RationalWiki talk:Proposed bylaws

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Lumenous wasting everyone's time is here ħumanUser talk:Human 03:58, 18 July 2010 (UTC)
One section was created by SusanG, although perhaps all my "unpopular" questions about majority rule, inspired her to create the section. ~ Lumenaid - ("backup" chattery) 05:02, 18 July 2010 (UTC) ~ Lumenos 01:00, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Did you mean user:Lumenos or Lumenous the Lumeniki sysop? ~ Lumenos 07:06, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Why NM, USA?[edit]

Is there a reason why New Mexico is being proposed? IIRC, Rationalwiki is physically located in Trent's flat in Toronto. Wasn't there a legal case against RW, but was thrown out as the case was filed somewhere in the US and there was no restriction. CS Miller (talk) 19:43, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

I think Trent now lives in NewMex. It was mentioned in the thread/page where the Foundation was first proposed, but I can't find where that is now. Not sure that a legal case has ever actually been filed against the site. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:53, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
I assumed that it was because Trent was from NM. Word wisest Phantom Hoover! 19:56, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Ah. That (Weaseloid) makes a bit more sense. However, a traceroute is still going via Cogeco in Canada. I suppose Trent could still have his flat in Toronto, and is waiting to buy/longterm lease a flat in NM before getting a fixed IP and moving RW. CS Miller (talk) 20:01, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
"...incorporate most likely in New Mexico where the incorporater has an "intent to return", registered agent, and several physical addresses..." That's the ref. Weasel. 20:05, 24 June 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Oh yeah. I should probably actually read this page. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:13, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
It started off in TMT's user space & got relocated - that's why I thought the comment was somewhere else. In fact, there's some previous discussion of the bylaws (but not the New Mexico issue) at User talk:Tmtoulouse/bylaws. Should it be merged onto this talk page? WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:20, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it should be merged now unless there is a way to merge the edit history. It seems Trent moved the edit history of the project page before deleting the original page. Instead I will try a notification on the top of this page. ~ Lumenaid - ("backup" chattery) 05:00, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
All this means is that it's under both countries' laws - David Gerard (talk) 21:05, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Also, Trent is only going to school in CA. Once his graduate program is up he'll be bringing his mostly useless degree of Science back to the USA! USA! USA! and promoting his atheistic liberal professor values claptrap somewhere here. NM is his pied a terre, so it will be easy for him to do all the paperwork on a trip home. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:49, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Indumnification[edit]

"...her capacity..."? Shouldn't that be "their"? ħumanUser talk:Human 23:57, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

The singular they is best avoided, since they is properly a plural & shouldn't really be used to refer to one person in any formal context - especially in a legal document where you want to avoid any possible ambiguity or confusion as to whether you're referring to one Trustee and his/her capacity, or to the Board of Trustees as a group and their capacity. The generic her is sometimes used instead of the more traditional generic he. It should probably be "he or she" & "his or her" in the interests of gender neutrality. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:12, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
"The Trustees" is plural. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:36, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
But "any Trustee or officer or any former Trustee or officer" is singular. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:23, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
But let me add, Nutty knows what he is doing. The edit just confused me a bit, but, yeah, legalese and all. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:37, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Voting qualification[edit]

It occurs to me that once these bylaws become fact and legally binding, it would be possible for e.g. anonymous or anyone else (there were a couple of f'rinstrances here but I took 'em out) etc to create loads of editors, whether actual or socks, and take over the wiki. Should there be a level of "established Editor" with voting rights? Thoughts? 16:13, 26 June 2010 (UTC) SusanG Toast

