What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

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Almut Brunswick
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What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Almut Brunswick »

Dear CDS citizens and officers,

after spending several years as a "Green Card Bearer" and store keeper in one of Tor's houses at Neufreistadt, I eventually decided to become a full citizen through renting/buying a small house at the edge of the town in December 2019. Currently the only need to pay for this house is for maintaining my CDS citizenship. But this is just a sidenote.

After studying both the website and this forum, I must say that I'm still a bit lost about the structures, responsibilities and general movements in the CDS community. I was advised to attend RA meetings to get accustomed to that certain sprit which makes up CDS and why it is so special. Well, I did several times (even before becoming a citizen), and I must admit that I understood just a bit, if at all. But is this really the whole thing about CDS?

To make a long story short: I would highly appreciate something like a "New Citizen's Guide to CDS" which may answer briefly (!) the most important questions for newcomers. And please firstly replyed in one, two sentences in everyday English before referring to the sources by linking to laws and regulations. Because for me as a non-native speaker and non-lawyer, some of these texts are hard to grasp.

Some examples without the claim to be exhaustive:

1. I was told that there once was a Welcome Committee established to care about new citizens like me. Is it still alive or could it be revived by willing and knowledgable older citizens? I would regard such an institution as *very* useful for the whole community.

2. Political system and organs of government (a schematic drawing with some boxes and arrows says often more than pages after pages of paragraphs).

3. Non-government organisations and their aims at CDS: Name (group ID), aim, contact person, link to further sources (if applicable).

4. I would like to build a new house/replace an extisting house. Who is the person in charge I need to ask for permission? How is the procedure? Where can I find the laws and regulations in this respect? (I have found some regulations on the website indeed, but a brief answer would be better here).

5. I would like to run one or more stores. Is there something like a value-added tax and/or a business tax? If so, how is the percentage?

6. Is there an inworld place where I can get essential information and where group activities are annouced? (I know that there are GNs inworld, but sometimes I miss to read them when they were sent in my European night hours.)

7. Is there something like a CDS Chamber of Commerce to bundle the interests of creators and merchants who are CDS citizens and supporters?

8. How can I contribute to public projects (and I'm not talking about

Some of the older citizens might lean back and think now: "What does she actually want? We all have learnt to live in the CDS the hard way and paid our toll with our bum and by reading through elaborate forums and law texts."

But a person like me does actually not want to settle in a giant autority which just administers itself. Don't take me wrong: I appreciate democratic processes and to find the best solution by prolific and effective (!) discussions. But I also would like to be creative and to contribute actively to the community not just by arguing.

Please take my apologies in advance in case I came across too rude and not the courtly English way for you (many Germans are like that ^^). I just recorded my concerns for a change to the better, at least from my point of view.

Almut

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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Tanoujin Milestone »

Dear Almut,

first of all I am glad you became full citizen, welcome to the community of voters and potential operatives.

If you want to learn more about the political structure of the CDS, you need to read the constitution. We have a presidial democracy with the usual three branches of government: Executive (Chancellor and staff), Legislative (Representative Assembly) and Judicative (Scientific Council).

The Land Use Commission is a special body, kind of an executive soviet for practical questions under the control of the RA. There are several organizations of civil society (NGOs), dead and alive, for example the guild.

I will try to answer your questions now

1. The Welcome Committee is dependent on civil initiative. It is activated on a regular basis, but if there is no one active in there it falls asleep. This happens all the time. You may activate and run it, if you like, we all would be very happy about it. As long as it is inactive, it is kind of up to the whole citizenry to welcome new people.

2. To have a schematic drawing of the political system is a great idea. Again it is up to us. If you want to make some sketches i would be happy to discuss them with you.

3. As to the NGOs - it would be very difficult to keep up with a list of active NGOs, because people start them and lose interest after a while, leaving an empty shell in silence. Personally I stick to the forums: if I hear nothing, I do not care - and the other way round - if there are NGOs in need of attention, they should post to the forums imho.

4. If you build a new house you should talk to the chancellor. They will point you to the important regulations and approve the building when finished. If you need some counseling during the process, ask a member of the guild for their opinion, they will be happy to help.

5. There are no taxes other than the usual tier for your parcel.

6. There are Kiosks in some regions, at the moment i remember those in NFS, AM and LA, and there is a shop at the Platz, displaying Information and such. I do not know if they are up to date. On the website there is an event calendar.

