Retirement

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Retirement

Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Fri Jul 15, 2005 4:40 pm

Salvete omnes,

Two months ago I made a posting in the Senate to apologise for my lack of involvement and activity this year: the ludi circenses have come to a halt, I'm not writing any substantial contribution anymore, and generally I haven't been here much. I would like to repeat that apology for the whole membership, not because I want to flog myself out of guilt, but because I want to announce my retirement as censor, and my indefinite retirement as a truly active member.

I've been with SVR since the beginning - I helped founding it - and while it is good to see that we have people holding on and enjoying this community, I'm also tired of being actively involved with this group. As I noted in my reply in the other thread on this Comitia board, I'm certainly not criticising Piscinus, Marius, Cleopatra, Orcus or Scerio - on the contrary. I also don't have anything against the other members, some of whom I count among my closest friends. But, over the course of the years, I have frequently noticed that many things here don't run as they should. People taking up offices or rectorships and not doing anything with them, disappearing without a word, or people getting elected on a platform of a lot of ambition and promise, but making little of it concrete.

I realise that SVR is and remains a voluntary association. But I do remain convinced that if you take up an office, you should at least do the very basic things - and more often than not, this isn't happening. How many rogatores have we had to replace? Another problem that is intertwined with this laid back attitude many of the long-standing members have always taken, is that it doesn't encourage or motivate others to do what has to be done in their place.

By now, elections for rectores should have been announced and prepared some time ago (normally new rectores take office in August). No one took notice of SVR's birthday. Until I mentioned it, no one asked what happened to the ludi circenses. No one asked where my colleague, Fidenas, went until I simply sent him a mail (the poor man has had a heart attack so he's understandably unable to fulfill his duties). I lost the access codes to the censores address but haven't heard back from my request to receive these codes again (about a month ago now). We've had similar problems before, and each time it's the people I previously mentioned by name, plus myself, who have taken steps to try and solve them or make a substantial contribution. But what good is that when the rest remains passive or unreliable?

I will remain here as a regular member and will continue to post (in the RP thread, among others), but until I see SVR is getting better and less dependant on the maintenance of three or four people, I will not take up any future offices or organise activities of any kind.

I think that if the members I didn't mention by name truly care about SVR and what it stands for, they should come into action now and, as Piscinus and Marius proposed, rebuild our foundations entirely and make this a continuous effort, rather than ad hoc problem solving. If we as a community do not adapt and will not refresh ourselves drastically before 2005 is over, we are doomed to fossilise or to be absorbed by the OP, whichever comes first.

Before some of you wonder: I am not angry with any of you, just disappointed. But you are still my friends 8).

Optime valete!
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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:46 pm

Draco,

I hope that you will reconsider.

Some time ago, Piscinus started a thread asking SVR sodales what they wanted SVR to become. In effect, he was asking what was the object or purpose of SVR. There was not much in the way of reply. I was not surprised or disheartened by this. We are, after all, a society that exists on the Internet rather than in the real world and we explicitly have no proselytizing function. The Societas exists for its members' enjoyment. If we choose we can accept limited duties to help run the Societas, but otherwise no commitment is made upon joining. If one wishes to post, great, but if that represents too great an effort at a particular time, that's OK too.

(As you may have noticed, I haven't been posting much lately. What you don't know is that I check it every day and avidly read most postings (the RP thread being the exception). I particularly enjoy learning about new discoveries through Newsflash and reading the learned posts of Piscinus, Orcus, Marius, et al. When I know something that can contribute to a topic, I will jump in. Otherwise, I'm a pretty passive member.)

You are right that most of the "work" in SVR is being done by just a few people. That's that way it is in any organization. And all of us are grateful to those few. One of the advantages of refounding SVR as a truly collegia-led organization, shedding the detritus of the circumstances of our first founding, is that it will greatly reduce the burden on those few. Another advantage is that it will further differentiate us from OP, making us more attractive to like-minded individuals who want to share their Romanitas without confronting a bureaucratic structure of offices, politics, and virtual nationhood.

