, unashamedly. If anyone thinks that’s a bad thing, it’s because they’re ignorant about cliques, and it’s further impetus to establish a LiteracyOfHumanNature.

Lion, you’re right. None of those SocialNorms? directly address “How diverse should the views held within CommunityWiki be?”

But, what I think they can accomplish, and what I was getting at in a round about way, I suppose, is that I observe these types of SocialNorms? seem to me to enable an environment where diverse points of view tend to co-exist better, and without the need for lots of procedure, if there is an EngagedCommunity?.

Why should you and I even attempt to build something about LiteracyOfHumanNature, or EcosystemOfNetworks, if there’s an Anarcho-Primitivist, (who we personally like,) sitting right next to us, constantly drawing us into irrelevant conversations that aren’t going anywhere?

Shouldn’t we be able to say, “Shoo; You’re bothering us, we’re working here?”

Are there not a diversity of perspectives that we are okay with, and a diversity of perspectives that we are not willing to humor, in this environment?

In fact, IMO, you should say “Shoo; You’re bothering us, we’re working here”.

The question I am asking is:

When can you just say “Shoo; You’re bothering us, we’re working here”, and when do you need a formal process/procedure to say it?

In my life, I tend to try “just saying” first, and only resort to formal process and procedure when the former does not work.

There are consequences, even among a clique of people, in changing the social dynamics of a group from more informal to more formal processes. This is one of the unsees secrets of a LiteracyOfHumanNature. People can only change their ways of solving problems into another way of solving problems when they are ready to. If they are not ready, then the outcome of an intiative to make a change will have undesired consequences (one of the bigger problems we face on a global scale, IMO).

In LiteracyOfHumanNature thinking, we want to ask:

  • Who is doing what to whom, and why?

And, when we try and set up the conditions for change, we want to ask:

  • Change from what to what?

These questions are not quick and easy to answer, for sure. But, we have already somewhat laid this out here, and in CommunityWikiConstitution.

For instance, there is the observation that we are SelectivelyOpenMinded, and that we are a “clique”. But, we are apparently a “clique” that doesn’t enforce it’s exclusivity unless we deem it to be necassary. We are also apparently a “clique” who doesn’t usually employ fromal process and procedure in decision making. Previosuly, we talked about decisions among ourselves, or in drastic cases, had Alex step in as a GodKing to make decision.

We also previously were a “clique” that did not have a formal ranking system. It didn’t even really have a tacit or explicit hierarchy for the most part, save when AlexSchroeder played the role of GodKing. This is actually uncharacteristic of “cliques”, which usually see a pecking order/hierachy/rank of some type emerge natually (and I guess we did to an extent).

You, Lion, proposed changing into a clique that does have formal process for decision making, and that is based around a hierarchical rank. The basis of who is what rank has already been discussed above.

I am asking, in my questions above: Is this formal process needed in this “clique”? Do we need a formal process to say “Shoo; You’re bothering us, we’re working here”? Or, can we just say “Shoo; You’re bothering us, we’re working here”, without the need for creating a type of change that creates formalized hierarchies?

Will some people who we consider CommunityMember here even be ready for a change to a formalized hierarchy? I predict that some people would embrace it, some would work to ignore it, and some would clash with it in ways that might drive them away. The reason why can be found in the way that people solve problems that I attemtped to outline in LiteracyOfHumanNature.

Not trying to be difficult. This is just my point of view regarding changes such as those that we are talking about here.

Yes, excellent questions.

First: The CommunityRoles. They are based in observed behavior of participants who did not consciously know that they had a process. But they had one. It’s like dating: People go through stages, though you don’t need to consciously think of it as stages, when you do it. Yet, there they are.

One thing I don’t like is our collective language. The word “clique” is held up with disgust, like it’s a nasty dirty rat, squiggling around, being held by the pink tail. I’m fighting that. “Hieararchy” is another one. “Hierarchy” is always bad, right?

Read VisitorRole, and tell me if it’s not real: Polite guests come in, and test the waters with a comment or two. This is ancient; Confucious said, “When I first visit a new land, the first thing I do is inquire about their ways.” He is in the visitor role, is he not? Or are we participating in some very obscure unfounded philosophy of things?

Regardless: I’ve discarded institutionalizing that idea already, long ago. I already said that I like BayleShanks proposal better. Yet the facts of dating and visitors and guests remain.

Next: In my life, I tend to try “just saying” first, and only resort to formal process and procedure when the former does not work.

Mm-hm! And that’s exactly what we’re finding. “Sigi, go away. Friedemar, we have a process here.” And it’s not working, because CommunityDoesNotAgree, and sigi starts appealing to newcomers to arbitrate and decide what the outcome will be. You probably missed it, but it happened. And these kinds of things have happened before, and they will continue to happen, (I strongly believe,) until Community-Does-Agree, and we write it down, with a bold statement saying, “Visitors, people-who-are-not-regulars-here, people-who-are-not-members here, what have you: This is how it works.”

Finally: Finally: I believe that what I’m doing is transitioning us away from the clique structure, to a structure that is more like a club. Because we are formalizing the agreements, and so on. This makes is conceivable that we will grow to be large enough, that there will be far more interests than exist at present. Personally speaking, this is not my goal: I prefer the clique. I fully recognize that formalizing our rules changes what this is. Yet, I perceive that it is “where we are,” so to speak. I am in the mood to make long term investments into CommunityWiki, and I want there to be a more solid social structure beneath it, so that it will withstand the people who think: “Whoever is at the wiki, decides the wiki.” And they definitely exist. Please read the CommunityWikiGovernmentIrcConversation, if you haven’t.

All this said: If you can answer “What do we do, or how do we handle AbsentCommunity?” and these other questions without resorting to government, I’d love to do that, and I’m eager to hear your ideas. And there’s always: “Alex is King of the wiki.” (Though the problem is: Sometimes the King isn’t holding court.)

Question: This is getting big.

  • Can we do the thing that HelmutLeitner initiated with the SourceOfEthics discussion? (In my opinion, it worked.)
  • Would people approve of that?
  • Who would be the OrganizingPrinciple?? I’d be happy to do it, but I don’t know that someone would object, if they objected. The organizer weilds power, and the discussion reflects some concern about the power to choose what is talked about, and what is not. I’d be happy to nominate HelmutLeitner, if he’s willing to take it on, or SamRose, who hasn’t done it before, but might be interested, or someone else who would like to volunteer, to be responsible for maintaining structure for this conversation, and reworking into DocumentMode major points, questions, and so on… Just like in the EthicsDiscussion.

I am somewhat of two minds about diversity in the setting of this group. I acknowledge that i don’t really understand the community well enough to be entitled to an opinion. But i observe that i often do not really understand what I believe myself until my views have been challenged by others. The process of defending them (or of trying to rebut the views of someone else) causes me to think my own views through more effectively. For example, it has felt like a great privilege to ferociously attack the really very interesting views of LionKimbro on the SourceOfNaturalisticEthics?, and my own views are vastly clearer as a result; I hope he feels the same. So disagreement has some intrinsic value in the quest for truth through reasoned dialogue.

On the other hand, if i am engaged in a complex body of interrelated thoughts with a lot of presuppositions, I frequently want people who are engaged in the same mental enterprise, especially when my own thoughts are a little inchoate. So for example, i convened a group of people to talk about polyamory from a radical feminist perspective. Some people wanted in on the discussion who thought feminism was horseshit. The problem was, the dialogue about the validity of feminism and the one about how to structure the polyamory community to prevent poly relations from contributing to patriarchy were pretty much mutually exclusive – you could not do both at once. And there are lots of forums and opportunities for arguing about feminism, but as best i know only this one for discussing polyamory from a feminist viewpoint.

So this takes me back to the question i asked earlier, sharpened a little: Is community Wiki a group of people engaged in a common mental project with a large number of shared presuppositions? Or is it more like a group of folks exploring the conceptual space around a shared topic?

Or to put it another way, when your Anarcho-Primitivist buddy shows up, do you say “Shoo,” (like i did to the anti-feminists, creating, i might add, a bit of a furor in the community as a result)? Or do you say “What you are suggesting is an interesting idea, but it is not this idea. Build your own page, and then perhaps we can build a meta-page relating the two somewhere down the road.”

Ah; Right. IntegrationAndIdentity, DeepDisagreement, MappingArguments.

This is a bit different than a purely conversational setting, because conversations builds into an ArgumentPyramid, via the PageDatabase, in a way that they do not in the material world, barring someone actually writing down books, in which case you form an organization or institution.

“Is CommunityWiki a group of people engaged in a common mental project with a large number of shared presuppositions? Or is it more like a group of folks exploring the conceptual space around a shared topic?”

It depends on: “What is under discussion?”

A following question might be: “What things are assumed to be shared presuppositions, and in what things is there interest in sharing the conceptual space around a shared topic?”

The ideas in SelectivelyOpenMinded, ArgumentPyramid, are core.

The ideas in AreGroupsReal are experimental.

Flat out contradiction of HiveMind pages would end one’s time here; We’ve seen that before, actually. I am the executioner. Disinterest does not: For example, there’s AlexSchroeder.

DavidCary is a Christian who goes to church on Sundays, he does not agree with EvolutionarySpirituality and the NaturalisticSourceOfEthics, at all. He holds his piece here, on those subjects, and contributes vigorously where our interests overlap. We make no attempts a mapping this territory; DavidCary is an esteemed member of our community.

It would take so much time to even begin to make the boundaries ExplicitInformation, that instead, what we do, is we keep them as CommunityLore, and make use of a courting process.

I need a round table and a sword so I can knight you all! Then I’ll go back to sleep under my Swiss hill until you’re all in dire need…

(Me imagines “King Alex and the Fights at the Round Table” – a soap in 14 episodes.)


I’m more or less convinced that having a page describing what we do here, and how we would like it to work is a good thing, or at least worth trying. I understand that the resulting page will again be contested in case of conflict, and that therefore adhering to some sort of protocol is a good thing. Since I haven’t invested much thought in the prerequisites for such a process, I’m ready to go with Bayle’s proposal.

