Tuesday, February 19, 2013


When a delegate clicks on CLOSE DEBATE,

1)  the VOTE page appears.

The VOTE page shows the TITLE of the pending MOTION and lists all delegates who have voted on the motion showing YES and NO boxes after each name and totals at the bottom of the page, and has this message at the top:


2) An automatic email goes out to every delegate giving them 72 hours to vote on CLOSURE.

3) When a delegate enters the caucus, only the VOTE page appears until the time for voting is over.

4) A digital CLOCK on the VOTE page shows how much time remains for voting on CLOSURE.

If, at the end of the time for voting, there are more YES than NO votes, debate is closed and a new VOTE page appears, showing;

The title and text of the motion and the time remaining to vote on the motion.
An automatic email goes out to all caucus members informing them that they have 72 hours to vote on the motion.

If, at the end of the time for voting on CLOSURE, there are more NO votes than YES votes, the page reverts to the PENDING MOTION page.

There are, I am sure,many details which a competent programmer would see needing attention, but this is what I originally intended. I still believe it should be done, and if the Committee has the expertise, I urge them to ttry to complete the CAUCUS pages.to


  1. Let the discussion here be limited to the Chairman's vision of the MOTION construct.

    My most significant objection to the MOTION construct is that hard coding any motion construct forces the Rules Committee to work within the limits of the designed structure.

    Both Delegate McCormick and myself have proposed alternate visions of how online caucuses can operate, and that should be resolved by the Rules Committee before an authoritative implementation is pursued.

    The most significant issues I have with this proposal is the lack of a need for a second, and the lack of an ability for the State Caucus Captain, or other officer created by the State Caucus to serve in their absence, to rule a motion out of order.

    This should be a question for the Rules Committee to decide, ideally after an Advisory Committee of the Whole is formed to discusses the idea at the existing Delegate Forum, to form a basis for the Rules Committee to gauge the various views of the Delegates.

    I will be meeting with Delegate Tape on Thursday, at 4:30(CT) in Panama City Beach, FL. I will have a better idea of our capabilities after that meeting.

    If anyone else desires to attend, I can give them the location by e-mail.

  2. I note that sketches of the code needed to implement the Chairman's vision exist on our server, but have been deactivated.

    It may be possible to get some functionality out of this code, to allow operations until a final implementation can be created.

    Further, until the Rules Committee establishes uniform standards for recognizing the motions of State Caucuses, they should be free to decide for themselves if the built-in poll feature of the forum software satisfies their needs for deciding motions.

    I envision a highly specialized and custom sub-forum implementing a MOTION protocol established by our Rules Committee as the final solution.

  3. I am not clear on the objective as set out by Committee Chair Prather when he writes: "Let the discussion here be limited to the Chairman's vision of the MOTION construct. My most significant objection [...] is that hard coding any motion construct forces the Rules Committee to work within [...] the designed structure. The [...] issues I have with this proposal is the lack of a need for a second, and the lack of an ability for the State Caucus Captain [...] to rule a motion out of order."

    Do we want to discuss the practicability of programming the process set forth by the Chairman, or it's merits with respect to rules of order?

    I think our primary concern should be to look at the process as set forth, with an eye to how it might be implemented in our virtual setting, in the light of our expertise. From a programming perspective, it would be ideal to not do work that won't be used, but I do not foresee in the Chairman's proposal, anything that would be an issue. It seems a good starting point that would allow us to put in place something that is more usable than what we currently have and that can then be built upon.

    Once in place, I see a process of making adjustments and adding functionality to address priorities determined by and in cooperation with the rules committee, and in some cases the rules committee adapting the rules according to the merit of our work and suggestions.

    If we do here discuss changes to the merits of the process itself, I would suggest restricting this discussion to:

    1) parts of the process that might prove to obstruct the progress of business unnecessarily and how such parts of the process might be adjusted while still serving their purpose, or whether their purpose is appropriate the the virtual form of our venue. I have in mind Delegate Prather's comment "I am unsure why the Forum should be required close when a Motion is under consideration." In a real world environment, motions can often be decided on quickly and not interrupt the flow of business, but as provided by the Chairman, a succession of motions might easily stop the progress of business indefinitely.

    2) areas where we might take advantage of circumstances that our virtual environment provides, for example, possibly allowing debate on motions over the 72 hours they are being voted on.

    Our purpose, being to determine a good starting point as defined by the Chairman's vision, such discussion would not be focused toward determining the merits with respect to the rules, but so that he might consider our input and adjust his vision as he sees fit.

