Our Mission is....

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Salzie Sachertorte
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Our Mission is....

Post by Salzie Sachertorte »

[i:208ukoxa]Now that the elections are over - let's start using the forums for some thought provoking debate![/i:208ukoxa]

I am a government administrator in RL - so I am a huge believer in strategic planning. I've discussed this with a few individuals, but I thought I would throw it out to the forums - for all to have the opportunity to chime in with their thoughts.

Strategic planning is defined as:

[i:208ukoxa]A disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does, and why it does it. [/i:208ukoxa]

Strategic planning requires broad scale information gathering, clarification of the mission to be pursued and issues to be addressed along the way, development and exploration of strategic alternatives, and an emphasis on future implications of present decisions. Strategic planning can facilitate communications and participation, accommodate divergent interests and values, foster wise and reasonably analytical decision making, and promote successful implementation and accountability.*

[i:208ukoxa]*Bryson, Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations[/i:208ukoxa]

or, in plain English -

You determine where you are now, where you want to be in the future and figure out how to get there.

You do this by looking at your mission and mandates, your structures and systems, your communications, your programs and services, your people and their skill sets and your budget. You talk about these matters, which brings forth issues and ideas for resolution - then you move on the legislative stage to implement the strategies.

With the new RA session starting, I believe now is the ideal time to launch discussions on this process, so that the RA may listen to the debate and consider the citizen's thoughts in their deliberations.

How do we do this?

You start with your mission -

I'm not quite sure that we have defined our mission.

Looking back through old documents - I find a statement -

[i:208ukoxa]"Our goal is to create a self-sustaining project that may continue to exist regardless of the departure of its founding members."[/i:208ukoxa]

Been there, done that. Quite successfully I might add, though detractors are insisting the Projekt has failed.

It didn't fail - rather the laboraty rats took control of the experiment and turned it into a full-fledged community.

So - I started to think in terms of vision for the community -

There are 2000 + sims in SL. All providing about the same thing, some a bit prettier than others. Yet, we have more to offer beyond a themed 3-D build.

We have front office technical systems - website, forums, event calendar. We have back office systems - e.g., project management system, document management system (Gwyn and I are testing it now), the land management system, the accounting system.

We have a governance system. We have two schools, an art museum. We are thinking of or have the beginnings of inworld business systems - finance, law, mediation, etc. We recognize the need to create an event/promotion board. We have fledging businesses in the Marketplatz. We have started planning out expansion.

We have professional people from many different fields bringing their RL skills to work together to create a community.

I know this is stuff most of the people are screaming against on the forums, the "institutionalization" of SL, the building of a platform, yet this is what LL needs to move this beyond just a game for people to putz or cyber in.

So - what is our mission now?

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Post by Flyingroc Chung »

World peace.

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Post by Salzie Sachertorte »

Haha! Beauty queen answers not allowed!

Go back to your desk and try again, Mr. Flyingroc.

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Pelanor Eldrich
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The mission of the CDS is... (IMHO)

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

To provide a permanent home for freedom, justice and democracy on the SL grid (and other virtual worlds).

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Patroklus Murakami
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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

Salzie

Great idea! I'm a civil servant in RL too and I agree that strategic planning would really help us in focussing our activities. It's useful to take time to ask ourselves 'What are we trying to achieve here?' and come up with a robust answer.

I'm a little disappointed that you haven't had too many replies so far, I would have thought that the people attracted to Neufreistadt would be brimming over with thoughts! Rather than give a cut-and-dried definitive answer I thought I'd set out a few thoughts and then refine a mission statement later.

I think that your analysis in relation to our existing mission statement is spot on; we've proved that democratic forms of self-government can be successful in Second Life and that our institutions are resilient enough to survive the departure of founding members. Where to now? Well, one thing I think we ought to be about is the promotion of democratic forms of self-government across Second Life (and by example, to virtual worlds in general). We should devote some (not all) of our energies to evangelism.

To pick up on Pel's point I think we also need to be about more than just democracy. In a sense we've 'done that', now we need to set ourselves some more stretching goals. When you try to unpick 'freedom and justice' you can see that, if these are to be more than simply high-sounding words, we are going to need to develop dispute resolution mechanisms, flesh out our legal system, tackle issues such as the relationships between the founding documents (Which comes higher - Linden Law or N'stadt Law? How do we apply the UDHR in this virtual world? etc) and establish courts, procedures and so on. This is a big task and I think it'll take more than six months but we should have a commitment to developing systems of conflict resolution true to the principles of freedom and justice which are appropriate for virtual worlds.

