Random thoughts on citizenship, griefers, enforceability etc

Here you might discuss basically everything.

Moderator: SC Moderators

User avatar
Gwyneth Llewelyn
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1183
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 8:00 am
Contact:

Post by Gwyneth Llewelyn »

At this point, I fail to have good reasons to [i:1fqeccy6]strongly[/i:1fqeccy6] argue for the citizen-is-a-landowner scenario, since under the franchulates this is going to be different anyway.

There was a good, solid theory behind the citizen-as-landowner scenario. Neufreistadt will always have one big running cost: paying for land use to LL. This is not going to change or disappear. [i:1fqeccy6]Ergo[/i:1fqeccy6], the easiest way to deal with that burden is to shift it on the citizens, and, logically, what happens is that NFS becomes a cooperative (although a mix of residential/commercial, which I don't know if they exist) for sharing the costs of holding the land.

It also follows that if all citizens are equal upon the law (as they should), [i:1fqeccy6]everybody has to contribute to pay for the land[/i:1fqeccy6]. Not "equally" (we're not a soviet cell... :) ) but according to the level of usage of land. You want more, you pay more. You want to contribute as little as possible and don't care about land anyway, fine. You can get a microplot.

But [i:1fqeccy6]philosophically[/i:1fqeccy6], each and every citizen is [i:1fqeccy6]contributing to pay for the collective land usage[/i:1fqeccy6] (every cent counts! — which reminds me that I have to pay for my rent today, oops...).

Now, is this the only/best system? Not at all. One could argue, after all, that people could simply pay a "citizen's fee" every month (say, 1/20th of the island cost — US$ 10 or so), and buy tier-free land separately, according to their wishes, and not pay any monthly fees for land. This would be a scenario of "all citizens pay the same taxes". While I dislike it for political reasons (huge landowners would pay the same taxes as landless people), it is a possibility. A mixed model would be to pay a fixed base — US$ 5/month — and an additional fee relative to the amount of land held in the CDS.

No matter what that model ultimately would be, it would need to address the most important issue: we need to pay LL a monthly fee, and we need to get that monthly fee from "somewhere".

I imagine, though, that if people now squeal for paying the L$42/month for microplots just to "be citizens", they'd simply forget about NFS if we charged them L$1400 or so just for the "privilege" to say they're landless citizens...

So, citizen-as-landowner is a [i:1fqeccy6]pragmatic[/i:1fqeccy6] solution. There are many more possible ones. We attempted two in the past. One was to charge 10% of sales tax, based on an estimate of the amount of money Ulrika and Kendra made during a week of Oktoberfest, which was astronomic, and projecting it to a month and taking 10% of each, it would give the city enough funds to pay for the sim. It certainly is a possibility, although I'm quite sure that right now the amount of taxes extractable from the sales would never come near to that amount (meaning: we need more regular events and more high-quality items for sale!). This would mean that we would need to squeeze out taxes from the citizens somehow, to sum it up to the ~ L$60,000/monthly that we need. Regularly like a clock.

Our second approach was actually setting up a State-owned casino... that didn't work either. While I agree that one could cook up several methods to squeeze L$ out of citizens, we found a simple and elegant model that works nicely and is understood by everybody: pay land usage fees, like everywhere else in the virtual world of SL :) That is something that everybody understands, and that is something that everybody will always ask when they'll come to NFS to set up their homes or shops: "how much will it cost me?"

I would thus argue that citizen-as-landowner is the most [i:1fqeccy6]natural[/i:1fqeccy6] answer to the problem of defining citizenship, [i:1fqeccy6]because[/i:1fqeccy6] that's the way the rest of SL works, and [i:1fqeccy6]because[/i:1fqeccy6] it's the fairest way to "tax" citizens: according to the size of the land parcels they own.

What is the alternative here? The so-called "microplot equivalent" (used to a degree on the franchulates). If you don't want to buy land, but want to become a citizen, that's ok. Buy a microplot. If there are no microplots available, buy a [i:1fqeccy6]virtual[/i:1fqeccy6] microplot. For just L$42/month, you can be a citizen of Neufreistadt and get a nice deed to a bit of virtual virtual land (double-virtual!). Cool :)

Citizen-as-landowner thus becomes an [i:1fqeccy6]abstract[/i:1fqeccy6] concept, since people might not own a microplot at all (like what will happen on the franchulates), but they pay for a "microplot equivalent". We're getting more complex and abstract as time goes on, which is normal. BTW, the Scots offer on the Internet something similar, you can buy a plot of 1 m2 on a forest and get a fully legitimate deed stating that you've now got an aristocratic title (since the ancient Scottish titles are tied to land :) ). I applied for one once (you can get them on the Internet and they're cheap!) but, sadly, since I'm not a subject of HMQ Elisabeth, my application was rejected, but I got a nice email explaining why :) In any case, that deed is for "virtual" land. The 1 m2 plot, while pysically existing, is in a forest somewhere in Scotland, and by buying it, m2 by m2, they're preventing that a gigamall is set up there and razes the forest down — a very clever system of protesting against gigamalls destroying the Scottish forests, making money, and getting lots of legitimate titles to land being granted to utter strangers :)

In any case, it's titles-tied-to-land-ownership once more :)

I'm digressing, but as you can see, I'm avoiding the whole concept of enforceability — deliberately so. I think that it's quite hard to have a consensual agreement of what would be more "enforceable" (in the sense that people would be more reluctant to abandon, if they were punished): a huge escrow in L$, or taking away land. For some, land is important; for others, money is important; I don't even have an idea on the percentage in each case. Both are "enforceable" in the sense that you can "take them away" as punishment.

