Rise Up, O Brickfilms, and Make Your Voice Heard

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June 14, 2007 at 4:01 pm #295407
Avatar of RevMen
RevMen

Discussions like this are exactly the kind of thing I want to happen in our fledgeling democracy. Respectful, insightful, honest opinion-sharing is key to people working together to create something larger than themselves.

RevMen created this system to ease some of the workload on the site. He himself has said that he’d like to see a time when the site was self-running.

Correct.

He didn’t start the political system out of the goodness of his heart as some kind of gift for us.

Consider this:
If the workload of the site does not get shared, there will be no site. The easiest thing for me to do would be to simply state that I no longer have the time to run it and that if someone wants it they can make me an offer, otherwise it’ll be shut down. This is what Jason did and it’s not an unreasonable thing to do.

In other words, you could say that RevMen wasn’t kind enough to give us a democratic system, we were kind enough to give him a democratic system, and to make it work.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet… I’m not quite ready to declare the system as “working.” So far it’s very promising with a lot of people getting very involved in the election process. The proof will be in the pudding, and the flavor of that pudding is “running the site on a day to day basis.” I have to admit that I was a little disappointed in the output of our first round of ministers. As I said before, I expect it will take a few election cycles before things really start going and the right people get into the right jobs, but until that happens we shouldn’t declare this a success.

By engaging in discussions such as this, we seek to make it work better.

Agree 100%

The point of putting Pierre’s job up for election momentarily was not to try to force him to come back and start working. He didn’t have to release a podcast right away, I never said anything like that. I actually didn’t expect to hear from him again, so I was surprised when I did. I put that job on the last because I honestly thought it was going to need to be filled.

Pierre will keep the job for as long as he wants because he’s put a lot of time and effort into it. There are only a handful of people at Brickfilms that I can talk to regularly and expect quick results when I ask favors. Except for recent weeks, Pierre is one of them. People who have put a lot of effort into the site, such as Pierre, Z, Stefan, and Schlaeps, will always get more consideration from me than others. If they want to keep any titles I’ve given them, they will.

There will be a time when these pioneers have moved on from the site and when that happens they can be replaced democratically. For the time being we have plenty of democratically filled positions that we can concentrate on as a community. When those aspects of the site are firing on all pistons, then we’ll look to expand the system.

June 14, 2007 at 4:10 pm #295409
Avatar of Trillspots
Trillspots

“Watson” wrote:
[quote="Trillspots"]Rev is very nice to give us a democratic system, and to let us vote on the majority of staff positions in our community. He doesn’t have to…but he does this to keep us interested and contributing.

I do not believe that statement is in line with the truth of our situation or of democracies in general.
[/quote]

This is not a general democracy – and while that is the goal, eventually, you cannot treat it as such yet. It’s still a forum.

“Watson” wrote:
RevMen created this system to ease some of the workload on the site. He himself has said that he’d like to see a time when the site was self-running. He didn’t start the political system out of the goodness of his heart as some kind of gift for us. After all, a democracy, in theory, exists for and by the people – not for and by the leaders. Without the people, the system does not exist. In other words, you could say that RevMen wasn’t kind enough to give us a democratic system, we were kind enough to give him a democratic system, and to make it work. By engaging in discussions such as this, we seek to make it work better.

While, I understand that – and appreciate your efforts to make it better; you started out with what seemed a very accusatory/combative tone. Rather than making a suggestion, it seemed you were making a demand.

“Watson” wrote:
Yes, rev does have the final say, but I am in no way undermining that fact with a thread such as this. It’s merely an attempt on my part to highlight a unjust situation that exists in our system. It will, of course, ultimately be up to him to determine how to act, but I know that he listens to our views on the matter.

Yes, he does listen to us. But, my initial feeling from your orginal post was one of criticism, not comment or contribution. That may not have been what you intended, but it read as pretty harsh.

“Watson” wrote:
[quote="Trillspots"] Let’s repay his time and contribution by being mature enough to appreciate the imput he lets us have.

