Opinion Piece: The Ethics of Public Officials Blocking Citizens

#22
Prim didn't write the article?
I meant that If Prim wants to be angry at me/block me then thats entirely up to him. But continuing to say I am harassing him/slandering him when I haven't spoken to him isn't really kosher. If he honestly feels he is being harassed by me, he should make a formal complaint to the Admins. I didn't ask for the article to be written, I don't control who blocks who or for what reason, but whatever he does it up to him.
 
#23
If you want to socialize with me a little, when you are comfortable doing so, again, that's also entirely up to you.

As I have told you before privately and will repeat here publicly, I really valued your friendship and I will miss your kindness, your smarts and most of all your good humor and I wish you and most importantly your family all the best. You've been helpful while I deal with my mom's issues and I am forever grateful.
I do like talking politics with you, OD -- I likely will unblock you at some point.
 

Sopo

Lord High Chancellor Emeritus
#25
I largely agree with Aex that it's fine to block someone on Discord, so long as they have some other method of communicating with you. No one has a right to DM me if I don't want them to.

For the record, I don't block people as an admin, but if I weren't an admin, I'd consider it with some of you sometimes. :p
 

Rachael

Supernatural Raider Mono Princess
#26
I largely agree with Aex that it's fine to block someone on Discord, so long as they have some other method of communicating with you. No one has a right to DM me if I don't want them to.

For the record, I don't block people as an admin, but if I weren't an admin, I'd consider it with some of you sometimes. :p
block me and i'll spam ur telegrams with lyrics to shitty 90's songs
 

Lethen

Welcome to the new forums! Same Lethen though...
#29
This is the stupidest "ethical issue" I've ever seen in Europeia. Everyone is free to block whomever they like on Discord; going along with that, there are plenty of people many of us simply don't socialize with - and don't want to.

This is akin to a work/outside-of-work dynamic imo. I have plenty of coworkers that I work with whom I simply dislike and don't want to see outside of work (usually for reasons like extreme right wing ideas, racism, etc). We work together fine (workplace = forums), but I don't want to be friends with them outside of work (personal life = Discord).

I'd be alarmed if the Senators had also blocked OD on the forums, but they haven't as far as I'm aware. He can easily voice his concerns about reform on the forums. It's questionable to me if Discord should even be used for substantive legislative discussion, as well.

Let's also keep in mind that this isn't and can't be the first time citizens inside and outside of government have blocked constituents over chat platforms or the forums. Or even de facto blocked. The only reason we seem to care now is because OD, Prim, etc. feel the need to litigate their issues at every damn opportunity.
 

Kari

Senator. Ave Imperator Hominis. Talos is not a god
#30
While there is no explicit statute that prevents Senators from blocking citizens, one could loosely argue that it undermines the citizens’ right “to freely express and disseminate their opinion in any manner or medium” (Charter of Rights, 2).
It is well established through common practice that Government business should take place on the Forums as they are the primary communications platform of the region. Discord is a secondary platform of communications which largely focuses on social interaction, not governmental work (outside of pings which nine out of ten times redirect to the forums.) As such it is the Forums that are the official medium of communications in the region.

I have not ignored/blocked anyone on the Forums or restricted anyone's abilities to contact me as a Senator, or private Citizen, via the primary channels of the forums, the private messaging function on the forums or via Telegram on Nationstates (though I rarely check my TGs more than once a week so there may be a wait.) The only restriction I have in place on the forums is that all of the communications settings are on "Members Only," as I do not want to get hit by bots.

Olde Delaware is blocked only on Discord. This was done due to; frequent and drastic escalation of situations often to the point of absurdity, misrepresentation of comments to be made into attacks on his person, frequent attacks on myself and others due to our RP stances, RP political beliefs and RP comments to the point of harassment, and multiple instances of slander/libel. None of those are issues I would bother taking to the Admins as all of them are "normal" behavior for Olde Delaware from what I have seen in my time in Europeia. If they have not been acted upon by now, why would I believe they would be if I bring it up?

I have since communicated with Olde Delaware via Discord Direct Messages once upon finding an idea of his in the #senate Europeia Discord channel which I thought may be applicable in a reworked way in the proposed People's Assembly system, this turned into a productive discussion on the reforms in general. Upon finishing that conversation I again re-blocked Olde Delaware.

Honestly, I just don't want to deal with the needless stress and anxiety of communicating with Olde Delaware in my social circle or any social aspect anymore, it is not worth the negatives which it inflicts upon me. I would block anyone else for the same reason(s.) It was not a "targeted" blocking as has been suggested, nor was it done to try and "silence" the anti/moderate reformists, it was done for my own well being. For anyone to say that I should continue to communicate with people regardless of what it inflicts upon me, they are totally unreasonable.

This is the last I am going to say on the topic.
 
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#31
Again, these accusations of harassment factually wrong. If you believe I have harassed you then by all means make a formal complaint to the admins however continuing to broadcast to the region that I have harassed you without doing so is starting to border on libel/slander itself.
 
#32
While I think blocking a constituent on Discord is very poor form and reflects badly on senators who do so, it is within their right to identify channels in which their constituents may engage them. However, from an equity standpoint, all citizens should have equal access to their elected representatives.

Eliminating means of communications for some citizens but not others disenfranchises citizens and undermines their ability to fully participate in the political process. If a senator makes a blanket policy of not engaging with constituents on one platform, but consistently engages on another, that mitigates the decision to some degree, and though I disagree with it, it is equitable for all citizens.

Also, there is a certain duty associated with being an elected official in this region to respond to legitimate constituent concerns. Any senator who believes they are under no obligation to respond to citizen inquiries is disqualified in my book.
 

