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Author Topic: Government Proposal Discussion: Parliamentary Universalism (Closed)  (Read 3525 times)
Purple State
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« on: March 25, 2009, 09:19:30 pm »
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This thread is for the discussion of ideas relating to the Parliamentary Universalism proposal for the new government.

Basic Characteristics
All citizens shall be the members of a Lower House of the Legislature
There shall be an elected Upper House

Discussion shall last no less than 48 hours and no more than 240 hours (10 days) unless there is continued and productive discussion.

At the conclusion of debate there will be a vote in a separate thread to choose which models of government shall be pursued by the Convention. Please visit the other Government Proposal Discussion threads and comment on those as well.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 08:12:49 pm by Mideast Assembly Speaker Purple State »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2009, 06:28:16 am »
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something I would definitely consider.

Depending on the exact way in which business is conducted and the way the government operates, this could create a really fun and suspenseful system.
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2009, 07:11:18 am »
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By far my preferred system, though there are a few things I outlined in Smid's thread that I would like to see in here. Though nobody answered those anyways...
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2009, 11:30:52 am »
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I would rather have a more limited lower house. Maybe all elected officials from the regions (and limit it to 5 max so that no region gains an advantage). That way those positions are worth more, will be more competitive, but you do have a pretty large lower house.
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2009, 11:38:10 am »
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Eh, I'm still not sold on the idea of changing the game from an election sim to a government sim. And I think that we'd end up scaring off more people who don't want to be active in legislative matters.
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2009, 06:49:15 pm »
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Eh, I'm still not sold on the idea of changing the game from an election sim to a government sim. And I think that we'd end up scaring off more people who don't want to be active in legislative matters.

I echo these concerns. I made some points in another thread about the struggle we could have keeping people active in the legislature and meeting majority vote thresholds as well. Imagine if everyone was part of a lower House now, half of the population doesn't take an interest in Atlasia.
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2009, 06:54:23 pm »
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I believe that having such a large lower house would be at the detriment of Atlasia. I say we keep a bicameral system, with elected officials in two houses, instead of every person being in the lower house. My bicameral system has already been proposed and you may want to take a look at it if you believe that we should not all be in the lower house.

Also, having everyone in the lower house would completely undermine the regions. Basically, we would be wiping out the regions and providing a completely federal government. I would much rather keep the regions and provide a smaller lower house, if we do come to a Parliamentary system. Otherwise, I would prefer a bicameral system.
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2009, 06:55:54 pm »
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I would rather have a more limited lower house. Maybe all elected officials from the regions (and limit it to 5 max so that no region gains an advantage). That way those positions are worth more, will be more competitive, but you do have a pretty large lower house.

Elected officials, federal and regional? Or just regional?

I feel that cabinet members should be either in the Senate or Lower House and they should be responsible to both chambers.
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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2009, 07:20:21 pm »
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I would rather have a more limited lower house. Maybe all elected officials from the regions (and limit it to 5 max so that no region gains an advantage). That way those positions are worth more, will be more competitive, but you do have a pretty large lower house.

Elected officials, federal and regional? Or just regional?

I feel that cabinet members should be either in the Senate or Lower House and they should be responsible to both chambers.

I disagree. I believe Cabinet members should only have their one duty to the Cabinet. I think that we should expand the positions of the Cabinet to make them more uselful in this simulation.
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2009, 07:27:10 pm »
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I would rather have a more limited lower house. Maybe all elected officials from the regions (and limit it to 5 max so that no region gains an advantage). That way those positions are worth more, will be more competitive, but you do have a pretty large lower house.

Elected officials, federal and regional? Or just regional?

I feel that cabinet members should be either in the Senate or Lower House and they should be responsible to both chambers.

Regional only. Otherwise federal officials get two votes. And I don't think the President should have the ability to appoint people to vote his way. Undermining the system.
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2009, 07:48:39 pm »
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Eh, I'm still not sold on the idea of changing the game from an election sim to a government sim. And I think that we'd end up scaring off more people who don't want to be active in legislative matters.

I echo these concerns. I made some points in another thread about the struggle we could have keeping people active in the legislature and meeting majority vote thresholds as well. Imagine if everyone was part of a lower House now, half of the population doesn't take an interest in Atlasia.

