CZ:Nomination page/Management Council/Pat Palmer

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I've been in CZ almost from the very inception, with varying degrees of involvement. Some of CZ's fledgling difficulties remind me of another organization I've been in for decades now: a local contra dance, which is a fully democratic organization like CZ. The dance group has had episodes where a very active volunteer (with the best intentions in the world) developed so great a sense of ownership that (s)he began "bossing" and "criticizing" other volunteers, who simply quit. Volunteer organizations, churches, etc., are vulnerable to this syndrome. It has the counter-intuitive effect of discouraging others from volunteering, and then the over-zealous ones are reinforced yet more in the belief that they have to hang on for dear life lest the organization fail.

People, let's not hang on for dear life. If we get mad at each other (and we will), let's go golfing and come back later with a new perspective. An atmosphere dominated by struggles for control will deter new volunteers, and that is somehow what we need to curb. Working in here can be and should be mostly fun.

No one in CZ (except for the sysadmins!) seems to me to be so utterly invaluable that project would fail if they leave. At the same time, I always regret if someone decides to leave, even if they were not easy for me to work with, because it is always a loss. Each person has unique knowledge to contribute. We need everyone, but not at any cost. The last thing I intend ever to say here is "I will fight to the very end." If fighting is what is required, it's never going to work. I still have hope, and I haven't given up despite difficulties figuring out how to govern ourselves. We require patience and restraint above all.

Perhaps the CZ:Editor_Policy would benefit for a major revision. To me, it suggests too much discretionary power to a single Editor who, no matter how conscientious, may on occasion become too emotionally involved in a dispute to act neutrally. The policy deters constables from stepping in and reining in an editor whose style of interaction with other editors can be considered intimidating, because it says "The Constabulary should not be called, nor should it attempt to settle, disputes between editors of an article". I feel that this policy needs to be rewritten, calling all editors to a high level of tact and restraint, and empowering the constabulary to enforce politeness at all levels at all times, especially on the part of editors who (like managers in private industry) can potentially wield their "power" over authors. This suggests to me that we perhaps ought to make the selection of Editors to be based on more than just "expertise" (how ever we may define that), to be based also on a track record of having been able to work in CZ for a while with interactions that remain polite in the face of the inevitable disagreements that will arise. Demonstrated patience, tact and restraint matter are of great value to an Editor.

Personally, I got made an Editor by Larry Sanger after grousing to him privately about how an Editor had treated me. He said to me, "Think you can do better? Go do it..." THAT made me think. I'm afraid Editors in CZ really do need to try very hard to follow the golden rule, and speak to others as they would like to be spoken to.

So if after saying all this, anyone still wants to vote for me, I will accept the job. But if not, I'll be happy to hang around and do some writing when I get time.