The recent scandal concerning the use of smear campaigns by the combined forces of government and big business only go to highlight the question of who runs the White House. This is not how voters like to think a democratic country is run, but, on more than one level voters are just consumers and the Government wants paying, with taxes and votes, for providing a service.
Similarly, when we are reminded that the Lab is just a company that wants paying for its services, it feels uncomfortable.
Now, no matter how illusory the RL voting system is, i.e. money buys the Presidency, it is preferable to believe that the electorate has a say.
No matter how illusory the JIRA voting system was, some believed it was a vestige of democracy.
We are called, and now named, Resident. Not Customer. The Company is not one providing breakfast cereal, it has created the space for a Colony, a Colony of Residents.
Residents like to vote. Well, actually we would like more than that, really. We would like to be able to express an opinion to those that have the power to make changes. It doesn’t happen, but, it should.
User Groups, like focus groups, will only ever be asked which colour packaging it prefers. With JIRAs you could vote on whether the highways should be repaired, or the street lights, or on the colour of the Town Halls curtains.... but it was all we had.
...and rants. Rants, recently criticised, are like Speaker’s Corner, a site in London where you can go, set up a soap box and explain how the country should be run.... like newspaper editorials for the poor and powerless. A noble tradition somewhat superseded by this medium.
The Elephant In The Room, however, is Governance. This is a Company, but it is a Colony too. I am a user, I am a resident too (even tho I hate that world....maybe Settler is better).
I want to have my say, and, though it may sound presumptuous, the future of virtual worlds is dependent on us finding a workable solution to this. This is the future, now. .... and it needs improving.
Banning people with strong emotions and a poor grasp of diplomatic language from Linden forums and blogs will not be of benefit to anyone. Office Hours have an important social function, they are not only Working Groups, they are the chance for Settlers to meet The Company.
One thing, and one thing only, I would like to write on the boardroom wall at the Lab ... “Your fiercest critics, whiners, and complainers ALL want exactly the same as you, The Company... for SL to succeed.”
So.... Labor Unions, Trade Unions, small towns and villages around the world adopt a similar model.. they elect Representatives to meet with the Company to express their point of view, ask their questions, make their complaints, suggestions... with an Aim, if both sides are not dumb fools, to Improve the Future.
I would like to promote this as an idea, it’s not perfect, but it’s a start.