Finally (because I'm going on too long now!), we should aim to establish N'stadt as a beacon for the arts, culture and education within Second Life. This is partly a branding issue (though I don't want my comments to be seen as solely about that); we should aim to make N'stadt a byword word for quality by attracting the best designers, content creators, builders, event hosters etc. This will be helpful for developing a more positive identity within SL than the 'bunch of ppl who squabble on the forums' image we may have at the moment. But it's also because this platform/media is an extremely rich one for cultural achievement and for self-actualisation (who knew that a dusty civil servant could be a part-time furniture designer and amateur architect? :))

Hope that gives ppl enought to chew on!

Last edited by Patroklus Murakami on Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Gwyneth Llewelyn »

I thought that all we truly, really cared about, was [b:jpjoegnu]World Domination Nowâ„¢[/b:jpjoegnu]? :)

Ok, seriously now :) I naturally agree with Salzie's suggestion, as well as with the excellent proposals from Patroklus. When I talk to other people about Neufreistadt, what always comes to my mind is what is truly [i:jpjoegnu]different[/i:jpjoegnu] from other groups/projects in SL.

A few things are obvious. Many other groups also have democratic participation,(yes, even Port Neualtenburg :) ), in the sense that a vote of the whole group can influence decisions, and that everybody in the group has not only the ability to vote, but is able to put decisions on the table to be voted. But that's not enough. We have more.

Other groups also have nice and pretty sims (often even nicer and prettier than ours!). They have urban planning. They have covenants. They have a good and thorough understanding of their resident's needs. They are fair, balanced, and provide happiness. Sometimes more than we Neufreistadters. In all of these aspects, we're not different; again, we have more.

Some groups have ethical guidelines for behaviour — codes of conduct, for instance. They apply to interpersonal relationships, or to business transactions. Everyone abides by the rules (sometimes these are even democratically established), and to be part of the community, you have to abide by the rules. In some extreme cases, "the rules are the community" (think about the Goreans!). We have more than that.

Actually, Rudy J. Rummel summarises this best on one of his [url=http://freedomism.blogspot.com/2005/05/ ... l:jpjoegnu]blogs[/url:jpjoegnu]:

[quote]One of the most important of the individual rights helping to guranteeing freedom is to a fair trial and rule by law. Above the state there must be a law that structures the government, elaborates the reciprocal rights and duties of the government and the people, and which all governing officials and their policies must obey. This is a constitution, either created as a single document like that of the United States, or a set of documents, statutes, and traditions, such as that of Great Britain.

If a democracy recognizes these rights and the individual freedoms listed, we call it a liberal democracy. If it does not, if it has only the electoral characteristics but suppresses freedom of speech, possesses leaders that put themselves above the law and representatives that make and vote on policies in secret, then we can call it a procedural, or better, an electoral democracy.
[...]
In liberal democracy, however, the root definition of “liberalâ€

"I'm not building a game. I'm building a new country."
  -- Philip "Linden" Rosedale, interview to Wired, 2004-05-08

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Chicago Kipling
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Post by Chicago Kipling »

If a soon-to-be-confirmed resident can add just a bit, I think one thing I most valued in coming here is the potential for community across lines of interest.

I have little interest in SL dancing, I'm still learning to build and I'm not even sure if I have enough interest in a government to the point of seeking a position. But I value the many people who have these varied interests and others, whether it's law, art or aeronautics.

Communities like Neufriestadt offer the opportunity to meet people who share similar desire for healthy SL community and who can help me learn about many other things like Esperanto or building. More than the simple exercise of democratic practice or the exploration of theory, these places offer a focus that draws people to live life together and learn from each other. This seems especially valuable as so much of the current net leads toward the customized isolation of interest groups.

If that's the case for others here as well, perhaps the mission should make reference to establishment and improvement of a new form of immersive community that transcends national and geographical boundary, contributing to a greater harmony and betterment of people in SL and FL.

An understanding like this provides a clear reason for many of the current efforts. For example, why should group monies be spent on the establishment of the Roman civ? It could be because we recognize that, if we create room for new participants outside of ourselves, then we will extend the opportunity of healthy community to another 30 or more people. It will help another collection of European, North American, South American, hopefully African and Asian people find both the ties that bind us all together and understand the unique value we each carry as people.

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Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Chicago Kipling":1k1hpsb1]If a soon-to-be-confirmed resident can add just a bit, I think one thing I most valued in coming here is the potential for community across lines of interest.

