Hierarchy, Rules, Commands ... an alternative

A place to provide all of NCI and NCI leadership with questions, suggestions, comments, or any other kind of feedback.
Quite Oh
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Re: Hierarchy, Rules, Commands ... an alternative

Post by Quite Oh » Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:37 pm

Trinity Coulter wrote:I completely agree with Janet on keeping things simple, and letting people have freedom.
What freedoms are you asking for that you don't already have?

Imnotgoing Sideways
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Re: Hierarchy, Rules, Commands ... an alternative

Post by Imnotgoing Sideways » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:04 pm

Serious Immy is serious... No smilies for now...

****

The core issue with rule enforcement is that we have individuals enforcing the rules. This applies to all officer roles SL, RL, or otherwise. I’m forced to take into consideration the numbers of police abuse cases that exist in my home state alone. A few of which ended in murder.

Now, murder can’t exist in SL outside of an RP context. But, as long a certain language gets used; certain connotations arise that lead to glaringly obvious parallels to real world events. Words like “Power”, “Enforcement”, “Officer”, and the like have a reputation assumed upon them. Both for the person in the position of the role and the observers. Abuse of these terms occurs in many ways.

I’m personally often the target of such terms as “Power”, “Position”, “Rank”, and “Influence”... Words I prefer not to use in a sentence lightly. But, when I wind up presenting myself in a way that troubles someone, these terms come up. I have been complained about, blogged about, and targeted with defamation and libel over such terms.

It’s worrisome to hear people toss around these terms so frequently. Especially considering the form of organization that NCI is intended to be. I hear NCI staff being discussed as if they’re a government, an army, an enforcement branch, even a business. I don’t see any of this language to be helpful. Talking about things like rule enforcement, funding, and decision making is productive; but not in the context I see it presented.

NCI has a Board of Directors. As Tateru stated in another thread, the BoD was a selected decision maker group based on trust. Having this small collective of minds behave like a strainer for the overall handling of NCI’s operations is a very productive tool. And, that’s what the BoD is: a tool for the community to keep NCI as a whole productive, consistent, trustworthy and stable. In my frank opinion: Politicking about it detracts from the goal.

If we look at the BoD, Land Holdings group, officers, and helpers as people of “power”; we will be left with no choice but see disagreeable aspects of the group. I know it’s not nice to cite my own situation. But, my actions at the time of the “grief-group” situation have proven that there is no one controller here. For nearly the past two years I silently trusted the NCI BoD to make decisions over what’s best for the volunteers and the new residents that make NCI what it is. To this day, that trust remains.

When I believed they were wrong, I spoke up and contacted them directly. While other people cried “foul” in the sandbox, I messaged Carl directly. He listened. When I saw poor behavior by a helper or officer, I messaged Beverly, Garn, or Gramma. They listened. To me, that’s how it works.

I did what I could to keep personal issues personal. My situations with other avatars have been private matters until I saw it turn into a situation that would affect the group. When faced with something that I saw as a compromising factor to NCI, I would bring it to a senior or BoD member. I’d rely on their advice on how to handle the situation and follow suit the best I could.

When speaking of freedoms, don’t use the word “freedom”. It is too vague to address what you’re really asking for. For some, freedom means being able to enter a PG parcel to be free of all the “porn” SL has to offer. For myself, freedom means being able to strut around in pasties because they technically address the Linden Lab guidelines on avatar nudity. So, you see? There’s two opposing concepts of “Freedom”.

Rules can be written to define acceptable behavior, but, I agree it’s practically impossible to address everything. If anyone has seen the California Vehicle Code book, you’ll understand what I mean. There are no less than 3 pages focused on the condition, state, and operation of headlights alone. As a volunteer, I accept and agree with the current NCI Officer Guidelines as they’re documented. In times when I have any doubt or notice a lack of granularity, I make every effort to make an educated decision devoid of my own personal opinion. I have driven myself to great degrees of frustration over enforcing the PG clothing guidelines since I personally disagree with them. But, I do it anyway. And, I’ve been vocal about it, both humorously and seriously.