As for the concerns raised by Andrew (too byzantine) and Sam (potentially changing our interactions): The way I read the proposals is that we only invoke them in times of need, in other words, hopefully rarely if at all. Most of the things will continue as before: There will be roles people fit into even if they don’t know it. We’ll recognize the patterns, and use these patterns when talking about such interesting concepts as initiation rituals, but that doesn’t mean that “visitor” or “guest” is something that needs to part of the government. The “government” only handles emergencies. It does so by making decisions. Decisions are made by members. So all we need to know is who is a voting member and who is not.

Thus, I think it will be invoked rarely (not stiffling), and it only cares about big decisions, in which case only the member list is important (not byzantine). Everything else is just details.

I think I can live with it.

Are there any objections to considering this conversation complete, and turning our focus, then, on to the final fixes, questions, and ratification of the CommunityWikiConstitution?

I believe we have a rough consensus on the existence of the Constitution.

How do we make it real?

Here’s my thought:

  • Erase everything on CommunityWikiConstitution, except for Bayle’s proposed constitution. (Keep it focused.)
  • We nit-pick at it for a week or two.
  • We figure out who wants to be a voting member, originally, and who does not.
  • We sign it at the bottom.

I was thinking: Even those people who decide not to become voters: It would be ideal if they still signed the document, attesting: “I recognize the authority of this Constitution, governing the CommunityWiki website.”

This way, when newcomers come, they can clearly see that this isn’t some band of ruffians who decided to put together this Constitution. Of course, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to. But I think it’s something that we should solicit.

Just a nitpick - do we really need to call it constitution and not just a charter? Do we need government and not just board? I mean we don’t constitute a new country - but just a civil organisation (a society?). Also I am sure there are multiple examples of good charters and people who have some experience in writing one - and we can use that instead of inventing our own weels. There is just one difference with the standard off-line organisations - it is the asynchronous mode of taking decisions, I have the feeling that there will be many suprises here - and that we really need to focuse on this for some time.

Andrew, I think there is an ongoing cultural development in wiki communities like cw.

Years ago, there was this search to find this “one true wiki way” of how to interact. And we were really happy when different ways were found and we started to understand basic situation topologies like on the CommunityRoles chart.

I think that nowadays we are a step further, firmly on this basis, not seeking for general modes or states of community or interaction, but looking for the sensitivity to understand situations better, to react on people in their individual situation, growing the ability to display our state of mind and emotion and to sense or inquire those of our partners, and select or invent a mode of interaction and a structure of pages that is understandable and satisfying.

The same is true about “wiki government”. Years ago there would have been a fierce fight, because various people would have reacted on their violated principles or interests. Nowadays there is a basic understanding that there is a problem - even if only for a single member - that has to be discussed and there is no need for heat, because everyone knows that his interests and the interests of the public will be respected at the end of the day, the same way. And that there is nothing that can’t be reversed or modifyed when a clear reason can be shown. So this is much more relaxed.

I think the development is towards transparency of processes and towards a general increase in participation. This happens by being able to be more responsive and tolerant towards people and their needs and by reflecting this in flexible page structures and modes.

(I created edit conflict with somone, I think helmut, and I believe that he was trying to add the following to his repsonse above-SamRose)

This happens in wiki because there is common space and no specific workflow of discussions. In forums the technical structure was fixed and resulted in only a few types of interactions which then stayed unchanged since then. StrategicDialogSupportSoftware would be very much in danger to go the same way, formalize the interactions and nullify the need to really listen to or sense each other.

Alex, sorry for referring to you as “GodKing”. In hindsight, I can see how that could be pretty annoying.

Zby, I agree with you that there will be some surprises. I am interested to see how it works out. I think that Bayle’s ideas are pretty ingeneous, and I look forward to experimenting with everyone on this.

Helmut, I see what you mean in your response to Andrew. I think that generally, a complex adaptive nautre has emerged from the people in these circles. I think that having CollectiveIntelligence experience and access to KnowledgeCommons?, plus pervasive feedback, and a tendancy to DevolvePower.

Lion, I agree, we can close this discussion and work on CommunityWikiConstitution.

The Summary Text


Lion posted a quick proposal. Hans that it was pretty good, for written quickly. Lion mentions that we talked about it in Ting 82. Mattis questions hierarchy, Lion justifies. Sam Rose is preparing a statement. Lion wonders where others are at, with respect to this. Alex prefers to split into two informal groups instead of forming a government. Some more thought on the fairness and the technicalities of a split.The author understands Lion to save the goodies of CommunityWiki. On the other hand it appears almost certain, that new creative people will go to that wiki, where there is more freedom for expressing new ideas. Emile: Benevolent Oligarchy ? / Bayle: yes to a constitution and membership list. But I think it could be even simpler. (Yes!) Andrew: Easy member identification would help non-members. Membership procedures are unusually restrictive; could stifle diversity of opinion. How do we apply previously stated SocialNorms? (some of which already make provision for diversity/openness)? CommunityWiki is a clique, really. Alex changed his mind and approves of a CW govmt. Where do we map arguments? What is assumed? Where do we hold our piece? Shall we discuss & ratify constitution then?


Lion started with a proposed constitution. There was a lot of back and forth about whether we want this or not, and what it would be like, and other possibilities. Bayle wrote a better and simpler constitution. Alex changed his mind and approves of a CW govmt. Shall we discuss & ratify constitution then? Big words? / meta @ Andrew @alex, Zby, Helumt,Lion, yes agree, we can close this discussion

From 15/12/06

Consensus polling issue

What do we think about the idea of using ConsensusPolling for general “voting” in CommunityWikiConstitution, to try and keep decision making quick and easy when possible?

re: “quick and easy”; I think that in the current proposal, voting IS quick and easy. It takes up a few paragraphs to DEFINE it, but that doesn’t mean it would be hard to DO.

Here are the sorts of things that would happen:

You see a proposal on InformalLegislativeProposals?. You discuss it and improve informally (this “discuss and improve” stage is much like ConsensusPolling; except it is totally informal). Most everyone present agrees on it (if it were controversial, no one would bother to propose it formally because it would never pass). It gets copied to FormalLegislativeProposals?. You vote Yes on it. Maybe someone else votes No, and you try to convince them to change their vote. The timer runs out. We see if it passed.

Or: you aren’t present for the initial discussion on InformalLegislativeProposals?. You come back from a WikiVacation to find a new proposal on the page FormalLegislativeProposals?. You think you like it but you aren’t sure. You vote Not Decided Yet. Others talk to you and try to convince you to vote for it. You change your vote to Yes. The timer runs out. We see if it passed.

Or: You come back from a WikiVacation to find a new proposal on the page FormalLegislativeProposals?. You think you like it but you aren’t sure. You vote Not Decided Yet. Others talk to you and try to convince you to vote for it. The timer runs out, but the Proposal stays open because it needs your vote to pass. Eventually you decide you don’t like it. You change your vote to No. The Proposal fails.

Or: You are going on a WikiVacation. You give your vote to someone else as a proxy.

Or: Someone else gives you their vote as a proxy. The next time you vote, you also vote for them, noting that you did so as their proxy.

The calculation of vote success or failure is also quick and easy. All you have to do is add three numbers (the total number of Yes, No, and Not Decided Yet votes), and then divide Yes by that number to see if it passed. Otherwise, divide No by that number to see if it failed or if it is still open (due to Not Decided Yet votes).

Oh, and you have to compare the # of Yes votes to sqrt(members) to see if there are enough people around to be allowed to do anything.

Sorry for the long reply but I’m not sure exactly what you mean. So I thought of what I would mean if I were you and then answered that :)

Summary: My answer to the question “Is there are place for ConsensusPolling in CommunityWikiConstitution?” is: if you mean that you want to make voting simpler by having only two kinds of votes and not having proxies, yeah, that’s possible, although I particularly like proxies. If you want to have a continuously amended proposal, then I don’t think that works in this context. If you want to get rid of the “minutia”, I don’t think that’s a good idea, and I don’t think ConsensusPolling really does that either, when it is actually implemented.

Details: As far as I can tell, here are the differences between the proposal on the page MeatballWiki:ConsensusPolling and the current proposal here:

  1. The proposal here has “No” votes and “Delay” votes, ConsensusPolling essentially only has “Delay” votes.
  2. The proposal here has LiquidDemocracy, ConsensusPolling does not.
  3. ConsensusPolling (in its simplest form) allows a proposal to be amended, and the “yes” votes of people are still valid; the proposal here does not (instead of amending, you would raise a new proposal).
  4. The page ConsensusPolling does not spell out the minutia needed to completely define the process (this would be in the “static OnlyIf contract” which is different for each ConsensusPolling instance), the proposal here does.

I’ll address each of those in turn.

1. Delay votes. If people think Delay votes are too complex, I’m fine with taking them out. If we took out Delay, people could just vote “No” when they would have voted “Delay”; then if they decide they do like the proposal later after it has failed, they could re-propose it. However, there are two costs.

First, this will lump together two kinds of people, though; people who mean, “No, I’ve thought about this and I’ve made up my mind, I’m against this so much that I veto it”, and people who mean, “This proposal sounds good but I’m not 100% convinced yet, talk to me more.”. With the current proposal, the first person would vote No and the second Delay. If Delay votes are taken out, the second person would vote “No”; this might be confusing. But that person could explain themselves informally if we took out Delay.

Second, this would sometimes cause an annoying technical problem with the time limits; if a proposal has been standing for two months and someone votes No because they weren’t 100% convinced, but then they are convinced the next day, and they re-propose the proposal, it must stand for another two months.

