Talk:Constitution Rewrite

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Constitution Rewrite series

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Brainstorming: List of problems

These are some ideas that the committee has brought up already.

"Major Issues" - Wolf

  1. Too specific in some areas: The CON needs to be conceptual, not rule based. And I think that in some areas it wanders into this realm. We really need to modify the CON so that it officially /establishes/ the elements of our group, and then loosely defines them. It should then be left to other documents (bylaws, as well as the new documents: standard rules, and procedures) to really outline each element of our group in detail.
  2. Does not create other documents: Following on the heels of #1, I think that there needs to be three classifications of documents in this group which govern it (besides the CON): Bylaws, Standard Rules, and Procedures. There needs to be something written into the CON which creates these documents, shows how they are voted into existence, etc. This creates a system whereby we can more easily uphold the general ideals of the CON.

"Minor Issues" - Wolf

  1. Captains Council voting/membership: I don't see any need for non-active Captains to have a voice on the CC. Basically, my feeling is that ONLY those who are currently acting captains should have a vote on the CC. Anyone who is of the rank of captain or above, OR is a Commander, OR holds the position of First Officer may discuss at will, but may not vote. This, of course, would take my vote away on the CC -- but I think that it's right, fair, and a proper course of operation.
  2. "Remote Location" CO: Forums, chats, committees, etc. These are all sub-organizations which need to be defined and decided how they can be governed. I have created some minimal language for this in the draft changes to the CON.
  3. Allied Groups: The CON needs a system whereby allied groups (those that use our resources and advertise in conjunction with us -- i.e.- Faerin and the Battlestar Galactica group that Hebron has) can join UFOP, and can participate in governing themselves.

Interestingly, the CON itself really just needs to be focused on being more general -- as paradoxical as it is. I think it tries to overreach in some places and be /the/ singular governing document for our group, and in doing so fails to adequately be that document. So we need to whittle it down to the general principles of what UFOP is about and how it's run, and then move everything extraneous to other procedural and structural documents.

"Minor Issues" - Ian

  1. In my mind the Captains are responsible for representing the best interests of their crew, and therefore the CC is the fleet's voice. Inactive Captains can only represent themselves so with inactive captains onboard you could have the potential for All of the 'active, out there doing it today' Captains voting in unison not being enough to sway the vote.
The system we used to some success in another group was to create three member types. Senior Members were active CO's and had full rights. Junior Members were newer CO's had no voting rights but could speak. Observers were the FO's and others who had a keen interest in the group but were not active as such. They pushed their opinions through their own CO or the Chairperson.

If the issue in the CC is too many voices, then perhaps such a system (or a variant of) would apply here.

  1. Sub-Orgs: these need to be defined and governed. I would suggest that this combined with some sort of a 'CODE OF CONDUCT' which bound all members of the group on ship or on any forums, chat or committees operated by UFOP... this would be enough.
  2. Allied Groups: It strikes me that to simply appear alongside they would need to at least hold the same mission statement ie. not a profitable organisation and have a similar aim of quality.

To actually officially join UFOP they would need to ALSO incorporate the CON as their means of goverment and also put in place specific aspects such as 'training routine', 'rank advancement', 'style' etc to ensure quality. - this is probably a bit more like an 'external ship applying' than anything.

"My two-pennies worth..." - Ian

Personally I think there are several issues, mainly to do with flexibility and comprehension.

A. If a rule is found to have a hole, then a procedure needs to be inplace to indicate how that hole should be plugged, and how people accidentally caught in that hole should be treated with the minimum of fuss, upset and problem.

B. Currently discussion on the CC seems a bit hectic and people have gone off on a tangent, with several issues being raised and dealt with at once. It would be my suggestion to have the issues placed with a chairperson off group and who will queue up these issues and guide the council in discussing them in an orderly manner, one issue by one issue. He will then invite the person to 'state their case'.. discuss and then vote.

I believe if operated correctly this would limit people bringing in all other tangents and limit the opportunity to explode at their fellow CO's.

C. Some CO's seem to not understand the CON, most importantly the INCONSISTANCY part (which was quoted as bylaws being overrulling onthe CON) This may need putting more into plain english or see below...

D. I have watched the CC group for some time now and there seems to be an air of 'them and us' in some cases. Most recently it seems some CO's don't know how they should go about some issues.

Even when talking to Rich about some of the above issues there was a couple of 'I'll need to look that up'. To me this seems due to the complex nature of the interaction between the generic framework of the CON, specific bylaws and other such items which personally send my head buzzing and would need an hour to look it up and another to actually understand it.

In summary the result seems to be that not all of the governing body is fully aware of the rules it is supposed to be operating, and that (I beleive) leads to unnecessary misunderstandings and arguements upon the CC.

In British law there are literally thousands of documents floating around on hundreds of issues. There are also thousands of inconsistancies, problems of which we have countless judges and law lords to rule and change them followed by votes in the house of commons and then the house of lords.

Lawyers only become lawyers by studying it. Students of law do not read these thousands of documents and check the precedents set by every judge and jury in the country. Instead they will refer to reference books and text books which define the law in a much easier to read manner.

