Forum OpenACS Q&A: Re: Drafting the Core Team Governance Document
Using the forum has exposed two problems, one with the medium and one with the process. (And if people see other problems, and they're not Talli, please chime in.) The first problem is that we get off-topic discussions. Perhaps our next system can differentiate between discussion by the OCT and discussion by everybody else.
Second, if a TIP is not perfect the first time, there is no efficient mechanism for tweaking it - we can only withdraw the TIP and start over. Debian addresses this by having amendments - a Debian voter can approve the original item and each amendment independently. They also make "further discussion" an option at every point. So we should maybe flesh that out for our system. (They also have quorums and super-majorities, which I think are more appropriate for large electoral pools than for 9-person teams.)
- opinion seeking
- opinion giving
- information seeking
- information giving
- consensus testing
Initiating is currently iffy. It's open, because anybody can post. But it's not well-advertised, which may be fine because it self-qualifies the initiators. It's not easy to do well because we don't have a template for a good TIP.
Opinion-seeking - has historically been a problem - there are many unanswered forum questions. I think a few TIPs represent premature opinion-seeking.
opinion-giving seems to be happening fairly well - in particular, we have a pretty high signal-to-noise ratio.
information seeking and giving?
Clarifying. Even though the responses represent clarification, we're not getting a filtering because there's no way to condense the responses into a single right answer - you have to read everything and process it. So we do most of the work of clarifying and then sort of drop it. The original TIP rules call for the proposer to summarize the objections after a veto, which we haven't really done. We need to make this easier - ie, whoever is supposed to write a summary needs to know, needs to see what a good summary looks like; the summary needs to be prominent.
Elaborating, summarizing - same remarks as for clarifying
Consensus testing. I think the forum makes this hard, because: it's asynchronous, so someone can agree with a point while someone else is abandoning it or misunderstanding it. Conversations can get too prolonged. The collective opinion of the group of decision-makers is too hard to see. We also have the problem that we have no real means to test the consensus of any broader body than the OCT.