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Revising the polling standards

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Demo Game: Citizens' started by ravensfire, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    We've been wallowing in a debate over polls for most of the game now, never getting it resolved. We came close once, but a Justice resigned, and we're still in the mess.

    And let there be no mistake about it - it's a mess. We've had judicial inaction over it, heated discussions, threats and probably some spitwads tossed out. But never any true action to actually FIX the situation.

    I know that many of our remaining citizens hate this topic, and want to see it go away. Here's your chance. With a little bit of effort (mostly voting in a few polls), we can figure out what most of the citizens want, rewrite the various laws, and get this entire matter closed for good.

    Status:

    Public vs Private Discussion: Ongoing
    Official, Binding, huh?: Discussion started
    Time Frames, Neutrality, other issues: Not started
    Citizen Poll vs Official's Poll: Not started

    Polls:
    Initial poll on Public vs Private: CLOSED 8 Yes / 6 No / 3 Abstain
    Detailed poll on when different options can be used - POSTED

    -- Ravensfire
     
  2. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    The first poll will be up shortly, and asks a simple, basic question - should we allow private polls, in any way, that require in-game actions to be taken?

    That's a core question, and will let us narrow down what the majority of citizens want. If people want public polls from officials, but allow private from citizens, they should vote yes. If they want anyone to post private polls, they should vote yes. If they want all polls that require actions to be public, they should vote not. Opinion polls will be clearly exempted from this, as they generally do not require an in-game action to be taken.

    The results of this first poll will drive any and all future polls.

    To avoid incessant whining, it will be marked private.

    -- Ravensfire
     
  3. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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  4. Eklektikos

    Eklektikos Eponymous

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    As I have stated in the poll thread, I do not see a compelling argument being presented against giving poll starters the freedom to post private, binding polls, and nor can I myself think of one.

    This by itself is enough to decide the matter for me, since I believe that freedoms should not be restricted without good reason.
     
  5. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    If we're going to talk about revising the polling standards I think the guy who started this discussion should tell us what the current standards are and what their legal basis is. (Aare the standards in the constitution, CoL, or somewhere else?)
     
  6. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    Doesn't matter.

    I'm starting this fresh - from scratch. I don't think ANYONE doubts that we have an issue here, and that people are both unhappy and confused. So we throw the old stuff out. Just toss it out the window and move past the delays and confusion that have driven people away from this game.

    The most significant issue is the public vs private, but that is not the only issue. Right up there is the official vs binding, and that's also going to be part of this entire process.

    When this is done, I don't expect everyone to be perfectly happy with the result, but I do expect to have a set of clear, consistent and defined polling standards in the Constitution and Code of Laws.

    -- Ravensfire
     
  7. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    donsig,

    I must point out, however, that it was your poll that did get this process started in my head. As you noted, that poll did not have a conclusive decision either way. Those results kept bugging me to the point that I'm starting this effort on a full revisit to polling standards.

    To remedy that, I backed the question up to a more basic one - should we allow any poll that can require game actions to be private? I think that's a core question to the public vs private - nobody questions that opinion polls can be private. If more people want to have some type of a private poll, I'll start to narrow down what they want - official polls, citizen initiatives or both.

    After that, the other mess about official polls and binding polls will get resolved. This will also include the roll of the Censor in all poll types.

    Finally, a catch-all to cover everything else we've got.

    As each section is finished, the draft amendments will get updated. When it's done, we'll toss it in front of the Judiciary. Assuming this gets done while I'm serving in the Judiciary in any form, I'll be recusing myself from that review.

    -- Ravensfire
     
  8. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    The difficulties on this subject have been centered on misuse of the standards and of polling in general. Two kinds of misuses have been rampant.
    1. People have incorrectly used the polling standards to take away the citizens' decision making power, by invalidating polls which they do not agree with.
    2. People have tried to incorrectly use binding polls to circumvent normal legal processes.
    I think the key point to be gained from this new discussion is that it is different from earlier discussion on the issue. It is different in a very key way, by being limited to polls which are binding on in-game actions. I have no specific disagreement with using private polls for in-game actions, at least not that would make such polls invalid. True, I question the urge on the part of some to keep their beliefs on in-game actions private, but I don't want to deny them that right. They certainly have the right to abstain from the polls I create which are public, just as I have the right to reveal my vote in their private polls.

