[matilda] Notes on wednesday's meeting

nickwiltsher at warpmail.net nickwiltsher at warpmail.net
Thu Oct 6 10:41:08 BST 2005

hello all

first point:  Cuthbert is indeed 'aving a laff.  Rest easy Dan, or issue
that shameful apology.

The following is, i think,  a fair(ish) summary of what went on - I'll
try and get it on the wiki later today unless anyone who was present
seriously disagrees with my interpretation:

As has been mentioned, attendance was sparser than expected - about
eight people, plus two email submissions.  This may be interpreted as
demonstrating that a fair few people don't really care either way, or
are sick of the process.  Anyway, it quickly became apparent that,
because of the similar(ish) views of the attendees, no detailed debate
on the pros and cons of the hallmarks would ensue.  The possibility of
just ratifiying the hallmarks was discussed, but one of the email
submissions was interpreted as a block, and it was anyway felt such a
move would be unacceptably divisive and may lead to some people feeling
excluded from Matilda.

This discussion of the possible consequences of adpoting the hallmarks
led to the conclusion that consensus on this issue is likely to prove
impossible, because there are sufficent people with strong feelings on
either side to block any move to just accept or reject the things.  The
possibilty of putting it to a majority vote at a Monday meeting was
discussed and rejected as being against the ethos of Matilda, and as
being likely to have the same exclusionary consequences as above.

The debate then seemed to coalesce around three possibilities.  The
first was to proceed with no guiding principles/mission
statement/(someone help me with the phraseology here, i sound like Tesco
or summat).  It was agreed, though, that it is certainly desirable to
have some such thing, possibly more for the benefit of people coming
fresh to Matilda than for those already involved.  The second was to
attempt an adaptation of the hallmarks, keeping their broad force but
diluting the elements that some find objectionable.  This was also
rejected as unlikely to come up with a useful result any time this
century.  Also, one of the main objections to the hallmarks seems to be
that, well, they're not ours.

So, the third possibility: draw up our own guidelines from scratch.  To
some extent, this process has already begun, with the list of
representative words agreed at the last wednesday meeting.  It was
thought that this process would be hard to manage in a large group, so a
proposal was worked up to take to Monday's meeting:

A group of (about) five people to be set up to take that list of words
and use use them as a basis to work up a set of guiding principles. 
These principles to be brought back to to a Monday meeting and ratified
or sent back for further work.  The group to include at least one person
strongly in favour of, and one strongly against, the PGA hallmarks, so
that the point of the arguments for and against those are taken on board
in the process.

(There was also a second proposal, broadly related i think, but I've
forgotten what it was - help, anyone?)

So, in conclusion:  PGA hallmarks not adopted.  Some positive progress
made. Concrete proposal about how to move forward to be brought to
Monday's meeting. Importantly, I think:  a group of people broadly in
favour of the hallmarks managed to talk themselves out of adopting them
because of the potentially divisive consequences.

Anyone who was there think I've missed anything important?



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