Now, what about the idea of taking out “No” votes altogether and only having Yes and Delay (like Yes and Not Yet in ConsensusPolling)? I think this is a bad idea. ConsensusPolling seems to be targeted to situations where there is prior agreement that an issue is even worth considering; it allows people to say “Not yet”, but not, “No”. It seems like in ConsensusPolling there is no acceptable way to say, “No, I don’t this proposal, and I will not explain how this proposal could be made acceptable to me because I don’t think this issue should even be considered within the formal process”. But here on CommunityWiki, there will be times when 50% of the community wants to make a formal Endorsement or Rule to handle some issue, and 20% of people want to say, “No, let’s just handle that informally”. The process here is designed so that if that happens, they vote No, the proposal fails in the formal process, and it disappears (formally; but the underlying issue can still be resolved informally, outside the procedure). In ConsensusPolling, though, it seems to me like a proposal doesn’t just “disappear” if people vote Not Yet; it just hangs around until consensus is reached (if it ever is).

I think that we want people here to have the option to banish some issue from the formal process with No votes. So, I prefer having Yes, No, and Delay, but I’m also cool with just Yes and No. I don’t think we should have only Yes and Not Yet (Not Yet being like Delay).

(by the way, I think we should rename Delay to Not Decided Yet)

2. LiquidDemocracy. I’m a fan of LiquidDemocracy and I think we should try it. It seems like it is just the thing to address the AbsentCommunity problem. But we could live without it if others don’t agree with me. So, I strongly prefer it but I would be okay with taking it out if that’s what others want.

3. Amendments. I think there’s no easy way to handle amendments when people are drifting in and out of the discussion. The problem is that you might have a proposal that stands for a month and a half, and then someone who votes “Yes” and then leaves for a few weeks, and then in the final week the proposal is amended in a way that that person doesn’t like. It wouldn’t be fair to that person to count their Yes vote for the original proposal as a Yes for the amended proposal. It wouldn’t even be fair to remove their vote, because they didn’t get enough time to come back and look at the amended proposal and vote No (b/c the amended proposal was only up for one week). We could say that amendments are allowed, but every time one is made, we start fresh with no votes and we reset the timer. But that’s the same as raising a new proposal, so why add the extra language to define a process for amendments?

So, I don’t think we should allow amendments. That’s why the constitution encourages people to hash stuff out on the InformalLegislativeProposals? page before even invoking the formal process.

4. Minutia ConsensusPolling seems to be simpler because it doesn’t spell out details like the minimum number of people who need to vote yes for a vote to pass (here, sqrt(members)) or the time limits or which pages votes go on. But it says that in any particular case, this stuff is spelled out in a static OnlyIf contract before discussion starts. In our case, instead of making up an OnlyIf contract for each issue, this is spelled out in the constitution; so of course the constitution is a little longer. The top few paragraphs on the page MeatballWiki:ConsensusPolling correspond to Constitution up to “The mechanics of voting” (plus the sentence about proxy voting), which is just as short; but in either case, the mechanics and the legislative minutia must ultimately be spelled out (if they are not spelled out, time will just be spent later arguing over the details that weren’t spelled out, and nobody likes that).

So, in summary, I am amenable to dropping Delay votes and/or dropping LiquidDemocracy, although I’d prefer to keep both and feel stronger about LiquidDemocracy than about Delay. I don’t think we should remove No votes, because I think that makes it hard to take an issue out of the formal process, and I don’t think we should allow amendments, because I can’t think of a fair way to do so that is less complicated than simply telling people to re-propose the amended proposal as new. I don’t think we should drop the minutia.

Sorry that I have not responded until now. Makes sense. Thanks very much for laying it out. Actually, it seems like LiquidDemocracy is a better fit for what you/we are trying to create in CommunityWikiConstitution, than ConsensusPolling. ConsensusPolling actually seems to require an engaged community to work well, from what I can tell (otherwise who will vote except those who propose?). So, we could run into trouble with AbsentCommunity.

I like the InformalLegislativeProposal? idea, too.

role for non-voting members?

I’ll be reading this all on my way home, I don’t have the time right now, but very quickly:

I was wondering if there’s a role for non voting members, (such as RadomirDopieralski,) in this process.

For example, soliciting something to the effect of, “I recognize the CommunityWikiGovernment, even though I’m not a part of it.”

Further: I strongly support LiquidDemocracy. Thinking about the delisting process in the back of my mind; no clear opinion yet.

I think that ‘non-voting members’ should be informally consulted and feel free to initiate and participate in discussions like this one, but I don’t think we should solicit their explicit “signature”. Here’s my reasoning.

Do you feel that the consent of non-voting members is required to go forward with a constitution, even if we have the consent of the proposed voting members?

If so, then it seems to me that those same people should get a vote. If they currently have the authority to “veto” the constitution against the combined will of those currently proposed as voting members, then why are we taking that authority away from them in future decisions?

If not, then I think that contacting them and asking them to read and sign the constitution is not necessary. First, if their signature is not needed, why should we demand their time? Second, asking for their signature implies that we are willing to drop the idea of a constitution if a few non-voting members ask for that; this will create problems if in fact we don’t feel that their consent is required.

@Bayle, I like your proposal, and am definitely willing to try and experiment with it.

Also, I think I can see why Lion wants as many people in the community to endorse the constitution as possible. It is because it gives it more authority, more weight. I think that we could basically say that, if people don’t want to be part of the ongoing community governing processes, that they may still sign their support to a document that says they support CommunityWikiGovernment. They don’t have to sign the document itself. But, it can be helpful to have some kind of declaration of alignment with it, and let people voluntarily sign their names to that. This declaration of alignment doesn’t have anything to do with the actual constitution, it just delcares that these people support it.

[this comment originally contained a secon part of this comment that has been moved elsewhere (Minor Issues) – ed.]

[the following is part of a comment by LionKimbro. this comment was split into two parts and the other part moved to Minor Issues – ed.]

Bayle: I agree. Their “signature” on the document itself, is not necessary. But I think that SamRose sees the same thing I see: a declaration of alignment is valuable. We may even, in the future, want to politely ask people transitioning from VisitorRole to GuestRole (roughly – I’m not talking about actual rules or formal roles here, or anything like that,) to sign the declaration of alignment.

OK fine with me. I encourage the next re-organizer to close/remove this subthread of comments (“role for non-voting members?”).


I’d like to take initiative, and re-organize the page a bit.

I’d like to track active questions that we are asking, at the top of the page, record what seems more or less settled, and do some other reworkings seem appropriate to me.

I promise (as usually) to work in GoodFaith, and stop any action as soon as it becomes apparent to me that there is disagreement with something I’m doing.

If nobody objects within 2 days, I will start doing this.

No objection

Of course, Lion. In fact, I don’t think one should need to ask to re-organize (BeBold, after all; we can always revert, etc etc). I hope no one minds that I’ve done so myself.

Since it seems we are in agreement on the ConsensusPolling discussion, I moved that to CommunityWikiGovernmentArchive.

I’m not bothering to save summary text to the archive page. I think if people write something only in the summary field and never on a page they can’t complain if it is not archived.

I committed the “raft of minor changes” that I proposed before to CommunityWikiConstitution, since there were no objections.

I created a new page CommunityWikiGovernmentNames? to discuss naming issues on because I think it’s important to separate them from the more substantive issues.

I deleted the injunction to “contain discussion to this page” at the top of this page because I could not create “CommunityWikiGovernmentNames?” without violating that injunction :).

I made a “current status” section on top.

Also, I propose the creation of an “action plan” section near the top, containing something like this:

  1. Resolve most issues listed in the “current status” section
  2. Contact all proposed initial members and invite them to the discussion
  3. Work out all issues raised
  4. Create a list of explicit expressions of support
  5. (officially declare the new procedure to be operational – remove its “draft” status)

Bayle, I think you’re doing such a good job at organizing all of this, that you should just organize it as you see fit. :)

We’ll just raise voice if there’s a difference of opinion.

declarations of support (removed from their original context)

Lion: You have my support irrespectively to the name.

Since the support declarations are considered important, I just want to say that I support this… thing. I like the name “bylaw” a lot :).

I support.

Following, a bit from outsides, supporting. “Bylov”. Law = lov. At love = to promise. Promise of the village.

I support whatever emerges from this process.

I support.

I support too, but wouldn’t mind being taken off the list, as indeed I don’t spend a huge amount of time here (especially since these days I only have internet access at work). I have been following the cw government issue, it’s pretty interesting.

Great pages. I support too and as Emile would not mind being taken off the list because I could not find any time to follow all the derived pages. I intend to translate soon this page to GouvernementCommunityWiki. Pretty interesting approach and still thinking of the future perspective to compare with the MeatballBoard (ConseilMeatball in French).

Zombie armies issue

One potential issue that I can think of with LiquidDemocracy that we should be aware of; people who essentially leave the community but who don’t get taken off the membership list. Without liquid democracy, these people wouldn’t participate in votes and wouldn’t have much effect (except that rush votes would become impossible; and eventually, we’d fall below the sqrt(members) limit, but that would be in the very far future). With liquid democracy, these people keep having an effect via whoever their vote got delegated to.

So, I propose an amendment to the current proposal: after being gone for X amount of time (9 months? one year? three years? what do people think?), a member’s vote ceases to be delegated to their proxy. Since this is a substantive change, I’m proposing it here rather than just adding it in.

Without such an expiry date, old hats would accrue power, representing a zombie army on election day. I’m all in favor of taking inactive people off the list. I wonder how we can formalize this, however. Is there an objective way of measuring it? Self declaration alone is not enough, I think. And if there’s a vote, then the zombie master has a slight advantage: His zombies will always be in favor of not expiring. Let’s use the contributors in our sidebar as examples: What about Patrick Anderson, Ruadhan O’Flanagan, or Thomas Kalka?

You don’t think edit inactivity is enough (i.e. hasn’t edited any page in X months)?

We could always do it like this: on the list of voting members, next to each person’s name is a timestamp. This person must edit the list once every X months and replace the timestamp with the current date (heck we could even just use new:: ). But no one else is allowed to do it for them. If they don’t do it by that date, they are taken off the list. Of course sometimes people would forget even though they are active, and it would be customary for the others to offer to put them back on when that happens (by the normal adding-a-member vote). Anyhow people could remind each other, that could be kinda fun in fact.