    If we were to pose topics which do not bear on how the procedures might halt business such as "the lack of a need for a second, and the lack of an ability for the State Caucus Captain, or other officer [...] to serve in their absence [...]," I would suggest we present such topics for the Chairman's consideration based on his judgement of it's merit and relative priority, restricting further discussion to questions and comments posed by him.

    If we are trying to get from New York to D.C., let's start by getting to Philadelphia and plan the next leg of the trip from there.

    I so motion. Do I have any seconds?

  4. Is your motion to activate the portions of the code that implement a custom MOTION construct, and develop it exactly as proposed here?

    If your motion is to develop modifications to a standard forum tool, then getting a forum up as getting to Edison NJ.

    I like that analogy. Getting an initial prototype Internet Committee recommendation would be Philadelphia. Having the Rules Committee adopt rules using this technology is Baltimore.

    Washington DC would then be the having a process in place where the Rules Committee, Internet Committee and State Caucuses work to propose, implement and adopt improvements to our MOTION process.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Ok. I think I see the miscommunication.

    My first opening line aims to limit the scope of this post. The remainder of my comment is my response to the post. I should have explicitly separated my directions from my commentary.

    Let us focus our discussion here on the following:

    1) Can the MOTION construct described by the Convention Chairman be improved upon?

    After a forum software is selected, this will expand to whether it is better to attempt to revive the existing code, or modify the adopted forum software.

  7. Making a Motion:

    The Chairman proposes that as soon as any delegate posts a motion, it would immediately open for discussion. An e-mail would be sent to all delegates, whether they want it or not.

    I would suggest that when a delegate makes a motion it should be in a visible but closed state. The original poster would be able to amend it, and other delegates from that state could second it.

    Once seconded, it would remain closed until one of the following occur:
    A) the Caucus Captain opens it for discussion,
    B) the Caucus Captain rules it out of order, or
    C) 24 hours passes.
    Once opened for discussion, an e-mail is sent to all delegates not opting out of e-mail notification.

  8. Discussion:

    The Chairman's proposal induces a separate vote whenever any delegates suggests the debate be closed.

    I would allow a comment block, and two check boxes, where delegates can vote YES or NO to lay on the table or to close discussion.

    The discussion would close in the following cases:
    1) A majority of the State Caucus have requested the motion be layed on the table.
    2) A two-thirds majority of the State Caucus have requested that discussion be closed.
    3) That no comments have been posted for 72 hours, and either a majority of those voting have requested the motion be layed on the table, or a two-thirds majority of those voting have requested the discussion be closed.
    4) The Caucus Captain determines that conditions adopted by the State Caucus to lay on the table or bring the motion to a vote have been met.

    Delegates not opting out would receive an e-mail of this change in MOTION state.

    It is possible that the conditions for laying the motion on the table and closing discussion for a vote could be met simultaneously. In this event, Robert's Rules of Order suggest that the motion should be layed on the table.

  9. Voting:

    The Chairman proposes a 72 hour voting period.

    This seems about right, and I certainly would not go shorter.

    Once discussion is successfully closed, a poll is opened, stating the MOTION, the time the voting will close, and allowing delegates to record their vote.

    Once a delegate votes, or upon the closing of the vote, the delegate will be able to review the votes of the other delegates.

    After voting closes, the Caucus Captain will have a button to record whether the vote passed or failed. This allows for proper handling of motions where a super-majority is required.

    If the Caucus Captain does not respond within 24 hours, a majority will be required to pass the motion.

    If the motion is passed, an e-mail is sent to delegates of the state, not opting out, the Caucus Captains of all states and the Convention USA officers. An entry is added to a monthly Convention USA e-mail for those delegates opting for a monthly e-mail digest of actions taken.

  10. Does this process specifically relate to making motions to the General Convention?

    What are some examples of motions that might be made?

    1. This process is entirely at the State Caucus level.

      While a motion to petition the Convention USA Floor is one possibility, in general any action the State Caucus desires to pursue would be entertained.

      For example, a State Caucus may decide to adopt rules and create officers other than a Caucus Captain.

  11. Any "mass" emailing has implications. For example, hosting providers often have limits on the number of outgoing mail per day. Also, if enough delegates decide to drop out and decide the best way to deal with the unwanted email is to mark it as spam, we could end up on spam-block lists which could cause difficulties with the hosting provider and cause mail to get blocked to people who want to receive it.

    While there are strategies to deal with these possibilities, the possibilities should be borne in mind.

  12. Upon the clarification by the Convention USA Chairman, discussion on the nature of discussion on our State Caucuses has been moved to the outline proposed by Delegate Tape.