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[PROPOSAL] Amendment to the Manners: Election Rescheduling

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Okay, I know what you're thinking. "Sensor, why do you keep trying to change the Manners? What is your obsession with modifying them? Stop it!"

And that would be a fair point. This time, however, it was @Big Bad Badger who approached me about doing it. His idea was to have it so that the Hall of Nations would have some elections every month rather than all the elections every three months. All elected officials would still serve three-month terms, but they would no longer all be elected at the same time. This would serve to increase HoN activity by giving it more consistency and generally prevent there from being a lull. So, we got to work, and this is what we came up with:

Quote

The following amendment shall be made to the Manners:

Ministries

3. All other ministries will be elected by the Hall of Nations. They will serve a three-month term. They may resign or be terminated by the Delegate before the end of their term. Ministers may serve unlimited terms. The Delegate may replace a Minister at any time for any reason.

4. There shall be three separate election cycles, referred to as the Lotus Elections, the Orchid Elections, and the Chrysanthemum Elections, with one election cycle occurring each month. During each election cycle, at least one ministerial or deputy ministerial election will be held. It is the Delegate’s right to establish which elections are to be held in which cycle.

5. Any minister may appoint assistants as needed to fulfill the duties of the position.

This amendment interjects a new clause 4 into the Ministries section of the Manners, moving the current Clause 4 to 5, 5 to 6, etc. We settled on the Lotus, Orchid, and Chrysanthemum themes to reflect TWP's Imperial China theme. These reflect some of the phenological names of months of the Chinese calendar, and we could certainly have some very nice imagery to go with these names.

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I like this idea a lot for a) combating inactivity, and b) baking in continuity between terms, but I've got a couple comments/questions:

  • Do the "three separate election cycles" refer to the seven elected positions being broken up into three staggered election cycles?
  • If so, I think we should be specific and put in the Manners which positions get elected when, otherwise things will be too confusing
  • I'm intrigued but not jazzed about giving the elections names beyond what positions are getting elected, again because it's hard enough to get people to vote, let alone remember which positions go to which election name. If others are into it, though, then it's not a dealbreaker for me

A potential description of the cycles: I tried to pair them to keep interest levels approximately even, but this is just me spitballing. I do think, though, that CA should go in the Feb/May/Aug/Nov slot so that a brand new Minister doesn't have to rush plan the traditional Halloween celebrations in October or Holiday ones in December

  • Jan/Apr/Jul/Oct — Speaker, WA, and SAA
  • Feb/May/Aug/Nov — CA and Dep. FA
  • Mar/Jun/Sep/Dec — R&C and Ed.

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9 minutes ago, Fujai said:

 

  • Do the "three separate election cycles" refer to the seven elected positions being broken up into three staggered election cycles?

Yes! We weren't specific with the exact elected positions when because we wanted to see what Bran and the rest of the region thought about possible groupings that made the most sense.

Concerning the names we tried to come up with something easy to say and understand  that fit the theme. But help divide the elections.

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2 hours ago, Big Bad Badger said:

Yes! We weren't specific with the exact elected positions when because we wanted to see what Bran and the rest of the region thought about possible groupings that made the most sense.

Concerning the names we tried to come up with something easy to say and understand  that fit the theme. But help divide the elections.

Gotcha, that makes sense then! So my suggestion of positions is the rough structure you were thinking?

Halo and @Dilber (on Discord) mentioned that it would be difficult to plan long-term projects with staggered terms, but I rather disagree. We don't have a history of many projects that take three whole months to plan. Arguably, we don't have many projects that would take more than a day or two to truly plan out if folks have the time to spare and are super passionate.

While I agree that it's a bit much to comprehend at once just now, I do think that after being implemented and running, it'd be a lot easier to understand and remember who's terms line up where, so long as we work to publicize things well and make it as accessible as possible.

Apart from status quo arguments, though, there's no reason not to try this out for a bit, see if we like it, and then trash it if we don't. Might be a touch confusing if we do that and switch back, but the only way we'll get better is if we experiment with new and different things. No one's here to tell us what's feasible for a region or not but ourselves.