In addition, if we want to encourage people who don’t plan on actively participating in meta-issue discussion to not seek a vote, then the idea that it is possible to be a “member in good standing” in a social sense without being a “voter” would be reinforced if some token periodic effort were required to retain a vote.

P.S. Whatever the system is, I also think the active members should feel free to remove inactive people, or people who are active but not “active enough” manually (that is, I don’t think there should be a social norm that you only remove someone manually for bad behavior, and never for inactivity). Heck, I think the community should even feel free to remove someone just if the community has changed and the others no longer feel that that person’s goals are in line with everyone else’s. Since in the current proposal, this would take a 90% vote over 2 months, I think it’s safe to say that people don’t have to worry about being evicted unless most of the community is behind the eviction.

“Activity Timeout” – do we mean striking membership, or do we mean striking the validity of the vote delegation?

  • Strike membership after non-renewal.
    • Period: 5 years.
    • Keep time-out timer on a page that lists CommunityWikiLegislators?.
      • Don’t put it on the “Some Contributors” list on the SideBar, because we don’t want people to see it, and go: “Oooh, shiny, I want that.”
      • But, for pragmatic reasons of calculation, and for making things explicit as necessary, collect it on a page.
  • Strike vote delegation after non-renewal.
    • Period: 2 years.
    • Keep time-out timer next to the declaration of delegation.

Slightly OffTopic: There should be clarification: If the person is “around,” or has voted, then the relevant delegation (obviously) does not take effect.

Slightly OffTopic: Idea: List legislators & time-outs at the bottom of the CommunityWikiBylaws itself, once we figure out who’s in, and ratify?

Identified question: “Where do we put the list of members, once we’re done?”

Good point, those are different proposals and I was confusing them.

Either or both is fine with me. I think at least one of them is essential.

I think we need at least one mechanism whose “inactivity time” is significantly less than 2 years, although we could have one quick mechanism that inactivates vote delegation, and one slower one that revokes membership.

There should be clarification: If the person is \u201caround,\u201d or has voted, then the relevant delegation (obviously) does not take effect.

If the person is “around” but has not voted, then I think it’s legitimate for the delegation to be active. Perhaps the person doesn’t want to spend time learning about all issues under discussion. Under the current proposal, people are allowed to attach restrictions/conditions on their delegations (“To grant a proxy, the giver notes who receives the Proxy, and under what conditions,”), so if people want one of the conditions to be “I haven’t posted on CommunityWiki for two weeks” then they can say that (that’s probably what I would do).

If the person has voted, then I think it is assumed that someone else can’t also vote a proxy in their name. But we can say this explicitly in the bylaws if you’d like. It will already be easy to check if that situation has occurred because proxies are cast like this: “To vote a proxy, the Member who holds the Proxy casts the vote by writing \u201cfor (original person\u2019s name), cast by (receiver\u2019s name), proxy chain: (chain by which the receiver came into possesion of the proxy vote)”. So we’ll have a list of people who voted “Yes”, and some of the entries on that list will just be names, and some will be a person’s name proceeded by the word “for “ and followed by information on the proxy chain. So each entry on the list represents one vote, and states in whose name the vote is. So you can just look down the list and check if there are two votes cast in any one person’s name.

Idea: List legislators & time-outs at the bottom of the CommunityWikiBylaws itself, once we figure out who\u2019s in, and ratify?

You don’t want to put the list on a separate page?

Also, before ratification, but after those present agree on a proposed initial list of legislators, we should contact all of the people on that list and ask for their opinions. Presumably some of them will have concerns that need to be addressed (either by changing our proposal or by convincing them that the current proposal is good). This could take quite awhile, since there are quite a lot of people on that list. Also, we shouldn’t expect everyone to have very much free time in the next few weeks. It’s okay if some of them are not in favor of the bylaws but agree to it anyway for the sake of consensus, but it’s possible that a number of people will disagree so strongly that we will drop the whole idea of bylaws. I expect we are all thinking along these lines anyway, in which case there is no need for me to have stated it explicitly. The reason I did so was because your comment sounded to me as if ratification is imminent, whereas I think we may have a lot of work left to do in terms of addressing all of these people’s concerns. (I would like it if everyone else we contacted just agreed, and ratification happened soon – I’m just not sure that will happen).

Of course, it’s also possible that those who disagree strongly could just be dropped from the list of legislators instead (i.e. a fork). But the proposed initial list is really only composed of people whom we believe currently have close to informal “veto power” over community affairs, then we wouldn’t do that if more than one or two of them disagree.

Bayle: I don’t mind whether the membership list is large or small.

I just want people to feel appreciated, and to be happy with the effort.

I leave it to you, to figure the process for making the list.

is the list too comprehensive?

I think this list is somewhat overly comprehensive in that there are ~3-6 people on it whom I consider to contribute infrequently enough that, today, if everyone else but them agreed upon something, I would consider that something the community consensus. However, if this were the list of voters, then under the current proposed bylaws only 2 people would be sufficient to block a major proposal.

If others feel the same then I’ll name names, otherwise I’d prefer not to.

Caveats: Since I have myself been an infrequent contributor for most of the past year, I may not have observed a “recent”, more frequent contribution by people, though, so I may be in error (also, some may consider it hypocritical for me, who has been contributing infrequently as of late, to judge others; nevertheless, because I think this is the sort of issue that must be discussed as openly as possible, I will present such judgments and those who think they are hypocritical are free to ignore them) (and if you don’t think it’s hypocritical/you don’t think i’ve been gone too long, no need to reassure me of that, i am secure in my belonging-ness; the previous comment was speaking only to those who do think that). Also I note that as an English-only speaker, I am probably under-counting the contributions of the non-English parts of the community.

I agree with Bayle at least about my own person – I would probably be the first person to resign anyways :).

Radomir and Hans (in the middle of a different comment) seem to have “resigned”, so I have tentatively removed them from the above list and updated the numbers.

We need to get in contact with MarkDilley, EvanProdromou; They may or may not want to be on the list. If they say “yes,” they have some responsibility to interact here. If they say “no,” we remove their names from the list.

I also think I’m fairly confident that HelmutLeitner has said that he does not want to be a voting member.

OK, I’ve taken Helmut off the list and updated the numbers. Helmut, if this was a mistake and you would like to remain on the list, please let us know.

I notice silence in response to my assertion that the list is overly comprehensive. If everyone disagrees with this assertion of mine, then rather than being silent, could you post here so that I know this and so that then we can delete this thread? If you haven’t made up your mind and are still thinking I don’t mean to rush you, but if you have made up your mind and are happy with the present list, please say so.

Related to this, I’d like to respond to a comment of LionKimbro’s (which is now on CommunityWikiGovernmentMotivation):

… we are now in the paradoxical process of DevolvePower: We are extending votes out to a number of people, who may or may not be in the Inner Ring, whoever may actually be in it.

I think this is not the time to DevolvePower. The proposed CommunityWikiBylaws requires a 90% agreement amongst voters of major issues and an 80% agreement amongst even “minor” issues. If we have an informal sense of how much agreement, and amongst who, is required to make some change, and then we construct a formal process that requires much greater agreement than that, then the formal process will be impotent and we will not be able to pass rules that would have gone through in the old, informal days.

If this happens, if a rule is proposed and rejected in the formal process, it will not be sufficient for those previously in “the Inner Ring” to agree amongst themselves on a rule. Once a formal process is in place, rules which are rejected by the formal process will probably not be perceived as legitimate/unbreakable.

In other words, because the vote thresholds of the formal process have been set so high (in order to mimic the consensus-ish process we informally employ), if the formal set of voters is larger than the previous “Inner Ring”, it could become much harder to regulate the wiki. In this case there would be nothing to do but (1) live with it, (2) abolish the formal system, informally, which could start an argument, (3) fork.

Of course, the expectation is that people will not use their vote to veto anything they disagree with, rather, the expectation is that people will informally discuss things with the other voteholders and then come to a rough consensus; so, a proposal that would be preferred by only 70% of voters might still be passed by 90% of them as the minority compromises for the sake of consensus. We might expect that whatever informal notions of authority prevail today would also guide how often people compromise in the voting process. However, I would be surprised if the “social affordances” of the voting process had absolutely no effect on decision-making.

If we want to DevolvePower we can always “expand the franchise” later – after we have experimented with the new formal process and found out just how difficult or how easy it is to get 80% and 90% agreements in voting.

On the other hand, it is also dangerous to not offer someone a vote who should have one.

So, I think our goal should be to mimic as closely as possible our informal power structure in the formal system, rather than to DevolvePower in the initial distribution of votes.

I think the criteria should be this. In the current 14-person list, it takes only 2 people to block a major proposal and 3 to block a minor proposal. So, we should as a group be satisfied that there are no subsets of size 3 in the list such that, if today, those people were against something and everyone else on the list were for it, it would still (informally) “go through”.

Whether this is or is not the case with a particular list is not something that any single one of us can know. Also, as I noted, we also don’t want to be too miserly – if everyone has a list in their head, and we took the intersection of all those lists for the final list, that would cut out people who, today, informally, have almost-veto power and whom therefore should be on the final list.

I think that overall your ideas are going to work, Bayle. I know that somewhat similar arrangements have worked for other online communities, and projects. We may need to make small adjustments. But overall, I think the CommunityWikiBylaws and the formalized systems can work.

I am still kind of confused about where, how and why we are deciding who should get a vote and who shouldn’t. But, I think if I read through these related pages some more it’ll make sense.

I think this is not the time to DevolvePower. The proposed CommunityWikiBylaws requires a 90% agreement amongst voters of major issues and an 80% agreement amongst even \u201cminor\u201d issues. If we have an informal sense of how much agreement, and amongst who, is required to make some change, and then we construct a formal process that requires much greater agreement than that, then the formal process will be impotent and we will not be able to pass rules that would have gone through in the old, informal days.

In the old, informal days, AlexSchroeder was basically the prime determiner of rules. He was influenced by us, some of us (such as myself) more than others.

One of the effects of the CommunityWikiGovernment is that we DevolvePower, by way of votes and process.