The bylaws don't actually set up the rules for the election, but rather leave it up to the board to decide. The initial rules for electing members will be established by the first two appointed members and me. They will likely follow WP standards making eligibility a function of both time on site and number of edits (1 year, 500 edits something like that). Future boards can change that around as they like. Also bylaws themselves can be amended by the board so nothing is set in stone. tmtoulouse 16:28, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Don't we need to establish voting criteria for the board in the first instance? Also I would like to see some detailed accounts. I am not comfortable with Trent subsidising RW out of his own pocket, he mentioned that he can only rely on $5 a month as income with the occcasional whip-round for significant outlays. This is not a sound financial foundation. If something happens to him then we should be able to carry on regardless. Currently the hardware is hosted by TMT but what happpens to it if he is no longer in a position to support RW?  Lily Inspirate me. 12:56, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
The initial board will be Trent and two appointees. One of their first actions will be to establish the rules for replacing them. As far as the money/hardware/host issue, this is partly why we are doing this - to free it from Trent a bit. He has also provided several people with access to all the information required to start RW back up on a server anywhere. ħumanUser talk:Human 20:19, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
I have machinations for trying to create some financial solvency for the site. Currently, the two biggest hurdles for someone else taking over the site are technical and financial. I have a long term plan for where I would like to see us, one year, three years, and ten years down the road. The formation of the foundation is the next step towards the vision I have for the site, and that vision does include finding ways of being financially and technically self-supported. But it takes time to implement. Establishing the foundation will however start to open up the financial situation of the site as the incoming and out going donations and costs will have to be tracked, and reports generated, etc. tmtoulouse 20:28, 14 July 2010 (UTC)


I removed Lumonous' garbage to a subpage. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:11, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

That is what I would do at Lumeniki, if I thought something was less important, but calling the page "Lumeniki" is a bit cryptic. Susan's section was entitled "Voting qualification" and I think this would be a more appropriate page name. ~ Lumenaid - ("backup" chattery) 05:02, 18 July 2010 (UTC)
Whoops you're right I cut too much. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:29, 18 July 2010 (UTC)
Pasted sane people's comments back in. Thanks for catching that, Lummy. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:30, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Typo?[edit]

At 2.4.3 it says, "(C) [...] The responsibilities of the initially appointed Trustees will be to certify the bylaws and establish criteria and election protocol for selection of an additional three (3) trustees based on sub-section C below. " Shouldn't that say sub-section D of section 2.4.3? ~ Lumenaid - (the anarcho-librarian chattery) 02:30, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Whoops, didn't mean to move that section L. It's hard to tell what it should say, but it should surely be clearer. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:27, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

2.4.3 E[edit]

Whahuh? ħumanUser talk:Human 05:33, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Quoting the part Human referenced: "(E) Community Founder Trustee Position. Beginning after the election of the first community-selected Trustees the Board may appoint Toulouse as Community Founder Trustee for a one-year term. The Board may reappoint Toulouse to the Community Founder Trustee position from year to year to successive one-year terms. In the event that Toulouse is not appointed as Community Founder Trustee, the Community Founder Trustee position will remain vacant, and the Board shall not fill the vacancy." Can Trent also be elected by the community to be "Trustee"? If so, I think he should hold the sixth "Trustee" position of "Community Founder Trustee" or else a number of confusing scenarios are possible because he could hold two offices ("Trustee" and "Community Founder Trustee") simultaneously. ~ Lumenos - (that other chattery) 05:34, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Trent said he can only be elected by the board so there is no technical problem here. ~ Lumenos (talk) 19:34, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

2.4.3 D is ambiguous[edit]

"all five (5) Trustee positions will be vacated and new elections will be held to for the community to fill these spots."

There are not five "Trustee" positions, there are six when you include "Community Founder Trustee". As it is worded now it seems to assume that Trent will not be elected by the community. ~ Lumenos - (that other chattery) 05:34, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

