Topic: Questions for the Candidates

To all members and Candidates - this space is reserved for questions for the Candidates and their answers - feel free to leave your questions here for the Candidates to review and answer!

~Robert

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

Q: Is Mr. Andersen awesome?
A: Yes.

Like that? tongue

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

Almost a good example Jason, I'd only hope candidates and members don't ask themselves questions!  tongue

~Robert

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

We feel it is totally within our right to ask questions amongst ourselves.

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

Q: Mr. Andersen, Are you awesome?

Re: Questions for the Candidates

A. Yes.

Or aren't we allowed to answer on behalf of others, either?

Ash

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

hmm  lol  wink  big_smile

~Robert

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

:-)

Ash

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

big_smile

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

I've got a question for all non-GC candidates.

How do you see your position in relation to the General Coordinator?

Ash

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

I'll respond by saying that I view all current positions up for vote, apart from the Contender, as being on an equal playing field for power, influence, etc. in shaping Phoenix RP. The Contender is in a position of influence between the GC and the membership, ultimately relying on their negotiation skills to gain influence.

Ultimately I view GC, TC, and EVC as being equals, the only differences are the responsibilities they each have (something I am currently writing up).

~Robert Longtin

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

Thanks for your swift answer, Robert. I only asked how you see your position, but this is insightful.

I'm looking forward to everyone else's responses.

Euan, Kevin, what are your thoughts?

Ash

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

I see the TC as being equal and different to GC - GC is the top of the tree (answering to membership) for administration matters, whereas TC is top of the tree (again, because they answer only to the membership) for technical matters (site maintenance, development etc). So where, say, the General Chat Coordinator answers to the GC as well as the membership, TC doesn't answer to the GC - both are equal in import.

-Euan

Re: Questions for the Candidates

What are your plans for developing RP here?

(This is to all candidates)

Re: Questions for the Candidates

I'd like to comment on Robert and Euan's responses to my question before I answer yours, Silent. Kevin, you're welcome to post your response to my question when you want to.

The first thing I want to say is that if the GC, TC, and EVC were equal, we would have needed a balance to the TC and EVC as well, but as it is, Robert only suggested a balance to the GC. The GC is the only position needing a balance, because it's the overall oversight coordinator.

Contrary to what you both say (Robert and Euan), the TC explicitly reports to the GC; see the Coordinators thread in Management. Likewise all 28 or so SLs, the Member Welcome Coordinator, Sim Start-up Coordinator, GM Coordinator, Alliance Building Coordinator, Advertising and Community Coordinator, and the General Chat Moderator.

These positions report to the GC, so are clearly under the oversight of the GC.

The published brief of the EVC is currently "overseeing the transition to democratic rule, by coordinating elections and determining the length of the first elected administrative term. Reporting to the membership." (Coordinators thread in Management)

While I'm more than happy - like I said to you in email, Robert - for you to take the lead with the Positions, Legalities, and Responsibilities project (or 'Roles and Responsibilities project'), while we're in martial law and as long as it'll be open for discussion and review for all the members to make suggestions and comments, I think it's important to recognise this is going beyond the brief of the EVC and straying into publicly published GC territory (which includes "overseeing site management"). I say 'while we're in martial law' because we've been exercising an organic and free form style of project management, but we'll want a more clearly defined structure as we mature as a club.

Which isn't to say I don't want you doing the work, like I say I'm happy for you to, but I think I need to reiterate that once we are out of martial law it would be going beyond the call of duty for the EVC's position's requirements.

Initially this set me to thinking that the office of the EVC could be expanded to be a sort of 'department of legislative affairs' with several post-holders within it, including a voting/legislative coordinator (who would administrate actual votes - whether electoral or referendum - as you have been doing) and a clerk of sorts who might be responsible for drafting legalesse (which is obviously what you're doing in the Positions, Legalities, and Responsibilities project).