They take enough of an interest to register. I think you mistake taking an interest with a capacity to participate. Before I had a position, I never posted on here. I generally didn't even check the board unless there was an election. People don't have an opportunity to participate if they don't hold an elected office. They can't debate Bills, they can't vote on Bills, they can talk about elected representatives in the media threads and they can vote in elections and that's about the extend of it.

My whole argument this whole time is that a universal model gives people the opportunity to participate. Simply stating that people aren't involved so therefore shouldn't be given the opportunity to be involved is not a conclusion that I reach. If our principal trouble is that people are not active, the solution is not restricting the number of people able to participate and be active, which can only reduce activity levels - it's about making more people able to take part. If more people are able to participate then more people will be active.
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2009, 07:54:16 pm »
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Eh, I'm still not sold on the idea of changing the game from an election sim to a government sim. And I think that we'd end up scaring off more people who don't want to be active in legislative matters.

I echo these concerns. I made some points in another thread about the struggle we could have keeping people active in the legislature and meeting majority vote thresholds as well. Imagine if everyone was part of a lower House now, half of the population doesn't take an interest in Atlasia.

They take enough of an interest to register. I think you mistake taking an interest with a capacity to participate. Before I had a position, I never posted on here. I generally didn't even check the board unless there was an election. People don't have an opportunity to participate if they don't hold an elected office. They can't debate Bills, they can't vote on Bills, they can talk about elected representatives in the media threads and they can vote in elections and that's about the extend of it.

My whole argument this whole time is that a universal model gives people the opportunity to participate. Simply stating that people aren't involved so therefore shouldn't be given the opportunity to be involved is not a conclusion that I reach. If our principal trouble is that people are not active, the solution is not restricting the number of people able to participate and be active, which can only reduce activity levels - it's about making more people able to take part. If more people are able to participate then more people will be active.

My main bone to pick with this plan is that this totally demolishes the regions. We need to preserve some sort or regional government or regional representation.
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2009, 08:02:07 pm »
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I would rather have a more limited lower house. Maybe all elected officials from the regions (and limit it to 5 max so that no region gains an advantage). That way those positions are worth more, will be more competitive, but you do have a pretty large lower house.

Elected officials, federal and regional? Or just regional?

I feel that cabinet members should be either in the Senate or Lower House and they should be responsible to both chambers.

I disagree. I believe Cabinet members should only have their one duty to the Cabinet. I think that we should expand the positions of the Cabinet to make them more uselful in this simulation.

This is a parliamentary system being proposed. Not a presidential system.

I would rather have a more limited lower house. Maybe all elected officials from the regions (and limit it to 5 max so that no region gains an advantage). That way those positions are worth more, will be more competitive, but you do have a pretty large lower house.

Elected officials, federal and regional? Or just regional?

I feel that cabinet members should be either in the Senate or Lower House and they should be responsible to both chambers.

Regional only. Otherwise federal officials get two votes. And I don't think the President should have the ability to appoint people to vote his way. Undermining the system.

I disagree. If you insist on a limited lower house, I believe its members should be elected by STV in each region or constituency. But I remain opposed to a limited lower house, for Smid's regions.
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2009, 08:50:51 pm »
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Eh, I'm still not sold on the idea of changing the game from an election sim to a government sim.

Why not?  It's an election sim now, and it's clearly not working.  There's no incentive to want to get elected.
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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2009, 09:10:17 pm »
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Eh, I'm still not sold on the idea of changing the game from an election sim to a government sim.

Why not?  It's an election sim now, and it's clearly not working.  There's no incentive to want to get elected.

I agree. Government sims allow for more participation and involvement. Election sims are reliant upon frequent and exciting elections. Not to mention it requires no other participation and leads to floods of zombie voters every few months.
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2009, 09:14:30 pm »
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I would rather have a more limited lower house. Maybe all elected officials from the regions (and limit it to 5 max so that no region gains an advantage). That way those positions are worth more, will be more competitive, but you do have a pretty large lower house.

Elected officials, federal and regional? Or just regional?

I feel that cabinet members should be either in the Senate or Lower House and they should be responsible to both chambers.