So, the way I see it is that we have a perceived hierarchy based on trust, rules based on the Linden Lab PG guidelines and maintaining sanity for the new resident, and I’m unclear what sort of “commands” we’re working under beyond “don’t be a jerk”. (or "A-hole" depending on how old your documentation is.)

****

Back to your regularly scheduled Immy! (^_^)y
What would life be like in a world without nipples? =^-^=

Janet Rossini
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Re: Hierarchy, Rules, Commands ... an alternative

Post by Janet Rossini » Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:31 pm

Your note asks one question, and I'll begin by answering that.

You asked "Have you seen us acting in such a way?" No, nor was I suggesting that I have.

I have heard people saying that if we just had a few more rules, a bit more clarity in the rules, everything would be OK. I am proposing a way that I believe is better, a way that is about modeling the behavior we value, and communicating our beliefs and values through stories rather than procedures.

You speculated about the source of my concern. It comes from my belief in what is better and I am writing into what is essentially an information vacuum about how things will be done in the future. I'm writing to influence that future, not out of fear or a desire for power, but out of hope and a desire to help.

I read most of the rest of your posting as devaluing my suggestions, mostly through suggesting that they are naive and do not reflect a full understanding of how hard and awful working here needs to be. I simply do not agree with that theory of how things are best accomplished.

I do not want more power, nor do I want authority over anyone else. What I want is a situation where we respectfully listen to each other and work our way forward to better and better performance. I want that solely because it is the kind of organization I like to participate in and the kind of organization that I believe to be most effective.

I'd like to address one other thing you said:
I know people want to pick and choose the fun jobs like planning and designing and building the environment. Cool. It's nice that people want to help out, and the ideas ARE wonderful, and what about what NCI needs? Yes, you are NCI, and you want to express yourself. But if nobody does the accounting, or goes around ensuring that a poster works, that TP pads operate, that landmark givers function, that the freebie dispensers deliver, then NCI falls apart.
Well, y'know what? People do want to do fun jobs. And people will do jobs that they consider fun. People even find things to be fun that may well surprise you and me. I actually know people in RL (but not SL unfortunately) who enjoy accounting. I know people in SL who enjoy scripting and who could have fun making sure that TP pads and landmark givers function. I happen to be one of those. That doesn't sound like what you call "sh*t" work at all. It sounds kind of interesting.

An organization thrives when people have things to do that they consider challenging and fun. Current organizational wisdom is not that people have to do "sh*t" work and jobs that they don't enjoy. The skill in building an organization is in finding ways to create jobs that are fulfilling and valuable to the people who do them.

And conversely, especially in a volunteer organization, people will not do jobs that they do not enjoy and will not do jobs that someone important considers a "sh*t" job.

I've been doing the best I can here to describe my beliefs about what it will take to get the many creative people in NCI moving in a common and positive direction. I think it has to do with respect and leadership, not with a concentration on duty and sh*t.

I understand from what you have said here, and from conversations that we have had in private, that you really do not value what I'm saying. I don't have a clear understanding of whether you are speaking for the board on that, or not. It doesn't really matter. In the end, decisions will come from the board, and things will happen. We'll all see what they are and what impact they have. And we'll respond to what happens. With any luck we'll make forward progress. I hope so.

At this moment, I think I'm done talking about this. Thanks to all who have read my thoughts.
I don't work here: I volunteer here. I don't have duties: I have small gifts which I offer.

Janet Rossini
NCI Supporter
http://valkyriejanet.wordpress.com

gramma fiddlesticks
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Re: Hierarchy, Rules, Commands ... an alternative

Post by gramma fiddlesticks » Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:10 pm

Quite Oh Wrote: That my my first coffee of the day post :)
And a very good one it was Quite. pass the coffee this way please!
When all else fails you.... READ the Instructions!

Trinity Coulter
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Re: Hierarchy, Rules, Commands ... an alternative

Post by Trinity Coulter » Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:28 pm

In response to the question by Quite above, I was referring back to the post by Janet and being positive.