To me, and to make our 'law' as user friendly as possible for those involved in learning and operating it there seems a need for a damn good text book. This could also include items such as a 'code of conduct', descriptions of the 'procedures of the CC' how to go about X, how to go about Y... Basically a handbook which collates the law and puts it into everyday speak, covering everyday events.

"Inconsistencies" - Ian

Quick Observations from looking through the CON, bylaws etc on the member area.

  • Article IX - 6A - this does not cover the possibility that an officer below the rank of Lt. Commander if caught in extraordinary circumstances may want/need to promote... I recommend a statement prohibiting it.
  • Article IX - 6 - this covers command promotions that Bylaw 2 does. Possibility of conflict. Recommend that the CON does not specify HOW promotions above Lt. Commander are carried out, merely that it is to 'legislation recognised by the CC/EC outlined elsewhere' and this is left to Bylaw 2.
  • Bylaw 1 through definition indicates a ship HAS to be decommissioned if a Captain should leave. Reference to a Captain retiring and handing over to first officer / EC approval is not made. Does not cover possibilty of a Captain assigning temporary command to a Commander then going AWOL - yet the person curently is considered capable (ie a commander)to continue command.
  • Bylaw 2 reference to PEF, but PEF not availible.. unsure of possibility of contradiction between these two.
  • Bylaw 3 - Voting procedure is defined twice, once in CON, once in Bylaw. Possibility of conflict. Recommend removing voting procedure from CON ....OR...
  • Article VII - Captains Council does NOT include reference to voting procedure. Possibility of abuse. Either install voting procedure in this section and dismiss bylaw 3 OR leave soley to Bylaw 3.
  • No document covers any exam requirements to the promotion to Captain nor details how a ship should be handed over. Recommend this be incorporated into Bylaw 2.

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

  • That an 'member code of conduct' be incorporated as a Standard rule governing and binding interactions between all members on any forum or message board hosted or officially used by UFOP.
  • That items such as the above together with generic ship rules, member rights appeal process etc be written down in a clear format which is directly applicable to the common member. Also that this resource be made availible to every member when they join the group.

"More Thoughts" - Wolf

On the subject of things being too complicated without a "textbook": I already have a solution to this. One of the major projects that I want to complete ASAP is a Command Area for the new website. Part of this will be a FAQ Engine that addresses all issues of the CON, and also records precidents.

Basically, it'll be a like a big help file. So, let's say that you're a Captain like Daninburg who doesn't pay much attention to the rules. You have a Commander you'd like to promote, but you're not sure how. You go to the FAQ engine and type in "commander promotion." Keywords are attached to each file, so you easily bring up a "How to Promote Someone to Commander" file. It lists the requirements someone needs to become a commander, what you have to do first, so on and so forth.

There are multiple benefits. First, it creates one central location where COs can go to look things up quickly and easily. Hopefully this will eliminate the confusion with things like which council to send an e-mail to. Second, it allows the other documents, like Bylaws to do less explaining. Third, it allows us to also attach precident records. So we record each vote and action by the councils in a central location where we can reference back when necessary.

Hopefully this will clear up a lot of problems.

Ownership of Materials and Lists - Wolf

There's two issues that we absolutely have to deal with in the rewrite/update. They are as follows:

  1. Copyright/Ownership of Materials: Although we've only had a few problems with this issue in the past, and we have some preliminary language about it here (identical to the language on the "old" website form), we need to codify in a more solid manner how exactly we deal with the copyright/ownership issues. I think the best bet is to look at the Creative Commons licenses, which idealize the sharing of materials.
  1. Ownership of Ship Lists: There has been some hesitancy to accept EC inclusion in ship lists. It was decided a few years ago that I would be the owner of all the main ship lists, to avoid future problems where captains "hijack" lists and leave. (And, as a sidebar, it's also mighty convenient to keep the lists around, and to resurrect them when necessary.) Nonetheless, we need to make it clear that all lists in UFOP need to be owned by either me, or the EC.

Thoughts? --69.29.136.68 23:04, 16 Nov 2004 (EST)

Judicial Systems/Discipline

One thing I want to talk about is how we deal with discipline in our group. For a long time, it's been all behind closed doors (see this and this. Between the EC and the ships, our intention was always to avoid embarassment for anyone. But is this really the best? The judicial system of the United States has some credibility because it is mostly open. Everyone (technically) has access to the courtroom, and there is accountability in the process and in the punishment.

One of the things we've been accused of repeatedly in our history is conducting business unfairly because we punish people and maybe even "exile" them without any accountability. It may be to everyone's benefit to conduct business out in the open to force us to be accountable for our actions, and to encourage good behavior. Instead of allowing someone like T'preen (who has changed her ways -- bless her) to cause a ruckus and then be discipline in private, perhaps we should have posted this information in a special area on the site. Something that lists the charges against her/rules she broke, then allows her to rebutt, and then either allows the gathered people to make a decision (jury of her peers), or allows the facilitating authority to make a decision.

Thoughts? --FltAdml. Wolf 13:26, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)