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Polling Standards: Discussion on binding vs official

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Demo Game: Citizens' started by ravensfire, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    Main discussion thread

    This is the second area that we've had some contentious words over, so let's hash it out and figure out what we want (and ignore what the Con/CoL currently says).

    In various places, we use the words "Official" and "Binding" to refer to polls. What do those words mean to you related to Demogame polls? What do you think they should mean?

    -- Ravensfire
     
  2. dutchfire

    dutchfire Moderator Moderator

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    Binding = DP/Other official has to do what the poll says.
    Official = Posted according to the rules.
     
  3. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    Binding: The results of a binding poll must be followed by the DP and officials must post appropriate instructions to see that this is done.

    Official: Posted by an official in the discharge of his authorized duties.

    The opposite of binding is non-binding - a poll that does not have to be followed though it can be.

    The opposite of official is non-official which is a poll posted by a non-office holding citizen.

    Note that binding polls can be official or non-official.

    Yes, there should be a distinction between polls posted by officials and those posted by citizens. We should expect better written polls from our officials and we should be able to codify what we expect. The right of citizen's to post binding polls should not be limited. We should encourage well written polls from citizens but not put up barriers to discourage citizens from polling issues they are interested in.

    Officials should not be able to post citizen polls within the area covered by their official duties.
     
  4. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    My opinion is that binding and official mean the same thing, that the result must be followed. We should eliminate the term official and classify polls solely on whether they are binding or not.

    Calling some polls official and some polls not official introduces an unnecessary and damaging distinction between citizens and officials. Using the term "official poll" misleads citizens into thinking that only officials can post binding polls, and gives officials a false sense that they are somehow above the citizens. In our DG society, officials should be servants to the people, not masters over them.

    Saying an official cannot post a citizen poll is essentially denying the official is a citizen. Take a very straightforward kind of poll from our current game's rules, which happen to match the last Civ3 game rules on the same topic. Our current law restricts the power to declare war to a vote of the citizens. If we restrict the ability to post a citizens poll to non-officials, then the Secretary of State and Secretary of War are both prohibited from posting a poll on approving a declaration of war. One would think that these two individuals would naturally be the best informed on the current situation, and therefore the best qualified to post the poll. Instead, they must approach some other citizen to create the actual poll.

    Why is there a need to have a special kind of citizens poll? I myself decided to try this experiment of having two kinds of binding polls, to ensure that citizens would always have the right to demand a poll on an issue. Instead of a simple interpretation that citizens can overrule officials, we got several terms of conflict over the definition of "official". My experiment, and I do claim responsibility for it, was a failure. Now I suggest we simply have a rule that an official must poll an issue if the citizens request it. Leave the very necessary ability of citizens to post binding polls and keep the rediscovered concept that the last poll on an issue overrides previous polls, and we don't need to distinguish between official and non-official. In this case, simpler is definitely better.
     
  5. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    Hmm - you're both making good points.

    DaveShack, I think the limitation about officials posting citizen's polls that I have in mind is very specific. It's got to be something that is directly under their control. So, for example, the Sec of War can post a citizen poll for declaring war because that's not within their area of control. They cannot post a citizen poll about troop deployment, as that's clearly within their area.

    I'm not comfortable with trashing citizen polls - I think that idea does work, and should stay. In past DG's, we did make it hard for citizen's to post polls, and that was with people that actually (Shock!) used the official threads! We don't have that anymore, sad to say. People now are more accustomed to direct action, so I don't think that should be stifled.

    binding/official - I agree with donsig's definitions, with the note that all official poll must be considered binding.

    -- Ravensfire
     
  6. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    Even though an official can't post a citizen poll he or she can still post an official poll. Since either one can be binding the official loses nothing. As for your example, 1) perhaps it is the law and not the difinitions of offial and binding that need correcting; and 2) a citizen's vote and Assembly Vote are the same (are they not?) and so the SoW or any official or any citizen can request the Censor post a declaration of war poll.

    I'm not sure this is good. First of all, why are you suggesting that we discourage citizen's from posting polls? Your mechanism of having citizens ask for a poll is one I do not agree with. Citizens should be allowed to post binding polls at any time. Our current constitution does a good job of saying this (citizen's initiatives must always be allowed). There is no reason to tinker with that phraseology.

    I am not suggesting we have a special kind of citizen poll. I am suggesting we have a special kind of official poll. We can expect our officials to be able to post better polls and we can spell out exact procedures for official polls if we like. One example would be that last minute official polls are not allowed. We can specify a deadline for posting official polls whose result is to be used for the next game play session. But citizen's should not be held to such a timeline since the whole reason for keeping binding citizen polls is to give citizen's leverage against recalcitrant officials.

    It would really help to resolve these issues (which have been around since term one of the first Civ III demogame) if we would empower the judiciary to post game play instructions. There is currently no mechanism for a citizen to prevent illegal orders from being carried out. All one can hope to do now is post a poll to try to reverse an official's poll. Allowing a citizen to file a case with the judiciary where the citizen could claim an order was illegal would be very useful. The citizen could present the case, the judiciary could rule on it and if the order is found to be illegal the judiciary could post a legal and binding counter-order for the DP to follow.
     
  7. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    My mistake with terminology in the quoted post.

    Leave the concept in the law that provides the very necessary ability of citizens to post binding polls and keep the rediscovered concept that the last poll on an issue overrides previous polls, and we don't need to distinguish between official and non-official.

    Stated a different way, we now have a concept that a citizen can post a binding poll. There is no need to call it a different kind of poll, merely saying it can be binding is sufficient. The other thing about initiatives in the current law is that they override referendums but not vice versa. That is too confusing, change it to just the last one prevails.

    My opinion is that we have had a lot more instances of DPs ignoring or disobeying instructions than we've had officials ignoring the people and posting instructions contrary to WOTP. The Censor position was intended to provide the check on official powers that you're describing. IIRC, this term we had a Censor's instruction to stop because the citizen decision wasn't ready. The challenge is always making the mechanism effective without opening the door for frivolous delays. It's a balancing act between making sure the people are heard, and keeping things moving to the point they will have something to say. :yup:
     
  8. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    This invites two parties involved in a dispute to try to get the last word by starting a new poll slightly after the last one. It is much better to give citizens the last word. Also since you called the idea of binding citizen polls new I really think we should continue to allow initiatives to trump referendums. Some of us have been fighting for citizen posted binding polls for many demogames now and I was sure that the concept was accepted by now - in others words it is not new. The fact that an old timer like you is suggesting the idea is new really scares me.
     
  9. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    I still lay claim to being among the first (single digits for sure) people to demand that a poll didn't have to be opened by the official to be binding.

    Of course it's not a new concept, it's just (relatively) new to being explicitly included in the law.

    The problem I still have with having two kinds of binding polls is that it invites arguments on what kind of poll a given example is, and arguments over who can and can't open it. If there is only one kind of binding poll, then we can't have arguments over whether it is an initiative or referendum, or whether it should have been opened by a citizen or official.

    We need more people, and I think we need simplicity to get them. Complexity will just chase them away.
     
  10. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    If you would accept the definitions the rest of us give to initiative and referendum then there'd be no room for argument. It is your insistance that official = binding that creates the confusion. Let binding = must be followed and official = posted by an official in the course of his duties and the whole thing is simple.

    But I am not adverse to just having one type of binding poll. Perhaps the way to move forward on this is to play with the wording in the constitution. How would we reword the decision hierarchy so that it is clear there is only one type of binding poll and it is clear that citizens have just as much of a right ot post binding polls as officials? I'd giveit a stab but RL work is hectic as the semester starts.
     

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