This is a guest post by “Abu Sassy”.
I write this article under a nom de plume not because I don’t want to be held accountable, nor because I don’t want other Deputies to know who I am; my chosen pseudonym should identify me to many if not all. I don’t want to use my full name because I choose to maintain a separation between my professional and personal lives and I wish to protect both from the ubiquity of search engines. It is important to me. I ask that readers and commenters respect that.
It is important to understand that not everyone lives their lives via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and WordPress. Accept that some Deputies believe they have good reason to remain off camera and off mike at a Board plenary meeting, not necessarily because they don’t want to be accountable – we have published minutes for that, nor because they don’t want other Deputies to know who they are – they state their name and constituency for the printed record but not for the live streaming. I personally don’t know their reasons to remain un-streamed. I can only explain my logic why I am happy to appear on camera or microphone at a meeting but not to be named on a blog site.
You may have noticed that many of the people who initially raised objections months ago have since chosen to appear on camera. They have dropped their objections and perhaps have come appreciate the value of what is being done. Some will take longer to accept change than others. Respect them. Please. I suspect that the numbers of off-mike Deputies will continue to diminish. Rome was not built in a day. Let attrition take its course – it will wither of its own accord.
The main reason I support video streaming is that I believe it will improve the decorum of meetings. As any quantum nuclear physicist will tell you, if you observe something you affect and change it; just so with streaming Board plenary meetings. Knowing that your antics are being observed in real time by 175 brave souls around the world should moderate the wilder excesses of the common or garden plenary. I see it as a step on the road to better accountability. I know it is not perfect but it was a compromise to get the whole streaming package accepted. Not to have the option to be off-camera would have lost support and risked squashing the whole enterprise.
The thing that has vexed me most is not the video feed but rather some of the tweets. I understood that Changing the Board stood for values such as a decorum and respect; values which I share. Whilst there were plenty of sound, intelligent and witty tweets, I also saw a number of ad hominem comments which I found troubling (and one or two I felt guilty for laughing with).
Is it decorus and respectful to poke fun at someone with:
Food justice is one thing, but one can use a dead animal to make a hat
- complete with photo of the fur-clad deputy speaking at mike?
Even when a tweet initially appears to be a fair comment it can get spoiled by a hashtag:
Hoffman not being watched in Sderot because he’s speaking on the mic that’s not being streamed #shamed
The comment is brilliant; the hashtag spoils it.
If we want to encourage improved conduct at Board meetings then perhaps we should apply the principle of Dugma Ishit – leadership by example.
Changing the Board will continue to set the pace for evolution at the Board. But let’s do it properly.
[Note: Changing the Board, when considering accepting this post, appreciated the irony of an anonymous post talking about the need for transparency, but accepted the author's request as outlined in the opening paragraphs. If you would like to know the name of the writer, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Read more recent posts:
A real change in conduct by Daniel Grabiner
Oxfam, Grow: NGO. Do we do it, yes or no? by Gabriel Webber