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CLD (was ro broda/ro lo broda)
lojbab quotes djer>>
>>Whether a change is propagated from usage to the grammar or from grammar
>>to usage, the long term result is the same. Clearly the usage and the
>>YACC grammar specification cannot be allowed to diverge if we want a
>>single "logical language."
>But once Lojban enters the realm of "living language", i.e. the prescriptive
>period ends, and we go under baseline, then "allow" becomes an inoperative
>word. We can try to "influence", but Lojban Central has no power to
I understand that no one can control an extant natural language. Lojban
will be a new type of language that is tied forever to a machine
grammar. At least I hope there will always be an official machine
grammar that parses. Otherwise, why don't we dispense with it now?
LLG has the power to create and maintain one well defined official
version of lojban. Hopefully it will be the best one.
>>I think your view of the future of lojban as a kind of laissez-faire
>>linguistic darwinism where the fit innovations survive is unduly
>As I just said, it is not merely a question of what is possible, but what is
>desirable. I am SURE that I will have far more prescriptive effect by my
>comments and pronouncements on actual usage than the Esperanto Academy does.
>But anything I pronounce upon therefore renders the language a creature of
>my mind and not the speaker's. To the extent that Lojban is to be used as
>a laboratory for lingusitic research, it must not operate differently from
>natural languages - i.e. individuals other than the speaker ought have
>no unnatural prerogative/influence. Otherwise Sapir-Whorf effects will
>be instead analyzable as Bob LeChevalier effects.
This is true, and it is doubly true in the design phase. Thus you
created "ko" and we are living with it, actually I think it's a great
contribution. Nonetheless, your argument as a whole is an argument for
a design committe, rather than design heroes; if we are to get a
language that has natural language features. And of course the design
committee has to be democraticly constituted or we have the same problem
of the language being a creature of one mind-set.
The latest example of this is the new lujvo paper. We are suddenly
presented with a new lujvo paradigm to discuss. It is largely the
creation of one mind. There was no lujvo committee consisting of those
who have special interest and expertise in this area. Two that come to
mind are Nick Nicholas and Jim Carter. Nick is off contributing to
other languages, and Carter has founded his own. This is a serious
brain drain from the lojban effort. Ideas these people created will no
doubt be incorported into the new version, but wouldn't it be better if
they were here to contribute?
Now after several flip-flops we hear that it is ok to discuss lujvo but
not ok to discuss any other language issues. I feel we are being
treated like grad students whose professor wants to publish his
student's ideas under his own name. Wasn't this the problem with JCB?
As a political structure we haven't advanced much. It was possible then
to split and write your own language if you didn't like the design
decisions, we still have the same choice. There is a middle way.
>>The problem with conlangs so far is simply a lack of genuine
>>We know even from recent world history what happens to
>>political structures that are paternalistic and male-dominated. We
>>have men struggling for control at all costs. The search for
>>consensual truth goes by the board. Lojban will degenerate into a kind
>>of intellectual Rwanda or undergo Balkanization if it continues its
>>present course. We will learn from conlang history or we will repeat
>I am not really convinced that genuine democratic processes necessarily result
>in consensus politics. There really are right and wrong answers to questions,
>and different people do see moral, as well as political imperatives (not to
>mention aesthetic ones in some cases). I don't view And's refusal to use
>apostrophe as a result of paternalism, male dominance or men struggling for
>control, but merely an individual asserting his independence. I suspect that
>there is no consensus that will bring him to use apostrophe, nor one that will
>cause everyone else to adopt his approach. And this is merely one of
>countless issues, so many we can hardly keep track of much less determine
>what if any consensus there is.
I don't know what And will do, I hope he doesn't found another
language. I am sorry I omitted his name from the list of those who
should be a part of the formal design committe, a committee which could
divide and conquer those countless issues. And I wish I knew the exact
referent of that "we". I wouldn't have to use the word "cabal".
>>Witness the current struggle concerning ro, dapoi and existence. There
>>has been no opportunity to let genuine democratic process work inside a
>>parlimentary structure before a forced decision must be made to publish
>>the refgrammar on schedule. A consensus could be reached on this matter
>>with time, leadership, and an academy.
>The "any" discussion has been going on for 1 1/2 years at significant
>intensity, and what I am skimming as it goes past indicates that issues
>coming up were debated by JCB over 15 years ago and resolved then changed
>the changed again. Time has NOT settled these issues,
djer: We've tried the passage of time without democratic process, now
it should be tried with democratic i.e. committee-of-experts process.
It would be possible to declare assumptions explicitly with our grammar
specification, and let the speaker choose. That is what pc tried to do
with da poi and existence.
>>Let the refgrammar follow the
>>community, not vice versa.
Oops- I meant to say academy, or grammar committee here; not the
community as a whole, but its representatives.
