Author Topic: Syd Arnold, Running for EC  (Read 2149 times)

Syd Malicious

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Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« on: February 05, 2012, 06:45:32 PM »
Heyyo. I'm running for E.C.

My Goals:
My first main goal is to create a system that can pair members who have project ideas with members who have the skills and experience to see those ideas realized, with minimal oversight from the E.C. Think, ďPSI Craigslist.Ē One fact I think we habitually overlook is that very few of us are full-time poets. Most of us are students or professionals in areas that are superficially unrelated to PSI. I say ďsuperficiallyĒ because I donít think there are very many skill sets that we couldnít utilize, if only we knew what they were and what to do with them. Iíll use myself as an example. Iím a triple major: Math, Biology, and Secondary Education. Weíre accustomed to the idea that teaching and poetry go hand in hand, but I find that math is actually the most useful when it comes to the PSI-related projects that Iíve worked on. If youíve paid attention to the forums recently, youíve seen my mathematical analysis of random draw (Iíve also done a lot of unpublished analysis of various alternatives). I was relatively lucky in this regard, because I happened to stumble on a Facebook discussion pertaining to the Seeding debate. But you can imagine that there are a lot of potential projects and proposals that a) I havenít seen and more importantly b) somebody else, who might be highly qualified to contribute, hasnít heard of. I suspect that there are any number of members out there who, like me, wanted to contribute, but simply didnít have a way to do it. I want to give those people way to contribute. I think the goal of the E.C. should be not only to make a giant to-do list of all these potential undertakings and try to sort through them, but also to create a system where members can help out and contribute their own skills in whatever capacity they are able. Who is more qualified too determine what each of us has to offer than we ourselves? Whether or not you like my math, and whether or not I like whatever talent you happen to have, I think it's critically important that all of us contribute.

My other main goal is to begin the process of systematically recording all of our operating procedures and making that information available to general members. (This dissemination will benefit greatly from the design of a new website, which I believe should also be one of the EC's and PSI's primary projects.) Just so it's clear what I mean when I say this: most of us donít know that SMs control NPS while the EC runs WoWPS and iWPS (I stumbled upon this information in an unrelated thread and only coincindently happened to retain it); most of us donít know how the order of bouts is determined in indie events (or what the order is for any given tournament, if my local scene is any indicator); most of us donít know what decisions are under the jurisdiction of PSI and which are at the discretion of the Host City Committees; most of us donít know that there isnít an official procedure for determining storm poets (and almost nobody at all knew until about a month ago). Whether or not any of these specific examples are important to you, I hope you can appreciate the value of knowing that this kind of basic information is available to you so that you CAN view it if you choose to. If we donít know what our processes are, we have no way to examine them for flaws or potential improvements; if we have that information gathered, organized, and available, then not only will general members have a better understanding of how things work, but they will be able to help us seek improvement.

Obviously, there are a lot of other important things Iíd like to do:
  • Establish PSIís YouTube Channel (a process which I have little to contribute to personally, technological failure that I am, but that I think my first main goal addresses)
  • See the launch of a new website (again, see my first main goal)
  • Create a resource archive for Host City Committees that general members can contribute to
  • Generally, look at our system analytically to determine inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and anything else than can be systematically improved
  • Anything else yíall want on the table

Other (relevant) stuff:
Iíve been involved in slam since middle school as: a member of Minnesotaís BNV team, a two-time member of the all-womenís Punch Out Poetry Slam team, an individual competitor, a volunteer at both NPS and WoWPS, a host, a proxy, a committee member, and various other things without official titles. I participate heavily in forum debates, including conducting mathematical analysis as it relates to discussion. I am currently involved in a project to gather and organize information from past HCCs regarding advertising strategies for national events. Iím also helping organize WoWPS 2013.

As I said, I study math, biology, and education. Iíve taught high school math classes and college classes in both bio and English. I currently work as a Hall Manager at UW-River Falls. I collaborate with 9 other HMs and 90 student staff members across campus to organize campus events. I supervise six full-time and five part-time staff members and eight volunteer staff to organize smaller events for my 250 upper-class residents. I have also independently organized campus rallies and protests.