Land, however, has a [i:1fqeccy6]sense of community[/i:1fqeccy6]. Whether leasing, renting, or buying, even in real life, if the government "takes your home away" — and the home is the emotional attachment one has to a physical spot — it's a hard blow. If the government takes your money away, well, it's hard as well, naturally... but people will still say, "at least I still have my home!". Choosing among both, it's hard to say what is worse — having no money or no home (since if you have money, you can always buy a new home!). However, [i:1fqeccy6]being banned by a community that takes your home away[/i:1fqeccy6] is a very strong psychological deterrent to prevent people from breaking the rules. Taking your money away, well, you can always make money elsewhere. But "being banned from a community" means usually that: getting thrown out of your home.

Is the psychological approach of "getting your home removed by the community" stronger than (yet-to-be-devised) alternatives? Maybe, and maybe not. In SL, when I see people complaining that they were banned for some reason, they will list "they took my home, my shops, my colelction of sex balls, my money" and lament publicly. Someone with no ties to SL — namely, no homes — will complain little: they'll simply get a new alt and start afresh. If they were clever, they have stashed their money outside of SL anyway (say, on Ginko...) and transfer it to the new avatar, so, no harm done there. But you won't get your home back (unless you're lucky and are able to buy it again).

This article is getting too long and I don't think I have any more comments :) But, to recap, any system that redefines citizenship [i:1fqeccy6]must[/i:1fqeccy6] address the following:
[list:1fqeccy6][*:1fqeccy6]a way to make sure the City gets their US$195 monthly, regularly, without surprises[/*:m:1fqeccy6]
[*:1fqeccy6]a way to remove "something" as punishment that is a very strong incentive (psychologically, financially) not to break the rules[/*:m:1fqeccy6]
[*:1fqeccy6]is fair to everybody, according to their level of commitment in the CDS[/*:m:1fqeccy6]
[*:1fqeccy6]is easy enough to explain — ie. people will immediately understand what the issues for breaking the rules are, and that the consequences are severe[/*:m:1fqeccy6][/list:u:1fqeccy6]
If all of the above are fullfilled on a potential model for redefining citizenship, I guess that we have devised a new formula, and like all good things in the world, when it's time to change something because we have a better solution, I'd be all for the better solution :)

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

PGP Fingerprint: CE8A 6006 B611 850F 1275 72BA D93E AA3D C4B3 E1CB

Claude Desmoulins
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 730
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 9:28 am

Post by Claude Desmoulins »

I would add to Gwyn's list

* is at least somewhat resistant to being gamed by a flood of alts.

We aren't there right now, thanks to microplots.

I don't know how things worked before the private island, but once we were here, it was possible but quite a hassle to game the politicl system. With the minimum plot size of 144 m2, creating enough alts and making them citizens was expensive (to the tune of $30 USD + $7/month for half a dozen, enough to assure yourself of being able to swing an election). Not impossible, but expensive.

Now with microplots, that same manipulation costs only $3 + 50 cents/month, a much lower cost of entry for surreptitiously overthrowing a government :)

Given the larger size of mainland plots, the Franchulate citizens concept almost solves this problem, as buying enough plots to make enough alts into citizens would again become expensive.

User avatar
Ashcroft Burnham
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1093
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:21 pm

Re: Thanks for your replies...

Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Pelanor Eldrich":mcbtbpph]Yes, note a few obvious things. Microplots don't count as land in this case, you can't use them for anything. [/quote:mcbtbpph]

As I noted above, this is an argument for abolishing microplots more than anything else.

[quote:mcbtbpph]Also, land is fungible. It's very easy to relocate a store on another island or mainland. Given teleporting and large inventories as well as relatively quick relocation times the old location, location, location maxim is not as applicable here in SL.[/quote:mcbtbpph]

Land in SL may be [i:mcbtbpph]less[/i:mcbtbpph] unique than land in real-life, but that does not mean that it is fungiable. The value of land is not based just on what is on that particular bit of land, but what is around it on neighbouring land. Regular customers have landmarks. Some people may only visit a piece of land because they were on a neighbouring plot and saw that the land in question looked interesting.

Furthermore, although one can always store the objects in question in an inventory, their [i:mcbtbpph]layout[/i:mcbtbpph] on a piece of land (and their integration with it: objects might be placed precisely to match the terrain, for instance) can also be valuable, and that cannot readily be reduced to an inventory. Inevitably, giving up land will mean doing some work all over again. How much work depends on what was on the land in the first place, but land in SL is definitely not fungiable.

[quote:mcbtbpph]The citizen cannot use the $L escrow during this period. However the CDS *can* and *should* invest these monies conservatively despite the fact that they are booked as long term liabilities.[/quote:mcbtbpph]

That may be so, but the point is that a person who loses land is losing something from which he or she is getting continuing value. A person who loses an escrow is losing something from which he or she is receiving no value, and will not so receive unless and until he or she leaves the CDS on honourable terms.