While I do appreciate what Rev does, I believe that remaining silent on issues of such importance does the site a great disservice. If there is an area that we feel could be bettered, it really ought to be pointed out.[/quote]

Pointed out, not immediately picked apart and blamed on people. On rexamination, my issue was not with your contribution, but more the way you worded/presented it. I can understand why you would want to delineate the reasons you believe something’s a problem – but overall, your post had a tone of discontentment. At least upon first glance, although as I’ve read back I can see how it could easily be very forthright, rather than combative. It’s hard to tell tone over the internet sometimes.

“Watson” wrote:
Remember, I’m not just asking that the position of Minister of Broadcasting be put up for election (which, I should point out, does not prevent Pierre from keeping his position democratically). I also offered an alternative option.

I have to admit that I’m somewhat disappointed in your position on this. I believe the election commissioner ought to protect and champion our democracy, rather than being complacent about it.

This wasn’t an issue of protecting rights, it was an issue of silencing an epidemic. I saw what could potentially infect a lot of people, and bring up a lot of discontentment with the democratic system. I do believe that the democracy has room to grow, you have some awesome points, and a very solid way of presenting them.

I just think that it could’ve been worded in such a way that people didn’t immediately feel their rights had been violated. As an attempt to grow the forum, and our democractic system – rather than to “give the people the rights they deserve.”

Yes, Rev put together the democratic system to make things easier for himrself. But how much easier for him is it going to be, if everyone starts to believe they’ve been dealt and injustice?

I saw something that could potentially become more than it needed to; and I wanted to calm it a bit before anyone got too riled up. I didn’t lock the thread, because I believe that you have valid points. I just didn’t want things getting too out of hand. Just trying to tone things down a little.

Oh…and Watson, I am SO incredibly sorry – when I went to make this post I accidentally hit ‘edit’ instead of ‘quote’; I believe I’ve restored your post to it’s original splendor, but if not…I’m terribly sorry. :(

-Trill

June 14, 2007 at 8:31 pm #295442
Avatar of Cometgreen
Cometgreen

“Trill” wrote: But, my initial feeling from your orginal post was one of criticism, not comment or contribution.

“Trill” wrote: I can understand why you would want to delineate the reasons you believe something’s a problem – but overall, your post had a tone of discontentment.

“Trill” wrote: This wasn’t an issue of protecting rights, it was an issue of silencing an epidemic. I saw what could potentially infect a lot of people, and bring up a lot of discontentment with the democratic system.

Are you suggesting he shouldn’t be discontent? Why not? We’ve had two podcast releases in the last six months, whereas in 2006 we had a boatload of releases back-to-back and then a nice, monthly release pattern. And the most recent release was excessively large. At 127 mb per download, it would take less than 8000 subscriptions to reach 1000GB of bandwith. I remember Rev (or it might have been Pierre) estimating that past podcasts had nearly 10,000 downloads each last year in the podcast thread. I would check this, but I don’t know how long it would take to get to General Brickfilming -> Podcast thread -> the post. I keep getting told that I can’t connect to the database, so that journey is too far for me while at work.

It’s irresponsible to waste this much bandwith when it was easily avoidable, and even more irresponsible to suggest we should just stay content. It’s the official podcast, so not only does it reflect upon the entire community, it affects the operations of this site. I’m not saying the crash from the other day was due to the podcast (I guess it was some coding error), but I’ve definitely experienced some annoying slowdowns and the occasional inaccessibility since the weekend. Rev himself suggested this was due to the recent podcast release.

However, I don’t think people understand the issue here, or atleast they are not addressing it. This is not about Pierre or the podcast or fairness or democracy. It’s about accountability. Are there any standards for the podcast? If so, could we be clued in as to what they are? If there aren’t any, why not? Isn’t it time we started talking about it?

And by accountability, I don’t mean it as punishment. I don’t necessarily think Pierre shouldn’t be the Minister of Broadcasting, or that he shouldn’t win if we had an election. I have faith that he learned from this and wouldn’t make the same mistake again. By accountability, I mean the incentive to make the podcast better.