Iím focused and hard working. I will approach every new task and idea with and open and analytical mind. I think I have a lot to offer and Iíd love the opportunity to do so.

Cheers
Syd Arnold

Punky921

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2012, 03:42:02 PM »
I like the cut of your jib, Syd. 

PS this is Justin from Jersey City. 

Syd Malicious

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2012, 03:58:38 PM »
I just noticed a big one I failed to put on my to-do list. That is, increase accountability for committees. There were two committees formed at this year's NPS SM meeting, but no system is in place for helping those people communicate with each other to actually accomplish the tasks they volunteered to do. I have literally no idea who's on my committee besides me and the one other person (out of 10) who I knew going into it.

karen_g

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2012, 04:16:10 PM »
I just noticed a big one I failed to put on my to-do list. That is, increase accountability for committees. There were two committees formed at this year's NPS SM meeting, but no system is in place for helping those people communicate with each other to actually accomplish the tasks they volunteered to do. I have literally no idea who's on my committee besides me and the one other person (out of 10) who I knew going into it.

 :-\

Was this formed to look at scores of events & rotations? I seem to remember that being formed, or something like it, at WOW sm mtg last year? I don't think I volunteered for that one myself, but I remember the discussion.
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Syd Malicious

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2012, 05:36:07 PM »
I honestly don't remember what the other one was. My committee was supposed to put together final language for a seeding proposal.

Scott Woods

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2012, 09:10:13 PM »
It's in the minutes.

randomcelestial

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2012, 03:14:29 PM »
Syd, what committees do you envision being absolutely essential? Which of your goals do you think should be tackled by committee, and which should be handled strictly by the EC?

Syd Malicious

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2012, 11:20:35 PM »
Syd, what committees do you envision being absolutely essential? Which of your goals do you think should be tackled by committee, and which should be handled strictly by the EC?

Real talk, I don't even know what committees exist. This in and of itself is the main object of my concern. What happened in Boston was somebody called for 'clarification' of a rule and c committee was put together to draft the language of that clarification. I think this is generally a good way to proceed: when a relatively small concern arrises and when we are not pressed for time, I think the ideal solution is to let a committee hash it out and put proposals up for the whole group. Anything that involves finances and/or legalities, anything that is time-sensitive, anything that is confidential - those things should absolutely be handled by the EC. As for stuff that doesn't fall definitively into one category or the other... I'm not gonna pretend that I know enough about the current state of operations to have a valid opinion on that. (I do think it's an important question that we should try to address in a systematic way; i just don't have the data I would need to make that call up front.)

cynthia

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2012, 04:17:28 PM »
 A lot of great ideas here - and I'm not just saying that because we share a birthday week.

With an organization that has, for over a decade had the chicken/egg problem (we need things done by volunteers/no volunteers are stepping up to volunteer for things we need done because they don't know what needs to be done), mixed with the limited staff that the organization can afford to pay, any way that information can be more easily communicated and the potential volunteers can more easily find, the better.

I LOVE the idea of the volunteer craigslist.  It can be everything from making 5 phone calls to being a part of a larger project.  Nobody will do things if the organization isn't asking them to do specific things.

And with the way people operate more and more online, and constantly on the move, it would increase the ability of members to participate.  Imagine a Mike McGee type person who is touring...we all know that when you're touring you have down time...and if you'd be able to hop on a list, find a project to do that fits your limitations at the time, you could do it and feel like you were being helpful.