    Out of game polls are quite another issue entirely. I will never allow a poll from a Justice asking permission to recuse (or not recuse) from a case, or asking how to rule in a JR, or from a DP asking if they should break the law and ignore instructions, or a Censor asking if an election poll should be redone to allow a new candidate to be added. For those interested in history, one of these polls was actually posted. Each one asks for an OK from the citizens to break a law or trample on a tradition, and each one is automatically invalid no matter whether it is public or private. Such a poll can never be binding, and would always be in poor taste at best, and possibly even worthy of a ban at worst.
     
  9. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    Well, technically that was my poll. Donsig refused to post it himself because he would rather have hoodwinked the citizens into voting in a binding poll which would circumvent the JR and Amendment processes.
     
  10. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    I find this remark very offensive DaveShack. I guess I should be used to it by now. Since you haven't been unable to offer a reasonable rebuttal to my assertion that private initiative polls are indeed legal you have to stoop to disparaging my character. Well, at least I should give you credit for not using giant red letters this time.

    I would not hoodwink anyone. As for circumventing the JR and amendment process, I've stated time and time again, that our laws AS THEY ARE WRITTEN NOW allow for binding citizen initative polls with no restrictions. There is absolutely no need for an amenment to allow something that is already allowed by law. If someone wanted to disallow or restrict the bindingness of private citizen initiative polls then they are the ones who need to get an amendment passed. In case you haven't been listening I do not want to restrict private polling.

    As for circumventing the JR process, how am I doing that? I've already said I'll post (another) private initiative and if anyone wants to challenge it in court I'll defend it.

    Is it too much to ask that I be allowed to get a private initiative poll posted where the votes would actually represent citizen's answers to the poll question and not generate skewed votes because someone is yelling that I'm somehow trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes?

    To get back on topic, how are we supposed to talk about revising the polling standards when we don't even know what they are?

    DaveShack's post about the two things being done wrong is interesting, especially the part about the polls he'd never allow. For you history buffs, as justice I did post a poll about whether I should recuse myself from a case. That was after we witnessed the laughable sight of a previous CJ ruling his own election/appointment was valid. Since we obviously didn't (and still don't) have a coherent decision from the citizens in general about recusals that poll was appropriate, despite DaveShack's implication that it was somehow tainted.

    The real trouble lies with certain official's refusal to accept the decision making heirarchy as outlined in our constitution. That is what needs to be addressed. It goes right down to the opinion poll levels and below. Our constitution includes opinion polls in the decision making heirarchy. Doesn't it then follow that even opinion polls marked *information only* are to be considered decisions made by the citizenry? In other words, aren't opinion polls really binding unless and until superceded by some decision form higher up in the hierarchy? No one wants to go there because our officials all want to be able to weild power, make their own choices and do what they please. That's why they love opinion polls and that's why they don't want to understand the decision making process we agreed on in the constitution.

    Any revision of polling standards has to look at and adhere to our constitutional process.
     
  11. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    The first poll in this process is closed, and the result was that there should be at least some options for private polling in polls that can require in-game actions.

    The next question is what are those options?

    I'm thinking right now a poll that looks like this:
    Option A - Public Referendums; Private/Public Initiatives
    Option B - Private/Public Referendums; Public Initiatives
    Option C - Public/Private Referendums; Public/Private Initiatives
    Option D- Abstain

    Definition of terms:
    Referendums - Polls by officials in their area not marked as Opinion/Informational
    Initiatives - Polls by citizens marked as Initiatives
    Public - Poll must be marked as Public
    Public/Private - Poll may be marked as either public or private

    Another option would be to run a multiple choice poll, and list 5 options - Public Referendum, Private Referendum, Public Initiative, Private Initiative, Abstain - and have people vote for those options that they prefer. Anything that gets more than 50% support, goes in.

    Thoughts? Which style would you prefer?

