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[atlarge-discuss] FW: Thoughts on verification
While these discussions about verification bring some clarity to the
table, they were planned (more or less) to be part of the by-lws
discussion, but having the by-laws evolve from decisions taken day by
day is not a bad thing per se.
First of all we must establish however the why:
Verification is a "need" because we want to prevent clones, i.e. people
with multiple memberships under different names trying to influlence the
outcome of votes, and we want to prevent "agence provocateur(s)" on the
list, who will not use their own name for obvious reasons and finally we
want to know that those who are in committee's and on the panel (or
board later on if that construction is chosen) are who they say they are
and "real" people.
Now to verify the latter, panel members, comm members, is not the
hardest. People who are taking part at that level have no problem with
proving their existence and credentials, if you want to do the part,
then pay the little price for the security of the lot.
Preventing "bogus" nominations and seconds is also a fair worry so
again, if you want to nominate, you can take the trouble of
verification, same goes for seconders.
Now this leaves an evolving but limited number of people that are
"fully" verified, they can chose to "proof" their ID to the ver-comm or
become a registered and recognized member of the Thawte WoT, whatever
tickles their fancy. By setting a method that allows leeway to the
verification process, meaning that several routes can be part of the
method, we can most likely accommodate members from any region in the
Does this mean a differentiation in membership? No not in my opinion,
just security for the movement which seems a reasonable request.
That leaves the "danger" of clones, provocators and such. Now of course
one "specialist" can disrupt more then 100 volunteers can build,
stringent rules for moderation may be one answer, and perhaps some form
of IP recognition another. We can for instance setup the subscribe page
and the voting methods whether web or mail, to "capture" the remote IP.
Now this won't lead to "certainty" but it will eliminate numerous votes
from one person (at best re-dial-up with time intervals to not get the
same IP, several accounts and such are needed to do that job, in all a
system that with the time and cost involved is not really profitable for
whomever uses it, certainly not if the numbers of voters grow and the
influence that can be levvied in such a way gets less and less.
With some simple "statistics" on IP from voters it should be possible to
"recognize" paterns too, we might need help from some mathematicians on
that, but I am pretty sure we can find someone to "use" this as a study
thesis and help us out in the same time.
This would allow us to "forget" that form of influence for the time
being, though keep a weary eye.
Leaves the "agence provocateur".
Though verification of ALL members would force these people to use their
"real" identity, except for those that are professional, it does not
really STOP them. Stopping them can only be done by recognition of
paterns on the maillist.
By analyzing the results from organizations (attempts) as IDNO and the
pattern on the GA we (again with some help perhaps and some people who
are willing to spend time on this) should be able to see where what
By setting rules to the moderation that "prevent" clouding the subject,
personal insults that lead to more clutter, off topic postings and so
on we can keep the "moderated" list semi-clean of this behaviour. It
would however mean "strict" application of the rules, pro-active
reactions from the moderators and some "restraint" from the group to
come to a situation that actually allows constructive disagreement and
still gets to goals which in general are supported by a majority.
We can in that case think of more "specialized" mailling lists or
stricter rules for the memberslist and to leave the clutter on the
In a combination of all these methods lies the answer to what the
organization needs, maybe not what some of us would want, wish or
desire, but reality tells us that the line between inclusive and
exclusive is very thin, we should at all cost prevent that we become a
second ALAC and at the same time realize that giving all the power to
the members requires something in return in a sense of "security" after
all if a poll can "over-rule" or "overthrow" the elected panel then the
panel (and the remaining members or those who do not agree with the
outcome) must have some form of assurance that it is not a small group
of clones influencing the results for whatever reason. I am not directly
thinking of "take-overs" as some like to throw around, stopping progress
is just as effective to prevent from ever coming of the ground and
obtaining any of the goals we set ourselves (being heard and participate
in the governance of the internet), which would probably suit those that
do not wish to many "unknowns" to participate or make the entire process
democratic more then well.
Let's make also an assertion of the importance of the votes casted:
Vote for panel-members; Now this is an important vote, one that elects
people who will lead the way, in due course are done with "organizing"
and move in to more "representative" positions, lead the discussion on
the lists on topics chosen, propose and perhaps even write our
contributions to topics on discussions ongoing and so forth. So
influence on that vote is of importance, yet... When or IF we decide to
verify candidates/nominators/seconders we have ruled out a large part of
risk. First of all to "capture" the panel (while it is at 11 members)
one would need to obtain a majority in that panel. Second in order fo
this capture to pay off, one would have to be able to keep the
appearance up for quite some time, if the panel vote goes against the
membership once to often, or if the panel delays measures requested once
to long, the members are likley to"revolt" and with poll comm run polls
and put in requests for removal of the panel, if such comes to action
then I am sure the poll comm and the members are capable of simply
running their "own" vote of no confidence in the panel. Also for those
occasions safety nets should be build into the by-laws, f.i. the minimum
numbers of people that can together require a vote of no confidence in
the panel. Also one must realize that in order to "capture" the panel in
that sense a lot of clones are needed to vote in a majority of panel
members and paterns should be clear quite quickly that such happened.
Vote for comm members:
Probably easier influenced and captured, but here come the kicker from
the panel, who can in the protection of the members always "correct"
decisions or delays from comm's if it becomes clear that "something is
rotten", members can alert the panel, so can polls.
The same goes for "volunteer comms" where members are not voted upon,
again the panel and the members should be the safeguard.
Though wishes are great and need might have to be filled it is reality
that moves us forward.
Constructive criticism is appreciated.
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