Question 11: Building Dialogue and Consensus

 
Old Nov 6, 07, 11:09 am
  #1  
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Question 11: Building Dialogue and Consensus

This question submitted by member Jenbel:
We're obviously hearing a lot about what candidates want to do if
elected. However, to be an effective TB member, one needs to be able
to build dialogue and consensus, and this seems to be being rather
ignored. Can you explain how you would go about effectively
persuading the other TB members to support your most important
campaign positions?
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Old Nov 6, 07, 11:30 am
  #2  
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Personally, I don't have any "radical" positions, IMO. I don't want TB to take over moderation, wont disobey the rules becasue I don't like them, etc. I believe TB has a lot of work to do, but I feel it is nothing that the current members wouldn't be willing to do or disagree with, but rather something which hasn't been presented yet.

As I stated in the last question, I have been extremely impressed by most of the points that have been brought up throughout this debate, and think that the other members of TB wouldn't be opposed to them. For example, I think one of TB's major issues is the lack of participation by most members. Just look at the number of views received this year and last year in this forum, and it becomes obvious that something is wrong, and I don't necessarily think it's that people don't care.

I think using all means possible to get TB "out there" by whatever motions it takes is something the TalkBoard should undertake, and I don't think it'll take a lot of convincing for that.

My apologies if I have misread the question, but that was my interpretation of it.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 11:42 am
  #3  
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Bribery, blackmail, intimidation and coercion to start.

Free beer, administered regularly, if needed.

And when the going got really tough, listening carefully to all sides of an issue and then building a solid well thought out case based on poster input, reason and what I feel in my heart is in the best interests of Flyertalk and the posters who make her what she is.

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Old Nov 6, 07, 12:11 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question submitted by member Jenbel:
We're obviously hearing a lot about what candidates want to do if
elected. However, to be an effective TB member, one needs to be able
to build dialogue and consensus, and this seems to be being rather
ignored. Can you explain how you would go about effectively
persuading the other TB members to support your most important
campaign positions?
I'd like to break this into two parts. First, when making a case to support my position, I plan to try whenever possible to frame my pitch by always having the best interest in FlyerTalk as a whole in mind. "I think this motion will benefit FlyerTalk because..."

Second, when listening to someone else asking for my support on a motion, I'd again try to see things from all point of view. Take the neutral ground.

Since the mission of the TalkBoard does not include controversial topics like moderation, or Randy's succession plan, I'm feverently hoping that a future Talkboard will not be a factionalized body. I know its easy to make grand claims about what I am singlehandedly going to do when elected. I can make awesome soundbites on what I'm going to fix. But at the end of the day if those that I'm going have to to work with are not impressed, then that may actually create problems for what I'm going to try to accomplish. That won't be best for FlyerTalk in the future.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 12:18 pm
  #5  
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I can present a case persuasively by email or in person. In turn, I am open to being persuaded by others' arguments. Once the pros and cons have been fully aired, the correct decision will often be apparent to everyone.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 12:23 pm
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Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question submitted by member Jenbel:
We're obviously hearing a lot about what candidates want to do if
elected. However, to be an effective TB member, one needs to be able
to build dialogue and consensus, and this seems to be being rather
ignored. Can you explain how you would go about effectively
persuading the other TB members to support your most important
campaign positions?
First by listening. I must fully understand others' positions on a given issue as completely as possible as well as their reasoning. Often I find that in doing so I discover factors I had not considered that compel me to alter my own position.

If I feel, even after considering others' positions, that the course described is not what's best for flyertalk, I will put forth my own views and reasonings as to why I hold those views. In this way, the hope is that we can best chart the course of FlyerTalk. We won't always agree but we should always respect each others' views.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 12:23 pm
  #7  
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I've had a couple years go at trying to build TB dialogue and consensus and it's not an simple task when dealing with such a diverse group.

And whatever reputation one has for being a credible member of FT carries over to their TB stint. A zebra doesn't suddenly change it's stripes and a FT'er doesn't gain any new knowledge, insight or even credibility by being elected to TB. You are what you post whether on TB or in the general forums.

So whatever reputation, good or bad, that a FT'er has gained over the years comes into play, IMO, when s/he tries to build dialogue or consensus. If it's someone I've come to trust, admire and believe, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and possibly support their issue. And the opposite holds true as well.

I also think presenting ones case after having done sufficient research and linking to any evidence to back up the case helps to build consensus. Whenever you can show that X number of FT’ers support your position, it's always more effective than simply saying "I think we need to create A or B" and not supporting the why.