[quote:mcbtbpph]The "good for" number gives me at least *something* to look at. I at least will know not to loan this guy more than $L10k on a given transaction. Now, how much escrow should a business be required to hold? That depends on the honesty of the finanicial reporting submitted to the Chancellor. It should probably be the estimated next 30 days of gross revenue. If a decision requires restitution larger than escrow amount and the guilty business pays it then the required monthly escrow should automatically be raised to that level.[/quote:mcbtbpph]

This strikes me as a very heavy administrative burden indeed to place on the Chancellor's Office.

[quote:mcbtbpph]Ok I think it's the semantics of owner vs. renter etc.
From the LL standpoint:

-The EO owns the franchulate
-The landlord franchulate citizen rents from the EO. This is what all CDS citizens currently do in NFS.
-A citizen owning no land subleases (or rents) from the landlord franchulate citizen. Now, this is effectively a tenant/landless citizen. My understanding is that we don't want landless citizens. This scenario doesn't work without some other form of escrow such as $L in lieu of deeded land or a plot must be owned elsewhere in the CDS by the tenant.[/quote:mcbtbpph]

Why would somebody who [i:mcbtbpph]rents[/i:mcbtbpph] land be landless, and why would we not want to have such renters? As I pointed out on my other post, we [i:mcbtbpph]can[/i:mcbtbpph] effectively enforce against a renter's land by ordering the landlord to forfiet it for us. If the landlord does not follow our court order, [i:mcbtbpph]her or his[/i:mcbtbpph] land could, ultimately, be forfeit for breach of a court order. In any event, does your system not propose [i:mcbtbpph]truly[/i:mcbtbpph] landless citizens?

[quote:mcbtbpph]Alternatively we could call it a formal sublease and both landlord and tenant "own" the same plot for the purposes of citizenship. That's a bit too mindbending even for me. Poor Sudane's database.[/quote:mcbtbpph]

Actually, it is not too hard: all that one has to do is have, as we do in English law, a relative concept of property ownership, and use different words to describe different degrees. So, the CDS "owns" the land: those who acquire it [i:mcbtbpph]from[/i:mcbtbpph] the CDS have "primary title", those who acquire it from those who acquire it from the CDS, "secondary title", and so forth. All those who hold [i:mcbtbpph]some[/i:mcbtbpph] sort of title ultimately under the CDS could be citizens.

[quote:mcbtbpph]The case studies of Canada and Port Neualtenburg. Much nastiness and divisive acrimony could have been avoided by agreeing to ground rules laid out in advance.[/quote:mcbtbpph]

[quote="Aliasi Stonebender":mcbtbpph]Better to work it out now than let it come to drama later. Furthermore, I feel very strongly that an inherent part of a social contract such as that which makes up the CDS is the ability to honorably end it at some point. It's entirely possible, as we expand, that differences may arise to the point that someone wishes to split off. We had a rough enough time with the affair that resulted in Port Neualtenburg; while the situation was unique I do not think the underlying scenario is.[/quote:mcbtbpph]

There is a difference between having some mechanism whereby [i:mcbtbpph]people[/i:mcbtbpph] can leave the CDS (after all, it would be unreasonable to say that, once they have joined, they have to pay us land use fees for ever), and letting people take CDS land with them when they leave as of right.

The procedure if people want to leave the CDS should be quite simple: they sell their CDS land, just as they do now. If a whole group of people want to leave, they can all sell their CDS land together. They could sell it to a person or group of people wanting to become citizens, or, if the CDS is willing to pay for it, back to the CDS. If the CDS is not willing to pay for it, and nobody else wants to buy it, then they can just declare an intention to leave, abandon the land, and stop paying for it. Nothing would stop them from then buying more land somewhere else and setting up shop on their own (just like Port Neualtenburg).

However, "declaring independence" would suggest that you intended people who hold land under the CDS should be entitled to [i:mcbtbpph]keep[/i:mcbtbpph] that land [i:mcbtbpph]and[/i:mcbtbpph] no longer be under the control of the CDS. Why should we let people have their cake and eat it? There is no point in designing a mechanism that makes it easy for people to make us smaller. Any such thing would be the equivalent of letting every little county and district in a nation delcare itself a sovereign state!

I cannot imagine how what I propose in the second paragraph above would create, in and of itself, intractable and damaging conflict that a system allowing people to take land out of the CDS would not.

[quote:mcbtbpph] BTW Ash, I do appreciate your excellent commentary on some of these admittedly half-baked schemes of mine. I suffer from the problem of 100 ideas a day with 1% worthwhile (and I can never figure out which 1% is the good one). We need as many devil's advocates as possbile around here.[/quote:mcbtbpph]

It is always good to have issues discussed thoroughly. You have stimulated some extremely interesting discussions over the last few days, and, whilst I do not agree with everything that you write, there is a great deal that makes a lot of sense. Even the things that I do not agree with has prompted some interesting discussion, leading to some intriguing ideas.

[quote:mcbtbpph]I assume you've read Frank Lardner's law society forum posts on contract enforcement.[/quote:mcbtbpph]

I must have missed those, and now the forum is closed :-(

Ashcroft Burnham

Where reason fails, all hope is lost.
User avatar
Ashcroft Burnham
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1093
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:21 pm

Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Claude Desmoulins":1hanc3k6]I would add to Gwyn's list

* is at least somewhat resistant to being gamed by a flood of alts.