I will not be running for a trustee position. I will have a defacto trustee position as the incorporator until such time that 3 more trustees are elected. There will then be 5 trustees who can opt to allow me to fulfill a 6th trustee position that only I can ever fill. Basically it is a way to give me a presence on the board for the foreseeable future, that gets retired when I no longer want/need such a position, or if its decided by the elected board not to offer it to me. tmtoulouse 05:39, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Still makes no sense to me, you never wanted to be Jimbo Wales, and that looks like the "Jimbo Wales" clause to me. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:10, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
What I love about both WP founders, Jimbo and Larry Sanger, is they both support/ed the "policy" Ignore all rules. Probably the most revealing thing about user:tmtoulouse is who they appointed to run RW. Other than that, I have only seen a polite public persona. Nonetheless I wish I had the option of voting for Trent, for he seems at least as worthy as any of the Loya Jirga. ~ Lumenos (your talk page) - ("my" talk page) 11:13, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Trent never "appointed" anyone to "run" RW. ħumanUser talk:Human 17:24, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Pi wrote, "Trent hasn't "chosen" the bureaucrats in a long time. The community votes for them now (mostly)." I asked to see election polls. Human replied, "we don't "elect" crats, we make them by fiat. Although of late, we do pretend to pass the fiat by muster at the saloon bar." Here is a graph that would claim to describe the heirarchy (if there really are no elections). ~ Lumenos (your talk page) - ("my" talk page) 19:39, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Its not about being Jimbo Wales, its about the simple practical fact that for the foreseeable future I need to have an active and legal voice in the running of the foundation. There is just no one else who can and is willing to do what I can do to moves things forward. When the foundation reaches the point that it can "run itself" than I can step down from a perma position on the board. tmtoulouse 17:32, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Ah, gotcha, that makes sense. ħumanUser talk:Human 17:38, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps it is none of my business but I don't see what the elected trustees would be unwilling or unable to do without Trent having a vote as "Community Founder Trustee". ~ Lumenos (your talk page) - ("my" talk page) 18:49, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
He doesn't need to vote, but we will need him to provide the map, the directions, the next steps to take, for a while. Down the road, the board should be able to figure things out on its own. So for a while, he will at least need an "official" seat at the meetings. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:00, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps these are to be private meetings and the "only" way Trent can be allowed in, is if the Trustees elect him. ~ Lumenos (your talk page) - ("my" talk page) 19:35, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
There is no cabal. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:49, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Proposal/request that Trent run and be electable by the both the community or the Trustees[edit]

Trent will only run for the possition of Community Founder Trustee, which is elected by the board instead of the community. I think it would be better if Trent could be elected to the possition of Community Founder Trustee by both the community or the board. This may seem like an unfair advantage for Trent, but when you think about it; we would have a poll showing whether the community wanted to elect Trent before the new Trustees would cast their vote. ~ Lumenos (your talk page) - ("my" talk page) 20:10, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Seems like a lot of this is a solution looking for a problem. I don't exactly forsee a situation where the board is going to refuse to give me the position if I want it and think it is still needed. tmtoulouse 20:40, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
If the board didn't co-opt Trent onto it, they'd be idiots. At least not until RW can have some autonomy from an individual who physically has the server. Scarlet A.pngtheist 20:53, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Lumenos, once more, you are an idiot. Right now, Trent owns the wiki. This proposal is giving up ownership completely over a series of stages. ħumanUser talk:Human 20:58, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Trent owns the domain name and possesses some computer equipment valued at maybe $100-$2000. The content is under the Creative Commons license and it doesn't seem very difficult for anyone to export any amount of it to another location. You don't need your own server if you go to a wikifarm like Wikia. What is important is having community support, not some hardware. But the far more common reaction is for editors/readers to go to other wikis/forums/websites, if they don't find what they want here. ~ Lumenos (your talk page) - ("my" talk page) 21:44, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Right to fork. Have at it. tmtoulouse 21:55, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
You see, it is replies like that that make me wish I could apply my five votes to one Trent. =) The Humans, the P-Fosters, the Nutty Rouxs, the SusanGs, would say "you stoopid", "goway", or "what the hell are you trying to do here?" This reminds me of WikiIndex, where I like MarkDilley's ideals more than the ideals of the majority of admins or the RationalWiki mafia. ~ Lumenos (your talk page) - ("my" talk page) 22:52, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Except Wikia is a bit shit and full of adverts. Our own server, while it has its disadvantages, provides RW with a great deal of autonomy and quite a large scope for additional experimental toys. Wiki farms wouldn't support capturebot and it would be a lot more difficult to implement stuff like the voting systems. This is what makes RW stand out a little more compared to other projects that might operate from wikifarms, and I don't think many people would like to see that disappear. Scarlet A.pngtheist 23:01, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Voting systems, you say? What kind of voting systems? ~ Lumenos (your talk page) - ("my" talk page) 23:25, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Pointy things & slidey things. This is going a long way off-topic, since farming out to Wikia isn't in any way on the cards. If you wanna start a mirror site there, have at it, like TMT said. But that's nothing to do with the Foundation proposal. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:40, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I never expressed an intention to create a mirror. I was addressing some "misconceptions" that came up in reaction to my request/proposal. If Trent is absolutely unwilling to run for a community electable position, then the proposal is mute.
Since voting systems are an important part of these bylaws, I thought those tools might be used/useful. They don't seem like they would be good for this type of voting. I hope we aren't going to need to run scripts to vote. ~ Lumenos (your talk page) - ("my" talk page) 00:17, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Technical Director[edit]

