Ladies, Gentlemen, and everyone in between, but particularly PhilSE: Moderators,
I have now been gleefully contributing for a year, experimenting with the psychology and technology at play in this forum as well as exploring the mechanisms and policies operant in this social venture, and as I would like to make this my intellectual home and contribute for an extended period of time because of the utility and joy (sometimes derivative of ironic cheekiness), I pose the following question:
Is there a mechanism for governing the governance of content related to PhilSE: The FAQ? I couldn't find anything, so should I presume it's by universal consensus of the Tribunal of Moderators? In other words, were (subjunctive implies possibility, not necessity, mind you) one group of users be caught gaming the system with game-theoretic tactics by abusing closure to avoid the penalties of downvoting and discourage participation driving down traffic, is there an alternative means of realigning with the intent of the foundation of this forum other than forming a second faction and reopening such questions, perhaps by the use of democratically decided by-laws to serve as a font of policy to complement the non-normative-by-design mechanism?
I concede and suggest:
- We as a tribe should have the capacity given the lessons of the Enlightenment the need for such methods of governance given human nature.
- Democratically elected is not fungible with democratically accountable.
- Organizational management by policies and procedures and the rule of law are hardly radical notions.
- The sheer lack of activity on the meta-side is symptomology, and not demonstrative of a lack of conflict.
- This site is not living up to its potential for being more active among a greater variety of users, but rather may be serving the needs of the technical elite at the expense of the needs of the many and our corporate sponsors.
Has the political will of the veteran user base decided that the current status quo is the terminal velocity and terminus of this institution that aims to facilitate philosophical pedagogy and critical thinking?
As a former educator, labor unionist, and social democrat, I have no lack of experience dealing with organized interests that maintain the status quo; I am trying to determine to what extent the political elite here (potentially with the complicity of the moderators elected thereby) harbor the ambition of growing the traffic to this site. I needn't point out that no matter how many questions are actually posted (clearly benefiting the interests of our corporate aegis), the gaming of the system of closure works counter to their interests (and serves to exclude many interested in gaining knowledge).
It is unfortunate that a site purporting to be expert in Philosophical Q&A now closes discussion of ideas that have their own articles in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. If an entry in the SEP and multiple sources by recognized philosophical expertise in diverse fields doesn't constitute a basis for establishing a question is on-topic, why should anyone take our expertise seriously at all?
Were this any other organization, I wouldn't waste my breath because of the lack of comprehension of the dynamics at play, but I do in the hopes that I see enough intelligence (fluid and crystallized), that some constructive discourse can occur. My only question is there still an interest in using this forum to broadly encourage the study of philosophy conducted by the Demos of Athens, or is this now an Ephorate in Sparta that prefers gold to iron? In the modern tongue, are we still a bazaar or are the empty halls of the meta side evidence that we are a cathedral?
These words are the message, and I'm the mere messenger. I can abide by the rules of either, but as a soldier and thinker, I want to know which rules are in play and not bruise any of the delicate egos here; I'm a corporate shill who takes the king's coin and does the king's business so I have no academic reputation to conceal here, but it might not hurt to leave a signpost for future thinkers coming here so they too know the folkways and mores of this group without having to spend a year doing research.
Let's consider this the null hypothesis, and all this community needs is one good argument to derail it. As American of English, German, and Scandanavian decent, I take great pride in the innovation of the common law, and feel it is my duty to publish an RFC for the establishment of by-laws to clarify the boundaries between vox populis and those who have been elevated by franchise. Do you or do you not share that pride? Because if you do, it shouldn't be too hard to come to consensus, right? After all: friends, are we not philosophers?