We aren't there right now, thanks to microplots.

I don't know how things worked before the private island, but once we were here, it was possible but quite a hassle to game the politicl system. With the minimum plot size of 144 m2, creating enough alts and making them citizens was expensive (to the tune of $30 USD + $7/month for half a dozen, enough to assure yourself of being able to swing an election). Not impossible, but expensive.

Now with microplots, that same manipulation costs only $3 + 50 cents/month, a much lower cost of entry for surreptitiously overthrowing a government :)

Given the larger size of mainland plots, the Franchulate citizens concept almost solves this problem, as buying enough plots to make enough alts into citizens would again become expensive.[/quote:1hanc3k6]

Really, we should abolish microplots for this very reason, and not let anybody new buy any. It is not even as if we are short of land any more.

Ashcroft Burnham

Where reason fails, all hope is lost.
User avatar
Aliasi Stonebender
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 12:58 pm

Post by Aliasi Stonebender »

[quote="Ashcroft Burnham":25vfksch]
Really, we should abolish microplots for this very reason, and not let anybody new buy any. It is not even as if we are short of land any more.[/quote:25vfksch]

I'm not entirely convinced of this argument, though. We can strictly limit the number of microplots available, after all.

User avatar
Patroklus Murakami
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1929
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:54 pm

Post by Patroklus Murakami »

Microplots should be abolished... for precisely the reasons outlined in the posts above. They reduce the barrier to entry to such a low level that they enable manipulation of the vote.

The current owners of the microplots should be consulted on this, of course. But there's no reason we couldn't phase them out without inconveniencing the current owners. We could simply freeze the letting of any more. Then, when people leave or buy other property in NFS or CN, the CDS would take back the land and not issue it as a microplot.

User avatar
Pelanor Eldrich
Veteran debater
Veteran debater
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 10:07 am

Finding something better because we need more citizens...

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

There's quite a bit to summarize and respond to. We can't change citizenship requirements and we can't abolish microplots until we come up with something better.

Citizenship reform must address the following (and other) issues:

A) A way to make sure the City gets its US$195 monthly and regularly
B) A way to remove "something" as punishment that is a very strong incentive (psychologically, financially) not to break the rules
C) Fair to everybody, according to their level of commitment in the CDS
D) Easy enough to explain — ie. people will immediately understand what the issues for breaking the rules are, and that the consequences are severe
E) Not prone to alt account abuse
F) Does not raise the barrier to citizenship too high

[b:wxueukc5][u:wxueukc5]A couple of microplot equivalent replacement scenarios:[/u:wxueukc5][/b:wxueukc5]

1-What if we abolished microplots and the poll tax was (to start) was the equivalent of 9 cents/month? The land use fees on all regular (non-micro) parcels would be 9 cents less per month than it is now. By doing this we free up some land of ease some stress from the land management system. Current microplotters would have their microplot purchase price used as their citizen escrow (40 cents).

2-Using Ash's model (I think), we take 96m2 parcel owned by EO as a citizen and give 2nd title to 1m2 for each of 96 possible microplotters. A generic deed will suffice, lots do not have to be enumerated other than 1/96 etc.

A)Both these proposals are revenue equivalent to what we do now. BTW I wonder if we shouldn't charge interest on overdue land use fees.

B)We don't have a penal code but I see no problem with confiscating *both* land and escrow. In fact, in the early stages (Ash correct me), I wouldn't mind something fairly draconian to keep people from being scofflaws and tying up court time until we can pay judges a decent wage. Penalty is probably at the discretion of the judiciary.

C)Commitment number, I like that. Want a loan from me? What's your commitment number and when did you become a citizen, baby? Any "priors"? Maybe we can have that on the CDS website in lieu of passport objects. :) These two don't alter the commitment equation as currently worded. As written the microplot holder commitment is the $L equivalent of 40-49 cents.

D)Head (poll) tax of 9 cents and property tax (look on the wiki). Pay Rudeen on the 22nd with Paypal or $L. Here's what happens if you're late...(snip)...Any questions? Actually the ability to explain these things with good analogies/metaphors is very important. I had to explain the land business to my dad (an IBM data communications instructor) as being a leasing broker for server assets in San Francisco running a 3D programmable environment. Most SLers (certainly not dad) understand "land" much better as a metaphor used in its stead.

E) Is related to B and F. You need to keep the buy in high enough to avoid abuse and low enough to attract citizens. I wonder if *time* might be used in addition to money to stall abuse. You have to be a citizen for 30 days to vote (or something). So what's a good minimum citizenship "commitment"? To be crass, what's it "worth"? Right now the tangible part is 40 cents.

Ash, that 2nd title system is interesting. I didn't know such a system existed, forgive my ignorance. So both parties have title to the same parcel. In the enforcement scenario the person guilty party loses title. The renter equivalent to the 2nd title holder is eviction. BTW when 2 persons hold title to a parcel, who pays land use to the gov't, the primary titleholder?

On the commitment number. Yes, it's a bit of a burden on the Chancellor. I thought Neufreistadt Registered Companies were supposed to submit financials regularly but can't find it referenced in the code. We already have land holding on the web. Nothing new there. I can see a company submitting a monthy income statement and a quarterly balance sheet to the Chancellor much like Sudane prepares for us. We only have 3 NRCs anyway. The citizen commitment number is mostly automated right now anyway on the web.