Regional only. Otherwise federal officials get two votes. And I don't think the President should have the ability to appoint people to vote his way. Undermining the system.

I disagree. If you insist on a limited lower house, I believe its members should be elected by STV in each region or constituency. But I remain opposed to a limited lower house, for Smid's regions.

I think hainge 30 or so seats of actual consequence should be enough to get a good system flowing. Especially considering we can barely fill that many positions currently, likely because most of those regional roles are so weak. I feel like just placing everyone in a position of power disincentivizes competition and the need to participate.

And we can't allow members of the upper house to also be elected to the lower house. While I believe in dual office holding for the current system, it is because they are isolated. With this system they would both relate, giving an extra vote for members of both houses.
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2009, 09:24:59 pm »
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Eh, I'm still not sold on the idea of changing the game from an election sim to a government sim. And I think that we'd end up scaring off more people who don't want to be active in legislative matters.

I don't believe it removes the election sim component of the game, although that would obviously be based on the precise detail we include in the constitution if we moved towards this model. The draft that I suggested would still include 15 elected Senators, plus a Prime Minister elected by the Lower House - currently we have 10 elected Senators, 5 elected Governors, 5 elected Lieutenant Governors who don't seem to do much, and a President. So the model I brought forward is 15 elected representatives plus a Head of Government/Head of State and the current model is 15 elected representatives, 5 generally inactive elected representatives and a Head of Government/Head of State. In terms of the number of elected positions, the model I brought forward and the current model are virtually identical.

The Senate will remain strong - any Senator will have more power than any unelected Member of the Lower House, because there are fewer participants in the Senate. This means that there's a reason to contest Senate elections.

The Prime Minister will be able to set a legislative agenda by deciding who to appoint to their Cabinet. The real difference between the current President and the potential Prime Minister is the power to veto.

Our current model of Atlasia is not purely an election sim - there are government sim aspects to it, and this is necessary because if there was not a governance role to perform there would be no reason to contest elections. A universal parliamentarian model in no way reduces the election sim component of Atlasia, it merely increases the government sim component by giving un-elected participants a role to play, rather than just letting them sit around and vote.

We can complain all we want about zombie voters and inactive members, but the only way to increase activity is to give people a role and a responsibility and the opportunity to participate. If the only power we give unelected members is the right to vote, we can't complain when that is the only role they perform. Zombie voters have been disempowered and the only way to change that is by letting people engage and actively play the game.
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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2009, 09:39:52 pm »
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On a side note: I don't think you will necessarily get rid of regions, even if you don't set them up in the Constitution. States could always elect to setup their own regional structures.

But to address the model, I don't have anything inherently against this model. I just think it could become a little unwieldy. It also has so much more potential than you're giving it. Sure it can be the same balance of election sim we have now (16) while greatly expanding the government sim (all), but why not expand its election sim explosively (31) and also expand the government sim nearly two-fold (31). The math of it makes sense to have a limited lower house.
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« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2009, 09:49:19 pm »
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Eh, I'm still not sold on the idea of changing the game from an election sim to a government sim. And I think that we'd end up scaring off more people who don't want to be active in legislative matters.

I don't believe it removes the election sim component of the game, although that would obviously be based on the precise detail we include in the constitution if we moved towards this model. The draft that I suggested would still include 15 elected Senators, plus a Prime Minister elected by the Lower House - currently we have 10 elected Senators, 5 elected Governors, 5 elected Lieutenant Governors who don't seem to do much, and a President. So the model I brought forward is 15 elected representatives plus a Head of Government/Head of State and the current model is 15 elected representatives, 5 generally inactive elected representatives and a Head of Government/Head of State. In terms of the number of elected positions, the model I brought forward and the current model are virtually identical.

You're still handing everyone an office the day they sign up and changing the very foundation of what "Atlas Fantasy Elections" has always been. The game is no longer about citizens on the outside working to build up their reputation and contribute good work to get involved in the legislature around the time of big elections, the game would be all about government, which quite frankly is a little dull.

I don't find the idea of a game comprised mostly of a government sim as very fun.

