[textop] Editoral-system

  • From: <EXT-Mathias.Brendel@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <textop@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 12:55:34 +0300

Hi all,

Larry noticed that we should not call the editors as "steward" in Textop 
project, let that be a terminus for Digital Universe. OK.

I renumber the items.


>Perhaps, but this is only one part of the puzzle.  Another 
>part is: who votes?  For what it's worth, I had anticipated 
>making "Editorial Groups,"

Now, it would be good if we had a working system and work out policies and vote 
for them. For me many solutions may be OK. For example:

(i) Let everybody have the right to vote, who is in the project for X month and 
has Y number of edits. X and Y to be set. Some kind of groups of interest will 
form automatically.

(ii) Let us form editorial groups and only those may vote, who belong to that 
group. This is a more formal approach, which does not harm, I think.


>But another point is that *the actual system in 
>which work is
>done* should be (1) as easy as possible to use, and (2) as 
>open as possible, consistent with the aim of high quality.  In 
>other words, work should not be assigned by a text editor; it 
>should be able to carried out "at will" by participants who 
>have made it past some *relatively* low barrier.  This is the 
>"open" part of my notion of project governance.
>I fully expect that most of the actual work on the Collation 
>Project, at least, will be done by graduate students.

I agree. The duty of the editor is only to control the quality of the result. 
He is not an organizer, not a boss, nor an administrator, he is a quality 
controller. Somebody, who has veto right. In the normal case the collaborators 
should be able to produce high quality result and resolve disputes among them. 
The editor is only there for publish this result, or to deny to publish it.

Of course if the editor rejects something, he should give a reason for that. He 
may dispute it with the collaborators. A good editor will do this and he will 
consider the critique and especially majority opinions. The editor may organize 
ad-hoc voting if necessary.

>> Stewards have to be re-elected in a periodical interval. 
>Perhaps.  Talk of "elections" is vague.

I insist on this. Since there is no guarantee that a nominated editor is a good 
editor. If majority of collaborators are not satisfied with him, there should 
be a regular process to ban him. In my opinion it is not even enough if he may 
be banned. There must be a periodical process of re-elections, like in 
democracies. Without this I am afraid the editors will be simply the first 
collaborators, not the best ones.

On the other hand we expect that Textop will be growing. After a while it is 
not good that an editor was voted by lets say 10 people, and there are 50 new 
collaborators in his area. He has no authority without a re-election in this 
case. This was a serious problem in Wikipedia.

Of course, re-elections should not happen too frequently, since Textop is not a 
state, the democratic subsystem is just a necessary device, not the productive 
device, it should be a "light" subsystem.

>>  Stewards may be banned in a democratic way, if 
>contributors are not
>satisfied with him. (More strict rules) 
>Which contributors?  Under what rules?  I would rather think 
>that such management decisions should be left up to a group of 
>peers, i.e., to other subject area leaders in the area.

This would be not enough democratic for me. I would insist on control from down.

>> Administrators can not be stewards and vice versa. 
>Perhaps, but I'm not sure why you say this.

This is a main principle of democracy. In Hungarian we call this the "split 
(sharing) of power". Different kind of power should be distributed. The system 
should be distributed, not centralized too much.


>Here's a question for you.  I think a point where we might 
>disagree is in the idea that editors might have to run for an 
>election and win the support of people who are not experts in 
>their field.  I think this is a recipe for disaster.  But what 
>advantages does the more democratic system, in which 
>rank-and-file participants vote on editors, have?

It has the advantage that it controls the dictatorship of the elite. There must 
be some control from down. And there must be some system of elitism as well. I 
believe that people will recognize authority if the have the possibility to 
control it. I believe that such an electoral system would be more than 
populism. I believe that scientific background will be respected by the people. 
However, respect of scientific background should be a policy to follow.

I believe that a democratic-elitism is the good solution. The system must be 
formally democratic, but respect of scientific background should be in the 

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