Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Tanoujin Milestone »

Han, I feel I do not have the power to exclude an opinion by choosing the other. I would like to collect the suggestions and present them to the RA for a vote.

Coop, that makes a lot of sense to me, but again I need a formulated clause. Would you be so kind?
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Widget Whiteberry »

While I am of the opinion that a transcript has never stopped some folks from speaking their mind (or putting their foot in their mouth), I think the optional transcript is a prudent way to go. What I would like to see is a mandate for an executive summary on the meeting, even if it is short and sweet. This way you can keep track of who came and things discussed on a high level, and if something gets testy, you can have the option for an 'in the weeds' transcript.
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Coop »

5. The Chair may keep a transcript of the meeting and post it in whole or in part to the CDS forums. This is only as a courtesy for those unable to attend, and is not intended as a formal record. The Chair will post a summary of the meeting on the forum, to include topics of discussion and attendance for archival purposes.
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Han Held »

That sounds good to me.

It allows folks to feel as though their words will not be held against them, but keeps track of the important stuff.

[edit] I meant "will not", not "will be"
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Tanoujin Milestone »

Looks like we reached a consensus. Thank you everyone!

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NL 7-1 Government Question Hour Act


Rationale:
In order to make the government more accessible this Act establishes an informal Government Question Hour with at least one government ‘official’ present once per month. The Chancellor may schedule additional Government Question Hours based on public demand. These meetings will be open to all CDS residents to come and ask questions. The hours will rotate to suit the RL hours of our community.
1. The Chancellor is charged with organizing a Government Question Hour at least once per month. All members of the government (Executive, Legislative and Philosophical branches) will be invited to attend with at least one official attending.
2. The Chancellor is charged with facilitating representation from all three branches.
3. The Chancellor will rotate the hours of the Government Question Hour to take into account the different time zones of the CDS community and to ensure representation from the different branches of government.
4. Meetings will be chaired by (one of) the official(s) present and will be open to all citizens to attend.
5. The Chair may keep a transcript of the meeting and post it in whole or in part to the CDS forums. This is only as a courtesy for those unable to attend, and is not intended as a formal record. The Chair will post a summary of the meeting on the forum, to include topics of discussion and attendance for archival purposes.
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Widget Whiteberry »

5. The Chair may keep a transcript of the meeting and post it in whole or in part to the CDS forums. This is only as a courtesy for those unable to attend, and is not intended as a formal record. The Chair will post a summary of the meeting on the forum, to include topics of discussion and attendance for archival purposes.
For clarity, let's reverse the order:
5. The Chair will post a summary of the meeting on the forum, to include topics of discussion and attendance for archival purposes. The Chair may keep a transcript of the meeting and post it in whole or in part to the CDS forums. This is only as a courtesy for those unable to attend, and is not intended as a formal record.
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Han Held »

Widget Whiteberry wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:01 am
5. The Chair may keep a transcript of the meeting and post it in whole or in part to the CDS forums. This is only as a courtesy for those unable to attend, and is not intended as a formal record. The Chair will post a summary of the meeting on the forum, to include topics of discussion and attendance for archival purposes.
For clarity, let's reverse the order:
5. The Chair will post a summary of the meeting on the forum, to include topics of discussion and attendance for archival purposes. The Chair may keep a transcript of the meeting and post it in whole or in part to the CDS forums. This is only as a courtesy for those unable to attend, and is not intended as a formal record.
I'd suggest one last tweek:
5. The Chair will post a summary of the meeting on the forum, to include topics of discussion and attendance for archival purposes. Optionally, the Chair may keep a transcript of the meeting and post it in whole or in part to the CDS forums. This is only as a courtesy for those unable to attend, and is not intended as a formal record.
"optionally" is implied by "may", but that might not be clear to non-english speakers, so I think that specifying it would be beneficial.

