[Foundation-l] PD in Israel
saintonge at telus.net
Tue May 8 08:23:39 UTC 2007
Erik Moeller wrote:
>On 5/8/07, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>A recent example for me was the DVD key issue. I got several emails of
>>people requesting a Foundation feedback during the night. When I got
>>online, more requests on irc and by skype. Request was made to
>>immediately provide the position of the Foundation on the DVD matter.
>We should not comment on such day-to-day policy and editorial
>processes unless there is a critical need to do so (legal action and
>sometimes threats, for example). Rather, we need to help the community
>to fix its problems on its own. The question to answer is: Where do
>community decision making processes get stuck and why? The project
>closure issue is a good example.
It's a tough situation because I can see where there are people who
would drive the Board in two opposing directions. Some people cannot
function without rules, while others have the maturity to apply common
sense to the situation at hand. Being able to depend on the security of
a rule relieves the burden of having to make hard decisions. Of course,
those who most want the rules also want them to reflect their own
preconceptions. The crew of the Enterprise needs to remain fully
conscious of the Prime Directive. The communities MUST be free to solve
their own problems, and make their own mistakes; without that they are
not learning communities.
The Foundation should avoid deciding for and interfering with the
communities in other than the most strictly defined circumstances. Even
when legalities are involved the communities need to find their own
levels of comfort in the extent to which they will accept legal risks.
With the DVD key issue the Foundation should resist the temptation to
step in and say, " _this_ will be the rule." It absolutely needs to
respond to proper legal demands; it must not let itself become the
flotsom of legal speculation.
>Relying on consensus-building alone tends to lead to decisions by
>attrition or no decisions at all in controversial cases. We should be
>more open about letting the community vote, or applying the model of
>"weighted arguments" used in other processes (community discussion
>with closure by a self-selected sample of highly trusted individuals).
I wouldn't6 want to be tied down to the "voting is evil" mantra.
Nevertheless, voting can have the effect of polarizing a discussion, and
excluding the middle. Decisions by attritionare no better because they
shut out the more contemplative approach to a problem. Much of
decision-making tends to be dominated by people who can't live without
rules; that's just another variation on the same theme played by those
who insistt on the board making these decisions. Putting the final
decision in the hands of a self-selected group of elders comes with it's
own problems. It requires a very high degree of trust, and, as Danny's
request for adminship showed, we do not lack in people who are willing
to put their own petty vindictiveness ahead of the common good. As a
society we have learned not to trust. We have learned this through
implicit and not explicit lessons. When the most visible public models
are indecisive, incompetent, self-serving or corrupt we learn mistrust,
and anticipate similar behaviours in everyone. We cease to assume good
faith, and build structures that are primarily designed to deal with the
undesireable. Exuberant youthful impatience only compounds the problem.
If we could solve the problems of the decision making process, it could
be an even greater accomplishment than our encyclopedia. This requires
accepting change as a constant. It also requires accepting that the
voice of newbies is just as important to yesterday's decisions as it is
>How can the Commons discussion on this particular copyright issue be
>closed in a fair manner _by the community_, rather than by means of a
>top down prescription from the Board?
Give the community time to solve it. Don't expect an immediate
solution. As long as there is no immediate and credible legal threat it
might take a few weeks to fix the problem, but that's all right. All
the panic, alarms and doomsday scenarios that come out of such issues
are just that.
>We (Board) have many high level problems to think about. And helping
>the community to govern itself is exactly one of them.
OK, not only helping it to govern itself, but letting it govern itself.
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