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It'll tank government coordination, and really just generally tank the idea of being a cohesive government unit. So I agree with Halo and Dilber that governing in general will be made harder.

Energy and momentum are certainly a good thing, but it is clear from much political research that election fatigue is absolutely a thing. As for trying to counter it with competitive elections... I question how one will change the fabric of TWP sufficiently to do that with this one law? Many elections remain uncontested, and I don't see how that will change.

Are endless PR campaigns and electioneering what we really want to see anyway, even if activity in that area does increase to that level? I feel it undermines the meritocracy already to even have elections, but to permanently be discussing them? It feels like a step in the wrong direction.

On top of that, staggered elections are often justified under some kind of anti-power-consolidation type nonsense, which isn't a good fit for TWP, and, I think, that perception would send the wrong message to the world.

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I'm not sold on it making governing that much harder, but perhaps instead of three staggers, it could be made two? Essentially turning the current two round cycle into two separate cycles with more even distribution of positions being elected?

At the very least, I feel that the current two round election tends to drag on too much with two full weeks of it. PR is also more difficult because we have to keep advertising for that whole time. On the other hand, monthly elections might make PR easier because they would be more routine and ingrained.

I agree that until we want consistently contested elections, then we have to do a lot more work to get a larger portion of the population to participate at all (and currently we want this to happen through government employment). It might not be awful to have uncontested elections in the first place if the community acknowledges that there's a single person who would be good at a position and really wants it. Until we have the numbers, putting someone else up against such a person for the sake of the election being contested doesn't make much sense.

However, on the larger scale, I disagree that elections harm the meritocracy. The elections are merely a tool of community meritocracy. It makes a clear and easy avenue for folks to step up and say "hey, I want to take on more responsibility," and as a community we decide if they merit that position. Without elections, it's more difficult for individual people to step forward and puts more of the weight of ensuring that the government is running on the Delegate (who would be hand picking folks, I assume), which makes them more likely to burn out.

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I'm seeing a lot of great discussion here, with good points coming from both sides. Let me try to address some of them:
 

  • Making inter-ministerial cooperation difficult: I actually don't think this would be the case. We have a pretty low turnover rate for our ministers, and new ministers will tend to already be part of the ministry they're now heading. A lot of our elections are uncontested, which means there would be time to prepare in advance. Under our current system, we could theoretically have every elected minister replaced, which could throw our government into as much disarray, but that's an unlikely scenario, so we don't worry about it. Under this system, I'm sure smooth transitions would be perfectly manageable.
  • Election fatigue: This may be a fair point. It might make sense to do as @Fujai suggested and split it into two cycles instead of 3. I don't think this is necessarily a problem, but I understand if people think elections every month would be tiring.
  • TWP is meritocracy, not a democracy: I'll defer to Fujai again and his statement regarding community meritocracy. In TWP, the legislature does not check the executive power, only the delegate checks the legislative power. As such, these elections have only as much power as the delegate gives them. It is within full accordance of the manners for the delegate to immediately dismiss and replace an elected minister. The delegate directly chooses MoFA and Military Affairs (TWPAF Commander) because of their particular power and importance, but always has veto power over elections. The benefit of elections is that they give community members a chance to step up and offer themselves for a position and allow the region to decide whether they merit that position.

So, in effect, I think the benefits are:

  • The spread out elections give the Hall more activity on a regular basis and would hopefully energize citizens by giving them more to do.
  • It would also keep us from having a 2-week period every 3 months where no new citizens can be inducted. 1 week every month or 1 week every couple of months is more reasonable, I think. 2 weeks is a long wait, and people might decide to move on before then.
  • It respects delegate supremacy.
  • It would reinforce the Imperial China theme of our region and maybe give an opportunity for related roleplay.

I'm definitely open to making changes here. If the consensus is that 3 cycles is too many, we can work with 2. If we want to standardize which positions are elected in which cycles, we can do that, too.

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