On independence, I agree with Ash. However if a rogue Estate Owner unilaterally declares indepedence all we can do is beg that federal property be returned from the sim and wave goodbye. So we'll want strong ties between the central gov't and estate owners. There's only a one to one relationship possible between estate owner and LL, right? To reopen a can of worms the evil estate owner and the alt abuser are the two most difficult problems to solve with democratic institutions in SL. I'd like your take on those two, as I've beaten both of those horses into glue by now and haven't gotten anywhere new. :)

PS: Forgive me for constantly tying everything to money. I'm actually a psych grad and care more about virtual communities and building than you might think from my posts.

Pelanor Eldrich
Principal - Eldrich Financial
Ranma Tardis

Re: Finding something better because we need more citizens..

Post by Ranma Tardis »

[quote="Pelanor Eldrich":lvlr2lst]There's quite a bit to summarize and respond to. We can't change citizenship requirements and we can't abolish microplots until we come up with something better.

Citizenship reform must address the following (and other) issues:

A) A way to make sure the City gets its US$195 monthly and regularly
B) A way to remove "something" as punishment that is a very strong incentive (psychologically, financially) not to break the rules
C) Fair to everybody, according to their level of commitment in the CDS
D) Easy enough to explain — ie. people will immediately understand what the issues for breaking the rules are, and that the consequences are severe
E) Not prone to alt account abuse
F) Does not raise the barrier to citizenship too high

[b:lvlr2lst][u:lvlr2lst]A couple of microplot equivalent replacement scenarios:[/u:lvlr2lst][/b:lvlr2lst]

1-What if we abolished microplots and the poll tax was (to start) was the equivalent of 9 cents/month? The land use fees on all regular (non-micro) parcels would be 9 cents less per month than it is now. By doing this we free up some land of ease some stress from the land management system. Current microplotters would have their microplot purchase price used as their citizen escrow (40 cents).

2-Using Ash's model (I think), we take 96m2 parcel owned by EO as a citizen and give 2nd title to 1m2 for each of 96 possible microplotters. A generic deed will suffice, lots do not have to be enumerated other than 1/96 etc.

A)Both these proposals are revenue equivalent to what we do now. BTW I wonder if we shouldn't charge interest on overdue land use fees.

B)We don't have a penal code but I see no problem with confiscating *both* land and escrow. In fact, in the early stages (Ash correct me), I wouldn't mind something fairly draconian to keep people from being scofflaws and tying up court time until we can pay judges a decent wage. Penalty is probably at the discretion of the judiciary.

C)Commitment number, I like that. Want a loan from me? What's your commitment number and when did you become a citizen, baby? Any "priors"? Maybe we can have that on the CDS website in lieu of passport objects. :) These two don't alter the commitment equation as currently worded. As written the microplot holder commitment is the $L equivalent of 40-49 cents.

D)Head (poll) tax of 9 cents and property tax (look on the wiki). Pay Rudeen on the 22nd with Paypal or $L. Here's what happens if you're late...(snip)...Any questions? Actually the ability to explain these things with good analogies/metaphors is very important. I had to explain the land business to my dad (an IBM data communications instructor) as being a leasing broker for server assets in San Francisco running a 3D programmable environment. Most SLers (certainly not dad) understand "land" much better as a metaphor used in its stead.

E) Is related to B and F. You need to keep the buy in high enough to avoid abuse and low enough to attract citizens. I wonder if *time* might be used in addition to money to stall abuse. You have to be a citizen for 30 days to vote (or something). So what's a good minimum citizenship "commitment"? To be crass, what's it "worth"? Right now the tangible part is 40 cents.

Ash, that 2nd title system is interesting. I didn't know such a system existed, forgive my ignorance. So both parties have title to the same parcel. In the enforcement scenario the person guilty party loses title. The renter equivalent to the 2nd title holder is eviction. BTW when 2 persons hold title to a parcel, who pays land use to the gov't, the primary titleholder?

On the commitment number. Yes, it's a bit of a burden on the Chancellor. I thought Neufreistadt Registered Companies were supposed to submit financials regularly but can't find it referenced in the code. We already have land holding on the web. Nothing new there. I can see a company submitting a monthy income statement and a quarterly balance sheet to the Chancellor much like Sudane prepares for us. We only have 3 NRCs anyway. The citizen commitment number is mostly automated right now anyway on the web.

On independence, I agree with Ash. However if a rogue Estate Owner unilaterally declares indepedence all we can do is beg that federal property be returned from the sim and wave goodbye. So we'll want strong ties between the central gov't and estate owners. There's only a one to one relationship possible between estate owner and LL, right? To reopen a can of worms the evil estate owner and the alt abuser are the two most difficult problems to solve with democratic institutions in SL. I'd like your take on those two, as I've beaten both of those horses into glue by now and haven't gotten anywhere new. :)

PS: Forgive me for constantly tying everything to money. I'm actually a psych grad and care more about virtual communities and building than you might think from my posts.[/quote:lvlr2lst]

I dont like the above at all. We must remember that the sim is worth well in the excess of $1000. Are we that short of cash that for less than the cost of a cup of coffee we allow the vote to be influenced? If enough people risk the large sum of 40 cents they could possibly gain control of the RA and maybe even the sim. I can forsee a court battle for the ownership of the sim itself.
I say NO to the above proposal and it comes from someone who benefited from bringing in votes. We need to stop selling micro plots letting the current owners keep their plots. If they wish to sell the city can buy the lots from them. The plots have no real value with the exception of a vote for the large cost of 9 cents a month. There are currently regular lots available for sale. If we fill up it is time to buy another sim to be placed next to Neufreistadt. It will be part of the same government thus saving a duplication of government efforts.
Since I can not attend the RA sessions due to the North American unfriendly meeting time, I call on the RA to stop selling the micro plots and say no to allowing people from buying a vote without a commitment to the community.

