Citizenship Discussion (Forum Part of Commission)

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Jon Seattle
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Post by Jon Seattle »

[quote="Bromo Ivory":yb2ar48w]This is an interesting debate, and I am beginning to think this is as much a tinge of "anti-immigration" issue as anything else.
. . . I do think that from the arguments I have heard, that there is more concern with expanding the ranks of citizens and the possible changes to the electorate because of that . . .[/quote:yb2ar48w]This is way too simple.

I would seriously like the CDS to have 500 to 1000 citizens, all things being equal. I think for many of us this puts me in the category of being pro-immigration. However, you and I seem to differ.

It is possible, if we look into the future, that we will see a CDS with those large numbers but with an entirely different purpose and organization. Say, we see a CDS that has become an enormous version of Ashcroft's Metaverse Republic for example, or a perhaps huge chain of naked dance clubs. The question is is that change worth the larger numbers?

Until we know who we are, many people will, many people do, have some anxiety about large numbers of new citizens who may not be attracted to the CDS for the same reasons that many of us joined. The anxiety turns to panic when it turns out people are recruited with the purpose of changing the nature of the place.

Once we know who we are, then we can set up a system that will help us make sure that joiners will support the basic elements of the shared vision. Do the current residents have a right to say what the CDS is for? Should the question, instead, immediately be passed to a large body of new immigrants to decide?

We need to consider another hypothetical case, that is someone who comes in to the CDS deeply dissatisfied with what it is and wants to force a change. I suppose such a person would be for the most open immigration possible because then they could change the place not by convincing the current citizens of the rightness of their vision and winning votes, but by recruiting people from outside who will vote for their program.

Bromo, in your view, should we be open to this? If not, how should we handle it?

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Post by Dnate Mars »

The biggest problem is that everyone in the CDS seems to have a slightly different view on what the CDS is. But then, maybe that [i:3fnt6n4q]is[/i:3fnt6n4q] what makes the CDS the CDS.

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Post by Nikki »

Personally I have not seen that anyone is trying to limit immigration to the CDS. Actually it has always seemed the opposite to me: everyone new has been made to feel welcome and encouraged to participate.

Some good points have been made about that here however.

What I wrote about alts has been taken fully into consideration in this thread. Yet, I would also like to give an actual example of this. Someone I know became involved in a conflict with Linden Lab and was banned from SL. He simply made a new avatar, and the next day was back with a new name. He lost his previous name, inventory and the L$4000 in his account but was otherwise just the same. I’m not sure how he did it, but he said it was easy for him. Perhaps I should be careful posting this here to protect him - but Linden Lab does not seem to read even its own forums much the less other ones.
:lol:

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Bromo Ivory
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Post by Bromo Ivory »

[quote="Jon Seattle":gm7rpt57] Once we know who we are, then we can set up a system that will help us make sure that joiners will support the basic elements of the shared vision. Do the current residents have a right to say what the CDS is for? Should the question, instead, immediately be passed to a large body of new immigrants to decide? [/quote:gm7rpt57]

Jon - I sat with this statement before responding, and I find it a bit concerning - I read it several times ... and it seems that the whole "What is the CDS" is an attempt to create some sort of ideological test to resist change and a blunt instrument to fight it if it is enshrined in the constitution - Well beyond the existing founding documents.

This goes well beyond liberalising citizenship - and to me, if I understand it right - goes a great way towards the "anti-immigrant" bias to which I sensed initially. And the bias is not the philosophical "idea" that CDS might have 1000 members - but trying to make sure these 1000 members are "the right kind" of people - that think and might vote and support the policies in place and thereby "pre-guard" against any policy changes in the future by new citizens.

Hypothetically speaking, even with the same citizenship method we have today: With the 3rd SIM we're putting in place - do we want to interview new prospective citizens to make sure they will conform to ideological "standards"? Shall we kick out those that don't? And what shall we do with CDS citizens if they get their friends to move in to CDS? What shall we do with people who have well established friendships in CDS and they got someone to join in the past? I know (hope?) you don't support this at all - but boy this is just a little bit further down the path...

Now, people are concerned about Alts "packing the votes in" as well as people unfairly(?) recruiting citizens to be zombie voters. So, if this is what takes CSDF from "concern" to "panic" - what sort of things would you propose to make the "gaming" and "cheating" aspects less possible?