In regard to what you asked about "What freedoms are you asking for that you don't already have?", I think the idea that was being expressed was more about the way leadership works with those who are being led. It was about being and becoming motivators of people and actions, more than pushing or driving people and actions.

Just an approach, that's all ... super simple :)

SHIPPOU OUD
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Re: Hierarchy, Rules, Commands ... an alternative

Post by SHIPPOU OUD » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:25 am

Turning the current system into a complex set of all encompassing rules would turn NCI into congress.
Seriously, "Don't be a donkey, or you don't stay here" works better than a 500 page book of rules classifying all the different kinds of donkeys, and what should be done with each kind of donkey.
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Quite Oh
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Re: Hierarchy, Rules, Commands ... an alternative

Post by Quite Oh » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:39 pm

SHIPPOU OUD wrote:Turning the current system into a complex set of all encompassing rules would turn NCI into congress.
So it appears that we're all in agreement.

To be honest, I don't really know where this comes from. People have been telling me "we should not have complex rules", and I interpret that being told "I'm afraid you're going to do that", or "I *think* you are about to do that" or "you are doing that".

We're not.

Don't mistake cleaning house and getting organized with making new rules. Think of what we're doing as balancing our finances, doing the budgets and sorting that giant box of bills, receipts, government papers, recipes and newspaper clippings into their appropriate folders, in a proper filing system. Once that is done, we need to do the vacuuming, the cleaning up of loose ends, and removing the extra stuff that we don't need (example: removing dead newstands).

Once we have everything sorted out nicely, we've cleaned up the house, and know where everything is, we can then start setting goals that go beyond "just keep it running". We create the to-do lists that will include not only the smooth running of the place (grocery lists, bills to pay, filing, putting gas in the car) to keep it running, but now that everything is clear, understood and in it's place, THEN we can start setting goals, such as remodelling the kitchen.

Someone said to me "But we can do it so much faster!". My question in response to that is "why?". At this point, we're doing a review that covers 4 years worth of history, people, assets and agreements. I think it's OK to take the time necessary, to move with deliberation, attentiveness and caution. The goal is not "change". The goal is the strong, healthy and joyful continuation of NCI in it's mission of serving newbies and each other. And any changes that we make will be explicity to serve that purpose.

Janet Rossini
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Re: Hierarchy, Rules, Commands ... an alternative

Post by Janet Rossini » Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:48 pm

Quite Oh wrote:.To be honest, I don't really know where this comes from. People have been telling me "we should not have complex rules", and I interpret that being told "I'm afraid you're going to do that", or "I *think* you are about to do that" or "you are doing that".

We're not.
Quite, my intention here is to help you and to help us all as we discuss potentially sensitive topics. Please keep that in mind as you read.

The best part of the above quote is that it tells me why you seem so often to be arguing, refuting things that no one has said: You are answering your own interpretations, not people's actual statements.

I respectfully suggest that when someone says something with which you agree, such as "we should not have complex rules", rather than attempt to interpret the inner state of the person, it might be better to reply with something like the above: We're not. Or, perhaps with a few more words:
Proposed Reply wrote:People have been saying that we should not have complex rules. I agree with that, and to my knowledge the board agrees with it also. I can't help wondering whether there is a concern underlying this suggestion. If something you've heard makes you concerned about complex rules, let's discuss it openly and in a friendly fashion. As far as I can tell right now, we're all on the same page on this one.
Now it is certainly possible that behind the question there lies some fear which the poster has not yet expressed, perhaps may not even be fully aware of. I suggest letting that fear come out, perhaps aid in gently drawing it out. By treating the words that are said, rather than making hidden assumptions about the other person's state of mind or emotion, I think we can keep the heat level down and the communication up.

Again, my intention is to help. Regards,
I don't work here: I volunteer here. I don't have duties: I have small gifts which I offer.

Janet Rossini
NCI Supporter
http://valkyriejanet.wordpress.com

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