From OUSFG Constitution ...
Can also clarify for the benefit of the freshers how much each kind of multifarious membership is going to cost? We have the different membership types in the Constitution, but not how much each is going to cost in proportion to the 'normal membership'.
The problem with writing prices in the constitution is that it's supposed to be fixed, and prices need to change over time.
Now, what you suggest is that the absolute prices are not specified, but that the relative prices are (with, say, life membership as a baseline). That's an interesting idea. The argument about permanence and change applies to some degree, but much less strongly.
The prices of the various kinds of membership are clearly documented in the treasurer's notebook, so it is in fact very simple to find out what they are - ask the treasurer. The apparent confusion over prices stems from the facts that (a) people who are not (and never have been) the treasurer attempt to answer, and don't really succeed and (b) the current treasurer is new, and still getting up to speed.
It would actually be far simpler all round to put the actual prices in, and then just change the constitution when necessary. Is there any real reason why we cannot do this, or just because it's the custom that we don't change the constitution. For ease of reference, practical rules should have precedence over procedural ones. - WJR
Hmm. Have we ever called a Constitutional Court in the lifetime of this particular constitution as it stands? - Might be worth doing on this issue. --TL
Yeah. Right. Change the bloody constitution every time something changes. This is not what a constitution is for. A constitution is to define how the society works, not the detail. The constitution should be a static document. It need not change over a period of ten years. Things like the date of the party, how often newsletters are sent, and membership prices SHOULD not be in the constitution. They do not constitute the definition of the society, just the instructions for running it. Right! - DS
Sounds like we need a separate set of operating instructions then. Preferably not written by Microsoft(TM). Who are you anyway, DS? --TL
Going by the name, and the style of rant, I'd say we're looking at a specimen of Darth Snell here... the defender of the faith. Yes... I'll grant, maybe that is technically (or pedantically) a more correct definition of a 'constitution', but the question is, is it a more useful definition? Isn't it worth the main document of the society containing such important information as how much membership costs, if the price is going into a file say once a year to once every two years and changing a number up by a bit? Where's the downside? Yes, I know according to the constitution "I am a sentient constitution" etc etc, but the constitution doesn't feel pain through being altered. --WJR
Don't we have the Big Book Of Knowledge for things like membership prices? I broadly agree that they shouldn't go in the constitution. -- NH
May i turn the question round and ask exactly what benefit would be gained from writing the prices in the constitution rather than in the treasurer's book?
Well, none, if there is a treasurer's book. However, if there is, why was there so much bewilderment and confusion over what membership costs this year? --WJR
That is an implementation bug not a spec bug. It should be solved by a) the committee knowing the answers, this is a committee bug and b) only people who have a clue about the answers to questions, answering them. The constitution is the spec, the society is the implementation. Changing the spec to fit the implementation is rarely the correct solution. (TA? If not, who?)
Not me. Also, if text isn't signed, it's probably not a good idea to add a signature yourself. If you get it wrong, it could cause serious confusion and upset. Also, does it really matter if it's not signed? -- TA
Well... in a wider field of pedantry I'm not sure I'd agree with you- after all, if someone is presented with an impossible design brief- say a solar-powered deep sea submarine, then the correct solution is to telephone the person who gave you the design brief and say: "You want a what? Are you insane?"
In this field, no, changing the specifications of the constitution may not be the correct solution but, since changing the spec involves modifying a piece of paper, whilst changing the implementation involves changing the way the committee thinks, the incorrect solution might be the simpler and longer-lasting one. Just a hypothesis. --WJR
As i said above, "The apparent confusion over prices stems from the facts that (a) people who are not (and never have been) the treasurer attempt to answer, and don't really succeed and (b) the current treasurer is new, and still getting up to speed.". -- TA
Rightio, so what we need is more transparency so that we can allow for changes of treasurer, which are likely to be more frequent than changes of fees. Can't we just persuade the Ghost in the Machine to bung membership prices on the website, as per Docsoc? --TL
Or, even better just put the memberships and the prices in either the first newsletter of year or the freshers flyer (or both if you need space filling!). As both are on the web and in print, it should become obvious to anyone who wants to know. Plus, as contents are generally agreed with the comittee beforehand, the treasurer should be able to inform the editor of the prices before such a document is produced. -DM Excellent! --TL
The first newsletter of the year may well come in trinity, so that's not so much use, but the prices should definitely be on the flyer. In fact, i thought they usually were. -- TA
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