Alternate wordings: "the Chair can keep" or "the Chair will keep"; but I don't think either of those work and both of them undermine saying "optionally" IMO.
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Widget Whiteberry »

optionally" is implied by "may", but that might not be clear to non-english speakers, so I think that specifying it would be beneficial.
Good catch.
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Tanoujin Milestone »

NL 7-1 Government Question Hour Act


Rationale:
In order to make the government more accessible this Act establishes an informal Government Question Hour with at least one government ‘official’ present once per month. The Chancellor may schedule additional Government Question Hours based on public demand. These meetings will be open to all CDS residents to come and ask questions. The hours will rotate to suit the RL hours of our community.
1. The Chancellor is charged with organizing a Government Question Hour at least once per month. All members of the government (Executive, Legislative and Philosophical branches) will be invited to attend with at least one official attending.
2. The Chancellor is charged with facilitating representation from all three branches.
3. The Chancellor will rotate the hours of the Government Question Hour to take into account the different time zones of the CDS community and to ensure representation from the different branches of government.
4. Meetings will be chaired by (one of) the official(s) present and will be open to all citizens to attend.
5. The Chair will post a summary of the meeting on the forum, to include topics of discussion and attendance for archival purposes. Optionally, the Chair may keep a transcript of the meeting and post it in whole or in part to the CDS forums. This is only as a courtesy for those unable to attend, and is not intended as a formal record.
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Han Held »

Looks good to me -ship it! :D
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Callipygian »

I've spent a week debating the value of commenting on this with myself, but responsibility wins out.

Any official government meeting, especially one held to comply with law, should be held on public land and have an official public record.

That is transparency. That has been the standard for CDS over the years, supported in a number of discussions recorded in the forums. It has even been a desire of the populace to see transcripts of NON-government groups made public and there is value in having a public record to address misunderstandings or misrepresentations of what has been said- most recently the transcripts of LUC meetings demonstrated that need.

That is how the accuracy of statements can be checked; how something forgotten as time passes can be confirmed;how government officials, committee members etc are kept accountable to the citizenry.

A summary is just one person's version of an event, subject to their personal filters. If it is to be the only official record of a meeting, those in attendance would need to post a confirmation that it is a true reflection of what occurred ( much as approval of minutes does for RA meetings). There is no way to insist or ensure that citizens do this, making the summary inappropriate as an accurate record.

'Optional' keeping or posting of transcripts and the freedom to choose 'in whole or in part' is, in my opinion, totally inappropriate. This allows a member of government to choose what is or is not 'on the record' and when it becomes so; the option is there to not document questions or discussions that they do not like, or to choose the optimum time, whether for positive or negative intentions, to post a transcript. This personal selectivity is not how government should behave. The suggestion that people will not be comfortable speaking on the record has not been applied to RA or SC meetings; it should not be applied to any other official government meeting either. In discussing scheduling of gov't question hours, both Ranma and Rosie pointed out that they are always reachable by IM; if a citizen does not want their questions answered in public and recorded, they have the option of approaching any member of government privately.

In the past we have had a government member conduct a meeting on private land where controversial comments were made - but refuse to publish a transcript since it was private land. We have had a 'transcript' - actually a recording of a conversation held after a meeting was cancelled as inquorate- published a year later, because the publisher felt it to be relevant to a current debate. We have had multiple discussions and debates, both positive and negative, where there was a need for 'proof' of past statements. These examples all point to a need to specify what is recorded and when and how it is published.

All of that said, I suggest the following wording might be usable (changes in bold):

code - Government Question Hour Act ( replaces NL 7-1 Government Question Hour Act)


Rationale:
In order to make the government more accessible this Act establishes an informal Government Question Hour with at least one government ‘official’ from each branch of government present, once per month. The Chancellor may schedule additional Government Question Hours based on public demand. These meetings will be open to all CDS residents to come and ask questions. The hours will rotate to suit the RL hours of our community.
1. The Chancellor is charged with organizing a Government Question Hour at least once per month. All members of the government (Executive, Legislative and Philosophical branches) will be invited to attend with at least one official from each attending.
2. The Chancellor is charged with facilitating representation from all three branches.
3. The Chancellor will rotate the hours of the Government Question Hour to take into account the different time zones of the CDS community and to ensure representation from the different branches of government.
4. Meetings will be chaired by one of the government officials present and will be open to all citizens to attend.
5. The Chair will keep a transcript of the meeting and post it to the CDS forums. The Chair may also choose to include a summary of the content of the meeting.