I guess what I am asking you, Draco, is to relax your expectations a bit. If there is inactivity on SVR for a couple of days, that is not cause for alarm. It's just that no one has anything they consider interesting to say for the moment.

And don't think that we, even we relatively passive sodales, don't notice or remember things. I love the circuses and have asked myself why they haven't taken place recently. But I thought that it would be impolite for me to ask -- presumably you had good reasons for not keeping to the schedule. I'm just relaxed about it.

Is that OK?
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Jul 16, 2005 2:20 pm

Salve Draco

I hope too that you will reconsider about your retirement. SVR needs you, as all of us. I admit I haven't been very active lately either, but that was for personal reasons.
Anyway, what you said is somewhat true. Concerning the reforms of SVR, I will talk about it in the appropiate topic. Because we need to reform SVR if we wish to survive. SVR has somewhat complicated procedures, which made me think that we mirrored the federal state of Belgium into our organisation. Anyway, SVR doesn't just need reformed, but its membership needs a different attitude. There is nothing wrong with the laid back attitude, but it gives the wrong signal to newcomers.
I'm the last person who will force anyone to be here if they don't want to, but we need to stimulate some activity from the newbies while the rest takes a step back, but not in a way that they should be inactive. No, the rest should stay active, but try to limit their level of activity.
I do hope that you don't retire, Draco. We really could use you here.
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:58 am

Salvete Tergeste et Orce,

Thank you for your responses.

I want to make it clear that I'm not blaming either of you for SVR's problems, or that I think you are even part of SVR's problems. When fulfilling a duty, you have both not let down the Societas and did very well. When not in office, you stick around and read or post. I'm fine with that, and it's even better if you enjoy yourselves, of course :).

I don't think that I am expecting too much of too few people, however. I did so in the past, when we started out, perhaps the second year too. But I've become very realistic after that, being one of the major forces behind the reform that made SVR's tree structure which reduplicated administrations for every collegium disappear, the transition from a plethora of mailing lists to one forum, three or four regulae reforms, simplified tasks for the officers and lastly, a great effort to bring together disparate collegia to ease administering even more. So, I am well aware of how limited time and resources can be within a voluntary association.

In fact, I want to bring in some of my experience as part of the students' club here (not unlike a fraternity, but much more open and accessible... it doesn't really have the same image anyway). I've been on the praesidium (the council that rules the club) for two years now, and next year I will be president (praeses) of it. Like SVR, our club has several aims, a sort of "regulae" (though called something else, of course), and officers who are responsible for various tasks. We have an officer who takes care of organising parties, another does cultural activities, yet another administers our funds, and so on. There's about 20 people on the council, and in total we have about 740 members. When someone joins the council and is candidate for a certain position, they usually know what their job is going to look like, or they will be taught the ropes by their predecessors and future colleagues with experience. Of course, this is a voluntary association too, so we do everything outside our work for college. Among 20 members of the presidium, you can invariably expect about three to five of them being unfit for their job, lacking in enthusiasm, lacking in organisational skills, or just... not being there when they should be. But that's normal.

In this case, SVR isn't normal. Not only have, over the successive elections, some familiars (like me) recycled themselves over and over, with a small influx of new faces, the problem I mentioned earlier, that about 1/5 members of your ruling council will be unqualified, a liability or will drop out sooner or later due to unexpected circumstances, is even more rampant in the Senate. I'm not saying this with glee. It's just that it turns out that best friends with a joint interest in setting up a new organisation may simply not have the skills and time required to do it. Then they (none of whom has replied here yet) should, I think, at least see that it can't go on like this. Perhaps Marius's and Piscinus's latest exchange in the other thread is part of this rescue operationt to lift us back up again as a serious organisations.

I don't think it's abnormal to expect from rectores to launch new ideas, projects and topics every once a year. Or some aediles to update the site, or consules to concern themselves with holding elections. Or some more effort by the Senate as a whole to get that old beast of burden that's the Societas moving in the right -in any- direction. These are not accusations aimed at the current administration, lest they get angry with me, but at all past administrations as well. I've seen too many good, friendly people over the years become bad magistrates or fossilised rectores. I wasn't and have never been asking them to work miracles or to show us great visions, but often even the most basic and minimal tasks were unable to be completed, or the person in casu simply abandoned us in silence.