Individuals still have power and authority and so on, by social relationship, but the authority is now in our process and agreements, rather than particular personalities and influences and ability to shut down the wiki.

It is the agreements that have changed the landscape, and marks the difference between the past and the future.

I am still kind of confused about where, how and why we are deciding who should get a vote and who shouldn\u2019t.

Me too :). Well, “where” I think I know: right here in this section on this page. And I guess “why” is, “because we have to in order to do anything formally”. As for “how”, that’s the confusing part.

@Lion: OK, so you see it as any such process is a devolution of power from the initial case of all power residing in Alex. I guess that makes sense. I’m still concerned that power could be devolved too much, however.

I am still kind of confused about where, how and why we are deciding who should get a vote and who shouldn\u2019t. But, I think if I read through these related pages some more it\u2019ll make sense.

Sam: My view of the process is as follows:

  • Take all the names.
  • Filter out anyone who’s ever been difficult.
  • Filter out people who haven’t had presence for more than, say, a month or two here. (That’s where Brandon went.)
  • Count on people who do not consider themselves “full-time” enough, to self-elect out.

The last step is the leap of faith; It gives me a way of not having to name names.

And, earnestly, I don’t think it matters too much. It’s a good list as it is, and I don’t forsee serious problems.

Bayle disagrees? I suppose.

Earnestly, I think the hardest problem with any legislation is going to be getting by AlexSchroeder, who will most likely say, in my imagination, “Nah, we don’t need a rule for that,” regardless of what the rule is..! ;)

Thanks for laying it out, Lion. Maybe we can include this in our CommunityWikiBylaws somewhere, once people are satisfied with it ? It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. I could easily go with exactly what you’ve written above, Lion. But, it could become a real sore spot for some people, I suppose, depending on individual circumstances. The way that Lion has written it, it almost seems like anyone who is a valued contributor could declare themselves a voting member (or “Legislator” under CommunityWikiBylaws).

But anyway, it shouldn’t really be a massive issue. Unless you get a trouble making person who wants to try and mount political challenges by selectively interpreting the CommunityWikiBylaws. But even then, it should theoretically work well with the system of regular contributors=Self-elected legislators.

Now, about those Zombie Delegation armies…:)

The timer (or Timout Timer) seems like an idea that is at least worth trying. It’s interesting to me how many different process dynamics are being integrated into the whole thing to deal with the nature of the community. This is one of the few times I’ve ever witnessed people lay down a set of rules that don’t require the people they are intended to be for to radically change their behavior to conform to them.

What will be really interesting to me, from a VirtualCommunity perspective, is if their very existence tends to make them rarely if ever used (since they are mostly insired by uncooperative/trouble making people) :)

From CommunityWikiGovernmentNames

Older discussion

(partially mangled because I was didn’t realize there were different interpretations of what was meant by “bylaw” and so I was moving this to CommunityWikiGovermentArchive?BayleShanks)

"Government", "Parliament" or "Ting"?

Just one more wording nitpick - the process defined here does not look like government (i.e. administartion) but rather like a parliament (i.e. legislature). While this might not look very serious, I am of the opinion that the most basic juridical act should be a bit ‘elevated’.

[This is part of a comment from SamRose that was split; the other part was moved to “role for non-voting members?” – ed.]

@Zby, you are right, it does look more like parliamentary process than administration. It will be interesting to see how this works with this small-ish group. But then again, maybe it will allow some community members to feel more at ease about posting some really good contributions to the wiki, which will in turn attract a bunch of new people, whch may in turn cause us to be glad that we decided to put this framework in place?

Sam: I am supporting this whole idea and I agree with most what is on this page. I have only some objections to the language used - which can look a bit frivolous from outside and I would rather see the most basic social contract here free of such notions.

Zbigniew: We could even call it the CommunityWikiAgreement?. I don’t care much what its called, but, if it would win your support, I’m happy with Parliament, or Agreement, or anything else that’s vaguely positive, and describes what we’re doing.

[part of this comment relating to a different issue has been moved to “Role of non-voting members” – ed.]

Lion: You have my support irrespectively to the name. I am only trying to improve it - the point is that how we call this agreement will stay for a long time and it will be very visible from outside - so it should be ‘accurate’, not misleading and also not ridiculing us for thinking too ‘grandiouse’. That said again I am ready to support it under any name you like.


What was I thinking? I guess I just wanted to go fast. But you’re right.

OK: Instead of the Sovereign People’s Republic of the CommunityWiki Government, (and extended territories,) and instead of the Internet Institute for HiveMind Theory, …

Here are three:

The first (Legislature) feels to me like “Congress,” which brings my mind back to Government.

My heart is with the second, Ting. BayleShanks isn’t so into it, and he argues well that Tings are supposed to work synchronously. A better term for the WikiTing, which, it already is the term for.

I feel “CommunityWikiAssembly” is best: a good, humble, conservative, understandable phrase.

Incidentally, Wikipedia suggests that the best modern word for “Ting” is “Assembly.” Ting on Wikipedia disambiguation: “Ting (Assembly), a historical Scandinavian governing assembly.”

And as Alex’s research on “Bylaw” shows, “Bylaw” and “Ting” or “Assembly” fit well together. :)

what to call it?

In ‘94 I was on Gotland, Sweden, island in the baltic sea, once the centre of the viking culture. Pretty big island, you drive over an hour to the other end of it. They came together for the island’s ting back then.
That’s what I meant when I came up with ting, a council, a parliament, a government, a dynamic agreement that is reworked and adapted so everybody feels good (on the island, in wikilandia). Adapted on an occasional meeting - the ting. An agreement that is re-confirmed by tinging. Idea: barcamp-wiki: barcamp second life

I think Community Wiki Bylaw would be more appropriate.

“A bylaw (sometimes also spelt by-law or byelaw) was originally the Viking town law in the Danelaw. […] In modern days, a bylaw is a rule governing the internal management of an organization, such as a business corporation.” [1]

By is city, town, also village in scandinavian languages. Variations are bi, bü (home-town of Pippi Longstocking is Bullerbü - buller are the swedish meatballs actually, fiskebuller with fish)

Nice suggestion, Alex. I really like “bylaw” perhaps (ByLaws?). – Hans (just an OccassionalContributor?, who is unlikely to be able to assume the responsibilities inherent in being a Member.)

Mattis should be amused; “Ting” (meeting, assembly) is the direct great-great-grandfather root of the word thing ..!

And that is exactly what this is: A thing. ;)

I guess this means that the answer to AreGroupsReal, is “Yes!” Because it is a thing, and object, a noun, …

I, too, support the language: “bylaw.” It’s a good word.

Eh, … I find myself going backwards. “Bylaws…” I like “Rule” because it doesn’t have “Law” in it, and “Law” is more in line with a “Government,” but “Rule” is more in line with an “Assembly,” I think.

At my daughter’s school, they make and vote on rules. They don’t make and vote on bylaws.

The bylaws of an association determine what positions there are in the board, how elections will be held, what the goals of the association are, if membership dues are collected and what purpose they serve. The board then makes decisions, spends money, etc. I think in you daughter’s case the school has set up all the processes (this is the stuff we’re trying to set up right now), and the students then vote on single rules (we hope that we will have very few issues to actually vote upon once we have agreed on how we would vote).

Government does sound a bit “big”. Do we really need a special name for “what we are, the group of us here on CommunityWiki, doing things, making decisions, enforcing rules, and so on”? CommunityWiki sounnds like a pretty accurate description of that - sounds better than “Government”, “Parliament”, “Legislature”, “Board”, “Assembly” …

“Constitution”, on the other hand, sounds nice :) There’s no problem with working like an association, but using a bit of vocabulary like “Constitution” to show that we are interested in matters of government, how to get organized, etc.

“Welcome to CommunityWiki, here’s our constitution, these are how things work around here ..” sounds fine enough without needing any reference to government or anything like it. “Constitution” is self-explanatory enough (and in my mind, more so than “bylaws”, but that’s probably because I’m French and not used to that term).

I don’t mind much whatever way things are called though, as long as it works :)

Yes. We all agree: “Government” sounds too big. Our challenge is to find a replacement.

CommunityWiki” means the place, in my mind.

Also, there are people who are well respected participants on CommunityWiki, OccasionalContributors?, arguably even CommunityMembers?, but who are not voters-legislators-members: HansWobbe, HelmutLeitner, RadomirDopieralski, (etc.,.)

For the constitution-charter-bylaws at least, we need a word for an individual voter-legislator-member, (to talk about who can vote and how and to describe processes and so on.)

I can see that we might get away without a word for the group of voter-legislator-members as a whole, and merely speak, over and over again, of the voter-legislator-members in the plural, but that just strikes me as ridiculously minimalistic: Like completely rewriting a program that had 487 variable names in it, in order to get it down to 484, because we believe in an economy on variable names. Much better, I would think, to just call it “The CommunityWikiAssembly,” or something like that. That really doesn’t sound too pompous to me.

Elementary Schools have Assemblies. [2] We’re hardly decorating ourselves. [3]

Alex: OK, you have convinced me that Bylaws is a good word in place of Constitution. (We just called them “Club Constitutions” when I was in high school. Each club I belonged to had a “Constitution,” and we didn’t consider it pompous or anything.)

Yes, “government” seems to take itself way too seriously.

I enjoy reading documents more when there is some humor to them. I suspect others are the same way. Perhaps these suggestions are a little too humorous / obscure:

(The “janitorial crew” who do the messy work of actually enforcing the rules may be a completely different group of people than the people who make the rules).

Now that I’ve made a little bit of a joke, forgive me for some serious chatter followed by a link to a theologian.

[content moved to CommunityWikiGovernmentMotivation]

It starts to be a mess here and I am sorry to have initiated this. But in summary: Bylaw or Constitution seems right for me for the set of most basic rules, Assembly seems right as the list of voting members. There is no Government - since we have no formalized administration (yet?).

I moved the thread about the substantive issue of whether a formal process is good here to the new page CommunityWikiGovernmentMotivation. I also resurrected of the archive (CommunityWikiGovernmentArchive) onto that page and reworked them into DocumentMode.