Will you put your fear/panic aside temporarily and see if we can figure out a workable system? I believe we can figure one out.

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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

Bromo

Let's not go rushing to conclusions about other people's motives. Use of perjorative terms like 'anti-immigrant' only clouds the debate.

The minimum requirements for citizenship should remain the same - agreement to uphold the Constitution and founding documents and obey the Code of Laws. None of that should mean that anyone should feel they can't seek to make changes where these are felt to be necessary but the basis agreement has to be, in a democracy, that political change will be achieved by democratic means.

One issue we have to face is that growth equals change and that change cannot be guaranteed to be positive. The CDS is a very different place now that we have two sims, it will be even more different when we expand to three or more. Do the proponents of relaxed citizenship rules favour taking pot luck? Or should we have some membership requirements along the lines I've outlined above? We used to have a rule (not enforced as far back as I can remember) that new citizens had to recommended by two existing citizens. Perhaps we need some kind of 'Citizenship Oath' so that, when new citizens join us, they are clear what they have signed up to and are formally welcomed into the community? It might help to formalise the process of welcoming new citizens in this way so that people feel they have joined a real community and can make connections with people they would be interested in working with on joint projects.

What are we going to do if people who are not sympathetic to our project decide to join en masse for their own reasons? Desmond recently chose to prick our pomposity with his (mildly amusing) littering. I think it might be fun for some to play with us on a grander scale. We can insist that one citizen=one avatar=one real life human being but we have no reliable way to check or enforce that. We're on the honour system; how's that supposed to help with the dishonorable?

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Post by Jon Seattle »

[quote="Bromo Ivory":2t87y3si][quote="Jon Seattle":2t87y3si] Once we know who we are, then we can set up a system that will help us make sure that joiners will support the basic elements of the shared vision. Do the current residents have a right to say what the CDS is for? Should the question, instead, immediately be passed to a large body of new immigrants to decide? [/quote:2t87y3si]

Jon - I sat with this statement for a few days before responding, and I find it a bit concerning - I read it several times ... and it seems that the whole "What is the CDS" is an attempt to create some sort of ideological test to resist change and a blunt instrument to fight it if it is enshrined in the constitution - Well beyond the existing founding documents.[/quote:2t87y3si]Now, I clearly pointed to the problem of people who had a purpose of making major changes in the mission of the CDS: A naked dance club or a huge Metaverse Republic and you immediately twisted what I was saying saying into "ideological test".

Clearly there is a difference between people who would do our community harm or change it's basic mission to a new one, and people who just happen to have another political ideology. I have no problem with, and clearly never proposed that, we have any test for the ideology. But I do have problems with the people who want the CDS to be entirely a different thing without consent of the people who are already here.

Bromo, it does not help convince people of the rightness of your position if you deliberately reinterpret their words to support your own agenda. It makes me doubt you want a solution at all. At least not one that requires listening rather than forcing.

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Post by Bromo Ivory »

[quote="Jon Seattle":3ds8u18o]
Now, I clearly pointed to the problem of people who had a purpose of making major changes in the mission of the CDS: A naked dance club or a huge Metaverse Republic and you immediately twisted what I was saying saying into "ideological test". [/quote:3ds8u18o]

Jon - I read your post and came to the conclusion - there was no attempt on my part to twist your words - and I did say I sat with it because I couldn't believe what I read at first, quite frankly. (And the paragraph that concerned me and the one I quoted after it seemed to more or less stand on its own - and you didn't make clear that this was ONLY a truly extreme case where they wanted to scrap the government altogether in favor of camping chairs and stripping)

And I am relieved that this was NOT your intent since it did have all the appearances to me of having it - since I don't think you would genuinely be afraid of CDS being turned into a strip club! ;)

[quote:3ds8u18o]Clearly there is a difference between people who would do our community harm or change it's basic mission to a new one, and people who just happen to have another political ideology. I have no problem with, and clearly never proposed that, we have any test for the ideology. But I do have problems with the people who want the CDS to be entirely a different thing without consent of the people who are already here.[/quote:3ds8u18o]

True, but when you accept new citizens, you are automatically giving each one equal weight to yours in decision making - and it can make the place develop in completely unanticiapted ways - the US of 1800 was very different in many way (but not all ways) form the one today. The same can be said of the UK, France, and so on over a similar time period. And this isn't a bad thing.

