Author Topic: Topic 1: Member-Owned, Not Member-Managed  (Read 1852 times)

Offline pj

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Topic 1: Member-Owned, Not Member-Managed
« on: September 21, 2011, 11:40:22 AM »
1)  We are a Member Owned forum, but we are not a Member Managed forum.  The difference is not subtle.

We are a member-owned community by definition - a definition we created to suit the circumstances at the time.  A very brief recap of the circumstances at the time is in order, though much more thorough discussion is available elsewhere if you are interested:

Mortal Mist, in its current incarnation, was borne of frustration with how the work of members and staff was being co-opted and exploited at DreamViews.  In direct contrast, this community was founded with copyright remaining in the hands of those doing the posting.  Members of the Mortal Mist community can forever edit and delete their postings and lock their own threads.  (There is one system-limited exception to this; the post beginning a thread may not be deleted.  The contents of a thread-beginning post may be edited and its contents deleted, however.)  The goal was to create a community where the work of the members could never be sold off to profit an individual or business.  This is how we understand the principle of member-ownership at present.  It is my position that it can and perhaps should mean more.

Management is a complex term with many potential layers of meaning.  In the context of these discussions, I use management in reference to those individuals with skill, knowledge and access to deal with the day-to-day mechanics of running this internet entity and use discretionary authority to limit liability and exploitation of resources - all which will be discussed in detail in topics 2 and 3.

We are not member-managed, and never have been.  Management responsibility was mine alone, established by my choice to do all that was necessary to begin this community.  I subsequently chose those who would help me with the task and share the responsibility.  All those currently managing everything relating to Mortal Mist have either been chosen by me or by consensus of those who already share management responsibility.  The membership has never had a voice in choosing whether I or anybody else in a management position should have been there in the first place or should remain.

It is critical to recognize that the management does not lead this community.  While I have played a leadership role in the past, that role has been very deliberately stepped away from in the interest of separating the power, authority and responsibility from influencing our intent to be member-drivenMember-driven is another ambiguous term outside of our own definition and even a bit hazy within it.  While we have never formally defined it, my understanding is this:  Initiatives, events and projects are handled by any member or group of members who is/are willing and able.  Community problems are also handled by consensus of the membership, while action on that consensus may fall to the management.  It must be noted that there exists no method to determine consensus or direct the management to make changes or take action.  We just kind of do it - or hope somebody else does.

Member-management would mean that the membership in some formal manner chooses those with access and authority to manage.  Choosing those with access and authority is no small matter, as it involves issues as basic to our survival as where we are hosted, who is in control of the domain name(s) and who is likely to get sued if real harm ever were to result from negligence.

I go into detail on all that in Topic 2, and explain where we are currently in Topic 3.  Stay tuned!
What truly matters is not built of right and wrong; but of grace, and of love.

--pj