Endorsements: OK, Lion, I say that you go ahead and think of the language you want for endorsements and put it onto the page CommunityWikiConstitution when you’re ready. What do you think about the word “recommendation” rather than “endorsement”? The reason is that sometimes we’ll want to recommend that you NOT do something; like “we recommend (but do not require) that you do not do this: …”. But consider using “endorse”: “Do … if you want — but if you should decide not to, we endorse that decision!”

Ting: I noticed above that there was a comment that said, essentially, ‘Ting is nice, but Bayle isn’t into it’. I’m into Ting if the rest of you are, it just isn’t my first choice. I don’t care too much, so feel free to use Ting if y’all want.

Janitors: I think that would be confusing. Also, I think it is, in a sense, false modesty, at least if the “mop-makers” actually expect the “mops” to be adhered to, and then get annoyed with people who blatantly ignore the “mops” even after being informed of what the “mop” says.

Also, if we want a term more general than “rule”, we can use “act”, or “pronouncement”. Those both sound more fancy, but they are general enough to encompass both “rule” and “endorsement”.

OK, after updating other people’s “current perspectives”, it looks like we can agree on the following:

  • Constitution (hard to change) -→ Bylaws
  • Rules (easy to change) -→ Rules

which is supported by AlexSchroeder, LionKimbro, ZbigniewLukasiak (well, at least Bylaws), and BayleShanks (but perhaps not DavidCary). So, if there are no further objections in the next few days, I’m going to consider these decided and change the word “constitution” to “bylaws” and rename the page CommunityWikiConstitution to CommunityWikiBylaws.

LionKimbro, ZbigniewLukasiak, BayleShanks seem to be fine with

  • Government -→ Assembly

but it’s not clear what AlexSchroeder thinks of this. I’d also like to point out that I am fine with Ting, also. However, we may want to decide that word at the same time we decide the word for “Legislators”.

A word on that: Alex, you say

A constitution determines how laws are made, a parliament requires regular elections of representatives, a ting requires other processes … An association has voting members and is run by a board (including a president and a cashier). In our case we don’t have a board, only members forming the association.

To me, these words (constitution, parliament, board) denote less than that. For example, I think a civic association can have a constitution, a parliament does not denote election of representatives, and you can have a board without a president or a cashier. Some civic associations have their total membership equal to their board (private charitable foundations in the U.S., for example).

Right now, here are three pairs of names that I’m thinking about:

  • Government -→ Board. Legislator -→ Board Member
  • Government -→ Assembly. Legislator -→ Voting Member (or maybe Assembly Member)
  • Government -→ Ting. Legislator -→ Voting Member (or maybe Ting Member)

Rationale for Board, Board members:

This is the standard thing for a civic association. This gets across that there may be other people involved in the association who are not board members, without implying that those others elect the board members. I don’t think it matters that we have no president or cashier (in fact, I’m surprised that this was even mentioned; perhaps these are legal requirements for a board in certain countries? but we’re not setting up a legal entity; if we did, we’d just call someone the president and someone else the cashier). I don’t think it matters that we would (formally speaking) have board members but no general members (in the U.S. some associations are like this).

Rationale for Assembly, Voting members or Assembly members:

I think those terms are extremely general and basically refer to any situation where a bunch of people get together and vote on stuff (ironically, we won’t actually assemble for this Assembly, in fact quite the opposite because part of the point is to deal with AbsentCommunity).

Rationale for Assembly, Voting members or Ting members:

I have no opinion on this because I’ve never heard the word Ting used outside of WikiTing.

I think we should not call the voters just “members” because I think of the people who are involved in CommunityWiki but who don’t vote as “members”. I don’t want to give the impression that this is our club, and therefore everyone else can visit but since they’re just watching they shouldn’t write or rework the wiki. I want to give the impression that there are a bunch of people involved in the wiki to varying degrees, and those who are most heavily involved have a vote, but many others don’t – and that the opinions of the others still matter (although not quite as much, if the voters mostly agree on something and others disagree).

This is a little confusing, because we’re formally defining the voting membership, but leaving the “general membership” vague and informal. So formally we just have one kind of member, but informally we have two kinds. But that’s fine.

Sorry for not having been following properly. The real-time aspect is important. The reconstitution of the assembly by coming together, in real-time, so you can “smell” each other. The Vikings did it, the American Indians had their palavers, the national Governments worldwide do it in their parliaments.

Meeting and making sense isn’t easy, sure. Yesterday we had the BarCampBank flashmeeting 4. We know each other better and can prepare better. We can perfectly do fine without video. On collab-editor and VoIP.

Zombie armies issue

Problem: There is an issue with people who leave but don’t get taken off the membership list. With liquid democracy, these people keep having an effect via whoever their vote got delegated to. Old hats would accrue power, representing a zombie army on election day.


Amend CommunityWikiBylaws as follows. In section, “How Legislators may be added or subtracted”, the phrase “in addition” is removed, and at the end of that section is added a new paragraph reading: “Legislators lose the power to delegate their vote after 6 months of absence from the wiki, and they are removed from the list of legislators after 2 years of absence. Legislators are responsible for indicating their continued presence (See “the mechanics of voting”)”

In section “the mechanics of voting”, at the beginning, is added a paragraph: “On the page ____ [the page with the list of legislators], next to each Legislator’s name is a timestamp. Each Legislator is responsible for updating their own timestamp at least once every six months. No one else is permitted to update it for them. Whenever the difference between the timestamp and the current date is greater than six months, that Legislator’s vote can no longer be delegated (that is, any votes cast in their name are void and are no longer counted after the six month period). If the difference between the timestamp and the current date becomes greater than 2 years, that Legislator is no longer considered a Legislator and shall be removed from the list.”

Please see CommunityWikiGovernmentArchive for the discussion before this point.

If no one disagrees, I will make this amendment in around 4-6 days.

This proposal is much like both of LionKimbro’s proposals (see the archive) at once, except the times are drastically shorter: 6 months and 2 years rather than 2 years and 5 years respectively. Please speak up if you disagree.

This proposal does not implement Lion’s suggestion that There should be clarification: If the person is “around,” or has voted, then the relevant delegation (obviously) does not take effect. In the archives, I said why I think this is not desirable or necessary. But again, please speak up if you disagree.

Is the list too big?

BayleShanks is worried that the list is too big, reasoning that under the proposed system it would only take 1 veto to sink an amendment and 2 to sink a rules proposal even if everyone else supported it. Yet in his opinion there are people/groups of 2 people on the initial list such that, today, before the system, if an informal proposal was made, the community might implement the proposal if everybody agreed but them. Therefore, BayleShanks is worried that the new system might be too impotent, unable to pass rules which, today, would be informally “passed”.

This danger is attenuated by the fact that the expectation is that, rather than simply voting “no” on anything that is even slightly disagreed with, the voters will informally discuss proposals and come to consensus by compromising. Therefore, some people will end up voting “yes” even if they disagree, in order to achieve consensus.

LionKimbro doesn’t think the impotence scenario will happen. He also thinks that, if the proposed remedy is to strip people from the list, that this is unnecessary because the less active people will take themselves off the list when we ask them if they want to stay on it.

Indeed, so far many rather active people have been taking themselves off.

BayleShanks is currently content to wait for awhile and see what happens. In the end, he is willing to drop this issue if he turns out to be the only one concerned about it.

short subdiscussion on what the process is for making the list

I am still kind of confused about where, how and why we are deciding who should get a vote and who shouldn\u2019t. But, I think if I read through these related pages some more it\u2019ll make sense.

Sam: My view of the process is as follows:

  • Take all the names.
  • Filter out anyone who’s ever been difficult.
  • Filter out people who haven’t had presence for more than, say, a month or two here. (That’s where Brandon went.)
  • Count on people who do not consider themselves “full-time” enough, to self-elect out.

The last step is the leap of faith; It gives me a way of not having to name names.

And, earnestly, I don’t think it matters too much. It’s a good list as it is, and I don’t forsee serious problems.

Bayle disagrees? I suppose.

Earnestly, I think the hardest problem with any legislation is going to be getting by AlexSchroeder, who will most likely say, in my imagination, “Nah, we don’t need a rule for that,” regardless of what the rule is..! ;)

Thanks for laying it out, Lion. Maybe we can include this in our CommunityWikiBylaws somewhere, once people are satisfied with it ? It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. I could easily go with exactly what you’ve written above, Lion. But, it could become a real sore spot for some people, I suppose, depending on individual circumstances. The way that Lion has written it, it almost seems like anyone who is a valued contributor could declare themselves a voting member (or “Legislator” under CommunityWikiBylaws).

But anyway, it shouldn’t really be a massive issue. Unless you get a trouble making person who wants to try and mount political challenges by selectively interpreting the CommunityWikiBylaws. But even then, it should theoretically work well with the system of regular contributors=Self-elected legislators.

[this comment has been truncated; see the CommunityWikiGovernmentArchive]

@Sam: The procedure for selecting the initial list is currently vague, informal, and undefined. However, once the Bylaws are ratified, they do specify a procedure for adding or subtracting people from the list from that time forwards: a 90% vote of the Assembly is required. So, this is quite different (much more restrictive) than a procedure where new people declare themselves voters and put themselves on the list by themself.

Where do we put the list of members, once we're done? and related

If we end up calling government “assembly” and legislators “Voting Members”, then I propose we put it a page called CommunityWikiVotingMemberList?. Finally, if my proposed text on endorsements goes thru, I think we should make a page called CommunityWikiAssemblyPronouncements? (if Pronouncements isn’t liked, I suggest the word Acts instead) to hold the text of all Rules and Endorsements which have been passed.

Furthermore, I think that after ratification, we should lock the pages CommunityWikiBylaws, CommunityWikiVotingMemberList?, and CommunityWikiAssemblyPronouncements?, so that only CommunityWikiAdministrators can edit them (and they should only do so in accordance with the procedures specified in the Bylaws, that is, when the proper votes have been taken). In other words, any page which requires a formal process to amend should be locked, so that they aren’t “amended” by edits by random newbies who aren’t aware of the existence of a process.