7. The Chamber of Commerce is a dead body. The CDS is weak in economics.

8. To take part in public projects, contact active people and offer help.

In fact the RA is the place where it all concentrates. You will not miss anything important if you pay attention at the RA sessions. You said you understand only little of what is going on there - lets have an IM next time we meet there, I am happy to explain what it is all about, as far as I get it, lol.

Have a nice day, thanks for your initial post.

Tan
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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Almut Brunswick »

[mention]Tanoujin Milestone[/mention] : Thank you for taking the time to answer. You were the only one so far.

After reading your answers and studying the constitution in more depth, I understood the following so far (and came to some further questions this way):

The Representative Assembly (RA) consists of five members. It is elected every six months by the regular cititizens of the CDS. The RA's responsibilities are
  • the creation and curation of legislation and
  • the acknowledgment of new members to be appointed for the Philosophic Branch (also named Scientific Committee (SC) which is confusing to me).
Amongst the RA, the Leader of the RA is elected (presumably in the function of the moderator of RA meetings which shall take place once per month). There do not seem to be more competences assigned to the position of the Leader of the RA.

The Chancellor is the chief of the executive. He/she shall neither be member of the RA nor of the SC. He/she is directly elected by the CDS citizens every six month. Most parts of executive competences, especially financial matters, are concentrated in this role.
There does not seem any direct dependency of the Chancellor from the RA. The RA, however, could request his/her impeachment through a 2/3 majority vote. On the other hand, the Chancellor can stop laws by veto which can, however, overruled by a 2/3 majority of the RA.

It seems that there aren't any fixed minister or secretary roles defined, so the assignment of proxies and other deputy roles in the government seems to be dependent on the particular situation and its demands. There does not to be something like a steady administrative apparatus for certain tasks (Department of Commerce, Department of Public Works, Department of Citizen Affairs etc.) directly assigned to the Chancellor, too. This makes me personally wonder a lot, because it seems to overload the Chancellor's role and weakens its effectivity IMHO.

The fact that there is no steady proxy regulation in the Constitution (like e.g. the Leader of the RA is the Vice Chancellor in case of emergency) is also something I regard as extremely puzzling. Did I miss anything in the depths of the Constitution?

The Philosophic Branch or Scientific Committee (SC) is - despite its deceptive names - the judicative of the CDS. Its members are appointed by the SC members itself and need to be acknowledged by the RA. They serve in the SC as long as they remain CDS citizens of resign by their own request. Led by an elected Dean, the SC controls the RA legislation activities in order to warrant their compliance with the Constitution. If the SC plays the role of a (supreme) court is still unclear to me.

Formed as a semi-governmental committee with deputies from the RA, the Chancellor and the Guild, the Land Use Commission (LUC) seems to perform certain administrative tasks. I need to learn more about it yet.

That's so far the result of my first surveys. Some points might be wrong and need to be corrected. Thank you for your patience to read my findings till here.

Almut

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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Tanoujin Milestone »

Well, it is the Scientific Council. committees are set up and disassembled by by the RA. The SC is a meritocracy, it is designed after the example of a university hierarchy. That is the reason why the chair is called „Dean“ and the SC Members „Professors“ at least in the older texts.

The main purpose of the SC is indeed to watch over new laws or amendments to be in compliance with the letter and spirit of the constitution. You may have noted the Constitution relates back to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this is meant to show in what spirit the constitution should be interpreted.

Very important is the role of the SC as organizer of the elections - we prefer to have a neutral body to run them.

You can see the function of a court in the SC’s duty to moderate the forums. Furthermore you can ask for mediation if there is a conflict with another citizen. This has never been used, because the ability of the CDS as a society to solve individual conflicts is quite good and there are many ways for avoidance in SL, like derendering, muting and derezzing. Nevertheless, the SC has the last word in cases of estate bans.

The Chancellor was appointed by the RA once, like it is in the parliamentary system you know in Germany. But this was changed. so we have a presidial system now, comparable to what you find in the US, with the Chancellor elected directly by the citizenry. If you go back to the old days and read historical documents, you will find that there were factions too, which had the function of political parties. The legislation needed for that is still in place (and I am ready to defend it), but we had no active factions since our system change.

