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Mon Dec 12, 2011, 10:35 AM

What about a limit on how long Hosts can serve? and other matters

I'd like to propose a couple of ideas about how permanent hosts could be handled here in Creative Speculation.

One is that they are by group consensus NOT permanent. I would suggest the forum host 90-day limit as a starting place, but I already think this group can get fractious enough. Choosing hosts every 90 days would really turn this group into 24/7 Bicker House. So perhaps six months?

Would we have an agreed upon number of hosts? I think SidDithers suggested six in another thread, like the DU juries. But finding six hosts that everyone could live with or at least keep the dissent down to a low grumble might prove a challenge the first time. Doing it every 90 days or every six months? Ay yi yi.

So perhaps my second idea would be better: instead of requiring that all hosts step down after a certain amount of time, we could require that the number one spot shift "parties", as it were. If the number one spot is occupied by a free-thinker (as used by our Statement of Purpose), then after 90 days that person retires and hands the spot over to a skeptic. 90 days later, the skeptic steps down and gives the spot to a free-thinker. Comity could be reinforced by the retiree being immediately reinstated by a host (unless the retiree was truly ready to retire, etc.).

Thoughts on this? Other suggestions?

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Reply What about a limit on how long Hosts can serve? and other matters (Original post)
Bolo Boffin Dec 2011 OP
Grateful for Hope Dec 2011 #1
canoeist52 Dec 2011 #2
Make7 Dec 2011 #4
greyl Dec 2011 #5
Make7 Dec 2011 #3
Bolo Boffin Dec 2011 #6
Make7 Dec 2011 #7
Bolo Boffin Dec 2011 #8
Make7 Dec 2011 #9

Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Mon Dec 12, 2011, 02:54 PM

1. I really like the "rotating" host idea

I am having a difficult time with the concept of "permanent". Considering that the big forums are host time-limited, I think the same should apply to groups. This seems a very good way to get more of the membership involved.

You have my vote on this suggestion.

Thanks, Bolo.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Mon Dec 12, 2011, 07:58 PM

2. Doesn't this belong in "Help and Meta-discussion?

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Response to canoeist52 (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 12, 2011, 08:43 PM

4. Isn't that a matter for the Group's Host to decide? ( n/t )

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Response to Make7 (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 12, 2011, 08:58 PM

5. lol

Admin says, and hosts agree, that meta-discussions in a group about that group's direction, are totally proper to take place in that group.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Mon Dec 12, 2011, 08:26 PM

3. I like the idea of changing the number one slot, but...

... isn't the system sort of designed for the top Host to be able to assign (and remove) the other Hosts? The idea being that the Admin didn't necessarily have to get involved with anything other than assigning the top slot and then let the group members handle it from there. I'm not saying it's not possible (perhaps the top Host can remove themselves), but you might want to contact an Admin to see if they'll be agreeable to the idea if they would need to be involved.

I guess I would like some clarity on how the top Host slot can be changed using the software. Can the top Host do it themselves? Or does the Admin need to step in? Can someone with access to the Host forum please see if they can get an answer?

Returning to your first idea: The idea of trying to select brand new Hosts on any time frame may prove to be somewhat contentious. I think if people that are already serving as Hosts could still be voted in for another term that would make things easier.

If people like how someone is Hosting, people could vote for them to continue for another term (hopefully that would happen quite often) and if they want a change, people could vote for someone new. I agree that a group of permanently assigned Hosts is probably not a good idea, but if everyone likes how a particular Host is performing their duties then why not let them continue to serve rather than require a change. (Perhaps that is how you meant it and I am just agreeing with you using lots of words.)

Each person should be required to recommend an even number of persons - half that largely share their viewpoint and half that oppose it.

Another thing that we might want to address is if there should be some qualification for voting. Do the people who post here regularly get to have a louder voice than someone that shows up to vote on Hosts as their very first post down here? I realize this idea could open a big can of worms - but just as you can't get banned from a group you haven't participated in, perhaps you also shouldn't get to vote on Hosts for a group you hadn't participated in.

Since the Hosts will be voted on periodically, people just showing up to vote may not be an important issue once things are up and running for a while as the only people interested in who is Hosting would be those participating - but it may be an issue the first time around. Just something to consider...

As to the number of Hosts, I think six sounds about right. Since not every Host will be logged into DU all the time, we probably need more than just a few so there is someone around most of the time to respond in a timely manner. If we can't even come up with six acceptable Hosts, how will we solve 9/11?

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Response to Make7 (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 12, 2011, 10:15 PM

6. The number one host can retire.

The list of hosts on the About This Group page has for the hosts a button. The number one host has Retire next to his or her name and Remove next to everyone else's.

Using the model of the U.S. Presidential election, if we choose six hosts every 90 days, that is literally all we will ever do. That's why I think it should just be a switch of the top job, with the "retiree" either being immediately reappointed (and thus being at the bottom of the list) or a successor chosen. That's something that should be up to the retiring Host.