I see now that Coruncanius has also radically questioned his own position in the Societas, and offered his and de facto the Senate's resignation in a dramatic move. For me, it did not have to go this way, and mi Coruncani, I feel just as bad about it as you do and hope that you might stick with SVR and see what the others will make of it. I value you a lot, even if your consulship did not turn out as you, I or we had expected it to be. It's a radical step you have taken now, and hope it might be one for the better of SVR, and all of us.

Optime valete,
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:54 am

Salve draco

I want to make it clear that I'm not blaming either of you for SVR's problems, or that I think you are even part of SVR's problems. When fulfilling a duty, you have both not let down the Societas and did very well. When not in office, you stick around and read or post. I'm fine with that, and it's even better if you enjoy yourselves, of course .

thnx, Draco. I can't speak for Tergestus, but I love being here, to contribute to the community we have created here. It would be a shame if that went away.
I don't think it's abnormal to expect from rectores to launch new ideas, projects and topics every once a year. Or some aediles to update the site, or consules to concern themselves with holding elections. Or some more effort by the Senate as a whole to get that old beast of burden that's the Societas moving in the right -in any- direction. These are not accusations aimed at the current administration, lest they get angry with me, but at all past administrations as well. I've seen too many good, friendly people over the years become bad magistrates or fossilised rectores. I wasn't and have never been asking them to work miracles or to show us great visions, but often even the most basic and minimal tasks were unable to be completed, or the person in casu simply abandoned us in silence.

I'm all for launching new projects, ideas and topics, but there is so much we as rectors can do for the member. There must be a point when they start asking questions and launc new ideas and topics. But I think most newly joined members are just lurking and waiting to see what we will do instead of doing it themselves. We still have to finish some projects like the Daily life project or the Greek myths project that is still out there. Rectors shouldn't have 200% control of what is done in their collegia. Rectors should have at least 60-70% control and the rest is up to the members, because rectors should keep the peace between members and act like a moderator.
I do think SVR is in much need of a reform. It makes me wonder if we don't need to take it back to the beginning of SVR where each collegia acted as a seperate entity? Perhaps we should gave the moderator function to the presiding rector of the collegia, he or she is in charge of to relief some stress from the aedilles? Anyway, i'm just brainstorming here.
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Postby Aldus Marius on Mon Jul 18, 2005 4:16 pm

Salve, Draco amice...

I had a really nice letter for you all done up yesterday...then lost it to an unfortunate keystroke combination. I tried to reassemble it from memory, but could not. The hours spent (you know about my hands--and my memory, for that matter) cannot be recovered; but I must still comment on your impending retirement, and regret that I was unable to do so in a more timely way.

I was stunned when I read your announcement; I am still saddened. But I support your action one hundred per cent. You ought to be able to back off for a time, without having to worry that the Societas is going to fall apart behind you. Our group has just passed its fourth birthday; there are others here who are capable, willing, and active to see that the heavy lifting gets done. As I've said elsewhere, a healthy organization has no Indispensible Men. Our other Founder up and left us early on, not too politely either, and we're still here; we've done just fine, and are arguably stronger for the experience.

If anyone here deserves a breather, you do. Of course I hope it is just a breather; that in the next year or three you will want to wade back in because it suits you...because you feel like it...because you're up to it...because you've missed it. But don't do it out of a sense of Duty, or in response to the pleas of your friends--not even Marius. >({|;-)

We'll be okay. Individually and collectively, we've weathered worse.

Sodales, allow me to reiterate: Gnaeus Dionysius Draco is not leaving the SVR. He will not hold any Rectorships or Magistracies; he will not be chairing any committees. That is all. I do none of these things either, and yet I am accounted (for who knows what reason!) a useful member of the Societas. I don't doubt that Draco is going to continue to 'out-useful' me even at any reduced rate of participation. He's still going to read; he's still going to post; he's still going to sling ideas around along with the rest of us. He has not quit bein' a Roman, and we shall continue to have the pleasure of his company.