I would point out that we *do* have a constitution, and it is relatively hard to change it - though not impossible - and I would be cautious of trying to cast too much "in stone" since one thing that is exciting about second life is the directions we may be able to go without so many of the constraints of RL.

[quote:3ds8u18o]Bromo, it does not help convince people of the rightness of your position if you deliberately reinterpret their words to support your own agenda. It makes me doubt you want a solution at all. At least not one that requires listening rather than forcing.[/quote:3ds8u18o]

Except, Jon, that I didn't twist your words - or didn't try to - I saw where it appeared to be going - and was shocked given how well I feel I know you - it seemed to out of character and uncharacteristically xenophobic that I am genuinely relieved that I simply misinterpreted them!

So ... given that you have a concern ... that you would be afraid of a bunch of landless citizens converting CDS into a strip club or join the Metaverse Republic (or something equally radical? And you mentioned panic - is this style of scenario what you guys are panicked about?) how would you prevent it?

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Post by Bromo Ivory »

[quote="Patroklus Murakami":2dc7sha7]

What are we going to do if people who are not sympathetic to our project decide to join en masse for their own reasons? Desmond recently chose to prick our pomposity with his (mildly amusing) littering. I think it might be fun for some to play with us on a grander scale. We can insist that one citizen=one avatar=one real life human being but we have no reliable way to check or enforce that. We're on the honour system; how's that supposed to help with the dishonorable?[/quote:2dc7sha7]

We in theory have the alt problem today - and in my mind that is a separate issue - though I am asking you guys - since this is a item that gives you concern - how might you mitigate this possibility?

A number of things were suggested before in the thread - would a cap on the number of landless citizens be a good move? Would some of the tier payed be usable towards purchasing land (meaning giving them some "skin" in the game other than the tier payed?")?

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Post by Bromo Ivory »

Here's an interestign idea:

A landless citizen might put a deposit that could be applied towards land purchase --- and then pay tier per month to remain a citizen.

I think this satisfies the concerns voiced on this board?

Anyway - bring an ideas to the meeting tomoorw at 8.30 am! :)

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I understand the concerns...

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

Jon and Pat I think I understand your valid concerns. Let me see if we can't find a workable middle ground here.

Measures to Control Immigration:

[b:11jvndxt]Avatar Identity Measures[/b:11jvndxt]
-Verified Payment on File Avatar (LL)
-Not on Travis BanLink list
-Older than a certain age
-Uses a Verisign OpenID (http://blogs.verisign.com/infrablog/)
(BTW I'm a big fan of this identity authentication technology, as is Gywn)

[b:11jvndxt]New Citizen Restrictions[/b:11jvndxt]
-We current disallow voting until a citizen is (I believe) 30 days in country
-Recommended by x number of current citizens
-Swearing of oath and allegiance

[b:11jvndxt]Sponsorship[/b:11jvndxt]
-Limited sponsorship by certain NGOs
-To avoid the appearance of NGOs attaining quasi-gov't status and possbily stacking the rolls themselves I echo others in suggesting:

Taking sponsorship off the table and the organziation (e.g. executive paying civil servants or NGOs) simply paying workers wages. Those who wanted CDS citizenship could use those funds to pay the citizenship tax.

[b:11jvndxt]Quotas[/b:11jvndxt]
-RA could limit citizenship to a certain number per RA session via legislation.
-The RA could raise the citizen tax to something above the least expensive monthly 128m2. This would make life more expensive for our 128m2 holders.
-A current citizen might only be able to "recommend" one new citizen applicant per RA session.

[b:11jvndxt]Control[/b:11jvndxt]
-Do we really want the landless masses swarming with their agendas and telling landholders what to do with their land? I think an involved citizenry is a good thing. I'm not sure why anyone would pay the monthly tax and not be involved in the CDS. If that happened we would still benefit from the tax revenue. Clearly we don't want to open the floodgates. We all know of situation where mass immigration causes backlash and integration issues (e.g. Russians in Israel etc.) We could control the flow using some of the measures above so that the people/RA can make good growth policy.