Cynthia French
Little Falls, MN
www.cynthiafrench.com

karen_g

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 01:35:49 PM »
What is your response to the henny penny cries that math & scores will be the death of slam?
nerak_g

Syd Malicious

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 02:28:15 PM »
Slam is at a transitional point in its history. If the next EC accomplishes even a fraction of the things the candidates are talking about, we are going to see huge returns in terms of participation, audience attendance, financial stability and sustainability, and overall investment from our community. I understand that as poets, it's natural for us to be suspicious of numbers, but math is a tool like any other, and I flatly disagree with anyone who thinks there's a single tool out there that isn't worth using to help us accomplish these things. Especially not if we're motivated by fear. Can numbers be mis-used? Absolutely. Can they be manipulative and misleading? Yes. So can words. We should know; we're poets. But my goal isn't to encode the dictionary into prime factors or turn NPS into a nerd-only slam; my goal is to use the tools at my disposal to do what's best for this community. If numbers are scary and confusing for people, I'm more than willing to help with that. I'm perfectly happy breaking every single detail down into baby steps so that everyone can follow along if they want to. I'm also okay answering questions - I'm a real-world math teacher. What I'm not willing to do is play the fear game and I'm not willing to avoid a useful tool just because people are nervous about it.

And as for scores.

There are those among us who, as you say, think that scoring is a barely-tolerable evil. These people, if they saw a way to do it, would get rid of scoring completely. Unfortunately for them, they simply don't think that's viable. I think this is a defeatist attitude that makes us slaves to tradition. If we truly hate scores and scoring - if we really think that scores are the death of slam - lets get rid of that shit. For real. I don't want to see slam die. If scoring runs counter to what we believe slam is about then it has no place in slam. Period.

But personally, I don't think scores are evil and I think treating them as such is unproductive. I think they are an integral, functional part of the show: they are the voice we give to our audience; they are another language in which we communicate with each other, kinda like poetry itself in a lot of ways. And so the question we should be asking ourselves is not how we can minimize the impact that scoring has, or how we can discredit our judges, or how we can avoid hearing what they're telling us, or how we can pretend that scores don't exist and nobody ever loses. The question we should be asking is, what do we want scores to DO? And how do we make them do that?

Tools, Karen. It's all about tools.

karen_g

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 03:43:15 PM »
I'm not opposed to scores or math or messing with the draw or the way we handle scores (announcing totals at the end, for instance, or whatever). I am competitive enough that I like the gimmick of slam. I also love the randomness (at times hate on it),  that scores get tossed, the populism of it (non-experts). I think there are some other things to do & ways to play with it, rotations, etc.
nerak_g

edaniel

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 04:23:06 PM »
If the majority of Slammasters vote against changing events to align with your thoughts on scoring, how will you react?


AmyD

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 04:30:02 PM »
There are those among us who, as you say, think that scoring is a barely-tolerable evil. These people, if they saw a way to do it, would get rid of scoring completely. Unfortunately for them, they simply don't think that's viable. I think this is a defeatist attitude that makes us slaves to tradition. If we truly hate scores and scoring - if we really think that scores are the death of slam - lets get rid of that shit. For real. I don't want to see slam die. If scoring runs counter to what we believe slam is about then it has no place in slam. Period.

Syd, in general, I support your EC bid and think you have some really good ideas, but this part here is an unfair strawman.

Syd Malicious

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Re: Syd Arnold, Running for EC
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 09:26:07 PM »
Erik -

I would like to engage the SMs and the rest of the community in a serious discussion about the function that scoring serves. I would like to determine whether the system we have is the best one possible. If it isn't then I want to fix it. If the majority rules that it is, then I'll abide by that decision. I'm not married to any particular method so much as I am to the general goal of improvement. If the body determines that I'm wrong and that a particular idea I have is not an improvement, then I'll bow out gracefully and turn my attention elsewhere.

Amy -

Your point is well taken. I should have said 'If there are those among us...' I'm not meaning to point fingers at any person or subset of people. And to be fair, Karen was asking me a question about Henny Penny, who is of course a hypothetical character anyway. But I do stand by my point: let's not do something that's bad for us just because it's what we've always done. If we determine that something we've always done is bad for us, let's get rid of it. And I mean that for all practices, including and not limited to scoring. If there's a better way, let's find it. If there's not, then on other things.