What is the big difference between a king and a senator? It’s not that a senator may be better qualified than someone born into power. A senator has to work to keep his power. He has to change. He has to respond to pressure. If he doesn’t actively try to improve things, he will have to face the voters at election time. By shielding MoB from the vote, we’re blocking the potential for new ideas. We’re obstructing the free market. Would Ladon have just woken up one day and said, “this is how the film ratings should be!” if we never had these elections? By opening it up to elections, we might have a member really interested in the position, and in order to win, he would need to come up with one hell of a game plan. Something that will undoubtedly improve the way the podcast is run. And he will have to make it happen. And if he gets busy and can’t work on the podcast for a month or two, he can have someone cover for him while he’s away, to ensure that things stay smooth and that the voters are happy. To put another way, by keeping this from the vote, the position is more-or-less a maintanence job; it’s keeping the podcast working instead of bringing new ideas and making it work better.

No, I’m not saying that Pierre has absolutely no incentive to make the podcast better. I’m sure he feels passionate about it and would be open to new ideas, but I think it’s undeniable that, with this degree of accountability, he’d be much more motivated to seek out improvements.

At the very least, I hope this sparks a real discussion about the podcast. If this podcast represents us all, let’s all get working on it. Let’s share ideas. Particularly advertising ideas. :mischief

Cometgreen, who sat through 4 critical errors trying to post this

June 14, 2007 at 10:47 pm #295474
Avatar of Cometgreen
Cometgreen

Sorry to double-post, but given how big the previous post was, I wasn’t sure if those who had read it would see the edit:

To expand on the above about an elected official having to respond to pressure, we can see that this is true and very effective in the situation which prompted this thread. Unless I’m mistaken, this is what happened:

1) There was no podcast since March
2) RevMen threatens Pierre’s job as Podcast Overlord
3) Pierre rushes back and releases a podcast, thus safeguarding his position

This assumes that it was not just a very happy coincidence, in which Pierre happened to plan to come back in early June without knowing that his position was at stake. Pierre would need to shed some light on this. But if it was in response to Rev’s election thread, then it seems obvious to me that this kind of pressure on the MoB would help keep things running. At least around election time, hehe.

Cometgreen

June 14, 2007 at 10:56 pm #295480
Avatar of RevMen
RevMen

Some clarification:

I never threatened Pierre’s job through the election. I tried to contact him personally and when I didn’t hear from him I assumed he wasn’t coming back. I certainly never said he needed to release a new episode to keep his job. I just wanted to hear from him to see if he still wanted to do it.

As far as I can tell, Pierre didn’t even know his job was up for election before he released the podcast. I’m pretty sure he told me about the forthcoming new episode before he even knew about the election, based on our conversation.

June 14, 2007 at 11:15 pm #295485
Avatar of Watson
Watson

I guess I’m just very disappointed by the recklessness of what happened. Pierre knows the volume of the podcast, he ought to have known better than to release an episode that was unnecessarily large, and which was going to put huge strains on our server. It was a thoughtless act, because it’s left all the rest of us having to struggle with slowdowns, and, at times, a total lack of service.

What makes it worse is that none of this was necessary. It would have been possible to just re-encode the episode and re-upload it within hours. Yet days have passed, and in the mean time, it’s everyone else on this site who’s left waiting and bearing with the problems. Where’s the consideration for others?

In spite of this, there’s not going to be any punishment, any censure, or evidently any correction whatsoever — as cometgreen highlighted, there’s no accountability, and therefore no need to improve. It strikes me being very unjust, and we’ve become used to things being handled very justly on this site. This, above all else, is what frustrates me about the situation.

June 14, 2007 at 11:19 pm #295489
Avatar of RevMen
RevMen

So if the BAMPAs organizers were held to the same accountability that you’re recommending for the podcast organizer, would the 2006 awards have been earlier than June 2007?

June 14, 2007 at 11:28 pm #295491
Avatar of Dragoon
Dragoon

It’s not that a senator may be better qualified than someone born into power. A senator has to work to keep his power.

To carry that analogy further, the current situation with Pierre is parallel to the situation of the US Senate before Amendment XVII provided for direct election of senators. It’s a matter of public officials growing complacent, or worse.

If Pierre deserves special benefits, which he may, I don’t think that unchecked use of the brickfilms server is one of them, especially if an alternative can be found.