User avatar
Pelanor Eldrich
Veteran debater
Veteran debater
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 10:07 am

$4-$5 commitment sounds reasonable.

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

Looking at the wiki (out of date?) we see 144m2 plots worth $4.18 if bought from the NFS with a land use fee of $1.11 (USD). By banning mircoplots and proposed equivalents that becomes the new minimum tangible "commitment level": $5.29 (purchase price + 30 days land use). Claude has a point, we had intended microplots as a cheap way to attract new citizens. As it turns out, most microplotters are off-island entrepreneurs wanting to use our legal system as a part of their business.

BTW I'm not drafting any kind of legislation, this stuff isn't even on the DPU platform. I'm happy to let the CSDF do that if so inclined.

So Ranma, is $5.29 the number you're looking for? It seems reasonable to me as about 1.5 hrs worth of international minimum wage labor for someone who has 1.5 hrs of access to a fast computer with broadband. Should it be even higher?

If we poll taxed at $1.11/month and held minimum land holding (or citizen $L escrow equivalent) of $4.18 with the subsequent monthly land use discounts and no land ownership citizenship requirement would that still rub everyone the wrong way?

I don't think I can afford to buy votes at $5.29 (if anyone is wondering). Especially if there's a 30 day waiting period to get voting rights. My shams would just take the money and run and I'd have to pay them twice ensure they vote (they could take the $5.29 and leave without voting). Election manipulation just got a lot more expensive. Now how am I going to win a seat next term? Guess I better earn some $L. ;)

Pelanor Eldrich
Principal - Eldrich Financial
Ranma Tardis

Re: $4-$5 commitment sounds reasonable.

Post by Ranma Tardis »

[quote="Pelanor Eldrich":215q213t]Looking at the wiki (out of date?) we see 144m2 plots worth $4.18 if bought from the NFS with a land use fee of $1.11 (USD). By banning mircoplots and proposed equivalents that becomes the new minimum tangible "commitment level": $5.29 (purchase price + 30 days land use). Claude has a point, we had intended microplots as a cheap way to attract new citizens. As it turns out, most microplotters are off-island entrepreneurs wanting to use our legal system as a part of their business.

BTW I'm not drafting any kind of legislation, this stuff isn't even on the DPU platform. I'm happy to let the CSDF do that if so inclined.

So Ranma, is $5.29 the number you're looking for? It seems reasonable to me as about 1.5 hrs worth of international minimum wage labor for someone who has 1.5 hrs of access to a fast computer with broadband. Should it be even higher?

If we poll taxed at $1.11/month and held minimum land holding (or citizen $L escrow equivalent) of $4.18 with the subsequent monthly land use discounts and no land ownership citizenship requirement would that still rub everyone the wrong way?

I don't think I can afford to buy votes at $5.29 (if anyone is wondering). Especially if there's a 30 day waiting period to get voting rights. My shams would just take the money and run and I'd have to pay them twice ensure they vote (they could take the $5.29 and leave without voting). Election manipulation just got a lot more expensive. Now how am I going to win a seat next term? Guess I better earn some $L. ;)[/quote:215q213t]

It is 10 times the price of a micro plot and is useful to the owner. The owner can set up a nice little shop. Also there are fewer of these available.
I will not support in any way non land owning citizens. This is second life and not real life. The talk about the poor is a bunch of crud. In order to get onto second life you need to own a computer and find a high speed internet connection. Unless you hang out at a hot spot with a notebook computer you need to pay for a high speed connection. The monthly cost of a small lot is about the price of a cup of coffee.
Further we don’t want to have too many citizens, if I remember correctly a sim can only support 40 residents at a time. If we need more land for new citizens it is far better to expand. I don’t know why you want to pack citizens into a single sim like sardines. I don’t see what benefit they would receive besides voting.
About being able to afford? What is 20 dollars American to most people? It depends on just what you want from life. 4 votes on your side can make the difference between success and failure. In micro plots the price is about 2 dollars American for those 4 votes.
To sum it up, we need to phase out the micro plots and say NO to non land owning citizens.
Pelanor, you were the one to bring up the voting issue. I am not acussing anyone in the current administration of wrongdoing of any sort. I am pointing out that importing large amounts of non land owning citizens is not in anyones best intrest and will not support it.

User avatar
Pelanor Eldrich
Veteran debater
Veteran debater
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 10:07 am

So here's the intention of what you get.

