epriezka wrote:I'm glad that you want to help, but I'd like to make an observation about procedure and how it relates to internet forums. Internet forums are good at encouraging new and spontaneous debate. They're not good at retaining and building on debate that has happened before. I interpret some of the frustration in the posts expressed above as relating to the fact that this thread encourages more/new ideas - but does it capture the debate that went before? Does it identify all the ideas that have already been put forward? I don't think so. That's not an insult, just an observation.
I was assuming that most people on these forums were part of the debate that went before, or have taken the time to read the wiki and older posts to get up to speed. What annoyed me was that while this thread was headed in a direction that hasn't been explored before, some people joined the debate late and, without even making the effort to understand what the thread was about (they just read the title), unwittingly derailed the conversation by trying to defend 5+5.
While I know that this is how internet forums usually work, I think in our case we need to have some ground rules about when to post in an existing thread, and when to start a new one (and perhaps post a link in the existing thread). I wish we had a way of structuring conversations into a tree instead of using separate threads like this, so topics can offshoot from other lines of conversation, but not interfere with each other.
epriezka wrote:A suggestion: the policy working groups seem to have gone into hibernation. We need to start embedding these debates in those groups, in order to retain some memory. Otherwise we're like a bunch of amnesiacs, always debating points as if no ideas or information had been considered before. John Barron is now too busy with his job of Nominating Officer to run the copyright and patent policy working group, but if we're going to continue to have debates like this, and for them to more than disjointed streams of consciousness that will never amount to anything, we need more structure to the debate than simply banging ideas around on a forum thread. For those of you that really feel passionate about this topic, I suggest you contact John, resurrect the policy working group and start using the wiki to methodically document options. This includes recording the policy options that have been debated before. That is better than relying solely on the forums, which are an inappropriate tool for anything more than loose and spontaneous chit-chat.
As for the status of the policy working groups, we need to focus on having a single manifesto, so debate needs to be curtailed at some point so we can release a version of our policy for the election. But version 1.0 of the policy won't be the last version, and that doesn't mean we can't do some of the development for the next version in parallel, so long as everyone understands that we're not going to be debating our current policy up to the last minute before the election is called.
I hear what you're saying, but I don't want to resurrect the policy working groups at this point, as I know the "process" they require would bog down any brainstorming and decision-making we try to do. There are very few members active on the forums right now, and I think we can rely on our collective memory and personal notes for keeping track of what is being said. If we can keep the pace up and individual members try to pay attention, I believe we'll be able to reach a consensus fairly quickly -- after all, each one here is a real, intelligent person behind the keyboard. When we've pretty much decided on a policy that we have good reason to believe is workable and credible, we can proceed to flower it up and write it down neatly.
It's different, but better than doing nothing.