[svlug] Explaining the Election

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Fri Jan 25 14:57:24 PST 2008

On Jan 25, 2008 2:31 PM, Brian J. Tarricone <bjt23 at cornell.edu> wrote:
> Paul Reiber wrote:
> > Rick, you've conveniently side-swiped my entire argument; that the
> > appointments I made stand, and that those offices are NOT CURRENTLY
> > VACANT, unless indeed both parties have since resigned.
> Not that I'm an expert on these matters, but, lacking a constitution
> and/or by-laws to dictate what the president can and cannot do, and what
> the members can and cannot do, the members can do whatever they please,
> including deciding to elect officers at a regular meeting, regardless of
> whether or not there are already existing officers.

Hear, hear! If I become President, that's how I want it. Even if I
don't, actually.

> Given the lack of any governing documents, this group effectively has no
> rules for operation.  Although, let's not forget who actually has
> tangible power over the group's operations: people with root on the
> server, admin access to the lists, control over the domains, etc.
> They're free to set whatever policies they want, and the membership can
> do little about it if they don't like it.

That turns out not to be the case. The membership has a number of
resources to draw on. Total withdrawal of support is very effective.
At the very worst, the members can leave, and possibly form another
organization more to their liking.

Our admins have been given their authority precisely because they have
demonstrated a) competence, and b) no inclination to abuse that
authority. Except Paul, who should never have gotten root access to
anything at SVLUG.

Note that Rick has done nothing with his admin powers against Paul
during Paul's presidency, other than correcting some of Paul's errors
in server configuration and the like. However, Rick  clearly and
publicly declined to use his powers to do anything Paul asked of him,
unless there is some other sound technical reason for doing so. (Rick,
if I have mischaracterized your role, it was not by intention. Feel
free to post corrections.)

> To borrow your own description, Paul, SVLUG is more or less a do-ocracy
> (plus the IMO mostly-benevolent admin oligarchy).  If some members take
> it upon themselves to band together and select new leadership outside of
> your final appointments, it's entirely within their bounds to do so...
> because, frankly, what's to stop them?  As long as the admins consider
> the election valid, it's valid.

The members, since the admins don't want to interfere in the election.

>         -brian
> P.S.  Granted, without some sort of legal status, even if there was a
> constitution/by-laws, there still might not be much recourse if those
> who control SVLUG's resources decided to ignore the elected leadership.
>   Of course, IANAL, so I'm sure there are nuances and legal machinations
> I'm not considering.
> P.P.S.  I strongly question while I still (sporadically) read this list,

Do you mean 'why' rather than 'while'?

> but I must admit, somewhat ashamed to say, that all these goings-on can
> be pretty entertaining.

I'm glad you take it so well. I hope more will follow your example.
Well, actually I hope we stop the goings-on, of course.

Edward Cherlin
End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay

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