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[ox-en] Re: Free administration

Hi list!

Whew! Lots of interesting stuff here :-) .

As you can see in the signature (once more) I have a pretty large pile
of unread mail waiting from the German list. I guess I'll focus on
this list for a while to foster the thought transfer from the German
part. Well, seeing the threads popping up here, we need a thought
transfer back to the German list soon ;-) .

Yesterday Graham Seaman wrote:
On Fri, 14 Dec 2001, Stefan Merten wrote:
Do you mean that the government beaurocracy, not only the ministers themselves
get voted? The question then would be how such a government will be able to
carry out long-term plans, with the people executing these plans changing
and trying to please the public all the time (so they get voted again).

Good point! Representative democracy is indeed pretty interruptive for
administration processes and when looking at the use of these
processes that's not always a good idea.

Well in democracies of our brand you need to interrupt the latest
dictator you elected since you have no other chance to get things
changed. But I think it would be far better if more people have a say
in political processes so they don't need to be interrupted just to
change their direction.

Do you think it's possible to make any extrapolations from the way free
software projects are run?

Well, again and again I'm stunned how much you can learn from looking
at the Free Software phenomenon. So in general I tend to try to
extrapolate from Free Software - at least as a first guess.

They also have the problem of continuity.

Sure. But here the reason for the problem is inherent in the process
and not an external demand like in representative democracies. I think
this is an important difference.

There are several models: at one extreme there's Linux, with one person in
overall charge but people rising and filling the 'administrative' posts
as they fall vacant; at the other, more organised elective systems (eg.
Debian), and in between ones with semi-formal rotation (perl, Apache).

Yes, there are a lot of models. I'd be interested in more explanation
about these models - after all I'm not involved in any Free Software
project until now and I *love* to have as much reality-check as

What they have in common is that the people in charge are only in charge
as long as they're doing what people want;

And *that* is the important point. Seeing it this way they are
providing a service to others in the project just like coders,
web designers, testers, ... do.

on the other hand, they also
set a direction.

Yes. They lead in a way. But because of above they need to "feel" the
consensus (i.e. a situation where nobody has to object a decision) of
the people they're "leading" - otherwise...

And they only get to be there by showing they're good at

...they would not stay there. At least at a large scale it is not
possible to "take over" a Free Software project because a leader not
"feeling" the consensus has no way to stay a leader. Being a leader of
a bigger Free Software project has no point when nobody is interested.

This is different from hierarchical models where the use of power is
an option.

It seems like the best kind of democracy to me.

No, it's not a democracy, because there is no power concentrated in
the hands of the leaders. So it's no `something-cracy' at all. Perhaps
it's just crazy ;-) .

But it is still
representative, not like Athens, or a kind of government where
everything is decided by referendum.

Well, is it? Or better: Is it more representative than what coders,
web designers, ... do?

On the other hand, is this kind of management something that only works
for 'technical' issues (like software), not for things that affect
everybody's daily life?

I don't think that it is limited to technical issues. I think the
point is the structural absence of power. Everyone in a project needs
each other and vice versa. If the self-development of the single
person is the precondition of the self-development of all, and if
we're striving for a common goal, it is in my very own interest that
everyone else can self-develop as much as one can.

						Mit Freien Grüßen

Unread: 81 [ox], 7 [ox-en]


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