Sunday, March 12, 2017

Blog Policy/Goverance Thoughts

Mentor Headlands Beach, Lake County Ohio (1)

This blog is a voluntary organization. All the posts and comments depend upon the work of the contributors and commenters.

When we had a Cleveland VOTF, people wanted to take votes and make policy declarations. I pointed out that if we have 90 members who wanted A but none were willing to put any work into it, and 10 members who wanted B and were willing to put a lot of time into it, then we would get more done if those ten people just did their thing even if they had to do it under another name.

Catholics and Americans need places where we can talk and network without all the supervision that we find in parishes and other organizations. We can learn a lot from interesting people and differing backgrounds, and we can find people who share our interests, and agenda.  That seems to be where this blog is headed.  Maybe things will be generated that will take place elsewhere rather than here.


The Lake County mental health board where I worked for thirteen years conducted almost all its business in public with governance and planning processes that were highly visible and accessible to all parties. These enabled us to pass a new mental health levy with over 60 percent of the vote when statewide renewal levies usually squeaked by with just over fifty percent of the vote. We even managed the unheard of, -moving programs and staff from agency to agency without much stress.

If we contributors and commenters often talk about what we doing and where we may be going in visible posts rather than comments, and in public rather than private e-mails, then extensive participation of contributors and commenters will more likely happen.


Fortunately we have e-mail as a private way to talk to one another, and we should use that to help the posting and commenting processes. People are more likely to change their behavior when they receive suggestions from friends rather than hostile critics. If we get “difficult” posters or commenters we can  talk in private about how to manage them in public.

The mental health board went into Executive Session on very rare occasions when it discussed personnel or needed legal advice.

The e-mail survey that I had suggested (mainly to get us out of the e-mail jungle) is no longer needed. We can handle those issues easily in public on this blog format.

However such an e-mail survey may become very useful if ALL the contributors need to discuss an issue privately in a way that we can express ourselves candidly and anonymously because only a trusted aggregator knows the author of each response.

(1) A colleague once said that Lake County believes it is an island off the coast of Cleveland.
An innate tension also exists between globalization and localization. We need to pay attention to the global so as to avoid narrowness and banality. Yet we also need to look to the local, which keeps our feet on the ground. Together, the two prevent us from falling into one of two extremes.

-The Joy the Gospel


  1. Jack, I believe in cooperative anarchy, and I think that's the way this blog should run. I trust people to bring interesting things to the group that we can comment on as Catholics, as Americans, and as members of the human family.

    I agree we all need to use the blog more and the email less unless there are problems. (Personally, I run an online "community" for blood cancer patients, and I don't want to receive general emails from this group unless there's some issue we all need to address.)

    Many thanks to David Nickol for setting up this forum. I like the color change. The blue and mountains remind me of heaven and will "elevate" our discourse, I hope.

  2. I like cooperative anarchy. My own political philosophy is limited anarchy, there should be rules only for those who need them.

  3. Far less elevated than what level of anarchy we can achieve, there is the challenge of suffering fools gladly. How much suffering? How gladly?

    1. allows the owner (David Nickol) to block emails, should we get a troll, and to moderate comments. Moderating comments is a lot of work, and not sure it's fair to ask David to be the arbiter of relevance, civility, and taste on here.

      And civility, relevance, and taste (PG-13 language) would be my criteria for posting guidelines. Feel free to refine.

      If objectionable comments appear, David would have to take them off unless there's a way hr can add people willing to be administrators.

  4. A technical note: the time stamp on this site is Pacific time....I posted at 3:22 you see it says 12:22.

    1. Thanks for noticing this. I have changed it to Easter time.

    2. Why Eastern time? (And besides, what do you plan to do once the Easter season is over? tee hee)

      How about compromising on Central time?

      One of my big complaints about Commonweal has always been its focus east of the Poconos. There is a large world (and church) outside of the East Coast beltways ........ and thriving better, as well. That's why WE have Silicon Valley and the East doesn't!

  5. I'm hoping more people will write blog posts - there are lots of things worth discussing, like the recent Pope Francis/married priests thing. And Trump is an endless gift to blogging, given the continuous stream of badness coming from his presidency.

  6. Get busy posting on married priests and Francis.

    There have been a lot of reviews in the news about his first four years. I've noticed that you read a lot and often list a lot of links. So maybe you could post a guide to these articles and we could talk about "evaluating the Pope"

    I do have something in the works relevant to Trump but it may take a few days. I'm not in any hurry. Was waiting for someone else to post before I jump in again.The Trump is not very tied to the news cycle, and not likely something that any one else would do.

    When people ask me to do something I always ask myself if there is someone else who could to do it. And if there is, I say let "Joe" or maybe in this case "Crystal" do it

    I always have lot of idea, but I don't like to do the work.
    I have found people usually do a lot better with my ideas than I would have done.