I don't think there's any way to give greater weight to the vocal poster or lesser to the six-year-never-posting account that suddenly pipes up. I think mandating an even split will be the only guard needed to balance this out. The hosts will have to be known quantities. No buffaloing the Judiciary Committee here.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 14, 2011, 02:12 AM

7. Okay, thanks. That's useful information.

I think your idea about the top Host stepping down periodically is a good way to divide the hosting duties. The way I envisioning it working would be for there to be six hosts. Every month or two the top host steps down and every one else would move up one spot. The initial order of hosts would alternate between 'free-thinkers' and 'skeptics' and would then be maintained by that simple rotation. To fill the empty number six slot, the new second slot host would assign them - so a 'free-thinker' would be nominating a 'free-thinker' and a 'skeptic', a 'skeptic'. The second host could choose the number six host however they wanted, but it wouldn't be a bad idea for them to start a thread for group members to volunteer or offer nominations. (Or people could PM them since they would know who would be deciding well in advance.) I think the other hosts should probably have veto power over the final selection - but only by a unanimous vote against.

I'm not sure if that is roughly what you had in mind or not; I just wanted to spell out my thoughts on it in more detail.

I still don't see that a nomination/tally couldn't be workable and would necessarily turn into an all consuming discussion. Every three or six months we could simply pin a thread for a week or two where people could nominate an even number of persons for hosts - half 'free-thinkers' and half 'skeptics'. No other discussion should be in the thread except that: nominations. Then when time is up, the current hosts tally up the results and assign the new slots accordingly. The idea of an alternating top spot could also be implemented (although that may not even be required as I would hope anyone that garnered enough votes to be in the top slot would probably be seen as fair to most people anyway).

As it stands, the nomination/tally plan is probably the only way to go about picking the initial hosts anyway. I guess we'll see how difficult the process is and whether we should voluntarily subject ourselves to it repeatedly. Obviously there are more details to work out and be agreed upon, but unless someone else comes up with a different approach I think your two initial ideas are the basic framework we should be proceeding with.

One other thing to discuss would be removal of hosts before their "term" is up. Would we leave this up to the Admin? A super-majority of the current hosts? A referendum of the group members?

I'd be satisfied with a super-majority vote of the 5 other hosts for removal. I don't want it to turn into a call for removal over every single controversial decision by other group members, but rather more for a series of decisions that people can make a strong case regarding their actions. It's likely that many people will have differing opinions on this, but I'm not opposed to keeping it simple.

Once a host is removed (or just needs to retire for any reason) the process to choose another would be different depending on whether we end up using the top host stepping down method or a simple nomination scenario. For the latter it would be easy: all hosts move up and a nomination/tally thread decides on a new host. The top host stepping down method would be a little more complicated. The remaining hosts would move up as required to maintain the current 'free-thinkers' and 'skeptics' alternating positions, which would open up either slot five or six. If slot five is open, the top host would choose the replacement; if the opening is slot six then the second slot host would decide.

Once we decide on how to select hosts, we also need to agree to how they will go about actually being hosts. Do we want special guidelines for this group? Or should they just have the normal group host abilities that are designed into the DU3 system?

I had hoped that some other people would stop by to share their thoughts and ideas on this matter. Perhaps they're still over at DU2.

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Response to Make7 (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 14, 2011, 03:35 AM

8. People move up automatically on the host list.

That's the only problem with what you've laid out. There aren't slots, per se. If a midline host was to step down or be removed, then the people below that move up. Any new host is added at the bottom.

But that's just details to get work out. I think you've got the right idea about how it should work.

Also, any host has the power of removing hosts below them or adding anyone as host. So if the alternating positions get mixed up, hosts should expect the top host to remove and add them to get that order correct again, maintaining seniority as much as possible. As an example, #4 steps down and #6 (the next likeminded host) would take that spot. To do it, #1, #2, or #3 would remove #4 AND #5. #6 would then automatically be #4. Then a higher host would reinstate #5.

I think your unanimous vote for removal of a host by the other 5 is best. The hosts will hear about it from other members of the group. Of course a host can step down anytime they like.


I think hosts should have all the normal group host abilities for right now. If the group goes nuclear, then maybe reconsider that later. Perhaps like the Senate, the group hosts should make their own rules for doing whatnot.

And I too was hoping others would drop on by. Perhaps DU2 to DU3 is all the social contract we can really deal with changing right now. There's a lot of acrimony to hack through here in CS.

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 04:44 AM

9. I was more outlining the end result than the mechanism...

... of how the Host positions would be rearranged (as you have), but you get the idea (obviously). The responsibility for getting the right person in the right position would probably fall on whoever is in the top slot since they would be able to move anyone else.

Regarding Hosting duties, I really don't have much of a problem with any Host locking an off-topic thread unilaterally but I'm not so sure I want a single Host completely blocking someone from posting in the group. If someone is really wreaking havoc with the group then one Host could give them a "time out", but I think there should be some sort of consensus to maintain a complete posting block on anyone. It could even be as simple as having at least one of the Hosts from across the aisle agreeing with the block to let it continue.

That's really the only exception to normal Hosting responsibilities that I would advocate implementing. I think it will cut down on acrimony in the event someone gets banned from the group for any extended period of time.

ETA: It is likely that how the Hosting responsibilities are shared might need to be adjusted when we can all see what problems occur within the group and also any possible responses to the actions of the Hosts.

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