Author Topic: Member-based Control Models Sought  (Read 5612 times)

Offline Chip (OP)

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Member-based Control Models Sought
« on: June 08, 2015, 05:46:22 PM »
★ attn. all members -- if you have any ideas on how the member base can take a democratic or best possible outcome type of control of the site, speak up
« Last Edit: June 14, 2015, 05:50:40 PM by Chipper »
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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2015, 08:55:05 AM »
Narkotikon has put forward this model ... it has been placed here for discussion and easy reference (so i can put this post's URL into an email etc.)

1.) A voting system could be implemented.  Every member, mod, admin could
have one vote.  Whenever an issue arose, every member who wanted to could
cast a vote, and the majority would win.  The poll system could be used for
this.

2.) We all would vote on everything.  From who are admins and mods, which
mod was responsible for each forum, sub-forum, etc.  Rather than making a
ton of mods and admins, there would only be a few admins, and only enough
mods to run the board effectively.  The rest would be regular members who
voted.

3.) Voting on who's a mod / admin would limit the power of mods / admins.
If the mods / admins know that they could be held accountable / demoted
back to a regular member, it encourages them to behave and not abuse their
power.  If they misuse their power, the other members could call for a
vote, and decide whether the offending person would remain mod / admin, or
be lowered back to a regular member.

4.) Voters would vote on bannings, except for maybe a few cardinal rules
(soliciting, etc.)  If mods / admins and regular members were breaking
rules, other members could start a poll and people could vote on whether
they should ban that member.  If the admins / mods saw a member breaking
cardinal rules, they would have the power to ban the offending member
quickly to protect the board.  If need be, their decisions could be
retroactively voted on later.

5.) Voting could eliminate or lessen the need for a Flame Forum.  Rather
than someone starting a flame thread to single one person out, members
could vote on other members behaviors.  If someone was acting like an
asshole, people could vote on whether that member should stop that behavior
or change.  If they don't stop, then members could vote on whether that
member should be banned or held accountable in some other way (temp-banned,
be put on probation, etc.).

6.) Voting would give members a sense of community, power, and that their
voice matters.  They'll have faith in the new board, because it's being ran
by them.  Everything would be voted on, on an as-needed basis.  It would
truly be their board.

7.) Voting would separate this new board from other boards.  Not
necessarily to compete with or antagonize other boards, but to set us apart
from them.  Rather than being your typical board run by a select group of
higher-ups, our board would be run democratically.  It's the people's
board.  That would help attract new members who are unhappy at other, more
traditional boards.

8.) Voting would create a sense of transparency.  If members know about
everything, vote on everything, they would have confidence in the board,
and that the admins and mods were doing their job in a good way.

Offline Chip (OP)

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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 12:46:50 PM »
it was decided to see the member base grow first.
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Offline Narkotikon

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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 02:04:56 PM »
Thanks for posting this.

Do you think implementing some of these suggestions might encourage more members to join?

Also, I'd like to say these suggestions were a collaboration between two other members.  I was just the person who gave Chipper the suggestions.   
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 02:08:42 PM by Narkotikon »
Transparency is necessary to ensure decent staff members get elected. Members need to know when staff are misbehaving, so members can be informed voters.

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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2015, 08:43:59 AM »
A weighted voting system like the one the UN uses for the Security Council. 

Mods get the weighed votes.  Mathematically, it's somewhat democratic, allows universal participation, while rewarding the unique position moderators have over the rest of the community.

I can type up a mathematical analysis ie power analysis of the weighted voting system we would use (it changes based on the the amount of mods we have_) if anyone is interested, but it would be a huge read and write up for the disinterested.
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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2015, 08:04:01 AM »
What would there be to vote on?

Banning? An "Ignore" button effectively casts the only vot you need to ban annoying members from your own vrsion of a board, and a rule or code could be created that if somone is "ignored" by more than say 50% of the board their posting privileges could be curtailed.

Money? Some costs will be fixed and some contingencies will arise but if a board is to be run as a virtual community it is completely fair to ask for some sort of admission or dues to gain use of the board but f the board is not a business but a community, these can be assesed fairly, universally and probably quite cheaply. 

Raising money from members who post quality material on a board is problematic. You can't at the same time ask people to create value  then charge them for creating it. Clearly, it s member posts shared useful information that creates the value of a board but you also have to pay the bills. The only fair thing to do is collect a minimal up front fee and refunding or crediting it back if there is a surplus or waiving dues aor fees when certain members' contributions become particularly valuable to the quality of the board was what worked for me in the past.

I've owned and run web sites and messag bords and they ran in the black every year and every year I took the surplus and hosted a big party in Las Vegas with them. Dues were $24/year and usually waived after 1 year of quality participation or by hardship request (although becasue the bord was for gamblers I usally told people if they had to ask for a break on $24 in dues they shouldn't be in casinos at all). My board usualy had about 400 active members at any given time. Becasue this board cites harm reduction as a core priciple it would have to be more liberal in granting them if they are to be collected at all.