You are right, the Chancellors role is overloaded and we still wait for a volunteer to write a „Chancellorship for Dummies“ document ;)
Nevertheless every chancellor inherits a fully functional executive team, first to mention the Content Archivist (an Alternate Account holding public objects like historical buildings, trees, Intans and so on), Estate Managers (Citizens who run the renting system), the Treasurer (Sudane) and the Estate Owner (An Alt controlled by Sudane).
He picks the PIO = Public Information Officer, who organizes events, runs public relations and has the role of Vice Chancellor by tradition, but not to replace them if they resign or are impeached, but to act in their temporary absence.

I hope I covered your main questions correctly, if you have more, go ahead. Kind regards, Tan
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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Almut Brunswick »

[mention]Tanoujin Milestone[/mention]: It seems to develop to a dialog between you and me. Where are all the others?

Step by step, the roles of the particular institutions start to unveil for me (and probably for others, too). It becomes evident that only reading the Constitution cannot explain by far all these special authorities and roles built upon common law - an Anglo-American practise which is not common in Germany and is thus a bit *hair-rising* from my point of view. I personally would prefer to have every essential role clearly defined in the Constitution, rules and dependent regulations. But well, that's me :D

My wish would be that we someday really have something like a "Citizen's Guide to the CDS", a handbook with all the really essential information we are currently gathering here. Otherwise the CDS will remain a "book with seven seals" for potential and actual new citizens.

Almut

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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Han Held »

Almut Brunswick wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:24 pm
@Tanoujin Milestone: It seems to develop to a dialog between you and me. Where are all the others?
On the sidelines. Most of us have seen two or three versions of this idea (and the law review) come and then go because of a lack of participation.

Both are great ideas -but we don't have enough active participants for either one to get very far off the ground.
Love,
Monica
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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Sudane Erato »

A "Citizen's Guide" would be a great idea! But I know that thinking about it I would get foggy just trying to decipher what is central and should be included and what is pure administration and not essential for the regular citizen. I do know that those who built the website tried very hard to create an experience which would do this very thing... to introduce the outsider to our community.

Perhaps you might have the time and energy to take on this project? You'd certainly have many of us willing to help with advice, and you would have the huge advantage of the "outside perspective". Be warned, however, that we are somewhat like a classical New England Town Meeting (a rl forum where everyone in the town shows up and offers their opinion). Things are truly quieter than they used to be, but it remains true that we are an argumentative bunch.

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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Rosie Gray »

Tanoujin Milestone wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:19 am
... You are right, the Chancellors role is overloaded and we still wait for a volunteer to write a „Chancellorship for Dummies“ document ;)
Nevertheless every chancellor inherits a fully functional executive team, first to mention the Content Archivist (an Alternate Account holding public objects like historical buildings, trees, Intans and so on), Estate Managers (Citizens who run the renting system), the Treasurer (Sudane) and the Estate Owner (An Alt controlled by Sudane). ...
A point of information that wasn't made public because it's unfinished; I have started a "CDS Chancellor Manual" and it is shared for input to Emilia as the current Chancellor, Kyoko as the previous Chancellor, and Lilith as Dean of the SC. I share it with all here to see for the first time: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NsO ... sp=sharing There are other documents kept for passing to incoming Chancellors that cannot be made public because they include the passwords to CDS assets.

Tan is correct in the Chancellor inheriting a fully functional executive team, but the other point about them is that the Chancellor can appoint or remove Estate Managers as they see fit.
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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Almut Brunswick »

Han Held wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:33 pm
On the sidelines. Most of us have seen two or three versions of this idea (and the law review) come and then go because of a lack of participation.

Both are great ideas -but we don't have enough active participants for either one to get very far off the ground.
We have a funny saying in German: "Arbeit adelt - bleiben wir gutbürgerlich" ("Work ennobles you - let's remain good citizens.") 8)

Please keep it simple, stop looking for excuses and just do it! When you really want to care for the further existence of the community (which also requires to recruit new citizens), every invested minute counts.

Sorry for my open words. Nobody asks for yet another codex of laws or thick books. I cannot write it alone nor I would have the official order. The idea is (re-)born and driven out of personal demand, but I/we need the contribution of more experienced long-time residents. And IMHO it would actually be in the responsibility of the PIO to "wear the hat" in this matter, because it is also crucial public information and education.

Almut

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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Almut Brunswick »

Rosie Gray wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:28 am
A point of information that wasn't made public because it's unfinished; I have started a "CDS Chancellor Manual" and it is shared for input to Emilia as the current Chancellor, Kyoko as the previous Chancellor, and Lilith as Dean of the SC.
Rosie,

this draft looks very promising and could become a source for a new citizen's guideline, too.