    -- Ravensfire
     
  12. Eklektikos

    Eklektikos Eponymous

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    Quick question: if we're looking at a serious rewrite of the law regarding polling, is it not worth looking at whether the Referendum/Initivative differentiation is still considered desirable by the populace? I'm not sure I really see the need for two different flavours of binding poll.
     
  13. dutchfire

    dutchfire Moderator Moderator

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    :agree: What's the use of a referendum? Keep it simple, keep it easy.
     
  14. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    I think it's nice to keep them seperate - but that might be something to consider for a discussion. Maybe I should rephrase them some. I'm trying to seperate the polls posted by an official acting in their area, and the polls posted by a citizen. Essentially, that is the difference between an Referendum and an Initiative. With them being different, you can, as DaveShack did, put the Initiative over a Referendum, allowing the citizens to force an official to take a certain action.

    Either way I post the poll, I'll remove the Initiative/Referendum references, and use "Polls posted by officials" and "Polls posted by citizens".

    -- Ravensfire
     
  15. Eklektikos

    Eklektikos Eponymous

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    That seems reasonable enough. And to answer your original question, I'd consider the first style of poll preferable.
     
  16. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    One difference between the two proposed styles is the first does not allow a vote of public referendums / public initiatives. I understand this is so because the first poll enough support for some form of private polling. If we use the first style we'll definately get a result with some private polling (assuming the highest vote getter besides abstain wins). If we use the second style then it is quite possible that we would end up with no private option getting 50%. So the first style is skewed towards private polling the second is not. This could be remedied by including the public initiative / public referendum option in style one. Whether that's a good idea ot not I don't know.

    I have no preference between the two styles (including either version of style one.)
     
  17. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    Maybe it will help if I explain why there are two flavours in the current law.

    Since I've been playing (DG3), there have been instances of officials who refused to poll (or re-poll) an issue, and who refused to accept the results of polls posted by other people in their area. The catalyst for me was a poll posted by either Cyc or Strider (can't remember which one, and don't want to look at the archives because it doesn't really matter who it was) on the subject of researching to Democracy. After the people chose Democracy in that poll, circumstances in the game changed so that we had a clear chance at Economics and Smith's, so I requested a poll to see if the people wanted a direct path to Democracy or just some path. Not only was my request for a poll refused, but the poll I posted was fought every step of the way and ended up narrowly decided as a "no" for not changing course with many people saying they voted no because I wasn't the official responsible for the area. We ended up missing not just Smith's, but several other wonders as well. We won that game of course, but I vowed to stamp out the idea that only the official can post binding polls.

    Here's the points I want to preserve, the core beliefs that were imperfectly captured in this game's Constitution.

    • Contrary to common belief, it is quite possible to make a decision without using a poll. The criteria for deciding something without a poll is a clear preponderance of public opinion for a particular course of action.
    • A poll does not have to be "posted by an official" to be binding.
    • The last poll on a subject supercedes previous polls on the same subject.
    • Despite appearances, any poll which is biased, incorrectly stated, or improperly interpreted cannot be binding. Saying a poll is binding is not enough to make it binding. The people must be able to make an informed decision, implying they must have enough information available to make the decision, and the information for the decision must be current. This also means that changes in circumstances or information ought to render existing binding decisions non-binding, or at least priompt their reconsideration.
    • Polls may not be used contrary to other provisions of the rules. In particular, an amendment is the only way to change the law and a JR is the only way to interpret a law.

    I would be very happy to have us replace the current wording (referendum and initiative) with a cleaned up version of the above principles.
     
  18. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    I think the private vs public issue is decided by the existing poll, at least until we decide if we really want referendum and initiative to be different things. See my last post on a different way to explain the concepts these constructs were meant to address.
     
  19. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    I actually did that deliberately as the first poll said that some private should be allowed. I'm trying to figure out what that means.

    -- Ravensfire
     
  20. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    It's not totally decided - where can we use private?

    I generally agree with your concepts, DaveShack, but I think the wording isn't right, especially when combined with the CoL. We've had enough confusion and madness over this, it's time to clean it up and get it right.

    -- Ravensfire
     

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