Also, if you take away dual office holding, how would those in the Senate have more power than those in the House? I don't see how one House is more powerful than the other unless you say the Senate is more powerful by having slightly more people than the Lower House. Say what you like about our current system, but I quite like the ability of being able to work as a citizen not necessarily in political office, and working your way up the ladder by working hard, or getting elected to regional offices, and eventually higher office. Changing the game to a government sim almost entirely, and for all practical purposes, having two identical houses in the legislature, that involved everyone, would seem to take alot of the excitement and relaxation out of the game.

Also I have some unrelated concerns.

Quote from: Me
Which brings me to another problem, what are we going to do about inactive people? If the Lower House which would be comprise of all the citizens, we're going to have some problems with keeping everyone active. Probably half our citizens right now don't take an interest in anything regarding Atlasia. Half of my party (the SDP) is dead/inactive. How would we hold votes? Majorities would be the most obvious rule, but what if 40% of the people aren't active in Atlasia? Left Atlasia? On vacation? You'd have problems meeting these thresholds.

The problem would only be greater if you ever had to deal with something that required a 2/3rds or 3/4ths margin for important things such as constitutional amendments or what have you. Getting two thirds of the entire game seems to be a nigh impossible feat if right now is any indication. The only solution would be to simply have votes take place within a certain amount of time, but it would seem to be to be a downright joke if only 40-60% of Atlasia turns out to vote in the legislature.
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« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2009, 09:52:01 pm »
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On a side note: I don't think you will necessarily get rid of regions, even if you don't set them up in the Constitution. States could always elect to setup their own regional structures.

But to address the model, I don't have anything inherently against this model. I just think it could become a little unwieldy. It also has so much more potential than you're giving it. Sure it can be the same balance of election sim we have now (16) while greatly expanding the government sim (all), but why not expand its election sim explosively (31) and also expand the government sim nearly two-fold (31). The math of it makes sense to have a limited lower house.

I'd prefer to increase the size of the Upper House if the level of activity warrants it, rather than increasing the number of elected positions by limiting the capacity of unelected members to participate. Although I'd prefer to keep the Upper House restricted to about 1/3rd of total registrations (ie a half of the size of the Lower House).

As soon as we have some people who are unable to take part in the governance, all they'll do is show up to vote. If they can only vote, they will only vote. We'll still be moaning about zombie voters in a year's time.

I therefore believe that a universal system is the best way to combat inactivity, and if we adopt a universal system, we need to differentiate between elected roles and unelected roles which suggests a bicameral system.

If we have a bicameral system in which everyone can participate, then the President should not be able to over-ride the majority and shouldn't have the power of veto. If we're going to constrain the role of the President, we're better off adopting a parliamentary system with a Prime Minister instead of a President.
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« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2009, 10:25:27 pm »
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You're still handing everyone an office the day they sign up and changing the very foundation of what "Atlas Fantasy Elections" has always been. The game is no longer about citizens on the outside working to build up their reputation and contribute good work to get involved in the legislature around the time of big elections, the game would be all about government, which quite frankly is a little dull.

As I have previously stated numerous times: THERE WILL STILL BE ELECTIONS. As I have previously stated: THE NUMBER OF POSITIONS ELECTED WILL BE THE SAME AS IS THE CASE NOW. You have quite often complained about the people who only get involved around election time, you call them zombie voters, and yet here you are advocating exactly that!

I don't find the idea of a game comprised mostly of a government sim as very fun.

And yet you ran for the Senate...

Also, if you take away dual office holding, how would those in the Senate have more power than those in the House? I don't see how one House is more powerful than the other unless you say the Senate is more powerful by having slightly more people than the Lower House.

Slightly less people, actually, which is why any individual Senator is more likely to be holding the balance of power on a vote and therefore more powerful as they will be determining the outcome of the legislation. 

Say what you like about our current system, but I quite like the ability of being able to work as a citizen not necessarily in political office, and working your way up the ladder by working hard, or getting elected to regional offices, and eventually higher office. Changing the game to a government sim almost entirely, and for all practical purposes, having two identical houses in the legislature, that involved everyone, would seem to take alot of the excitement and relaxation out of the game.

The only difference between being a citizen, working your way into higher office and a member of the Lower House working your way into higher office is the fact that you can actually participate in debates about Bills if you're a member of the Lower House, which you can't do as a private citizen currently. If anything, debating legislation in the House gives greater opportunity to prove that you can handle the role of higher office.