As a serious suggestion, I recommend setting up a non-trustee, but a Foundation endorsed position of Technical Director. This would be, for the forseeable future, Trent. This would be the position, appointed by the board and re-elected at their discretion following an interview-like process. The TD is the one with ultimate authority over server access and would be accountable to the board and community if something fucks up. The TD would also control who gets "server access" and is responsible for reprimanding people should they abuse this. The TD doesn't necessarily have to be a Trustee, they can be if it helps, but it also has advantages for them not to be. Basically, this is Trent's current and forseeable job, but constitutionally named. This adds a more formal link between the Foundation and its operations and adds a little formal accountability. What the TD does with the site is then up to them; they could appoint anyone they liked to physically hold the server, access it via the internet or whatever, they could formally appoint their own team and give them positions and titles, it doesn't matter. However, ultimately the TD is answerable to the board, who represent the best interests of the Foundation and may order the TD to step down and reliquish their rights to a new indiviudal - as they are essentially loaning access of Foundation owned materials to the TD to use in the running of the site. For the forseeable future, this will be Trent. What happens after that is pretty much in the hands of the board, say, if they find hosting elsewhere is cheaper, they can relingush the physical machine in Trent's house and appoint someone else as TD, or keep Trent on but managing it at the new location. Scarlet A.pngtheist 14:18, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

I don't think this level of detail belongs in the bylaws. For example, the bylaws gives the board the right to make and fill positions it deems necessary to run the site. That "power" is what should be in the bylaws, and not a list of what positions the trustees are allowed to create/fill. tmtoulouse 15:21, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. I was just noticing that there was a bit of "confusion" in the SB regarding how this works in relation to the site. I realise that the Board can create positions as it sees fit, but I figured enshrining this position of technical responsibility in the bylaws would be a pragmatic step towards solving any issues with how the Foundation relates to the Site. But I assume it would be a sensible thing for the Board to do. Scarlet A.pngtheist 15:36, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
To me the issue is scalability, the more specific the clauses of the by-laws the more difficult and unwieldy they become as things grow. Just some examples: suppose RW explodes in growth and we decide to setup a few squid servers in different geographical locations, we now likely need multiple people with the TD type job description, or suppose some philanthropist cuts us a multi-million dollar endowment and we decide to say fuck it and move to expensive commercial hosting where the TD job is really no long needed for much, or suppose the foundation starts up other projects like videos or skeptic social networking, etc. This are somewhat far fetched but show that by-laws should be as flexible as possible to allow the board and its powers to scale in whatever direction is needed without substantial alteration. tmtoulouse 15:43, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
I just mean an indiviudal with the freedom to set up their own team to run things whatever the scale of RW. If it gets super-huge, it would become less hands-on and more about deligating. But I agree about keeping it out of the bylaws per se, but I think it's a position that needs to be created officially. Scarlet A.pngtheist 15:49, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't disagree, was merely addressing whether it should be in the by-laws or not. I think it is a good idea, though a lot of these kinds of issues/details will have to await having a full board available. tmtoulouse 16:02, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Is this now an official meeting of the trustees? ;) ħumanUser talk:Human 16:08, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Did I bang my gavel? Yeah, that's what I thought. tmtoulouse 16:12, 20 July 2010 (UTC)