Speaker of the House
Welcome to the concluding Speaker’s Report for November 2023. This will cover the activity since the previous report with summaries of activity levels and Congress guidelines.
Health of the House
The Composition of Congress at the end of term is 13 TRS, 8 TUP, 8 UKRP, 4 BEP, 5 WRP and one independent (39 in total). During the term, Mr Immanuel Kant and Georgelakeland changed parties, which is why in the activity tables below you may see the percentage associated with numbers participating change across the proposals.
Sadly there have been focussed attempts to disrupt Congress over the back half of the term but this does not appear to have had a big impact on engagement, albeit it has restricted the range of topics discussed since the previous report. Options on Northern Ireland and the Government’s breakdowns of Ministry activities appear to have fallen by the wayside in the face of Keith’s ping-ponging of tax proposals and Humphrey’s affinity for speaker elections. This has however catalysed some common-sense additions to the Congress Guidelines (summarised below) which should help steer Congress time towards proposals with a (low) baseline of support rather than proposals with no backing.
I am hopeful that the opening of a new term will focus minds and that the Government will re-engage with the whole house rather than cherry picked members in order to discuss the issues of the day. Basic principles of participation and accountability should not be discarded for the sake of a very small number of people whose disruption does not spread far beyond the Congress messaging thread. Having received messages from across the political spectrum I know the overwhelming majority of members want to be involved and want to discuss issues together.
Since the previous report there have been a further two non-admin votes:
A speaker election (Sir Humphrey or Re-Open Nominations)
12 RON, 6 SHA.
A proposal to require a 7 day gap between Speaker elections
12 Yes, 1 No.
The below tables summarise the level of engagement of each Congressional group. Every single time a debate or vote thread has been started in the national feed, where everyone can see them, a corresponding message has been entered into the Congress messaging thread. The messages are accompanied by a colourful banner to help members spot them (click here to see an example).
For the purpose of the below tables, participating in either the debate or the vote has been recorded as taking part.
The below shows the participation rates by Party status.
First half of the votes.
Second half of the votes.
The average participation across the term was:
TRS - 90.4%
TUP - 35.0%
UKRP - 31.1%
WRP - 28.0%
BEP - 20.0%
Ind. - 50.0%
All - 51.3%
The below shows the vote distribution by Party status.
Guidelines & Final Thoughts
My general view on what guidelines Congress applies to itself is that they should be as succinct as possible, and reflect the need to bring people together to make decisions around how to use their buttons. A record of the guidelines and accompanying flow chart can be found on the Wiki.
For ease of access I shall repeat them here!
“Citizenship requests should only be approved following a 48 hour joint discussion and vote in favour. This begins after a report on the applicant is provided to congress or when there's only 48 hours left on the expiry of the application. The report will include anything found from basic checks of the applying profile and a statement from the applicant about reason for applying and if they have eUK contacts/sponsors.
If a debate requests a vote that cannot be done via the Country Admin module then:
- Two Congress sponsors in addition to the proposer are needed within the debating period to move it to a vote.
- That vote should not begin within the first 24hrs of the debate and will last 2 or 3 days (depending on size of debate).
- The voting period will be communicated at the onset of a vote.
The duties of the speaker should be undertaken impartially. Additionally, a Congressperson's status as speaker shouldnt be used to promote parties. Speaker elections can be held when a proposer has the required number of sponsors outlined above. A nomination period for speakers cannot open until at least 7 days have passed since the conclusion of the previous speaker election (RON is not considered a conclusion). Please respect the outcome of votes.
President's votes are not counted except for in the in-game proposals they are able to participate in.”
Every line of the Guidance has been conceived of by Congress, debated, and passed by a vote. Part of the challenge this month has been that there have been proposals made in bad faith (not my words, we have had things proposed out of self-proclaimed malice) and some trolling. The guidelines rightfully minimise speaker discretion and in principle give people the chance for a fair hearing, but have been added to this month just to apply some basic filters on what is brought forward. As much as I think this is preferable to speaker’s just deciding what moves forward, no set of guidelines will ever be impervious to disruption or trolling and it can only be managed effectively via managing the messaging thread.
My suggestion to the next Congress would be to explore ways to try and regulate people's behaviour in messaging threads, or agree on a way to conduct business without messaging, such as in feeds. The vast majority of feedback I get is that it’s hard to follow tens of dozens of posts from three or four people which are sometimes off topic, name calling, or endless rules-lawyering.
That is not unfair feedback, and for some quick context of the 500 messages currently in the thread over half come from just four people. Some have commented almost 100 times outside of debate contexts. That is why I have tried clearly signposting debate and vote events, which has helped mediate that. There is sadly no button to eject disruptive personalities from messaging threads so some thinking around how to approach that going forward would definitely help make Congress a place that is easy to engage with and a place that actually drives real change in game. The National Feed is definitely still proving a much better place to hold a sensible discussion with more members then the message is!
I am unable to run for December’s Congress so I will be checking out for a few weeks, but hopefully the good work of Congress can continue unabated.
Thanks for reading,