This is where "transparency" becomes fair, but it need not be excessive, just honest Ownership calculates the anticipated annual budget, plus a desireable contingency reserve, and divides it equally by the number of members and shares that information which SHOULD satisfy most demands for "transparency." Divilging how each and evey management decision is made, after having spent the time making it is horribly inefficient and burns out management quickly.

Honstly, these boards are pretty democratic by design. You vote by chising to read someone's posts or not, giving good or bad "karma." However a simple thums up or down system can quickly devolve in to mutual admiration societies and popularity contests. Some sort of weighting or accountability (like your karma votes being public record) needs to be involved.

Also, I gues this is an Australian based board and I don't know what laws apply to charging for membership apply there. That would have to be solved in Australia.

Agan, boards like this are democratic like marketplaces are democratic. If you don't like what is bing offered, just don't buy it. Ignore the assholes and whiney bitches ans aapplaaud the visonaries. Beynd paying the bills, it seems to me thatonly occasionally should there be any real NEED for referendum. If we satar making everythhing a debate we can easily devolve into on long argument after another.

And, becasue of th subject matter, some "rules" are beyond debate so you couldn'have a complete democracy or transparency anyway. It dosnt take too much imagination to see some discussion turn into illicit activity and then ownership just might be facing criminal charges. We have to remember, although we are only doing what humans have always done and are not 'criminals" by our nature, we ARE by statute very tome we posses or conspire to posses illegal drugs. And LEOs worldwide DO want to take us out and fuck us over a barrel THEN throw us in jails and forced "rehabs" and will if we give them the chance.

Just some thoughts.


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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2015, 08:28:12 AM »
we publish all donations and there are hidden costs like my $100 monthly cell phone costs that I use to backup the system to my intranet ... i'd like some reimbursement but not much.

the site lives in Singapore.

any surplus goes directly into future hosting costs.

there is no money to be made here - it's only about giving us a new home if opio. doesn't deliver.
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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2015, 09:10:03 AM »
I vote for voting.  :P

Offline Narkotikon

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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2015, 11:09:04 AM »
I definitely agree with the voting system / method too.  I'm happy enough now b/c I actually trust this administration, but I'll be happier when the voting system is finally implemented.  I like the idea of everyone having a say. 

I should have said this above, but I happen to agree with those suggestions / statements that the two anonymous members submitted.  That's why I was happy to pass the suggestions along to Chipper. 

Lots of things could be voted on: who's a mod, who's an admin, who's banned, who's chosen to represent the board as an ambassador, etc.  The whole community should have a say in those things b/c it affects the whole community.

A voting system would ensure good governance and transparency b/c people would be held accountable.  If they're not measuring up, they can be demoted.  Demotions would be voted on too. 

Voting would help prevent cliques forming and curtail a "kiss-ass" society being created.  When mods and others in power are chosen by a select group, and not the community as a whole, they're not really able to be held accountable.  Only the person who gave them that status can take it away.  Mods / admins have no incentive to not abuse their power.  Possible demotion would be that incentive.

It also means people are more likely to suck up to them to get on their good side.  Some people are concerned with status and reputation on these boards.  They're more than just HR to them.  For some, they're more of a social club with an HR chaser. 

Traditional boards can also easily devolve into mutual admiration societies and popularity contests.  Older members can feel they deserve special treatment, they can get cocky.  Newer or lesser-liked members can get trampled on, their suggestions being called out for being stupid or naive.  Bullying can run rampant.  All of this is possible if those in power aren't trustworthy.  Corruption breeds further corruption and discontent. 

Poorly run sites run the risk of actually hurting the site's HR agenda b/c only certain members' questions / concerns get addressed.  Popular members get the help they need, lesser members get ignored or harassed.  HR shouldn't be pick-and-choose.  Either you're there to help or you're not. 
Transparency is necessary to ensure decent staff members get elected. Members need to know when staff are misbehaving, so members can be informed voters.

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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2015, 12:04:10 PM »
we still feel that we need more members prior to voting but one thing that we can commit to is democracy.

personally, the whole forum tecnical shit is just a passion of mine and I won't be ignoring anybody or any suggestions.

it may sound insincere but I want everyone to be happy and most importantly, to feel included.

a forum for the people, by the people.

banning anybody is something that's a last resort and we will always welcome critique, no matter how personal that may be.
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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2015, 03:10:11 PM »
Re Voting to ban someone:

Does this mean that someones behavior offline with other members need be put out in the open if it crosses some line? I mean if no other board members are aware of it other than the involved parties, then how would that be handled? (I'm talking about other than solicitation, which should be an immediate and summary banning).
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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2015, 03:45:21 PM »
we still feel that we need more members prior to voting but one thing that we can commit to is democracy.

personally, the whole forum tecnical shit is just a passion of mine and I won't be ignoring anybody or any suggestions.

it may sound insincere but I want everyone to be happy and most importantly, to feel included.

a forum for the people, by the people.

banning anybody is something that's a last resort and we will always welcome critique, no matter how personal that may be.

