Random Thoughts Re: Forum = Republic

Joe Mac

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So I don’t know, maybe I’ve been thinking (drinking?) too much but something has been spinning around in my head the last couple of hours so I need to let it out...

You might think this is mad but still I think I have a point.

I love our staff, they’re all amazing people and we can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done to give our community a new home. However they’re only human and stasis brings complacency. So I have a proposal. In addition to our great current staff could we maybe have two “normal foumers” voted onto staff for a set period to keep ideas fresh, make the forum accountable to its contributors and to make this more of a republic? I think the idea needs to be fleshed out a bit more and there should be qualifying criteria but I’m interested as to what people think of the concept...
 
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Enoch

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I was thinking about this when it was brought up elsewhere. It would be neat, maybe helpful to have some community decided leadership roles. We now have staff and moderators and while I trust all of them it might be good to have rotating "regular" forumers take part in any major decisions. How to implement it and creating rules such as ratios, terms [limits], and such would be interesting [read complicated] to determine as well since there is only self/internal leadership (again I trust everyone in their roles). Also I don't know how it work in terms of having these elected people participate and not suddenly go totalitarian and make major changes on their own as I have no idea how the backend of the forum functions.
 

Joe Mac

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I was thinking about this when it was brought up elsewhere. It would be neat, maybe helpful to have some community decided leadership roles. We now have staff and moderators and while I trust all of them it might be good to have rotating "regular" forumers take part in any major decisions. How to implement it and creating rules such as ratios, terms [limits], and such would be interesting [read complicated] to determine as well since there is only self/internal leadership (again I trust everyone in their roles). Also I don't know how it work in terms of having these elected people participate and not suddenly go totalitarian and make major changes on their own as I have no idea how the backend of the forum functions.
It’s certainly something that needs to be fleshed our further. My thinking was more of what I suppose in industry as the “staff members” on the board of a company. So the current staff as “our” board with a couple of elected reps to put forward our views. As to the “going rogue” it’s a concern but do all staff even have all that access to code to be able to do that? Plus I hadn’t thought that far ahead, was just floating an idea lol
 

Indymisanthrope

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I’d like to see this place get away from the ‘staff’ word altogether, especially since this is run by volunteers and the site isn’t generating revenue for anybody. I think the relationship with the rest of the members will remain less adversarial if the site has ‘admins and mods,’ and that’s it.

But whatever this is, it’s not a republic, and there’s not going to be any sort of representational democracy to its leadership. Like the old place, we’re still just guests here. I don’t mean that as a dig, because I think the folks who set this site up are good, honest people that want to see a welcoming, thriving community. But those people who set it up have already determined who will be in charge. As for everyone else, it doesn’t matter how frequently you post, or whether you donated to the GFM, or what your likes count is, or how long you’ve been around; you still don’t have any legitimate stake in what happens here beyond voicing your opinions in threads like this one and seeing who listens. Ultimately, we only get to hang out here for as long as the people who did the work are interested in maintaining it. And that might sound resentful somehow, but it’s not meant to; I’m just trying to state as plainly as I can that despite all of us who came over in the big exodus feeling like we have some small amount of ownership invested in this place, it might be a mistake to let ourselves believe that.
 

Chucktshoes

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Internet forums like this are best run as a benign dictatorship. You’ve got the owner(s) who ultimately have the final say, and the mods they empower to enforce the rules. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing. Plus, no matter how much say one might fool themselves into believing they have, whomever has their name on the domain registration, hosting and has the passwords to the accounts is the one who has the final say. That state of affairs keeps politics to a minimum. Trying to introduce some sort of democracy to this whole equation will quickly and fatally turn it into a hellish mess.

Edit: I do like @Indymisanthrope’s idea about ditching the “Staff” tag. Admin & mod are cleaner.
 

Indymisanthrope

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Enoch

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I’d like to see this place get away from the ‘staff’ word altogether, especially since this is run by volunteers and the site isn’t generating revenue for anybody. I think the relationship with the rest of the members will remain less adversarial if the site has ‘admins and mods,’ and that’s it.

But whatever this is, it’s not a republic, and there’s not going to be any sort of representational democracy to its leadership. Like the old place, we’re still just guests here. I don’t mean that as a dig, because I think the folks who set this site up are good, honest people that want to see a welcoming, thriving community. But those people who set it up have already determined who will be in charge. As for everyone else, it doesn’t matter how frequently you post, or whether you donated to the GFM, or what your likes count is, or how long you’ve been around; you still don’t have any legitimate stake in what happens here beyond voicing your opinions in threads like this one and seeing who listens. Ultimately, we only get to hang out here for as long as the people who did the work are interested in maintaining it. And that might sound resentful somehow, but it’s not meant to; I’m just trying to state as plainly as I can that despite all of us who came over in the big exodus feeling like we have some small amount of ownership invested in this place, it might be a mistake to let ourselves believe that.
I think was more of a thought experiment (or it was to me). I had little expectation it would come to pass
 

Skalap

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Honestly I already consider our mods and admins part of the US group and I am happy with them so I don't see the need of more "leaders". By the way, all forum members have been asked to share opinions on some topics (and even vote on one) so... yeah. I am ok with how the forum is working right now.
 

Joe Mac

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Honestly I already consider our mods and admins part of the US group and I am happy with them so I don't see the need of more "leaders". By the way, all forum members have been asked to share opinions on some topics (and even vote on one) so... yeah. I am ok with how the forum is working right now.
Yeah I mean this is a long way short of a suggestion with any expectation attached. It was slightly more than a “thought experiment” too, it was I suppose something that I thought of as an interesting conversation or debate tbh.
 

Skalap

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Yeah I mean this is a long way short of a suggestion with any expectation attached. It was slightly more than a “thought experiment” too, it was I suppose something that I thought of as an interesting conversation or debate tbh.
It is :) It will probably happen someday that for some reason one of the mods/admins won't have enough time/energy/... to manage the forum and the community. It's good to discuss this possibility here and see all together how this someone can be easily "replaced" by another forum member.
 

Enoch

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It is :) It will probably happen someday that for some reason one of the mods/admins won't have enough time/energy/... to manage the forum and the community. It's good to discuss this possibility here and see all together how this someone can be easily "replaced" by another forum member.
I would assume they would just replace the mod in the same manner the current mods were selected
 

Joe Mac

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I would assume they would just replace the mod in the same manner the current mods were selected
How was that? Was it that transparent? Can we keep recruiting from the same pool of people if we want the whole of the forum to feel represented?

Again not criticisms or suggestions but thoughts!
 
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