And I still get him for the RP! <feg>

Magnas gratias ago, Draco amice, for what you have done. It is high time you got to simply enjoy the thing you created, and let the rest of us worry about keeping it lubed and tuned.

In amicitia et fide,
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:49 pm

Mari,

Thank you for your kind words. I think you have figured out exactly what I meant, even from my rambling, verbose postings written after 3am in the morning 8).

In amicitia et fide,
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Answer me if you can!!

Postby Anonymous on Sat Jul 23, 2005 7:07 am

The biggest question I hav at this point is who are the members you "didn't name" who might not care about SVR? What is it they won't do? Why does resignation seem to be the course of action?

You post anger and dissatisfaction by causing more problems by resigning. How does that help SVR>? WHat really happened...?
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:07 pm

Salve Numeri Icili

SVR has seven collegia. At one time each collegium had three officers. That is 21 officers. In addition SVR has ten other officers - two censores, two consules, two praetores, two aediles and two rogatores. A total of 31 officers. We have always had trouble finding enough people to fill all those offices. So we reduced the numer of officers in each collegium to one rector. That gave us a total of 17 offices to fill, and since we also allowed rectores to hold other offices, the actuall number of people we need to fill all offices are ten. In the last election I think we had only 14 sodales voting.

Most recently one of censores was forced to retire from office due to serious health problems. Then Censor Draco retired, for reasons he shall explain further for himself. One of our consules has been travelling to further his education and has been generally unavailable these past several months. The other consul just quit his office this past weekend. Our Aediles for this year, for whatever their reasons, have not so much as updated the website to let anyone know who are our officers. We have been without a rogator for some time, and elections to fill that position has not been called. All of the rectores have their term of office concluding this month, and no elections to replace them have yet been called, nor have any been planned. So SVR is now down to one praetor that I know still visits the fora (I'm not sure who the other is), one rogator is hiding somewhere, and other than Orcus I have not seen a rector around lately. Well, Curio, but he is off to Poland for now.

This is our Senate - all officers and rectores. In the Senate are also one or two non-voting members who serve as iurisconsulti. I am one myself. This last weekend Consul Cornucanius announced that he had dissolved the Senate. Well, no one is sure that he can do that legally. As iurisconsultus I gave my opinion that he could not do that. The other consul was not around to veto Cornucanius, and none of the senatores seemed to care as none spoke up at the time. A few days later those of us who were wandering around the empty corridors of the Senate thought that this matter was serious enough that any discussion we would hold should be out in the Comitia for all sodales to participate.

At the moment SVR essentially has no organization. No Senate. No rectors in a couple weeks. Not enough remaining officers to hold an election properly.

Numeri, you wrote "This is a load of BS and I'm voting against it. Sure, I'm probably the only one but I think this personal crap getting in theway of a good time."

Yes, it is. That is how most of the Senate feels. Organizational matters are a lot of crap that just gets in the way of a good time. And you might add, as we notice, that SVR itself has not collapsed in the absence of our cumbersome organizational structure. So the question is whether we even need it?

If you wish to keep the organizational structure that we had, you will be hard pressed to fill all those offices. Those who have been holding them for the past four years, those who have been voting these past four years, just don't want to do it any more. It is getting into the way of our enjoying a good time in SVR too.

Does SVR need an organizational structure? If so, what kind? Do we need so many officers? What do officers do in SVR? Who is to decide?

The few remaining senators we could find have decided that these are questions that all sodlaes should discuss and decide upon, in the Comitia.

Scripsisti: "I thihnk thous of you pushing for this are loking to cause trouble because of personal reasons. I'm not going to pretend to know what they are."

Personal reasons, as with Draco, is that we are tired of carrying this alone. You seem upset that we now burden you to become an active part in deciding the future of SVR.

Scripsisti: "I guess I really don't care but I think you're just a bunch of people who love to hate the government, you elect some folks and then you just whine about how things arn'nt going your way."

