ASR Player's Manual Appendix S: ASR Round Table FAQ

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Version 1.0



This FAQ is designed to facilitate taking part in the ASR RT by outlining the basic courses of action participants might want to take. It is in particular intended for those who do not wish to wade through the pseudo-legal language of the RT Rules and Procedures. It is hoped that everybody submitting to these general guidelines will make the RT both more efficient and more pleasant.

I want to say something about the topic currently under discussion. What do I do?

The answer is simple: Just write up what you wish to say, making sure that you comment on ideas rather than people and/or their motivations. Contributions which address the topic currently on the floor are always welcome, but make sure that the discussion period has not yet expired.

I want to comment on the way people have been behaving. What do I do?

We don't want to talk about how people are behaving (unless some event merits raising a point of order (see below)) - the conversation should be centred on the proposal at hand and nothing else. Experience shows that such rants (and, yes, 'Things you all should be made to listen to' usually come out as such) do nothing to improve the atmosphere - in the worst case, more off topic contributions will be provoked. If you want to do something to change the atmosphere the best thing to do is to set an example accordingly.

I want to make a contribution to the discussion, but the discussion period has just ended and voting is about to begin/has begun.

Unfortunately, you are too late. This can be annoying, but please bear in mind that if *you* aren't prepared to follow the rules, then everybody else is entitled to the same liberty. Imagine thirty to forty people talking without any structure being imposed upon them.

I think everything about the topic has been said and the RT should move on. What do I do?

Make a motion to shorten debate (or second the motion if somebody else gets there first). Since there is a 24 hour objection period to such motions, this will effectively only shorten the debating period if there are more than 24 hours of discussion still to come.

I think we need more time to discuss the proposal at hand, or to vote on it (eg. because there is a holiday which is likely to prevent people from participating). What do I do?

Make a motion to extend debate, or lengthen the voting period - unless somebody else has done this already.

Somebody's made a motion I support. What do I do?

Second the motion. There's no need to make *another* motion, or to write up a speech in support. Just say: "I second A's motion." If you want to, you can quote the original for clarity. But, beware of the following situation:

Somebody's made a motion I support. It's been seconded, but I want to tell people I am in favour of it, too.

Don't do anything. Another second is not necessary and would just clutter up people's mailboxes. Just imagine what the RT would be like if all thirty to forty delegates did this...

I think representative A got carried away when arguing the case and used a mode of debate which I find offensive. What can I do about this?

Raise a point of order. ASR prides itself in having members from all over the world, and different cultures do have different notions of what is permissible. By raising a point of order, you let others know that in your opinion, a line has been crossed. Be careful to just point out what caused the offence without attacking the offender and thus making matters worse.

I think that the RT is confused about/disregarding existing rules or established practice. How can I point this out effectively?

Raise a point of information. You do this by directing a question at the Chair, sending it to the whole RT. It is the Chair's responsibility to answer it, but he or she may defer to somebody else who has particular experience regarding the issue in question.

I am confused about the rules. Who can I talk to?

If you think the matter is of interest to the whole RT, see the reply to the previous question. Otherwise, ask the Chair in private.

I would like to reply to a point of information, because I know the answer, and it would save the Chair time. May I?

Sorry, but this is the responsibility of the Chair. Just imagine what the RT would be like if everybody would try to give their answer...

I would like to register a vote. How do I do that?

Go ahead, send it to the list, making sure that it is still relevant (see below). If the Chair has suggested a format, it makes it easier for the Secretary if you stick with it. In any case, make sure that you clearly indicate whether you want to vote Aye/Nay or whether you wish to abstain, who you are, and which unit/position you represent - and that there's *nothing else* in that mail, in particular not a comment on why you voted this way. If you do not stick to this, your vote might be declared void.

I would like to register a vote, but the Secretary has already published the result/the voting period has expired. Can I have my vote included in the tally nonetheless?

Unfortunately, you are too late. The idea is to have the RT move along as swiftly as possible so that everybody can return to writing as soon as possible. So once the outcome of a vote has become clear, the next topic on the agenda may be considered.

I have an idea for a proposal. What do I do with it?

Have you discussed your idea with the administration? Bear in mind that by bringing it to the RT, you force thirty to forty people to spend time on it. Maybe the administration agrees it should be implemented, so everybody's time and energy could be saved. On the other hand, there are measures that the administration cannot implement without the RT, or maybe they did not like it while you personally think it would do ASR a lot of good. In that case, go ahead and submit it to the Chair and the Secretary. A standard format is to have a 'formal' section describing the desired measure and a short rationale for why it should be implemented (be brief there - the discussion is still to come!).

I submitted a proposal, and the discussion brought up a few good points that I would like to take into account. Can I change my proposal still?

As the author, *you* have the sole right to your proposal. You can change it at any time, and this includes the option of withdrawing it altogether (maybe with the idea of thinking it over, discussing it some more in private, soliciting people's opinion, and resubmitting it next time). If there are several authors, there needs to be agreement about changes.

I've got something I want to say, but it doesn't fit under any of the above. What do I do now?

Chances are that any contributions which don't fit under any of the above are out of place. Admittedly, however, the rules can never cover every possibility - so send private email to the Chair and he or she will help you.

Robert's Rules contain lots more motions than the RT Rules and Procedures. Why?

We want to keep the RT as simple as possible. This is an interactive fiction club, and the RT only exists to provide some framework within which people can raise concerns or ideas. If you're interested in parliamentary-style debate, you'll be better of finding like-minded individuals in other venues. The RT just isn't the place for this.

Why does the Chair get to decide that much?

Somebody has to. If the RT were to vote on every motion or issue then it would spend lots and lots of time doing just that - 48 hours each time to ensure that everybody gets a chance to submit a vote. See the Chair as a referee in a match. Sure, he or she may get it wrong sometimes, but it's still the best way of resolving conflicts. Bear in mind that if the Chair were to be seriously unfair, the resulting worsening of the atmosphere in ASR would probably hit him or her the worst. If you think the Chair has proven him-/herself to be incapable of fulfilling his or her responsibilities, there is always a vote of no confidence. Be aware, however, that this is an extremely drastic measure and unlikely to improve anything in the short term.

Document History:

Ver Date Author/Adaptor - Changes

  • 1.0 16 September 1999 Andrea Schalk
    • Created and distributed document