Almut

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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Han Held »

Almut Brunswick wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:43 pm
Han Held wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:33 pm
On the sidelines. Most of us have seen two or three versions of this idea (and the law review) come and then go because of a lack of participation.

Both are great ideas -but we don't have enough active participants for either one to get very far off the ground.

Please keep it simple, stop looking for excuses and just do it!
You asked a question -I gave you an answer.

/shrug
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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Han Held »

Rosie Gray wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:28 am
I have started a "CDS Chancellor Manual" and it is shared for input to Emilia as the current Chancellor, Kyoko as the previous Chancellor, and Lilith as Dean of the SC.
8)
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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Lilith Ivory »

In my opinion a guide for new citizen would be nice to have but there are other, more important things on our to-do list. Before we can focus on welcoming new citizens we first need to reach out to get them. Lyubov does a great job at the moment to find ways to promote our Estate and make us known outside of CDS.

I have been welcoming visitors and new citizens for about ten years now and my experience tells me that the majority of all new citizens don´t have questions about how our government works in detail but are looking for a peaceful place to live. The questions I get asked are about practical things like security, the covenant (which gets handed out to the new citizens as soon as the tier box is assigned to them) or whom to ask for terraforming or moving trees out of their living room. I believe all those questions are better answered in a personal conversation than by handing out another notecard. More important than giving all info about CDS at once is to make a new citizen feel welcome and comfortable in our estate.

A lot more important than our code of laws are our social structures with enables us to build long time friendships through working together for the benefit of our community. It´s not our constitution but the love for our estate that tied people from many different countries and social backgrounds together over the years. I don´t think any CDS manual can help with this.
You have to go out and talk to people, make real friends - and if you want to change something in CDS don´t wait for others to step in, find some who share your interest and get started yourself :)
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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Han Held »

Lilith Ivory wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:54 am
A lot more important than our code of laws are our social structures with enables us to build long time friendships through working together for the benefit of our community. It´s not our constitution but the love for our estate that tied people from many different countries and social backgrounds together over the years. I don´t think any CDS manual can help with this.
You have to go out and talk to people, make real friends - and if you want to change something in CDS don´t wait for others to step in, find some who share your interest and get started yourself :)
So much this -I agree 100%, Lilith.

I'm not really sure how to nurture people and guide them into social relationships with folks in the CDS; but I think that's paramount.

For the CDS in 2020, I think that the social relations -as much as or perhaps even more than the governmental stuff is the strong suit of the estate.

The old trolls had it right in a funhouse mirror sort of way; you don't really get very far with being active in the government without glad-handling on a person-to-person case. But that's less to do with shady cabals and more to the point that we tend to mentor one another on a one-to-one basis and mentor establish contacts. In simpler terms -I mean finding out who you can go to when you have questions and finding out who you work best with.

It works on an ad-hoc basis and that gives me an idea for a proposal. In addition to whatever group we come up with I wonder if it would be possible to create some sort of list of new and/or returning citizens on a weekly basis?

Such a list would allow folks who can't predict when they'll be online (raises hand) a resource they can refer to so that when they do go online they can refer to the list and make a point of reaching out and/or keeping an eye for people who are new.

That also has the additional advantage of potentially outlasting temporary greeter attempts -when the greeter idea is revisted in the future it will be a resource people can mention and utilize in their efforts.

It would be best if it was auto-generated; but that would require scripting which is beyond my abilities :cry:
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Re: What about some practical ways to welcome and to introduce new citizens to the CDS?

Post by Rosie Gray »

Han Held wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:45 pm
It works on an ad-hoc basis and that gives me an idea for a proposal. In addition to whatever group we come up with I wonder if it would be possible to create some sort of list of new and/or returning citizens on a weekly basis?

Such a list would allow folks who can't predict when they'll be online (raises hand) a resource they can refer to so that when they do go online they can refer to the list and make a point of reaching out and/or keeping an eye for people who are new.

That also has the additional advantage of potentially outlasting temporary greeter attempts -when the greeter idea is revisted in the future it will be a resource people can mention and utilize in their efforts.

It would be best if it was auto-generated; but that would require scripting which is beyond my abilities :cry:
Well, Estate Managers DO have a way to know when someone new settles in the CDS, and when someone is returning. That is the Land Ownership Changes spreadsheet! http://www.tospitimou.com/landscanner/view.php Perhaps someone in the Welcome Committee could take the initiative to make a list from that spreadsheet?

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