I would actually suggest initially opening these up fairly wide soon after a RA election and then gauging demand. If it's too high we can throttle things back using the measures above. If it's too low, we need to look at ways to attract citizens.

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Post by michelmanen »

[quote:362yaki7]
Avatar Identity Measures
-Verified Payment on File Avatar (LL)
-Not on Travis BanLink list
-Older than a certain age
-Uses a Verisign OpenID (http://blogs.verisign.com/infrablog/)
(BTW I'm a big fan of this identity authentication technology, as is Gywn)
[/quote:362yaki7]

I'm all in favor of verification; the only item I have an issue with above is the Verified Payment on file - since one of the great things about us is that we don't need that now. But I can see the point of it and could be persuaded on this too.

[quote:362yaki7]
New Citizen Restrictions
-We current disallow voting until a citizen is (I believe) 30 days in country
-Recommended by x number of current citizens
-Swearing of oath and allegiance[/quote:362yaki7]

Well we could have a Residents category and avoid creating 2 classes of citizens witought restricting involvement in CDS. I'm not big fan of needing to be sponsored into CDS by exisiting citizens; if an application meets the conditions, he / she should be able to join. At best, we could have a Citizenship Commission to evaluate citizenship submissions. Finally, I don;t think that in our case the oath of allegiance would have any impact at all if someone wants to ignore it in the first place.

[quote:362yaki7]Sponsorship
-Limited sponsorship by certain NGOs
-To avoid the appearance of NGOs attaining quasi-gov't status and possbily stacking the rolls themselves I echo others in suggesting:

Taking sponsorship off the table and the organziation (e.g. executive paying civil servants or NGOs) simply paying workers wages. Those who wanted CDS citizenship could use those funds to pay the citizenship tax.
[/quote:362yaki7]

Great idea!!! I am all for it! It's much better than what we came up with: simple, clear, leaves choice in hands of individual, less bureaucratic (no application to and hearing in front of a citizenship Commission). The only thing is that monthly wages should at least be equal to the citizenship fees. Also, a way to deal with the deposit should be found, if we do agree to a deposit from landless citizens.

[quote:362yaki7]
Quotas
-RA could limit citizenship to a certain number per RA session via legislation.
-The RA could raise the citizen tax to something above the least expensive monthly 128m2. This would make life more expensive for our 128m2 holders.
-A current citizen might only be able to "recommend" one new citizen applicant per RA session.[/quote:362yaki7]

I intensely dislike quotas. But if its set sufficiently high and yet able to address concerns about "mass migration" let's say half existing population in any 6 month period could be new landless citizens - I think it could work. I just don't like the idea of turning down anyone wanting to join us and help by saying " Sorry, we've met our quotas!".
In terms of monthly fees, we were thinking about $1Us a week as citizenship fees payable by all. Are we saying that about $4.25US per month is too much for those whose monthly tier fees are inferior to this? This means about $1200L per month per person. I think this is eminently reasonable and would help a lot in many ways I wont list here LOL
[quote:362yaki7]
Control
-Do we really want the landless masses swarming with their agendas and telling landholders what to do with their land? I think an involved citizenry is a good thing. I'm not sure why anyone would pay the monthly tax and not be involved in the CDS. If that happened we would still benefit from the tax revenue. Clearly we don't want to open the floodgates. We all know of situation where mass immigration causes backlash and integration issues (e.g. Russians in Israel etc.) We could control the flow using some of the measures above so that the people/RA can make good growth policy.

I would actually suggest initially opening these up fairly wide soon after a RA election and then gauging demand. If it's too high we can throttle things back using the measures above. If it's too low, we need to look at ways to attract citizens.[/quote:362yaki7]

I also think such fears are totally exagerrated. I agree with your idea to have a flexible system monitored by the RA bases on demand.

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Post by Tanoujin Milestone »

@ Jon: "online debate club/real estate+votes/volunteer projects" good discussion base, ty!