Quote from: You
Which brings me to another problem, what are we going to do about inactive people? If the Lower House which would be comprise of all the citizens, we're going to have some problems with keeping everyone active.

As I've mentioned several times now, people are inactive because the only role they have to play is that of a voter. If a person can't contribute in a manner other than voting, they have no incentive to do anything other than vote. The cure for inactivity is giving people something to do.

Quote from: You
Probably half our citizens right now don't take an interest in anything regarding Atlasia.

Don't confuse not taking an interest with not having a role to perform. People have taken enough of an interest to register - if they're inactive, it's not because they're not interested. 

Quote from: You
Half of my party (the SDP) is dead/inactive. How would we hold votes? Majorities would be the most obvious rule, but what if 40% of the people aren't active in Atlasia? Left Atlasia? On vacation? You'd have problems meeting these thresholds.

The problem would only be greater if you ever had to deal with something that required a 2/3rds or 3/4ths margin for important things such as constitutional amendments or what have you. Getting two thirds of the entire game seems to be a nigh impossible feat if right now is any indication. The only solution would be to simply have votes take place within a certain amount of time, but it would seem to be to be a downright joke if only 40-60% of Atlasia turns out to vote in the legislature.
[/quote]

Right now we use time limits and base elections on the number of votes cast in that time period. I don't see why this would need to be any different.
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« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2009, 11:39:40 pm »
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On a side note: I don't think you will necessarily get rid of regions, even if you don't set them up in the Constitution. States could always elect to setup their own regional structures.

But to address the model, I don't have anything inherently against this model. I just think it could become a little unwieldy. It also has so much more potential than you're giving it. Sure it can be the same balance of election sim we have now (16) while greatly expanding the government sim (all), but why not expand its election sim explosively (31) and also expand the government sim nearly two-fold (31). The math of it makes sense to have a limited lower house.

I'd prefer to increase the size of the Upper House if the level of activity warrants it, rather than increasing the number of elected positions by limiting the capacity of unelected members to participate. Although I'd prefer to keep the Upper House restricted to about 1/3rd of total registrations (ie a half of the size of the Lower House).

As soon as we have some people who are unable to take part in the governance, all they'll do is show up to vote. If they can only vote, they will only vote. We'll still be moaning about zombie voters in a year's time.

I therefore believe that a universal system is the best way to combat inactivity, and if we adopt a universal system, we need to differentiate between elected roles and unelected roles which suggests a bicameral system.

If we have a bicameral system in which everyone can participate, then the President should not be able to over-ride the majority and shouldn't have the power of veto. If we're going to constrain the role of the President, we're better off adopting a parliamentary system with a Prime Minister instead of a President.

The problem is some of these people don't want to participate in discussions either way. I mean look at the near zero non-delegate activity in this Convention. Look at the low delegate activity here. Just because you hand someone a position, no matter how influential, doesn't translate into activity.

What we need to do is ensure that the active people have roles. My only gripe with the larger bodies I am proposing is that competition for these races will be close to none. More effort will go into counting votes than to getting elected. Which perhaps is its own argument for your proposal: a limited number of higher positions with no competition for lower ones.

I do think this is viable and I have a number ideas for proposal when we get under way. One I just thought of is no quorum requirements for the lower house. Another would be combining this with Bicameral Nonparliamentarian, where both houses can push its own agenda and compromise through conferences.
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« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2009, 12:28:56 am »
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On a side note: I don't think you will necessarily get rid of regions, even if you don't set them up in the Constitution. States could always elect to setup their own regional structures.

But to address the model, I don't have anything inherently against this model. I just think it could become a little unwieldy. It also has so much more potential than you're giving it. Sure it can be the same balance of election sim we have now (16) while greatly expanding the government sim (all), but why not expand its election sim explosively (31) and also expand the government sim nearly two-fold (31). The math of it makes sense to have a limited lower house.

I'd prefer to increase the size of the Upper House if the level of activity warrants it, rather than increasing the number of elected positions by limiting the capacity of unelected members to participate. Although I'd prefer to keep the Upper House restricted to about 1/3rd of total registrations (ie a half of the size of the Lower House).