Also, I propose that general discussion about the bylaws should go on the page CommunityWikiBylawsDiscussion (there is a blank space in the bylaws to indicate where this should go).

Finally, I propose we add a sentence after the first one in CommunityWikiBylaws that says “These Bylaws formally define the CommunityWikiAssembly, as well as a process for the Assembly to make Pronouncements.”

I will make these changes in a few days if no one disagrees.

This page is an offshoot of CommunityWikiGovernment.

Note that the name “government” is in disfavor and I just named this page that for the sake of continuity.

Current status

If there are no objections in the next few days, I will make the following changes:

  1. “Government -→ Assembly”
  2. “Member -→ Voting Member”. Also, I will change the term Participating Voter in the Bylaws to something less likely to be confused with Voting Member.
  3. I will implement the wording I proposed in the section “endorsements”

Current Perspectives




I want to frame it as an association that gives itself some bylaws containing various paragraphs. I want to get rid of constitution, law, rule, parliament, ting, etc. unless we’re ready to model our processes appropriately. A constitution determines how laws are made, a parliament requires regular elections of representatives, a ting requires other processes – and we are not ready for any of these. The vocabulary governing associations on the other hand is absolutely appropriate for the size and goals of our group. An association has voting members and is run by a board (including a president and a cashier). In our case we don’t have a board, only members forming the association. What to call the stuff we create once the bylaws are in effect? I’d say we call them “rules”.




A need has been recognized for “endorsements”, which are legislated just like Rules, but which are not binding as Rules are; that is, they are CollectiveSpeech that recommends without requiring.

For example, if I say, “The CommunityWiki Legislature endorses TurnBasedVsInterruptedThreadMode,” then that means: “This isn’t just Lion’s crazy idea; This is actually something that we (usually) do.”

So, we might want to change the CommunityWikiConstitution to say:

How Rules may be passed, and Endorsements made
A vote of 80% is needed to create a new Rule, to amend an existing Rule, or to make an endorsement.
However, any existing rules or endorsements may be repealed by a vote of only 51%.
A proposed Rule change or endorsement must normally stand for at least 2 weeks before being passed.
See Legislative Minutia, below.
An endorsement is a declaration of CollectiveSpeech. An endorsement is ideally accompanied with a minority report.

So, basically, whenever “Rule” is mentioned, change it to “Rule or Endorsement”; and then also add

An endorsement is a declaration of CollectiveSpeech. An endorsement is ideally accompanied with a minority report.

Lion, is that right?

I have three suggested changes:

  • “Recommendation” instead of “Endorsement”
  • Add in something saying that Rules are binding and that Endorsements aren’t
  • Refer to both Rules and Endorsements as Pronouncements (i.e. replace “Rule” by “Pronouncement” rather than “Rule or Endorsement”, and then define both Rule and Endorsement)

So, making these changes, the proposed changes to the text would be:

  1. Replace Rule with Pronouncement throughout.
  2. In the section “How Pronouncements may be passed”:

Add a sentence at the beginning:

A Pronouncement is the Assembly’s CollectiveSpeech.

and a paragraph at the end:

A Pronouncement may be either a Recommendation or a Rule. Following a Rule is mandatory, following a Recommendation is only suggested. A Recommendation is ideally accompanied by a minority report.

Government --> ?; Member --> ?

Seems most people like “Government -→ Assembly” and “Member -→ Member”.

I think we should not call the voters just “members” because I think of the people who are involved in CommunityWiki but who don’t vote as “members”. I don’t want to give the impression that this is our club, and therefore everyone else can visit but since they’re just watching they shouldn’t write or rework the wiki. I want to give the impression that there are a bunch of people involved in the wiki to varying degrees, and those who are most heavily involved have a vote, but many others don’t – and that the opinions of the others still matter (although not quite as much, if the voters mostly agree on something and others disagree).

So how about “Assemblyperson”? Or “Vote-holder”? Or “Voting Member”?

Misc discussion

I removed most of the old discussion and anything having to do with the words “rule”, “constitution”, “bylaw”, since it seemed we agreed on those (on “rules” and “bylaws”, that is).

Proposal to send out a notification email

I wonder if a few rounds of IRC with those people might accelerate the process? I mean, like a CommunityWiki-wide IRC session, or more than one, were we can discuss this stuff, or a WikiTing, if people prefer. Just to speed things up a little. Those IRC logs could then be posted here for future record. At least for people who don’t say “do whatever”., anyway. And IRC is not to cater to their non-participation at the wiki. But rather to speed up some of the discussion. On CommunityWikiGovernment, Alex has the idea of removing people from the list if we do not hear from them. Which I think can work. Although, maybe for the founding of CommunityWikiBylaws, we might want to give them a couple emails or a call or something, just to alert them and give them an opportunity to respond, if they want to be involved in decision making. We can do this in narrow timeframe, maybe even within the first week of January . We can send out one mass email right now, and let the absent people on that list know what is going on. I would be fine with doing it, if people want it to happen. we can just basically say:

“Hi, we’re creating a formal government/bylaw process for CommunityWiki

(see:CommunityWikiBylaws and CommunityWikiGovernment and related pages linked there).

We have been debating and forging these bylaws, and most of the currently active members have stated they support the creation and implementation of this system. Before we move ahead with ratifying these CommunityWikiBylaws, we wanted to give you an opportunity to decide whether you would like to be a VotingMember?, or an OccasionalContributor. And, we’d also like to ask you to voice your official support at CommunityWikiGovernment regardless of whether you’d like to be part of the process or not.

If you would like your name to remain on the list of “members” at CommunityWikiGovernment, please respond on that page and say so, and give opinions about the proposed CommunityWikiGovernment, if you have any. Or, remove your name from the list if you’d like to be an OccasionalContributor instead. If we don’t here from you by (insert date here), then we’ll remove your name from the voting member list.

You’re receiving this email because you are a valued member of the CommunityWiki community, and we wanted to alert you to the founding and ratifying of this process before we proceed.


Or something like that.

Just one nitpick - what needs to be ratified is CommunityWikiBylaws (or CommunityWikiConstitution) not CommunityWikiGovernment.

Sam, I’d be happy if you’d like to send out such an email. Three nitpicks:

First nitpick:

decide whether you would like to be a VotingMember?, or an OccasionalContributor

Unless I am misinterpreting the intended role of VotingMember?s, this is a false dichotomy. People can be frequent contributors without having a vote. To me, the above sentence can be interpreted either as:

  1. “If you are planning to contribute more than occasionally, feel free to become a voting member. If you are only planning to contribute very occasionally, please take your name off the list”, or, as
  2. “You are someone who has contributed frequently in the past. If you plan to continue contributing frequently, you must become a VotingMember?. If you do not accept a vote, you should only contribute occasionally from now on”.

I think interpretation #1 is good but #2 is not at all what we intend.

Second nitpick:

Often when I’m on vacation I accumulate a backlog of email which I don’t go through until a week or so after I get back. For me personally, email which is sent after vacation is processed quicker; maybe some others operate this way too. So perhaps this should be sent after the holiday season?

Third nitpick:

Hi, we’re creating a formal government/bylaw process

I personally don’t mind if you use the word government, but the consensus on CommunityWikiGovernmentNames? seems to be to avoid the language of government.

Forth nitpick:

We don’t have a list of emails, so it will require some effort to find everyone. This isn’t a nitpick actually: if you feel like doing this, please go ahead :).

Also, I’ll volunteer to send out the email myself if no one else does it first, but I won’t be able to do it for at least a week.

OK, here’s a proposed revised email text. Anyone, feel free to revise this further and/or send it out (you can send out something else if you want, you don’t have to follow this text), and then post here when you’ve done so. I’ll send it myself in a few days otherwise (I’m hoping to have all of the current proposals/concerns ironed out first; but if you don’t care about that, feel free to email now).

Note that this text refers to pages to which stuff might be moved but which don’t exist yet; please create and populate those pages before you send the email (or change the text)!

Subject: CommunityWiki Bylaws (respond by Jan 15)

Hi, we're creating a formal bylaw process for CommunityWiki.

(see: and 

We have been debating and forging these bylaws, and most of the
currently active members have stated they support the creation and
implementation of this system. Before we move ahead with ratifying the
CommunityWikiBylaws, we wanted to give you an opportunity to decide
whether you would like to be a VotingMember. 

And, we'd also like to ask you to voice your official support at
CommunityWikiBylawsDiscussion regardless of whether you'd like to be
part of the process or not.

The currently proposed initial list of voting members is on the page If you
are planning to contribute more than occasionally, feel free to remain
on this list and become a Voting Member. In this case, please leave a
message on the page to indicate
that you would like to remain a Voting Member, and give your opinions
about the proposed CommunityWikiBylaws, if you have any.

If you are only planning to contribute very occasionally, or if you
don't have time or would not like to participate in the
CommunityWikiAssembly, please take your name off of the list on

If we don't here from you by Jan 15, then we'll remove your name from
the voting member list.

You're receiving this email because you are a valued member of the
CommunityWiki community, and we wanted to alert you to the ratifying
of the bylaws before we proceed.

  some people at CommunityWiki

Misc discussion

I’d like to hear from people on the list before deciding to keep them on the initial list. I think they should agree to be on the list (or opt out).

  • DavidCary made three posts in the last four weeks but hasn’t spoken on the issue.
  • EmileKroeger made a single post (2006-12-16) on LiquidDemocracy in the last four weeks, but hasn’t mentioned it since. after this comment, Emile commented: she supports but “resigns” from the list – BayleShanks
  • EvanProdromou hasn’t posted in the last four weeks. btw his weblog says he is on vacation this week – BayleShanks
  • LuigiBertuzzi hasn’t posted in the last four weeks.
  • MarkDilley hasn’t posted in the last four weeks.
  • TedErnst made a single unrelated post in the last four weeks.
  • ThomasKalka hasn’t posted in the last four weeks.

(Got these numbers by looking at RecentChanges for the last 28 days and filtering by usernames.)