As for the BAMPA attack, first of all, it’s a terrible analogy since the BAMPAs are a private organization from the website (at, I believe, your behest; probably if we enjoyed the same endorsement as the Podcast does, we would have greater leverage to motivate judges, etc.), which is exactly what we want the Podcast to be as well. Secondly, I think the BAMPA officials were accountable and largely unresponsible for the delays, but that’s another story.

June 14, 2007 at 11:41 pm #295493
Avatar of RevMen
RevMen

How can you be accountable and unresponsible at the same time?

June 14, 2007 at 11:42 pm #295494
Avatar of Watson
Watson

“RevMen” wrote: So if the BAMPAs organizers were held to the same accountability that you’re recommending for the podcast organizer, would the 2006 awards have been earlier than June 2007?

Indeed, as dragoon pointed out, the BAMPAs are a poor analogy, because they are not at all a public function of the site, nor do they affect its day-to-day operations. That is why I suggested that if we want to keep the podcast in its current structure, perhaps we ought to privatize it.

June 14, 2007 at 11:45 pm #295495
Avatar of Dragoon
Dragoon

How can you be accountable and unresponsible at the same time?

By being accountable for one thing and unresponsible for another thing.

Dragoon, who thinks he forms his clauses pretty carefully

June 14, 2007 at 11:57 pm #295497
Avatar of Trillspots
Trillspots

“Cometgreen” wrote: [quote="Trill"]But, my initial feeling from your orginal post was one of criticism, not comment or contribution.

“Trill” wrote: I can understand why you would want to delineate the reasons you believe something’s a problem – but overall, your post had a tone of discontentment.

“Trill” wrote: This wasn’t an issue of protecting rights, it was an issue of silencing an epidemic. I saw what could potentially infect a lot of people, and bring up a lot of discontentment with the democratic system.

Are you suggesting he shouldn’t be discontent? Why not? We’ve had two podcast releases in the last six months, whereas in 2006 we had a boatload of releases back-to-back and then a nice, monthly release pattern. [/quote]

I wasn’t suggesting you shouldn’t be discontent with the podcast, at all. In fact, I wasn’t even talking about the podcast, I was talking about the elections.

Be as discontent as you want about the podcast, doesn’t bother me. :P

Since my issues with this thread are resolved; I’m going to make my way out of this conversation before I say something else to be easily misunderstood and get myself in over my head.

I have no opinion on the podcast, or on Pierre’s lack of productivity regarding the podcast. Just clarifying that. You all have very understandable opinions regarding that, and I was never talking about that particular issue at all.

-Trill

June 15, 2007 at 12:54 am #295506
Avatar of Cometgreen
Cometgreen

“RevMen” wrote: I never threatened Pierre’s job through the election.

“Threaten” was some colorful language on my part, and a word I wasn’t sure of using. But I thought it was justified, primarily because it helped my point.

As for the BAMPAs, I’m assuming Dragoon means that the judges are accountable (he’s already said he’s thinking to overhaul the judging system this year, and that they’ll need new judges), but they are not responsible for some of the delays. The elections and server trouble were not foreseen when we started up BAMPA again late last year.

But I think Rev was asking, if the same pressures were applied to the judges, would they have acted quicker in nominating films (judging the winners was a quick process, and the only delay was on the organizers’ behalf). I think this is unfair because there were multiple judges that all volunteered to help out, probably all for different reasons. I assume that, for quite a few, they consider it an act of generosity, and not a position they were passionate about. I think that, if we told them to get their ballots in by Saturday or they’d be off the team, a few of them would be fine with that. Perhaps, after a few years when the BAMPAs are more common and respected, judging would be a privelege for the panel and not a nice thing to do, and legitimate pressure can be applied when needed.

With a ministry position, the person must obviously be passionate about the position, and so they work harder in the interest of self-preservation. I am quite sure, though, that if the BAMPAs were official, and Dragoon or Watson were the elected Minister of Awards, they would make sure the awards went off at a reasonable date. But given that Dragoon is the self-elected king of the BAMPAs, the only threat to his position would be the community’s loss of interest. Based on the awards chat, that obviously was not the case this year.

Trill: Understandable, I was just a little confused as you seemed to be suggesting that showing discontent is a bad thing. Discussing the problems of the system will only make it better.

Cometgreen

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