>That is what will happen in the post baseline period - the documents
>become descriptive of the usage of the community and not prescriptive.
>BUT, if the community does NOT reach a consensus, then we can call it
>schism, or we can calll it "laissez-faire
>linguistic darwinism" - the point is that I am not in charge, nor is the
You may not be in control, but you are in charge. We expect the heads
of state to try to make world peace, we do not imagine they can do it by
>>I can't say more without falling into the illogical position of taking
>>part in decision-making by cabal, and violating my public commitment
>>not to participate in grammar initiatives that are outside a structured
>>democratic process. Anyway, my position on the quantifier issue is
>>already on record from a discussion on the list, and I will e-mail it
>>to you and anyone else who wants to review it if asked. I am serious
>>about not being a party to change by executive decree, and will not
>>take part in any more language change discussions until there exists a
>>functioning democratic process with the same rules for all. I have no
>>way of knowing that my proposals are any more important than Colin's,
>>Xorxes', yours, Cowan's, Chris's or Vilva's, Stivn's, etc. until some
>>democratic machinery is in operation. Pc is on another plane as far as
>>I am concerned, but I doubt that he would mind equal footing.
>I'm not sure I understand what you are asking for. You want someone
>or some group to exercise authority over the language per the Esperanto
>Academy, yet you do not want a cabal. Virtaully all models of an "academy"
>presume that by its nature, such a group consists of people especially
>knowledgeable, academic, (in JCB's opinion judicial in temperament as
>opposed to political). Giving such a group any power other than the weakest
>sort of advisory power is to my mind to opposite of a "structured
>democratic process". The other extreme is of course pure anarchy in which
>the democracy is everyones supposedly equal right to debate here on the net
>- but of course the vase majority of Lojbanists are not and perhaps cannot
>participate on the net.
In some sense the participants on the net are representive of
the vast majority. They are dealing with the problems of the language
at an accelerated pace, they are the front runners for problems which
will come up again and again as the community catches up, unless these
problems are solved. I hope we net anarchists don't suffer the fate of
our Spanish civil war comrades, which was to be betrayed by the
communists and exterminated by the facists. I'm hoping we can get to
democracy by a more expeditious route.
>We DO have democratic process, though it can arguably also be called a
>cabal by those who choose not to accept it. I am answerable to the Board
>of Directors, who are in turn answerable to the voting membership of LLG.
>So Lojban is in effect governed by a democratic process of 5 people
>representing a couple dozen people, who we have tried to select so as to
>be diverse and not necessarily of one mind (and we have never turned down
>a person for voting membership who has stated their commitment to
>participate in the responsibilities fo such membership). So is that voting
>membership a "cabal"? or is the Board? hard to say in my mind.
I guess I haven't been clear at all. I'm not calling into
question whether the LLG is functioning in a democratic mode. I have
been on the board of a very successful non profit theatre corporation
for a decade. The real operating decision making is made by a
partnership sheltered by the corporate shell, the board knows that and
sanctions it; I voted for it. The democratic process I refer to has to
do with the formulation of language versions promulgated by LLG. It
has nothing to do with what happens to the language after it is
published in print or on the net. I agree with you that LLG has no
enforceable control of the published language.
Now, if the Refgrammar is a private copywritten work , and owned and
controlled in part by the investors you mention, and if its profits or
losses go to them, that's ok with me too. That's no different than my
friends in the theatre writing a play (which they did) and producing it
in the non profit theatre where I am a board member, and keeping the
profits which flow from productions elsewhere outside the non profit.
Whether or not the Refgrammar is a privatly owned work, my point is
that we are talking about a language here that is no one's chattel.
Quine, JCB, PC, lojbab, Cowan, and all the contributing members on the
net gave something to this enterprise called lojban. And they want to
continue influencing the language.
So "what I am asking for" is very simple: I want the design and
destiny of lojban in the hands of the people who are true to its
mission of being a logical language. I want one machine parsable
language that is growing and changing with the advances in logic and
language studies. I want those who love it, understand it, and use it
to have a part in its official form and destiny.
All these things require that there be an elected academy or peer group
which is representative of the users that will make real decisions and
have real power concerning the language design. That is something that
_is_ in your control, or at least in the control of the LLG board.
"What I'm asking for" is some action on your part to establish a
Committee for Language Design, or CLD. Just as stiv.n did before me.
>But the voting membership has quite strongly indicated that it DOES NOT want
>language decisions at this stage to be decided by their debating them - they
>want the right to advise me and the team I work with, and I think they want me
> to accept onto that team anyone who is willing to step forward and accept the
>responsibilities that come with such team membership. In short, on any
>given issue we reconstitute a model of the LLG membership - self-selected
>to debate and cooperate to a consensus. But the particpants on any issue
>are self-selcted based on the issue andf their time and interest. Thus the
> language design is NOT under the control of the voting membership.