@ Pelanor: it is 28 days (Art V Section3)

@Bromo: i am not sure if i understand: can't i agree to
"The CDS should be more than a housing Coop" &
"citizens should hold land in the CDS" at the same time?
(I am not yet sure about #2)

I am new - it needs some personal interaction to get settled - don't forget a prospective runs a test against the CDS as well. Michel has some good points - LL payment verification rises the threshold (but i see the point of it as well), an oath of allegiance is an empty ritual, and if i would have had to befriend some current citizens (i came as a stranger, because i liked the IDEA) i would not be here - this is a backdoor to Nepotism in my opinion

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Post by Bromo Ivory »

We had a good discussion in the Platz this SL morning - and a number of very good points came up. Most of all the Forum ideas and concerns came up along with a couple of new ones. Thanks to everyone that participated.

I will schedule the next meeting shortly - and this one will be a bit later to capture opinions of those who found my 8:30AM - 10AM time slot too early! (Perfect for most Europeans, less so for US West Coast)

I will post a transcript in the next couple of days - so that people can peruse the good ideas that came up - and continue discussion.

Also if anyone has *any* suggestions at all - and doesn't want to post to the forums and can't make it to the meetings - feel free to drop me a notecard (and let me know if it is OK to quote from it).

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Post by Bromo Ivory »

[quote="michelmanen":31i26f0g]

In terms of monthly fees, we were thinking about $1Us a week as citizenship fees payable by all. Are we saying that about $4.25US per month is too much for those whose monthly tier fees are inferior to this? This means about $1200L per month per person. I think this is eminently reasonable and would help a lot in many ways I wont list here LOL
[/quote:31i26f0g]

I am a small landholder in CDS, my monthly tier for my (1 town + 1 prim lot) is L$707 appx. Bumping it up to L$1200 per month would make a "typical" NFS town plot (256m^2) + prim lot (144m^2) priced significantly out of market, tier wise. I would need to nearly double my holdings to maintain the same tier per m^2. Given the small number of prims I have, paying nearly double for it in my case (which I suspect is typical for a lot of folks) would make no sense - the issue is not if it is "affordable" but value for money.

Any tax that would rise above the 128m^2 price amounts to a regressive tax on small landholders - which I am sure is not the intent. This will make it difficult to sell small property as well to new residents - might even create a "underclass" since it would only be economic to buy 1024m^2 or higher compared to grid-wide property tier prices. The hardest hit by this would be the NFS town residents, as well as the small plots in CN. I expect the net effect would be a decrease in population size.

So, I would not be for rising the tier one linden dollar - "citizenship tax" or what have you. I don't think we would need to anyway.

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Post by michelmanen »

Bromo,

While I understand what you are saying, do not agree. This is why:

1. If we are to establish the CDS citizenship as a fee- rather than landbased citizenship, the fee itself must be non-trivial. I suggest that $4.25 a month is the smallest such amount, since this would buy you a reasonable cup of coffee at Starbucks (venti white chocolate moccha for example). Anything less becomes totally trivial both in terms of contribution to the CDS budget and as an enforcement means for our future judicial system.

2. The fact that this citizenship fee would entitle all citizens to a 512m2 lot which would still need to be purchased but would not attract extra tier fees doesnt mean all citizens would have to buy up to their limit. Some may choose to own less.... 128m2 or 256,2 or whatever... depending on the size of available lots.

3. If we are able to revitalise our sims and democratic experiment, we could potentially attract many more landless citizens than available land. Lets say we get another 24 landed citizens with the new sim for a total of 100. Let's also say we get 100 landless citizens ar $.25 a month. This would increase oour budget by $527 US a month - or 6324 a year. With this income we can expland into more sims, better advertise our community and become a more attractive travel destination. In effect, we can begin to DO things we just cannot today.

4. A uniform base citizenhip fee creates a more level playing field for all citizens - all will contribute meaningful amounts to the CDS Treasury indepedently of how much land they do - or don't- hold. So theargumentof larger land owners that they pay sio much more than the holder of a 128m2 lot would no longer be valid.

5. This will also help us to deal with any fee increases for both old and new sims.

I would agree with both a cap on landless citizens at no more than the number of landed citizens, and with a deposit fee equal to the purchase fee of a minimum size lot (now 128m2, but in my proposal 512m2).

The many advantages of my proposal are clear. The one big disadvatage (for some) is that it dilutes the weight of the "founders". Should this be a reason to voluntarily put such a huge break on our growth? I don't think that's what CARE stands for.. Do you?

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