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

In my scenario, a landless CDS citizen has the right to:

[list:1wc3fcdu]*Vote
*Avail themselves of the Judicary
*Propose legislation
*Run for Office/Serve in the Gov't
*Work in the CDS
*Start a business in the CDS
*Buy CDS Land ([b:1wc3fcdu]most important[/b:1wc3fcdu])[/list:u:1wc3fcdu]

I don't see how it subverts the political process in any way. We can even set the buy in higher, to $20 or even $50 USD. Here's my goal of what this should do:

1)Give us more citizens, with no real citizens per sim cap.
2)Give us more monthly revenue
3)Drive up property values (purchase price of CDS land in $L/m2)
-This also increases CDS revenue when land is sold from citizen to citizen.
4)Drive down the monthly land use fee of CDS land (3 & 4 are related)

So the main concern is political/electoral manipulation, right? Is the other concern too many avatars running around NFS? To dispel your fear though, nothing is coming of this thread this term unless the CSDF drafts something and the DPU is in favor.

Pelanor Eldrich
Principal - Eldrich Financial
User avatar
Ashcroft Burnham
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1093
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:21 pm

Re: Finding something better because we need more citizens..

Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Pelanor Eldrich":15vpxul2]There's quite a bit to summarize and respond to. We can't change citizenship requirements and we can't abolish microplots until we come up with something better.[/quote:15vpxul2]

We can stop selling new microplots without replacing them with anything.

[quote:15vpxul2]Citizenship reform must address the following (and other) issues:

A) A way to make sure the City gets its US$195 monthly and regularly
B) A way to remove "something" as punishment that is a very strong incentive (psychologically, financially) not to break the rules
C) Fair to everybody, according to their level of commitment in the CDS
D) Easy enough to explain — ie. people will immediately understand what the issues for breaking the rules are, and that the consequences are severe
E) Not prone to alt account abuse
F) Does not raise the barrier to citizenship too high[/quote:15vpxul2]

This is a good list.

[quote:15vpxul2][b:15vpxul2][u:15vpxul2]A couple of microplot equivalent replacement scenarios:[/u:15vpxul2][/b:15vpxul2]

1-What if we abolished microplots and the poll tax was (to start) was the equivalent of 9 cents/month? The land use fees on all regular (non-micro) parcels would be 9 cents less per month than it is now. By doing this we free up some land of ease some stress from the land management system. Current microplotters would have their microplot purchase price used as their citizen escrow (40 cents).

2-Using Ash's model (I think), we take 96m2 parcel owned by EO as a citizen and give 2nd title to 1m2 for each of 96 possible microplotters. A generic deed will suffice, lots do not have to be enumerated other than 1/96 etc.[/quote:15vpxul2]

[i:15vpxul2]The CDS[/i:15vpxul2] would not be giving secondary title to anybody: it would merely be granting the holder of the primary title the right to grant secondary title. The holder of the primary title would decide to whom, and on what terms to let to a secondary title holder, but those terms must be consistent with the terms on which the primary title holder holds title (covenants, etc.). But wouldn't letting primary title holders grant micro-secondary titles, or letting people not have land and pay micro-taxes, have the same problems as microplots?

[quote:15vpxul2]B)We don't have a penal code but I see no problem with confiscating *both* land and escrow. In fact, in the early stages (Ash correct me), I wouldn't mind something fairly draconian to keep people from being scofflaws and tying up court time until we can pay judges a decent wage. Penalty is probably at the discretion of the judiciary.[/quote:15vpxul2]

The judiciary model that I propose permits Courts of Common Jurisdiction to banish and forfeit [i:15vpxul2]any[/i:15vpxul2] asset as an ultimate punishment. The degree of punishment in each case would depend largely on the degree of culpability, but also partly on the degree of the person's commitment (the more committed the person, the more effective that a minor punishment would likely be). Non-citizen perpetrators of even relatively minor griefing who show no remorse, for example, should generally be banished permanently, whereas a citizen undertaking similar conduct may receive only a fine.

[quote:15vpxul2]C)Commitment number, I like that. Want a loan from me? What's your commitment number and when did you become a citizen, baby? Any "priors"? Maybe we can have that on the CDS website in lieu of passport objects. :) These two don't alter the commitment equation as currently worded. As written the microplot holder commitment is the $L equivalent of 40-49 cents.[/quote:15vpxul2]

Intriguing idea...

[quote:15vpxul2]D)Head (poll) tax of 9 cents and property tax (look on the wiki). Pay Rudeen on the 22nd with Paypal or $L. Here's what happens if you're late...(snip)...Any questions? Actually the ability to explain these things with good analogies/metaphors is very important. I had to explain the land business to my dad (an IBM data communications instructor) as being a leasing broker for server assets in San Francisco running a 3D programmable environment. Most SLers (certainly not dad) understand "land" much better as a metaphor used in its stead.[/quote:15vpxul2]

The system for becoming a citizen certainly should be easy to explain. Incidentally, we should probably not call our tax, if we have one, a "poll tax", as that tends to have negative connotations. "Citizen tax" might be better, but I still favour land use fees.

[quote:15vpxul2]E) Is related to B and F.[/quote:15vpxul2]

Um... there isn't an F.

[quote:15vpxul2]You need to keep the buy in high enough to avoid abuse and low enough to attract citizens. I wonder if *time* might be used in addition to money to stall abuse. You have to be a citizen for 30 days to vote (or something).[/quote:15vpxul2]

Great minds do indeed think alike: I was going to suggest almost exactly the same thing, save that the length requirement be higher for franchulate citizens (say, 60 days) than for private island citizens, and that that only apply to national, rather than local government (if any).