However, on reflection I see this can't work. We can't have the department that writes the rules be the same as the one which is also responsible for overseeing voting on the referendums. That'd be like giving the police the power to make the law in addition to enforcing it!

Now at present, you're fulfilling both the function of Election and Voting Coordinator and the function of this 'clerk', Robert, but the task of overviewing site management is definitely be a part of the GC's remit.

So like I say, I'm really happy and grateful to appoint you to head that project (and have posted in the Coordinators thread accordingly) and as ever appreciate you giving your time, but it wouldn't be a part of the EVC's portfolio per se. So in the same way that Silent is Blog Coordinator and also Sim Start-up Coordinator but these two roles have nothing to do with one another, you're Election and Voting Coordinator and also the Roles and Responsibilities project Coordinator.

We can expand upon the Roles and Responsibilities project periodically as developments occur and the TC add it to the list of 'Useful Pages' links.

---

My bottom line, however, is that I see the structure literally the opposite way up to how you see it, Robert: the "power, influence, etc" in fact lays with the members, and no member needs to rely on negotiation skills or anything else to "gain influence". That sounds like a ghastly tyranny where only the silver-tongued can bend the ear of the puppetmaster(s)!

Rather, in Phoenix, the elected coordinators have a responsibility to serve the members, not exert power or influence over them.

I hope that clears things up.

Ash

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

Silent Hunter wrote:

What are your plans for developing RP here?

(This is to all candidates)

We're going to continue enjoying member-led expansion as members propose sims and attract players, opening more RPEs pro-actively and responsively like the many and diverse sims we've already begun.

But this only the tip of the iceberg. The position of GC is precisely one of general coordination, and I have a great many wide-ranging notions in mind. I plan on deepening our community through OOC and networking projects, strengthening our community through internal initiatives, growing our community through external advertising, and housing our community on a permanent site. I don't suggest we'll accomplish all this in the first (three month) term, because you can expect reasonable targets with attainable deadlines, taking into consideration that this is a voluntary organisation and everyone contributing to it does so of their own volition and from their own free time. There are going to be continued opportunities to serve and contribute, including more positions with specific remits like so many we have already opened up, but no-one's going to be leant on so heavily things become a burden. I'll always put member welfare before anything else, because most of all I want this to be a community where people are valued and empowered.

So the number one priority as ever is for fun to stay centre stage, and to provide a reliable framework for that to continue to be the case. I have more to say, but I don't want to fillibuster, so I'm keen to let others offer their thoughts in response to your question.

Ash

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

Ash Leighton Plom wrote:

Contrary to what you both say (Robert and Euan), the TC explicitly reports to the GC; see the Coordinators thread in Management.

Ah, I misremembered. The way I'd recalled it was TC, EVC and GC being responsible to the people, and others reporting to them. Well, almost exclusively to GC, only temporary positions/teams made by TC/EVC would report to them. In that case, I'd still see those three as equal, roughly, since they're all chosen by membership vote, rather than appointed, but with the GC responsible for making sure they do their job right. I'm tempted to say the EVC should only report to the membership, since it helps avoid bias in elections and the like.

Silent Hunter wrote:

What are your plans for developing RP here?

(This is to all candidates)

Initially, development of Phoenix 2.0 - it'll give us a firm base from which we can expand (and conquer?). Making systems such that maximum power is given to those running the sims, with as little running to others to do things as possible, whilst still maintaining a secure system (that doesn't need folk to be very technically minded) is paramount to making RPing here the best it can be. Ideally, we'll put together a system so the only thing needed is occasional maintenance. By which I mean, if things go *really* wrong and we find a bug.

-Euan

Re: Questions for the Candidates

Euan Reid wrote:
Ash Leighton Plom wrote:

Contrary to what you both say (Robert and Euan), the TC explicitly reports to the GC; see the Coordinators thread in Management.

