Have you ever tried to write an article, but you just couldn't do it because you
couldn't think of a good introduction?
Yeah, that's happening to me.
So, now that we've broken the ice, I'll get to the real subject matter. :-D
The Whyville Senate. Here's the deal. Many months ago, the citizens of Whyville
complained that they had no power. As a result, the City Workers, being the
friendly folks they are, said okay, you guys can elect a senate. Which we did.
But the system is not working as well as everyone hoped. The Senators aren't
accomplishing as much as they'd like to, they're not working together, and the
citizens don't know what they're doing.
But we can't just heap this problem on the City Workers and expect them to fix
it. We wanted power and we got it. But with that power comes responsibility. We
need to take responsibility in making the system work.
I believe that one of the main problems is we have no official description of
what a senator is supposed to do. When people run for the U.S. Senate, their job
is clearly outlined in a set of rules and guidelines. But when someone runs for
Whyville senator, they really don't know what they're agreeing to. A six-month
term and an oath: that's pretty much all they're given.
For the Senate to be effective, we need to create a "job description": A
realistic and reasonable list of responsibilities that a Senator would be
obligated to fulfill during their term.
What kind of things would be on the list? Well, senators don't get any extra
powers. They can't physically change Whyville by adding chat rooms, programming,
or features. So what can they do?
Senators can listen to the citizens. They can talk to the city workers, write
articles for the Times, and search for sponsors. They can propose new ideas for
But these are things that any citizen on Whyville can do. So what's so special
Senators are the link between the citizens and the city workers. Their voice has
more influence than other citizens. Their ideas are taken more seriously. They
get more attention, because they have been selected to represent us -- their one
voice stands for the voice of many.
And when multiple senators come together as a Senate, their voice is even more
powerful. Because now they can compare their ideas, work together on projects,
help each other out.
Yet, as I understand it, our current senators have had no correspondence. I
don't necessarily blame them; maybe they could be doing more to chat and
discuss, but more than that, I think our senate needs more organization.
We need to keep in mind the Senate's original purpose: To represent the citizens
of Whyville. And then we need to decide how they should go about doing that.
The meetings with City Hall in the Greek Theater were a great idea. I think we
should have those meetings on a regular basis, perhaps once a month. The one
meeting I attended had a set agenda. Having a prepared list of topics is fine,
but I think that later citizens should be allowed to make suggestions and ask
The poll we had about the Confederate flags was also a nice idea, although we
never actually found out the results!! :S
I would definitely like to see more polls on Whyville, even weekly. City workers
do polls all the time at Trivia Hour, but that's just a few citizens. Having
all-town polls would give a much better idea of how citizens feel. Granted, I
don't know how hard it is to program a poll, but if it's not too difficult then
I think weekly polls would be a great step in making Whyville more Democratic.
Senators could get ideas for the polls from the citizens they talk to.
Editor's Note: Good news! Polls are being worked on right now --
you'll soon be seeing them in the welcome page right after you log in, if
they're not there already.
I think that the Senators should get together once a week to discuss their ideas
and collaborate on projects. They should communicate regularly with city
workers. And they should put together a monthly report for the Times. The report
could include things like their observations around Whyville, what they've been
working on in the past month, their ideas for new projects, their correspondence
with city workers, and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions
And Senators should help us more clearly define what the senator's job really
is. If Whyville's going to have a Senate, we should do it right. We need a
"constitution" of sorts. What should it include? That's up to us. Think about
it. Then share your ideas: tell your senators, tell your city workers, tell the
And while I'm on the subject, I might as well mention another of my ideas. I
think there should be requirements for the position of Senator. Y-mail helpers
have to have been on Whyville for 90 days, have a clean record, have a high
salary, and pass a test before they're considered qualified to answer citizens'
questions. Yet Senators, who will have far greater power and responsibility,
don't. I think we should change this. Make the requirements for Senator at least
as strict as those for Y-mail Helper. It just makes sense.
This turned out to be rather long, didn't it? Sorry about that. Consider it a
month of my writing condensed into a single article. :-)
...Admiring the little stars around her name...