RE: [unrev-II] Digest Number 48

From: John \ (
Date: Sat Feb 26 2000 - 04:41:38 PST

From: "John \"sb\" Werneken" <>

That's what I get for commenting before Session 7's ending discussion
<grin>. I see Jon is advocating moving some decision-making, probably OASIS,
on-line. And also using Robert's as an example of a process where the
complexity might be more manageable if software served as the monitor and

Maybe it's just another case of me not being joyful at seeing a skill of
mine automated (again, again). That skill being leading a group to a
supported conclusion and implementation program.

MAYBE in the defined category of information exchange formats, some
combination of Robert's and a sort of Major Domo (the mailing list
management program) on steroids could help develop a 'Request For Comments'
type document more efficiently. I've never sat on a standards committee and
have no idea of what collateral issues and interests participants bring with
them to a meeting, so I don't know.

I do know that disputed decisions have an organic sort of process, which I
think is analogous to the grieving process in its stages. Negotiated
settlements IMHO can't be done via Robert's and probably can't be done

State power can certainly create an environment where the result is not
negotiated, but rather decided and imposed. Personally I think state power
is like slavery - a solution that seems appropriate only so long as people
lack the resources to understand and employ a less coercive method. But if I
were to agree for the sake of argument that a majority vote was an
acceptable way of resolving something IMPORTANT, then certainly Robert's is
as Jon said one of the things that "falls out" after centuries of

I still doubt that CONTESTED DECISIONS can or should be made on-line. The
body and the decision would lose the wealth of information provided by the
range of human interaction cues which are not conveyed well (Or at all in
some cases) by text alone. More to the point the participants would lack the
full-spectrum engagement with each other which is so vital in the "Stockholm
Syndrome" type of interaction that seems necessary to producing agreement or
at least acceptance of the results.

Alternatives to the legislative approach? First, real legislatures involve
far more stuff than is captured in Robert's or by voting. Second, there are
numerous other modes of decision-making. Common law is a good one. Built on
the stories of real cases. A very popular alternative nowadays to litigation
is mediation. There is a lot of mediation literature. Another is
Arbitration. Some legal systems - labor law for example - rely heavily on
mediation & arbitration.

Another is all around us - the market system. The premise here being that
buyers will not knowingly act against their own interests. So sellers have
incentives to bring that better mousetrap to market. There is literature now
on extending markets to spheres formerly thought of as open only to the
state - like the control of air pollution.

Yet another is also all around us - vox populi. Public opinion is a
consensus process that moves with amazing speed with out modern

I think news is one area where DKR-type work can enable self-publishing and
institutional media to collaborate, through the Internet and its successors.
I find obtaining comprehensive, balanced, and current information to be an
incredible pain in the ass at this time. Augment/Crit/DKR may make it
dramatically less so.

> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 14:37:04 -0800
> From: Eric Armstrong <>
> Subject: Re: Parliamentary Assistance proposal
> Your post contains many well-reasoned, passionate
> statements.
> It's also important to recognize that Jon was not
> presenting Robert's Rules as the "right" way, or
> necessarily even the "best" way. I'm sure he would
> agree with many of the points you mentioned, if
> not all of them.
> The point of Jon's proposal, as I understand it,
> was that many people DO use Robert's Rules, or
> something based on that mechanism (for better or
> worse).

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