It is under >Cowan and my control solely in that we have made it our
business to be part of >the process on every identifiable issue that
has import to the refgrammar.
djer: Jorge certainly made it his business to explore every nook and
cranny of the refgrammar, yet he was constantly complaining about
getting second class citizen treatment on design decisions. And is
another who meets your criterion. Aside from an occasional hard won
concession, they were not full fledged partners in any decisions.
>But on the other hand, neither of us takes part in any issue discussion that
>takes place in Lojban. Thus Goran and Jorge could have settled some design
>issues in Lojban that Cowan and I do not know about (though probably not by
>overt decision, but merely by using the language freely and thus establishing
>patterns and conventions that will be around when Cowan and I start interacting
>in Lojban with the community).
djer: Patterns and conventions must be parsable, and that takes
decisions by language designers, whoever they are. They are the final
authority in any offical version. There are no meaningful changes
without backup by the official YACC program, regardless of what Goran
and Xorxes agree to.
>It is on matters of logic that we are farthest from a democracy. AFAIK, pc
>is somewhat more than first among equals on matters logical, and most
>old-timers agree with this - basically we presume that we are not going to
>have the breadth nd depth of training in the field of logic that someeone who
>has been working in the field for 30 years has. WE can thus comment and
>question, but if pc ever reaches a decision, consensus quickly forms around
>that decision because most of us simply defer to him. Usually, however, pc
>simply eliminates the bad choices, and leaves it up to me-and-others to
>select among the plausible as to whcih is most consistent with the way the
>resto f the design is evolving.
I can't picture anyone but PC as chairman of a Committee for Language
>> I have no
>>way of knowing that my proposals are any more important than Colin's,
>>Xorxes', yours, Cowan's, Chris's or Vilva's, Stivn's, etc. until some
>>democratic machinery is in operation.
>No ones PROPOSAL is more important than any others, so long as it is clearly
>presented as a proposal (most ideas on the list are never formally proposed).
>We don;t have any clear RULES on how formal proposals are dealt with, but
>we do have a pattern that they are all dealt with in the same way.
djer: I'm still mystified as to what a formal proposal is, and whether
it need be in YACC form. The pattern that isn't described in any rules
is hard to grasp, and a just system without any clear rules doesn't
compute for me. That is certainly an area that should be taken up by a
committee. But I really don't need to know because I'm not writing any
proposals until the CLD (Committee for Language Design) exists. That's
real world semantics.
>In the absence of formal proposals, the bottom limne is that the person writing
> the book makes the final decision. Of course it can then be said that the
>publisher of the book has final veto power, but reasonably spoken, the
>language is being designed by those willing to write the books.
That's the problem. I don't want to start learning lambda calculus,
for instance, if the book writer decides he wants it. It might be a
great idea, and if it could pass a committe I would be willing to
believe it, especially if alternative grammar was still in place. We
know John is a brilliant teacher, and no mean authority on the language
itself; I would vote for him as next president of LLG; but the idea
that the structure of the official version of the language is under one
man rule is passe.
>is NO "mechanism" that can overrule the writer's prerogative. Thus I have
>no power over the refgrammar other than that which Cowan is wiloing to
>give me in deference on decisions. And if you or someone else wanted to
>write a conflicting refgrammar, we cannot stop you. At the point where there
>comes to be such conflict, I would presume that the voting membership could
>vote a formal approval or sanction for some document over others, possibly
>with stated exceptions if Cowan insisted on something that everyone else
>in the community disliked (not likely of course). But the formal sanction
>of the voting membership has no legal force - no effect on what language you
>or Jorge or And Rosta or even I choose to use.
>The bottom line is that a democracy only works if its members all fully agree
> be bound by the decisions of the community. And there is no formal mechanism
> that can guarantee that.
A democracy works by majority rule and consent of the governed. It is a
viable political life form, not about to fall apart from internal
contradictions. And it is enforceable inside the LLG, which is all I am
>>It's your unenviable position as symbolic parent of this organization to
>>be the one to stop all the swordplay, knock heads together, and get us
>>playing constructively. You won't be able to do it without a lot of
>>help from Mother Democracy and Lady Luck.
>Actually, I suspect the swordplay will stop when Cowan says "the refgrammar
>is done. Publish it!". And the publication decision will then be that of
>the publisher and any financial backers who are paying for the publication
>(since LLG will not have enough money to publish without outside backing
>= donations haven't nearly been on the scale needed to publsih books).
djer: Well, swordplay did not cease when we got the ten commandments
down from the mount, and they were published in stone. The problem was,
you see, that they weren't arrived at by a gender balanced Committee
for Language Design. (CLD) :).
And we should listen to Cowan's exortation in his .sig, and send money
when we download that new refgrammar and lujvo paper that represents so
much hard work.