We elected officers. They disappeared. We don't have much of a government left. And nothing is getting done, nor has anything been done for months. The general apathy of our officers is what has led our most active officers, Cornucanius and Draco, to give up their offices, leaving the remaining senators in a lurch. But you "really don't care"?

The highest ranking official in SVR who remains in our fora at the moment is Praetor Atticus. Review his earlier response to you:

"I wish you were better informed about the things you're complaining about... There is no split in the 'government' of SVR or any animosity between the government and the membership. In fact, the magistrates themselves so far are entirely for the plan of restructuring SVR through a concilium, in which many of them will participate, besides other members. There are no hidden agendas from any group in SVR behind all this, only a sincere wish to reform an obsolete 'constitutional' structure hindering - in most sodales' opinion - the functioning and development of this organisation."


Now do you feel better informed? Do you understand what is going on, and that no one is trying to hide what is going on? All that is happening is that those who have been the "government" for four years are bringing everything out to the full membership, hoping that you will now help us out in preserving SVR.

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Yeah Right!

Postby Anonymous on Sun Jul 24, 2005 3:08 am

Well, you've got your stories in place that's for sure!

All is well and that whole line of crap. Then why did Ti. Coruncanius quit? I met him in May and I liked the guy. He didn't seem like the type to just give up. He seemed reallly into this place... I emailed him a few days ago to ask what the deal was. What braught all this on? He answered that a bunch of you were making him out "to be a tyrannt presumably to justify remaking SVR the way they want.." This doesn't seem to jive wit your stories and it doesn't say much this place. If you all wanted something changed, then why didn't you guys just make a Poll like the you have now?? I'm not going to be part of someplac that treats its membership like that.

Good bye!
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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Sun Jul 24, 2005 5:35 am

Salve Numeri,

Your response to Piscinus' careful explanation of why some of us have proposed restructuring the administration of SVR seems to be on the order of "don't try to confuse me with the facts, I've already made up my mind!"

If you wish to leave, I am sorry that we are losing you. I am even more sorry that you are leaving under a misapprehension.

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:26 am

Salvete

I have to agree with you on that one Tergeste. It does seem like he didn't want to know the facts in the first place, that he has already made up his mind about us.
I'm sorry that we are losing you as a member, but if you are going to act like that.
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:48 pm

I don't understand all these accusations as to people letting others down, people bringing SVR to this crisis... *what* crisis? Things are somewhat inactive... That's hardly a crisis... So some officers who, and we seem to be unanimous about this, weren't really essential, disappeared. It's only because of this, in my opinion partly imagined, crisis that the rest of the Collegia are so quiet at the moment. As soon as I get back from Poland I intend to ask some questions about the evolution of the Roman army - which I expect to arouse the interest of certain members (Mari, I'm looking at you! :D )

So maybe we could do with advertising SVR a bit more. So we could do with a few more active members. Meh. Does that deserve accusations? Coruncanius, indeed you have failed to turn the SVR into a modern utopia during your time in office. That doesn't mean you've let us down! Can anyone deny that this has been coming for a while? People have been saying for ages that we don't need this many officers, and can rarely find enough magisterial candidates. This is hardly a bolt out of the blue.

That said, this is clearly important enough for me to feel the need to visit internet cafes frequently to keep updated. Why? Because the Societas is important to me. Because I want to do what I can to keep it alive, as well as the original vision - as I interpret it, the vision of a place where we can discuss all things Roman, and be all things Roman, without the bullshit politics that many of us remember from NR.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, please don't allow said bullshit politics or mudslinging to distract us from the real issue. And also: chill, guys! 8)
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:19 pm

Curio Agelastus wrote:I don't understand all these accusations as to people letting others down, people bringing SVR to this crisis... *what* crisis? Things are somewhat inactive... That's hardly a crisis...

[...]

So maybe we could do with advertising SVR a bit more. So we could do with a few more active members. Meh. Does that deserve accusations?


I entirely agree with you on both points. In a short statement (which I'll try to post soon) about what I think important elements for SVR's future, I intend to emphasize advertising and attracting new members.

Vale !

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