I have little interest in SL dancing, I'm still learning to build and I'm not even sure if I have enough interest in a government to the point of seeking a position. But I value the many people who have these varied interests and others, whether it's law, art or aeronautics.

Communities like Neufriestadt offer the opportunity to meet people who share similar desire for healthy SL community and who can help me learn about many other things like Esperanto or building. More than the simple exercise of democratic practice or the exploration of theory, these places offer a focus that draws people to live life together and learn from each other. This seems especially valuable as so much of the current net leads toward the customized isolation of interest groups.

If that's the case for others here as well, perhaps the mission should make reference to establishment and improvement of a new form of immersive community that transcends national and geographical boundary, contributing to a greater harmony and betterment of people in SL and FL.

An understanding like this provides a clear reason for many of the current efforts. For example, why should group monies be spent on the establishment of the Roman civ? It could be because we recognize that, if we create room for new participants outside of ourselves, then we will extend the opportunity of healthy community to another 30 or more people. It will help another collection of European, North American, South American, hopefully African and Asian people find both the ties that bind us all together and understand the unique value we each carry as people.[/quote:1k1hpsb1]

Very well written :-) This all goes to show that our complex institutions of government are most certainly not there merely for their own sake. Welcome to Neufreistadt!

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Gwyneth Llewelyn
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Post by Gwyneth Llewelyn »

Well said indeed, Chicago!

I definitely agree that your short mission statement is quite important; although I would perhaps add that the purpose of Neufreistadt is indeed to encourage " a new form of immersive community that transcends national and geographical boundaries", but through the establishment of the principles of democratic self-government — this is, indeed, the "new form" (as opposed to the other possible forms that have been developed and deployed in SL overall).

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Chicago Kipling
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Post by Chicago Kipling »

Thank you for your kind words and warm welcome. I would certainly welcome the incorporation of other thoughts. I think my statement only captures part of the mission. Certainly the governmental issues and the pushing of virtual boundaries (establishment of civil code etc) are valuable pursuits.

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Re: Our Mission is....

Post by Sonja Strom »

I believe it is worthwhile for us to consider our mission. What are we working toward?

My concept of our mission is:
A valuable and beautiful community we are proud to call our home - grounded in freeedom, working together to achieve a society in a virtual world that is much greater than anything we would create individually.

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Re: Our Mission is....

Post by Beathan »

I'm perfectly willing to have this discussion again. However, we should not expect to reach a consensus on the questions of what we are, who we are, what we are doing, and where we should be going. There are too many disparate ideas about all things things. Further, almost all the view points are valid -- even right and proper. We are facing the problem of inconsistent goods. I believe that the best way to reconcile inconsistent goods is to move towards a laissex faire structure -- and away from strategic planning. For that reason, I oppose attempts to define, and thereby narrow and limit, our project.

To see how past discussions on these points have progressed (or not progressed) here is a partial list of notable posts on these subjects:

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1220

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1217

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1191

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1187

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1073

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1031

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=782

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=455

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=452

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=697

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=616

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=551

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=534

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=505

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=404

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=418

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=356

http://forums.slcds.info/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1036

I urge anyone who wishes us to engage in a discussion about our "mission" or "strategic plan" to real all these forum topics to see how discussions have developed before. A review of these past discussions, in my opinion, tends to show that the project is untenable and unwise -- although speciously attractive. However, even if people disagree with my pessimistic assessment of this project (which I consider to be like herding cats -- only harder), then our starting point should be built on these past discussions. Many good ideas, good definitions, and good work -- by citizens present and past -- appear in these forums, and we should not blindly begin anew when we don't have to.

However, in the end, we may discover that the CDS is as famously (or infamously) defined by Fernando Book -- "The Confederation of Democratic Simulators is a self-governed community, devoted to the analysis of the politics in a virtual world, whose main purpose is to write laws aimed to solve the problems created by the law approving process".

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Re: Our Mission is....

Post by symokurka »

Well, great, thank you Beathan for all these bookmarks, think a newbie has the right to get through it b4 becoming pessimist as you are. :D

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Re: Our Mission is....

Post by Beathan »

symokurka wrote:

Well, great, thank you Beathan for all these bookmarks, think a newbie has the right to get through it b4 becoming pessimist as you are. :D

Symo --

Fair enough. I'll also note that Salzie has been trying to get this done now for two years without coming pessimistic about the project. (Perhaps a little cynical, certainly testy, but not pessimistic.)

Beathan

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