Ah, I misremembered. The way I'd recalled it was TC, EVC and GC being responsible to the people, and others reporting to them. Well, almost exclusively to GC, only temporary positions/teams made by TC/EVC would report to them. In that case, I'd still see those three as equal, roughly, since they're all chosen by membership vote, rather than appointed, but with the GC responsible for making sure they do their job right. I'm tempted to say the EVC should only report to the membership, since it helps avoid bias in elections and the like.

-Euan

Ah, I see! :-) You're right that the EVC reports directly to the membership (precisely so they can't be accused of being the GC's puppet), but their role is literally restricted to coordinating general elections and referendum voting, and without meaning to disparage anyone else, I can't think of anyone better than Robert to do all that!

In essence the EVC is not a part of the same 'tree' as the rest of the site's management (to use your excellent turn of phrase, Euan), but all other positions are under the general coordination of the General Coordinator, even the other elected positions. Currently that's just the TC, but in time, we may have elections for General Chat Moderator (hooray for Nick, though!), Advertising and Community Coordinator (again, hooray for Kevin), and the more elected positions we have, the more power is in the hands of the members. The only limit we'd want on that process is efficiency - i.e. we don't want so much bureaucracy that we choke ourselves.

So the membership elect first an Election and Voting Coordinator (already done), who is responsible for ensuring the other elected positions get voted on (currently in motion).

Then the membership elect both the General Coordinator and any other elected positions which are under the oversight of the GC (currently the Technical Coordinator, but as I say, other positions may well become elected rather than appointed in time): the GC then has a responsibility to, as you say, make sure they all do their jobs rightly (as well as opening new projects and initiatives and finding the right people to work them). If the membership aren't satisfied with the performance of any of these elected coordinators, they'll be able to vote them out in the next election - hence all power and influence to the people, while conversely the successfully elected coordinators must busy themselves providing the membership with what they want and need, and not idly 'wearing' titles like resume-fillers, as has happened elsewhere.

Ultimately, we're all equal as members and first of all as human beings, of course, but perhaps the best way of putting it is that the buck stops with the GC, and so the GC has the heaviest responsibility in terms of ensuring success, which will be achieved through delegation, teamwork, and coordinating our overall efforts, in every direction. Obviously this is a big ask, even with so much delegating (for instance, delegating responsibility for ensuring our site's level of GMing excellence to the GMC, or delegating the expediting of sim start ups to the Sim Start-Up Coordinator) which is why I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one willing to run for this position.

Jason deserves credit just for agreeing to let himself in for all this! :-)

Ash

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

I'll address these one at a time...

Ash Leighton Plom wrote:

The first thing I want to say is that if the GC, TC, and EVC were equal, we would have needed a balance to the TC and EVC as well, but as it is, Robert only suggested a balance to the GC. The GC is the only position needing a balance, because it's the overall oversight coordinator.

Contrary to what you both say (Robert and Euan), the TC explicitly reports to the GC; see the Coordinators thread in Management. Likewise all 28 or so SLs, the Member Welcome Coordinator, Sim Start-up Coordinator, GM Coordinator, Alliance Building Coordinator, Advertising and Community Coordinator, and the General Chat Moderator.

These positions report to the GC, so are clearly under the oversight of the GC.

Looking at your response I can see we have a different idea of what you meant when you asked your original question - I was not discussing a hierarchy in my response, simply a notion of whether different positions have the ability to function independently or not. I wouldn't expected the TC to ask the GC's opinion on coding efficiency, for instance, because it is not a requirement for the position of GC to have any knowledge of Computer Science - which was the point I was making, all of the positions have the ability to perform the tasks expected of them without requiring the input of either of the other elected positions.

There is no question in my mind about how the hierarchy is designed, so I didn't think that this was what you were asking Ash.