Calli

Addendum: I have hosted two of the Hours so far. I have both transcripts and summaries - along with permission to post a summary instead of a transcript. Once this law is passed, in whatever form, I'll post them accordingly.
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Han Held »

Callipygian wrote: Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:22 amThe suggestion that people will not be comfortable speaking on the record has not been applied to RA or SC meetings; it should not be applied to any other official government meeting either.
I see this as being the root of the matter, and I disagree.

The purpose of the RA and SC meetings are formal and legislative. The purpose ...as I see it... of the government hour is to elicit feedback and community in an informal setting. The best way to do that is by making transcripts optional at the chairs' discretion.

It's very common for governments to ask for feedback and promise confidentiality. Particularly in law enforcement matters but other areas too.

If a cleo, etc is running around and making disruptive statements, that's a symptom of a different problem, which would have to be addressed anyways. This isn't the mechanism, the time or place, to deal with that.

It's on us to create an enviroment that makes citizens feel the most comfortable opening up and communicating as possible. An obligitory transcript does that opposite of that.
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Han Held »

We're not having these meetings to set policy or contribute to the historical record; we're having them to get feedback on our performance and what we need to do today here and now.

You need a permanent record when you want to change what we charge for parcels (to use one current example), you don't need a permanent record when people come to air their day-to-day cds concerns. It muddies the waters, and is counter-productive.

Calli, your point about disruption is a valid one, but as I said...when those have happened in the past, there were other disruptive behavoirs (whisper campaigns, etc) going on as well, weren't there? That doesn't happen in a vacuum, as far as I know.

I don't think that forcing transcripts would solve that problem (people would still whisper, and disrupt in other ways ...as they did before), and it would just inhibit people.

I may be wrong, but my perception is that these meetings are largely social in scope; to be in touch with government. You want to treat them differently than you would a legislative meeting. Again, look at the way almost any government approaches the task of solicit feedback "your answers will be kept confidential" or similar wording isn't unusual.
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Callipygian »

Han Held wrote: Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:40 am ...
Again, look at the way almost any government approaches the task of solicit feedback "your answers will be kept confidential" or similar wording isn't unusual.
That sort of confidentiality is offered in written questionnaires, in *private* meetings, in calls for submissions of feedback through *private channels* like IM, e-mail or meeting in a non-public location( and even that is hardly sacrosanct in CDS; we've had private e-mails circulated by a member of gov't with the defence that they were sent to me and if there is no specific law against it it's ok) - not in a public meeting in a public place, a meeting required by law.

If you (the global you of gov't members, not you personally Han) want to create a 'safe space' for those who want to give private feedback, with or without any way to refer back or have a record of it - then have coffee hour at your place on private land, make it clear it is NOT official, and gather feedback to your hearts content.

Calli
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Re: Updating NL 7-1 Gov't Question Hour Act

Post by Delia Lake »

that these meetings are largely social in scope; to be in touch with government
Government Question Hours are social in the sense that they are conversational, set up so that there can be open discussion and exploration of issues and possibilities concerning the CDS, and do so without the time constraints of the Citizen Concerns section of a meeting of the RA or the SC. They are also the only forum for group citizen meetings with the Chancellor. That is my understanding that the intent of Government Question Hour. The Rationale of NL 7-1 states
In order to make the government more accessible this Act establishes an informal Government Question Hour


Government Question Hours are scheduled and announced public meetings, so though they are informal in discussion format they are official government meetings. We do post transcripts of all other official government meetings, including Commission meetings. The only exception is when it is determined ahead of time that the topic to be discussed is sensitive and the discussion might include information that could cause damage to someone. If that were the case both the RA and SC may schedule meetings in camera, no public participation at all. All CDS official public meetings though have transcripts posted.

If citizens wish to bring up a matter with a government official where they do not want public disclosure, they are always free to do so, to contact the official and schedule a private meeting, as Calli says, at a private location of their choosing. This is entirely different from and outside NL 7-1. In addition, a government official can have public but non-scheduled conversations with citizens that could be entirely social in nature and not be transcripted. Because Government Question Hours are mandated by law, though, I don't see how they could be anything but official public meetings. Therefore transcripts should be posted.
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