Last edited by Cholula; Nov 6, 07 at 1:11 pm Reason: typo....
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Old Nov 6, 07, 1:08 pm
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I also want to add that I have no expectation that there will be unanimous votes on every issue. Conflict builds healthy dialog. The TalkBoard needs to agree not to take it personally. We don't need to be friends, but we do need to respect each other.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 1:19 pm
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There are obvious votes, and then there are tough ones.

I believe the best course of action is to promote pragmatic solutions, even though they might not make the fringes happy.

With that come give and take, some cajoling, and (forbid) some horse-trading. At some point, however, nsx is right: the really good solutions don't really need to be "pitched" (per se), and the idea is to try to arrive at those.

Spending time getting to know my fellow Talkboard members is probably the best course of action one can take, so it makes the task of coming up with solutions that are palatable to them (or the requisite majority thereof) is probably the best move.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 5:28 pm
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Whenever their are concerns, it's important to fully understand the issues involve. Once particular problems are identified, having appropriate research to the past history and current problems need to be established. Then, possible solutions can be formulated. I'd like to think that those on TB have FT and the memberships best wishes in mind and once all the valid points are communicated, concensous can occur.

Good communication, as always, is the key to this.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 5:41 pm
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Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question submitted by member Jenbel:
We're obviously hearing a lot about what candidates want to do if
elected. However, to be an effective TB member, one needs to be able
to build dialogue and consensus, and this seems to be being rather
ignored. Can you explain how you would go about effectively
persuading the other TB members to support your most important
campaign positions?
Hi
Well folks I think its time we stopped all these questions. This seems to have turned very quickly into a THEM and US election. I am sorry but this is not what I want to see. In the past few elections I have never seen it this bad.

I can see where Jenbel is coming from and I can fully understand why she has posted the above question.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 5:51 pm
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Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question submitted by member Jenbel:
We're obviously hearing a lot about what candidates want to do if
elected. However, to be an effective TB member, one needs to be able
to build dialogue and consensus, and this seems to be being rather
ignored. Can you explain how you would go about effectively
persuading the other TB members to support your most important
campaign positions?
I build dialogue and consensus by gathering the facts pertaining to the issue and building a case primarily based on logic rather than emotion. I do not currently have any specific campaign positions, however, if I develop some campaign positions in the next couple of days I will develop consensus based on a reasoned and evidence-supported argument for my viewpoint.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 6:39 pm
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Well, my campaign platform is based on increasing participation in the TalkBoard forum. My goal is to invest time in the community to publicize the pending issues in TB.

While I can't force any member of TB to actively work on increasing participation, I hope my contributions will encourage more community participation.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 7:19 pm
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As we can clearly see from the debates, there are widely divergent, and sometimes strongly held, opinions and ideas about what TalkBoard and FlyerTalk can and should be.

There are those of us who are comfortable accepting the status quo, and there are those of us who are really concerned about how things will work under new management. There are those of us who think we should wait to respond to requests from Randy before we act, and those of us who feel that it is our responsibility to contribute all of our ideas, no matter how visionary, to help build the best possible directions and solutions.

I think the most basic step to reaching consensus is for all of us to really try to understand where each other are coming from. Rather than immediately jumping up and down trying to discredit one another's positions, we need to try to get inside of each other' heads and figure out what we are all thinking and feeling, and why we think and feel that way.

There are some folks with whom I strongly disagree, but I also recognize that all the current candidates are intelligent people who really care about FlyerTalk and want to do what is best for its future. My challenge is to understand their point of view and try to help them understand mine.

What we can build together will be far stronger than anything we can build by brow beating our colleagues into capitulation to our ideas.

I realize that my ideas of what TalkBoard can be might seem radical. It is obvious that they can't all be accomplished in a single term, or even two terms, but if we can even make baby-steps, inching us toward my vision, or even better a joint vision that far outshines mine, I will be happy.

My patience, however, probably won't extend to month-long, passionate debates over whether or not to open a Travel With Pets Board. So if that is your vision of the scope of TalkBoard, please excuse me from service.
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Old Nov 6, 07, 9:30 pm
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Communication

Originally Posted by flyertalk View Post
This question submitted by member Jenbel:
Can you explain how you would go about effectively
persuading the other TB members to support your most important
campaign positions?
It all boils down to effective communication skills.

Outside of FlyerTalk, I'm a weatherman: it's my job to convince my audience they should bring an umbrella even when it's sunny out ...or to convince them to wear a sweater even if it's warm out. It's not about arguing your position or bribing your audience ...but rather, its simply and concisely presenting the facts so that the audience can make the right and proper decision.

On the Talk Board, the same is true: it's about effectively communicating the facts without bullying the other members. And I think its much easier to do that online than it is on television or the radio.
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