As soon as we have some people who are unable to take part in the governance, all they'll do is show up to vote. If they can only vote, they will only vote. We'll still be moaning about zombie voters in a year's time.

I therefore believe that a universal system is the best way to combat inactivity, and if we adopt a universal system, we need to differentiate between elected roles and unelected roles which suggests a bicameral system.

If we have a bicameral system in which everyone can participate, then the President should not be able to over-ride the majority and shouldn't have the power of veto. If we're going to constrain the role of the President, we're better off adopting a parliamentary system with a Prime Minister instead of a President.

The problem is some of these people don't want to participate in discussions either way. I mean look at the near zero non-delegate activity in this Convention. Look at the low delegate activity here. Just because you hand someone a position, no matter how influential, doesn't translate into activity.

What we need to do is ensure that the active people have roles. My only gripe with the larger bodies I am proposing is that competition for these races will be close to none. More effort will go into counting votes than to getting elected. Which perhaps is its own argument for your proposal: a limited number of higher positions with no competition for lower ones.

I do think this is viable and I have a number ideas for proposal when we get under way. One I just thought of is no quorum requirements for the lower house. Another would be combining this with Bicameral Nonparliamentarian, where both houses can push its own agenda and compromise through conferences.

Re: your first couple of paragraphs - quite so. We can't enforce participation, really all we can do is provide the opportunity and hope (as I believe) that people will become more involved. Of course, if you provide the opportunity to participate and people don't grasp that participation, then there is no reason to allow them to vote - ie, it is then possible to set a minimum activity requirement in order to qualify for a vote. Active participants have more opportunities to take part and inactive participants are purged from the voting roll.

Re: your last paragraph - the point you raise regarding quorum is one where I agree. Perhaps it would be possible to set a minimum quorum on a vote (so that a vote cannot pass without reaching a minimum number of votes) and leaving that number low enough that it's almost always going to pass, but really, that would just about be pointless. If people don't care enough about a Bill to not vote on it, then it is only fair to count the votes of people who actually turn out to vote. Anyway, that was just a long-winded way of saying "I agree with you." As for other methods - I'm certainly doing my best to contribute to other, (and in my opinion, lesser) models because I want to see the best model be presented to Atlasia regardless of whether it is my first preference system. If a system I'm not as supportive of is accepted, I still think it's my duty as a delegate to put forward ways in which it can be improved and work at an optimum level. Most of the system I put forward - a universal Lower House - could certainly work in the bicameral presidential model. I've previously set out my reasons for supporting a parliamentary model rather than a presidential model for a universal method, but that would probably be my second-preference system - still allowing that same high degree of participation through the universal Lower House.

Note, however, that both Houses could still pursue their own agenda with this model. Bills could be introduced in either House, but need to be passed by both. If a Bill passes one House, it is then sent to the other for ratification. If the second House proposes an amendment and agrees to that amendment, the Bill would then need to be returned to the Lower House so that the amended Bill could be ratified. This could lead to standoffs between the Houses and compromises as well.

EDIT: Just reading your thesis - I have a couple of ideas about preventing the Lower House from becoming cumbersome, but they'd be more discussed in relation to Standing Orders. One that might be useful would be allowing members to speak to a Bill only once (if an amendment is moved, they can also speak to the amendment). This would ensure that a member would need to have a substantial contribution to make - they'd be wasting their time with a single-sentence post so hopefully members would make better "speeches." The disadvantage is that there are times when the best amendments are made through discussions. For this purpose, it may be beneficial for the Parliament to form Joint Committees for the various portfolios, allowing the Bills to be drafted more carefully and some elements discussed within committee before they're introduced. Anyway, that's a discussion we can have later when we talk about Standing Orders...
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 12:35:12 am by Smid »Logged
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« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2009, 09:57:00 am »
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Or possibly the creation of committees in the lower house that must pass legislation through first, which get unlimited discussion. Once it passes to the entire house it becomes 1 comment per person.
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« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2009, 01:55:36 am »
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Or possibly the creation of committees in the lower house that must pass legislation through first, which get unlimited discussion. Once it passes to the entire house it becomes 1 comment per person.

That'd probably be the best way of doing it - something along those lines.
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