[quote:15vpxul2]Ash, that 2nd title system is interesting. I didn't know such a system existed, forgive my ignorance.[/quote:15vpxul2]

It doesn't - yet. It is based on the English system of relativity of title, but the names are original. In English law, they are called "tenants" and "sub tenants" and "sub-sub tenants", and so on. The person with what we would call "primary title" is called the holder of a fee simple (or freholder, colloquially).

[quote:15vpxul2]So both parties have title to the same parcel. In the enforcement scenario the person guilty party loses title. The renter equivalent to the 2nd title holder is eviction. BTW when 2 persons hold title to a parcel, who pays land use to the gov't, the primary titleholder?[/quote:15vpxul2]

The primary title-holder pays the fee to the CDS for the whole of the land for which he or she is the primary title-holder, and then charges whatever he or she likes to the secondary title-holders. However, for holding a secondary title to confer voting rights, there would need to be a clear minimum set of rights that that person had over the land in question, or else people could be granted voting rights just, for example, by being given the right to have minature objects stored on land, or having a collective right to be on the land. Perhaps, borrowing again from English law, the concept of [i:15vpxul2]exclusive occupation[/i:15vpxul2] should determine citizenship status, such that any person with a right of exclusive occupation of the land (including a person who, although retaining title (whether primary or secondary) to the land, has granted another or others rights to occupy the land, whether exclusive or not) should be a citizen.

[quote:15vpxul2]On the commitment number. Yes, it's a bit of a burden on the Chancellor. I thought Neufreistadt Registered Companies were supposed to submit financials regularly but can't find it referenced in the code. We already have land holding on the web. Nothing new there. I can see a company submitting a monthy income statement and a quarterly balance sheet to the Chancellor much like Sudane prepares for us. We only have 3 NRCs anyway. The citizen commitment number is mostly automated right now anyway on the web.[/quote:15vpxul2]

Perhaps the Chancellor could tell us whether this would be too much of a burden?

[quote:15vpxul2]On independence, I agree with Ash. However if a rogue Estate Owner unilaterally declares indepedence all we can do is beg that federal property be returned from the sim and wave goodbye. So we'll want strong ties between the central gov't and estate owners. There's only a one to one relationship possible between estate owner and LL, right? To reopen a can of worms the evil estate owner and the alt abuser are the two most difficult problems to solve with democratic institutions in SL. I'd like your take on those two, as I've beaten both of those horses into glue by now and haven't gotten anywhere new. :)[/quote:15vpxul2]

Some thoughts on rogue estate owners: firstly, do not have any estate owners who have, or are closely connected to people who have, real political power. Estate owners should be treated as civil servants whose duty it is honourably to discharge their duties to the CDS. There should probably be as few of them as possible. There should be as little incentive as possible for them to steal anything from us.

Secondly, the possibility should be considered of using a multiple access alt for all estate owners, so that no one person has the power to undertake all actions. A person could, of course, log in as the EO alt, and transfer the whole lot to another account controlled soeley by that person. LL should really think of good technological ways of handling estates by groups by, for example, requiring group votes on (1) what shall be done with the estate in certain respects, and (2) who in the group shall be entitled to vote. I wonder whether it would be possible to write a computer programme that limited access to the EO alt account by generating the SL password for the account, changing it regularly, and not revealing it to the end-user, but automatically inputting it into SL, the circumstances in which any person can access that alt account itself being decided by a vote administered by the programme.

The third possibility is to have the functions of the EO discharged by a person whose real-life identity is known and verifiable, and who enters into a real-life contract to maintain our "brokered server assets" as we direct her or him, and againt whom a claim for damages (and possibly criminal charges for whatever the US equivalent of offences under the [b:15vpxul2]Computer Misuse Act[/b:15vpxul2] are) if he or she makes off with our sims.

Ashcroft Burnham

Where reason fails, all hope is lost.
User avatar
Aliasi Stonebender
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 12:58 pm

Post by Aliasi Stonebender »

Much of this talk reminds me of the frenzy against non-verified accounts in SL at large, to be honest - as if griefing was unknown before LL opened the floodgates.

User avatar
Ashcroft Burnham
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1093
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:21 pm

Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Aliasi Stonebender":2ryxtnrh]Much of this talk reminds me of the frenzy against non-verified accounts in SL at large, to be honest - as if griefing was unknown before LL opened the floodgates.[/quote:2ryxtnrh]

Nobody pretends that any solution will be foolproof, but there are degrees of fallibility, and it is only reasonable that one should do everything that one can to find the least fallible system.

Ashcroft Burnham

Where reason fails, all hope is lost.
User avatar
Chicago Kipling
Passionate Protagonist
Passionate Protagonist
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 2:07 pm

Post by Chicago Kipling »

There seem to be 15 microplots on the main list and 5 are up for sale. Is that true? It seems that, if I'm doing my math right, that there are still more established houses then than microplots. So it would take a sudden vote, organized by a current RA member and supported by at least three? land owners and all microplot owners to shift the voting for any issue, correct?

I'm sure someone else can give us better numbers, but my point is that we do see to be working hard at making life more complex for an unlikely eventuality.

Gwyneth's reasoning seems solid enough to continue to consider new citizenship ideas, but I'd like to see some hard numbers before we worry about gaming the system.

A good photograph is like a good hound dog, dumb, but eloquent. ~ Eugene Atget
Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”