Ash Leighton Plom wrote:

The published brief of the EVC is currently "overseeing the transition to democratic rule, by coordinating elections and determining the length of the first elected administrative term. Reporting to the membership." (Coordinators thread in Management)

While I'm more than happy - like I said to you in email, Robert - for you to take the lead with the Positions, Legalities, and Responsibilities project (or 'Roles and Responsibilities project'), while we're in martial law and as long as it'll be open for discussion and review for all the members to make suggestions and comments, I think it's important to recognise this is going beyond the brief of the EVC and straying into publicly published GC territory (which includes "overseeing site management"). I say 'while we're in martial law' because we've been exercising an organic and free form style of project management, but we'll want a more clearly defined structure as we mature as a club.

Which isn't to say I don't want you doing the work, like I say I'm happy for you to, but I think I need to reiterate that once we are out of martial law it would be going beyond the call of duty for the EVC's position's requirements.

No problems there, once my work on the initial roles and responsibilities is done and is presented and voted upon I had no intentions of taking additional actions.

Ash Leighton Plom wrote:

Initially this set me to thinking that the office of the EVC could be expanded to be a sort of 'department of legislative affairs' with several post-holders within it, including a voting/legislative coordinator (who would administrate actual votes - whether electoral or referendum - as you have been doing) and a clerk of sorts who might be responsible for drafting legalesse (which is obviously what you're doing in the Positions, Legalities, and Responsibilities project).

However, on reflection I see this can't work. We can't have the department that writes the rules be the same as the one which is also responsible for overseeing voting on the referendums. That'd be like giving the police the power to make the law in addition to enforcing it!

Actually here I entirely disagree - it is not and has never been the EVC's responsibility to ensure that legislature is being enforced (or as you call it "the police"), that's entirely the GC's responsibility, as you said above:

publicly published GC territory (which includes "overseeing site management")

By your own words, the GC is responsible for ensuring legislature is being enforced as per "site management". The GC as in the past and as is intended now (unless we plan on changing this?) is the primary executive role, responsible for ensuring policy, terms of use, etc., are followed, i.e. "the police."

So in this way we agree Ash - I don't think that an individual charged with enforcing the law should also have the power to affect the law, hence my motion towards making the EVC an entirely Legislative Branch, instead of granting some of those responsibilities to the GC. In fact if you were to compare the system of checks and balances as previously existing to what we currently have on the table, GC is the Police, Judge, and Law Maker all rolled into one; considering the GC has until recently been the only position to provide legislative changes, the agenda for such changes, and at least the first draft of the wording for those changes which is almost if not exactly the final legal wording.

I have nobly served the role of "clerk" in all our previous elections, never actually taking the initiative to be a part of the Law-Making process, but here I think some changes should be made.

Ash Leighton Plom wrote:

My bottom line, however, is that I see the structure literally the opposite way up to how you see it, Robert: the "power, influence, etc" in fact lays with the members, and no member needs to rely on negotiation skills or anything else to "gain influence". That sounds like a ghastly tyranny where only the silver-tongued can bend the ear of the puppetmaster(s)!

Rather, in Phoenix, the elected coordinators have a responsibility to serve the members, not exert power or influence over them.

Then we don't see things differently - when I mention "power, influence, etc." of these positions (GC, TC, EVC), I am referring to the powers, influences, etc., bestowed upon those elected to these positions - as a fervent Democrat I will never forget that people put in a seat of power were put there by "the people". Not being a politician I will reserve the right to revise my statements as I don't have a knack for coming up with "politically correct" wording, i.e. "power, influence, etc."



My objectives if elected as EVC is to give more power back to the membership by making myself as available as I can to the members, while extending the right to establish new laws or to amend old laws to the membership by the development of new law intended to establish rules with which the members can make such legislative motions.

I have not determined conclusively how to go about doing this, but the end result, what I would like to see, is one in which members can inform me directly via the forums of a legislative change that they feel needs to be voted upon, to have some peer review of the motion decide whether it gets put to vote (i.e. other members can step in and say "yes let us vote on it" or to make constructive criticisms), and then to have the entire membership decide whether the motion gets passed. I mentioned the Contender having influence, here is one case where the Contender could play a major role (that is help ensure the suggested changes best represents the membership).