Maybe some of what I''m about to say is patently obvious but in case it isn't, I want to make a point before ths board gets too carried away with "transparency" and "democracy" both good things but not always completely practical. PLEASE hear me out.

I'd say that no matter how otherwise democratic a board is there have to be some lines that demand an immediate, non-debatable, permanant  ban. For instance; they would include any attempt to use the board to break any laws, like selling or even "sharing" drugs, threats of violence, running any scams, any "outing" (publically identifying) members and I imagine a handful of other things, that if done and not completely and immediately stopped upon discovery with zero tolerance could casue real legal trouble and/or victimization. You simply can't debate that shit.

Are you going to find out Member X is dealing H to other members and using private messages to make sales and getting shipping information from other members and it then gets discovered the ban has to be automatic and immediate. To spend time debating and votng on a ban could  be disastrous for the board and members. 

To vote youfirst  have to know facts and debate them publicly.  If you discuss it openly and then vote on the ban you risk attacting the attention of LE, who is at the same time be beginning to prepare trafficing and conspiracy and facilitating criminal activity charges and the DEA or other LEOs are usng both the time and information from the pre-ban voting debate (they would use both words and tech traces) to get warrants and start stacking charges against as many of us as possible. A debate could be incriminating and potentially later be used as evidence in a prosecution. The prosecuton could extend well beyond the seller. That's one reason against complete tranparency and democracy (sorry to say).

That is of course unless Chipper and friends don't give a shit about their or the membership's freedom and bank accounts and I KNOW this isn't the case.

I am NOT agaisnt transparency or democracy in princple AT ALL but giiven that this board will be discussing what are still illegal activities and populated by a self-admittedly "crimnal"  element we WILL BE WATCHED and it's only self-preservation to have some inviolatable "laws" that protect the board itself and the who run it and use it.

Right now Opiophile is down and we don't know why, for all we know it might have been seized by the feds and its information being searched for criminal activity of its members past and present.

Right now, in the US of A drug "crimes" and those who commit them are being legally equated with "terrorism" and and "terrorists" and are prosecuted with the same zeal. If there was a board about how to conduct terror attacks you can be damn sure it would be monitored and ultimately targeted by DHS and other 3 letter asshats.

So there is the question of (how to) protect the owners and  members form the state and from those of us who would cheat or endanger each other that are REAL ISSUES that will have to be addressed, preferrably sooner than later.

All I am really saying is we have to balance noble concepts with practical realities that exist in our real world community.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 04:44:26 PM by DeadCat »

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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2015, 11:51:15 PM »
Firstly,it's great to these things discussed-the best harm reduction empowers and having the membership discussing and eventually controlling the site can only be a boon.
Secondly,I think the democracy comes in electing the people who'll make the decisions after the issues have been discussed openly.

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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2015, 12:56:34 PM »
I think you're right re. bannings, Deadcat.  When I suggested voting on bannings, I should have been clearer.

Yes, there would be cardinal rules that required immediate banning.  Solicitation, publicly outing members' identities, putting the site / members at risk, public threats of violence, etc. 

I think where the voting comes in is with more grey situations.  Like if someone was being a constant asshole.  People could discuss the pros and cons of that person, and a vote could be taken as to warnings, suspension, banning, etc.  Obviously it would be staggered.  Not simply an immediate ban.

Also, members are certainly free to use the ignore feature, but that can be cumbersome sometimes.  Sometimes people aren't assholes to everyone, rather only to certain people.  It's the malicious targeting that I don't like.  In cases like that, people may want to read Member X's non-asshole comments, but not the others.  How are they to know when the bad will take place?

I know that seems like censorship to some extent.  I personally don't view it that way though.  I know people will always disagree, and that's fine.  But I also think people should disagree in a respectful manner.  Calling each other names, ad hominem attacks, etc. aren't necessary most of the time.  If people are allowed to discuss and vote on behaviors, it gives an incentive for the offending party to change for the better. 

It's sorta the same principle as the Flame Forum.  When a member is acting out, members flame them to reign them in.  The problem with that is that the offending member doesn't always change.  They could be stubborn.  They could be oppositional-defiant.  Who knows.  It's just not always effective.  Voting could provide some measure of consequences.

This is just my .02.  The important thing is that we're all discussing this.   
Transparency is necessary to ensure decent staff members get elected. Members need to know when staff are misbehaving, so members can be informed voters.

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Re: Member-based Control Models Sought
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2015, 02:06:52 PM »
Firstly,it's great to these things discussed-the best harm reduction empowers and having the membership discussing and eventually controlling the site can only be a boon.
Secondly,I think the democracy comes in electing the people who'll make the decisions after the issues have been discussed openly.



That works for me. A "democratically elected republic" is about as good a a blance betwen the effeciency of an autocratic dictaorhsip and mob rule.

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