While all these people are people I would trust, I’m not sure they care enough about this site.

I declare my support.

I would also like to add a few clarifications of my own views on a few of the matters under discussion …

  • I think developing a form of ‘governance’ is a very good thing. Too many communities (both Real and Virtual) have fallen apart without it. And it is work that needs doing, not just here, but throughout WikiLandia. I applaude your efforts and support them. Even if nothing more than learning result, that will be a significant gain.
  • The Rights, Entitlements, Powers, and Privileges of living in a society in a responsible manner have been discussed for a very long time, especially in ‘democratic’ societies. Bayle frequently injects some of the considerable body of ‘prior’, existing knowledge by refering to accepted and respected references such as Roberts Rules of Order. I think it likly that wikis will improve with age, but (obviously) this takes time. In the mean time, occassionally refering to the existing incredible resources (the early parts of the American Constitution for example, as well as so many of the other writings of member of the “Founding Fathers” such as Thomas Jerrerson and Benjamin Franklin) is something I recommend without reservation.
  • Personally, I feel like a respected guest at here CommunityWiki. I enjoy my role as an OccassionalContributor? - sometimes wanting to be a bit more - but I do not think of myself as a Voting Member for the simple reason that I have enough other responsibilities, that I need to shed some, and am in the process of doing so. It would be absurd to accept other responsibilities that I would have to pay even less attention to than the ones that I am already divesting myself of. I also appreciate participating, to the extent I can, in the flow of ideas here, and really appreciate the ‘helpful nudges’ that I have been given quite a few times, while participating here.
  • I’m looking forward to a long-term role here. It will undoubtedly change over time; likely in ways that will surpise me. That’s probably one of the things I’m looking forward to.
  • Finally, I’m a bit of an Authoritarian. I see absolutley nothing wrong with some of the GodKing-like actions that have been taken. (For the record, all three of our kids occassionaly got a swift slap - and, not surprisingly, it did change their behaviour.) Banning is an efficient ‘slap’, and its judicious use is appropriate. I’ve had occassion to say “Lead, follow, or get out of (my) way”. Here, at CW, I choose to be more of a follower.
  • In closing, I dislike giving orders. I don’t communicate well enough to be good at it, and I expect far too much of people. One of my compromises with ‘society’ is “I don’t give them, so I don’t take them” - I do not surrender my RightToLeave merely by choosing to stay.

By all means please carry on, but not past the needs of the moment nor past the point of diminishing returns. You can always amend it.

It’s very important to me that this effort succeed; This is one of those “minimal commitment” things I passionately want to see finish.

Also, I agree with most everything HansWobbe said. (I’m still debating in my mind the term “Authoritarian,” though I am definitely not an anti-authoritarian. I like justified and questionable and at least minimally answering authorities. – ForFewAndMany.) That said, I’m fine with ditching the government language, because it’s more important to me that we have a local (scratched out, and filled in with “way of making decisions,”) than that we call it one. :D

Should I be “away,” (bloody unlikely,) I delegate my votes as follows:

  • On “meta” matters of voting and governance and the bylaws and so on, including the ratification of the government itself: BayleShanks
  • On votes for “who is a member?”, AlexSchroeder
  • On aesthetic questions, MattisManzel
  • All other decisions, or in hard-to-judge what is what situations: AlexSchroeder

Call me at USA 206.427.2545 if a constitutional crisis comes up, or I’m otherwise needed.

So where are we? What now? What does it take to sign this thing, and set it in action?

OK, I made proposals which tie up all of the remaining loose ends in the discussion – if no one disagrees, I’ll implement them in a few days. At this point, we should also move this page to somewhere else such as CommunityWikiBylawDiscussion?, and edit it with the object of introducing the bylaws to people who come after reading the email (see below).

The next thing to do is to email everyone (see above for a proposed email text). My proposal is that the email contain a deadline of Jan 15. Although I think that is rushing things a little; perhaps we should actually make the deadline Jan 30 (although maybe the first email could just say 15 to get people’s attention). But I get the opinion that other people would prefer more speed, so Jan 15 is fine with me too.

Then we need to see if we can convince DavidCary to support. Also, MattisManzel made a comment that real-time is important; I interpreted that as just a comment, not an objection, but is that how you meant it, Mattis?

Then people will trickle in and either sign up to be voting members or raise objections. Then we talk about that stuff.

Then if there are irreconcilable objections we decide whether to go forward or not.

Yes, it was just a comment. This is improving here, thanks Bayle for your creative persistence. What about RadomirDopieralski? He’s not with it for very long. I’d be very happy if he’d become a member with a hat (voter) soon.

And FridemarPache is performing great recently, isn’t he?

Thanks, Mattis – BayleShanks

I’ve emailed DavidCary several times, but haven’t heard a word from him, which has me worried, since I see him there in Gmail, but not saying anything back.

Radomir has already respectfully declined voter status, but declared support. Fridemar? No.

Bayle: Jan 30 is good to me. Are we clear on the list? Is the list complete, or do we need to finish that step before we proceed? Alex is right. MarkDilley hasn’t posted in ages. We trust him, obviously, but he hasn’t been around in ages, and when he is here, he doesn’t post all that much; Pulling him in for voting when he’s only casually interested won’t accomplish much. (For example.)

yes, I think we can skip my earlier suggestion of emailing, since most of these folks simply won’t be around, and they can always jump back on the apple cart later on if they choose to do so.

OK I’m a little bit confused by Lion and Sam’s previous comments. Please reply and tell me which of the following options do you guys like (or something else, if none of these are what you meant):

  1. We email: EvanProdromou, LuigiBertuzzi, MarkDilley, TedErnst, ThomasKalka. We wait until Jan 30 to see who shows up.
  2. We email: EvanProdromou, LuigiBertuzzi, TedErnst, ThomasKalka. We wait until Jan 30 to see who shows up.
  3. We don’t email anyone. We don’t wait until Jan 30. We finish discussion now and ratify with the initial voter list being: AlexSchroeder, BayleShanks, DavidCary, LionKimbro, MattisManzel, SamRose, ZbigniewLukasiak.
  4. We don’t email anyone. We wait until Jan 30 to see who shows up.

By the way, I emailed MarkDilley a few weeks ago to notify him of this discussion, so to the extent that we feel a duty to notify people, we can consider him notified.

I would prefer options 3, 1, or 4, in that order.1

Note though that if we ratify immediately with DavidCary as a voter without first convincing him to support, we will be in the position of having ratified the Bylaws with less than the 90% agreement that future Bylaw amendments will require. So I suggest we convince DavidCary first (or, alternately, lower the 90% and 80% thresholds). Note that convincing does not mean necessarily convincing to the degree that he thinks it is a good idea and would have proposed it himself, merely convincing to the extent that he is willing to concede for the sake of consensus and “vote” for the Bylaws by signing his support (as this is the closest analog of future votes; a vote “yes” does not always mean “i wholeheartedly agree”, it may mean just “it is okay with me if you folks want to do this”).

Although based on the discussion so far I think DavidCary’s objections were rooted in a communications difficulty, and that once he understands what our intent is with regards to the Bylaws, he may like them.

Re: DavidCary being on Gmail but not email; I wouldn’t worry about this sort of thing; people are busy and some people ration their time, and if it’s not “wiki time”, they will ignore wiki-related communications for awhile.

I would go with 3, because most of those people are not present much. I just checked LuigiBertuzzi, and it has a request to DeletePage?..! I don’t remember that happening, but I guess it happened at some point. I’ll see EvanProdromou within a month at RCC2007, probably, I suspect, and I’ll ask him what he thinks. He hasn’t posted regularly in years, though, and I don’t think he’d be shocked (or unhappy) if we passed over him.

So, I’m basically in 3. Though I would add: wait to hear from DavidCary, whether he wants to be a voter or merely a supporter, or if he wants to convince us of something different.

But I think from my phone conversation with him today, that he was a supporter, at least.

I suppose we could say, “If we haven’t heard from him in 2 weeks, we’ll just plow forwards.”

Sounds good to me. Let’s wait two weeks for DavidCary, then move on.

old action plan

< # Resolve most issues listed in the “current status” section < # Contact all proposed initial members and invite them to the discussion note: many people probably won’t be available until after the holidays < # Work out all issues raised < # Create a list of explicit expressions of support < # (officially declare the new procedure to be operational – remove its “draft” status)

Current status

Everyone who has spoken so far supports the general idea.

All specific issues that have been brought up so far have been resolved. However, it is not to late to bring up new issues if you can think of any.

Issues that have been resolved:


1. you may wonder why I prefer (3), not emailing anyone, when yesterday I was saying we should wait until Jan 30. Well, I prefer less voters than more, so not emailing is fine by me, but I think that if we do email at all, we should give people a decent amount of time to respond. There are some people on the to-email list that I think should definitely have a vote if they want one, but we can offer them one later on when they come back.

Define external redirect: OccassionalContributor ByLaws SocialNorms CommunityWikiLegislators CommunityWikiAssemblyPronouncements DeletePage VotingMember InformalLegislativeProposals CommunityWikiTing TrustMetrics AssumeGoodwill TomAtlee ValueMetrics SourceOfNaturalisticEthics CommunityWikiLegislature CommunityWikiGovermentArchive CommunityWikiAgreement OccasionalContributors EngagedCommunity OrganizingPrinciple InformalLegislativeProposal PlaNetWork SocialNorm FormalLegislativeProposals CommunityRole CommunityWikiVotingMemberList CommunityWikiBylawDiscussion KnowledgeCommons CommunityMembers CommunityWikiGovernmentNames

EditNearLinks: GuestRole CommunityRoles MeatballBoard CommunityExpectations DevolvePower BenevolentDictator AbsentCommunity VisitorRole GodKing PoliceForce ConsensusPolling GoodFaith DocumentMode OnlyIf FairProcess PageDatabase OccasionalContributor ConseilMeatball MeatballWiki HardSecurity CommunityMember BootstrapConstitution VirtualCommunity RightToLeave AvoidConflict