[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
[wg-d] Robert's Rules
Here's some "rules of debate" from my simplified Roberts:
1. A member must obtain the floor and be recognized by the
How do we do that? What does it mean to "obtain the floor" in an
2. The member who made the motion has the first right to speak to
the motion. He does this by obtaining the floor...
3. A member can speak twice to the motion, but the second turn can
be taken only after everyone who wishes to speak has spoken...
What does it mean to "take a turn" in an email context?
4. Each member can speak for a fixed time on each turn...
How do we do this?
6. Speakers must address all remarks to the chair...
What does this mean in an email context? How do you deal with
7. In debate, speakers refer to officers by title and avoid
mentioning other members' names
Sounds good :-).
8. When speaking to a motion, it is important for the member to first
let the assembly know which side of the issue he or she is on...in
controversial issues, the presiding officer should alternate the
debate between those who are speaking for and those who are speaking
How do we do this? How does the chair recognize that someone
wants to speak. Do we all send emails saying "madam chairman, I
wish to speak to ...", and then wait for the reply saying it is my
turn to speak?
9. The speaker who makes the motion can't speak against it...
10. A member can't read, or have the secretary read, from part of a
manuscript or book, except short, relevant extracts...
11. During debate, a member can't talk against a previous action
that is not pending, unless one of the motions to *rescind*,
*reconsider*, or *amend something previously adopted* is pending...
12. During debate, members should take care not to disturb the
assembly by whispering, talking, walking across the floor, or
causing other distractions.
This one will be easy :-).
13. Only one person at a time may have the floor.
Highly appropriate for email...
14-17 etc etc etc
Clearly, these rules not only intrude on the discussion -- they
completely control the discussion, and permeate the entire debate.
They don't come into effect only when you want to take a vote.
*Every* utterance is controlled, and is a component of a formal
process. You don't speak unless the chair recognizes you; only one
person speaks at a time; there is a strict hierarchy of motions, etc
Clearly, many of these rules are simply inappropriate for an email
discussion. But there are many many other such problems. What does
it mean to be "out of order" in email? What does it mean to "open the
floor" when your debate is ongoing 24x7?
I'm not exaggerating when I say I can multiply these examples at
will. I now have three different versions of roberts rules sitting
on my desk here, including the definitive reference, "Robert's Rules
of Order Newly Revised 9th edition". In every one of them I can open
practically any page, and point out something that is inappropriate
for an email forum.
There may indeed be things we can *borrow* from Roberts Rules -- but
no matter what we do, we will be inventing something new.
Kent Crispin "Do good, and you'll be
email@example.com lonesome." -- Mark Twain