As mentioned, I am still working out the details - I will be presenting my ideas publicly for peer review and possibly a vote, but at the end of the day my vision is to see more power distributed to the people, not the elected officials.

~Robert

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

Euan Reid wrote:

I'm tempted to say the EVC should only report to the membership, since it helps avoid bias in elections and the like.

I never got this far before making my above post - this is exactly my vision of the development of the Office of Elections and Voting Coordinator.

~Robert

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

Silent Hunter wrote:

What are your plans for developing RP here?

(This is to all candidates)

From the EVC standpoint, I don't have any *plans*, more like ideas. If Legislative power is further extended to the people as is my plan, then it is possible that legislature can be put in place to facilitate the development of RP, though honestly my *ideas* only have to do directly with law-making and only indirectly to do with Sim-making and only when legislature surrounding Sims is involved.

~Robert

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

Wow, this is a lot to take in. I would have to say my viewpoint is closer to Robert's vision - I want to trim down the "government" we have in place (in this case, the GC who I see as having too much power under current martial law), empower the people more, and keep the three elected offices completely separate and independent of one another. That doesn't mean those offices don't work together for the common good of all, but none should be beholden to the other - they should answer only to the people.

The focus here is to provide a great environment for RP. To do this, we need to be more pro-active about seeking out new members, keeping old ones, and pushing improvements to the site.

My experience with running other clubs/sites will help me work with Robert to help with the former, and my technical background will allow me to work closely with the TC to help with the latter.

To re-iterate, most of what people care about is just coming here to RP, they don't care so much for the politics behind the scenes. So let's keep those politics as minimal as possible.

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

One additional idea for strengthening RP here is one we had in the past but lost in the move to the new forums - the concept of badges. A badge is something that could be shown off with pride, that instills a sense of accomplishment, and will help retain good people as they work to earn their own badges.

Retaining people in turn leads to more people, potentially higher quality roleplay, and usually an increase in RP opportunities for all as more sims open with additional possible interested parties.

It also looks nice on your collar.

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

I've always been uncomfortable with awards and points systems, but I wouldn't let my personal aversion get in the way of a referendum on the subject. Obviously we've already adopted a fun system in changing people's 'Member' status to be a little less bland, but I can understand the call for a system for handing out badges or medals to recognise accomplishments and contributions.

Certainly recruiting is a hollistically valuable thing as the more players we attract, the more minds we have bettering both our RP and our community.

I'd argue that while we are a Role Play community first and foremost, we're also a community, and communities inherently involve 'politics'. It's my belief that a clear and accountable structure is essential to progress. To echo Robert's phrase, "The GC as in the past and as is intended now is the primary executive role", and I quite agree.

Robert, you're right that the TC won't need to ask the GC's opinion on coding efficiency, to use your example, because it's not a requirement for the GC to have any knowledge of Computer Science, but the honus will be on the GC to ensure the TC employs his or her (his in the next term, of course) knowledge of Computer Science effectively and appropriately.

I don't think we're so large a community as to require a separation of powers; we're a democracy in the truest sense of the word, as opposed to America's republic or Britain's parliamentary system. As in, each member has a right and responsibility in the community and the decision making process, rather than being 'at one remove', by which I mean sending a representative to Senate, Commons, or the like. Also on reflection I'm a little worried that we'll start sounding pretentious if we establish Executive and Legislative branches, etc. I'm optimistic that we can keep things simpler than that, at least for now.

I think most of us have a heart to keep the 'power' widely dispersed, and the current system we've been exploring does involve, empower, and upbuild each member collectively, while providing a clear and effective transparent chain of accountability. So my manifesto is very much to continue that experiment.

Ash

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Re: Questions for the Candidates

Don't forget folks! You can still ask questions here, and don't forget to VOTE!

Robert Longtin
Elections and Voting Coordinator

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