Kari

Senator. Ave Imperator Hominis. Talos is not a god
#33
I just need to say this. I made a polite request and provided my reasons for it (worn out with Euro after doing euro related work for about 14 hours straight yesterday barring eating dinner) to be left alone and out of the debate in the Euro Discord for a few hours last night. That request was meet with an accusation of running from the discussion and "shut(ting) down when (I am) losing," comments akin to a parting kick in the teeth. If this is what polite requests to be left alone for a small period of peace is met with, then how are we meant to actually have a reasonable balance in this region?

The main reason we are even having the reform discussions in this region in the first place is due to the frankly insane workload, expectations and unhealthy work-life balance which are put on people by this region. This incident shows that there are, and will always be, people that will ignore the stipulations that have been suggested in this and other threads of officials declaring they will not do Euro related work in specific channels of the discord or at specific times as has been suggested. If a simple request to be left alone for a few hours is treated in such a manner than I simply do not know what this region expects or deserves of its members.

Edit: small typo
 
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#34
While I think blocking a constituent on Discord is very poor form and reflects badly on senators who do so, it is within their right to identify channels in which their constituents may engage them. However, from an equity standpoint, all citizens should have equal access to their elected representatives.

Eliminating means of communications for some citizens but not others disenfranchises citizens and undermines their ability to fully participate in the political process. If a senator makes a blanket policy of not engaging with constituents on one platform, but consistently engages on another, that mitigates the decision to some degree, and though I disagree with it, it is equitable for all citizens.

Also, there is a certain duty associated with being an elected official in this region to respond to legitimate constituent concerns. Any senator who believes they are under no obligation to respond to citizen inquiries is disqualified in my book.
So you would say that if a Senator chose to not be on Discord, that would be disqualifying because they are refusing to engage on a platform where constituents could theoretically contact them?

I don't mean this as a hostile question — I'm genuinely curious if Discord communication is seen as mandatory now.
 

Lethen

Welcome to the new forums! Same Lethen though...
#35
Hopefully not; that's an unfair burden to put on anyone if they can't - or don't want to - use a chat platform that is extraneous relative to the forums, the PM function, and game-side telegrams.
 

Kari

Senator. Ave Imperator Hominis. Talos is not a god
#36
So you would say that if a Senator chose to not be on Discord, that would be disqualifying because they are refusing to engage on a platform where constituents could theoretically contact them?

I don't mean this as a hostile question — I'm genuinely curious if Discord communication is seen as mandatory now.
If we draw the "restricted communications resulting in disenfranchisement" argument out to its logical conclusion;

Any official who does not have a Discord account is guilty.
Any elected official of Europeia who does not use the Europeia Discord is guilty.
Any appointed official of Europeia who does not use the Europeia Discord is guilty.
Any nominated and confirmed official of Europeia who does not use the Europeia Discord is guilty.
Any official who is inactive on the Europeia Discord is guilty.
Any official who is unresponsive on the Europeia Discord is guilty.
Any official who does not reply promptly is guilty.
Any official who does not respond to DMs, regardless of their content, from a Europeian Citizen is guilty.
Any official who just wants to "cool down" or "step away" by temporarily blocking someone for a few hours is guilty.
Any official who does not have all of their Forum settings set to "members only" or lower is guilty.

Any official who values their own well being over needless stress is guilty. -_-
 
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#37
HEM, I’ll respond a bit later this evening. But in short, no.

And Kari, that’s a pretty gross misinterpretation and extrapolation of what I said.

I’ll address that later as well.
 

Kari

Senator. Ave Imperator Hominis. Talos is not a god
#38
HEM, I’ll respond a bit later this evening. But in short, no.

And Kari, that’s a pretty gross misinterpretation and extrapolation of what I said.

I’ll address that later as well.
No, it is bringing the argument you were making to its logical end point. I left the discord anyway, so it's not like it matters now.
 
#39
Kari, over the course of time that we've interacted and had disagreements, I've never been sure if you intentionally mischaracterize and misrepresent things I say to counter my points, or if reading comprehension is not a skill you possess in abundance. This interaction leads me to believe it is more the latter than the former.

My post had two distinct points, both of which were made clearly and separately: first, that I think if elected officials are willing to engage with their constituents on Discord, that they should not be selective about it, and should engage all citizens equally on that platform. Elected officials should offer equitable access to all constituents, and not favor some over others by granting additional means of engagement. I do not believe this to be an unreasonable expectation of an elected official.

However, I was also very clear that it is within an elected official's prerogative to not engage on a platform as a whole. By and large, I think that is fine - though I'd prefer to see those elected officials engage on Discord politically if they are there socially. Just seems odd to me not to do so. But in the end, it's not a big deal if they want to conduct their business in their forum senate office or elsewhere (HEM, I think this will answer your question).

The second point was separate from the use of platforms to engage their constituency, and simply was that any elected officials who don't feel obligated to respond to constituent inquiries are, in my opinion, disqualified from elected office. Again, not unreasonable to expect elected officials to be responsive to their constituents. Of course context is involved here - repeated inquiries on the same subject hoping for a different response must not be repeatedly responded to once an initial response is given.

Try not to be so cool, Kari. Just read what I write and don't infer things that aren't there. My response was only in regard to elected officials (on multiple occasions I specified elected officials) - yet you chose to bring in unelected bureaucrats who are not accountable to the electorate in a misguided attempt to strengthen your point. Again, this gets back to reading comprehension - just read what I write and respond to that. Don't make stuff up in your response that I didn't say - that's the definition of a straw man. Unelected bureaucrats are accountable to the executive, not the public. While in the interest of transparency and good faith, you'd hope an executive branch official would be responsive, if they aren't, it ultimately doesn't matter because their own accountability doesn't lie with the public.
 
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