www.whyville.net Jun 27, 2004 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

What is a Senator?

Users' Rating
Rate this article

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 Whyville.

But these are things that any citizen on Whyville can do. So what's so special about Senators?

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 questions.

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 they get.

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 Times.

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...


Did you like this article?
1 Star = Bleh.5 Stars = Props!
Rate it!
Ymail this article to a friend.
Discuss this article in the Forums.

  Back to front page