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If the question is, "Does defeating a motion to not do something adopt the motion to do it," the answer is "No."

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Erm, is that "down" vote? Anyway, a motion not to do something is in order only if that something is going to happen by default; in which case, rejecting the motion allows that something to occur. For example, a motion "to not send jellybeans to every address in the U.S." is probably out of order to begin with.

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Negative motions are discussed on pages 104-105 of RONR, 11th ed., where it is noted that they should not be offered if the same result can be accomplished by offering no motion at all, "unless some purpose would be served by adoption of such a motion. This could be the case, for example, if the membership of an organization wishes to make certain that a subordinate body, such as its executive board, will not take such action at a later date, or if the motion expresses an opinion or reason as to why no action should be taken."

Main motions that are actually not in order are listed on pages 110-113, and negatively worded motions are not among them.

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Or to put it another way, if the group does not want to do something then it is more concise to defeat a motion to take that action.  For example, if th group does not want to send out jellybeans to every house in the neighbourhood, then the group should make a motion "To send jellybeans to every house in the neighbourhood', and immediately vote to defeat the motion.

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26 minutes ago, Rev Ed said:

Or to put it another way, if the group does not want to do something then it is more concise to defeat a motion to take that action.  For example, if th group does not want to send out jellybeans to every house in the neighbourhood, then the group should make a motion "To send jellybeans to every house in the neighbourhood', and immediately vote to defeat the motion.

Nonsense.

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8 hours ago, Rev Ed said:

Or to put it another way, if the group does not want to do something then it is more concise to defeat a motion to take that action.  For example, if th group does not want to send out jellybeans to every house in the neighbourhood, then the group should make a motion "To send jellybeans to every house in the neighbourhood', and immediately vote to defeat the motion.

Seems to me it would be just as effective to not make any motion.  If some members DO want to send out those jellybeans, then yes, the motion will be made and defeated, but if no one wants to, I see no reason it should be considered.  If, on the other hand, there is a fear that the board will decide to do it, then the assembly can adopt a motion that, under no circumstances, is the organization to send jellybeans to everyone in the US.

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19 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Nonsense.

 

10 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

Seems to me it would be just as effective to not make any motion.  If some members DO want to send out those jellybeans, then yes, the motion will be made and defeated, but if no one wants to, I see no reason it should be considered.  If, on the other hand, there is a fear that the board will decide to do it, then the assembly can adopt a motion that, under no circumstances, is the organization to send jellybeans to everyone in the US.

Then why pass a motion not to do something?  If the group wishes to make it clear that they do not want to do something, then defeating a motion to do that issue is neither nonsense nor as effective as not making any motion.  It makes a clear statement that the group does not want to do something.

Yes, I agree that it is better to have no motion at all, but if the group wants to make a statement, then defeating a motion does that.

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1 minute ago, Rev Ed said:

Then why pass a motion not to do something?  If the group wishes to make it clear that they do not want to do something, then defeating a motion to do that issue is neither nonsense nor as effective as not making any motion.  It makes a clear statement that the group does not want to do something.

 

Suppose the situation is the one I imagined:  the body doesn't want to do it, but fears its board will.  (In my experience, people tend to distrust boards.)  The organization consider and rejects a motion to send those jellybeans.  Since the motion was rejected, no action was taken.  Now, page 482 says "no action of the board can alter or conflict with any decision made by the assembly..."  Arguably, voting down the motion was a decision, and so prevents the board from sending jelly beans.  The board, though, can take up a similar motion without causing a conflict or alteration.  If the assembly had passed a motion, though, directing its board not to send jellybeans to anyone, there would be more certainty that the idea has been killed.  

Keep in mind that I'm not actually advocating for passing a motion not to do something, in the usual sense.  I'm talking about adopting a motion that does something - it definitively says not to do something else.  I wouldn't advocate for a motion like "not to send jelly beans."  

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31 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

Suppose the situation is the one I imagined:  the body doesn't want to do it, but fears its board will.  (In my experience, people tend to distrust boards.)  The organization consider and rejects a motion to send those jellybeans.  Since the motion was rejected, no action was taken.  Now, page 482 says "no action of the board can alter or conflict with any decision made by the assembly..."  Arguably, voting down the motion was a decision, and so prevents the board from sending jelly beans.  The board, though, can take up a similar motion without causing a conflict or alteration.  If the assembly had passed a motion, though, directing its board not to send jellybeans to anyone, there would be more certainty that the idea has been killed.  

Keep in mind that I'm not actually advocating for passing a motion not to do something, in the usual sense.  I'm talking about adopting a motion that does something - it definitively says not to do something else.  I wouldn't advocate for a motion like "not to send jelly beans."  

Referring to the portion of this response which I have put in bold print, there should be no doubt but that defeating a motion constitutes a decision not to do what the motion proposes be done, and prevents a subordinate board from taking any action which alters or conflicts with that decision. 

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Referring to the portion of this response which I have put in bold print, there should be no doubt but that defeating a motion constitutes a decision not to do what the motion proposes be done, and prevents a subordinate board from taking any action which alters or conflicts with that decision. 

I find this somewhat troublesome.  Suppose the motion is to send the jellybeans, and the vote is tied.  A group that fails to constitute a majority (those opposed) has then made a decision on the part of the assembly, binding its board.  Furthermore, if there is, in fact, such a split, the result of the vote will depend on which way the motion was phrased.  If, instead, someone had moved to prohibit the board from taking action to send jellybeans, which would also be in order, and that motion had failed (with the same tie vote), wouldn't the result then be that the assembly had decided not to give such an instruction, and so the board is free to send such jellybeans?  Is a person who opposes the jellybean activity, then, obliged to offer a motion to send the jellybeans, after seeing the tie vote, in order to get the result desired?  And isn't it odd that he can do so?

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Referring to the portion of this response which I have put in bold print, there should be no doubt but that defeating a motion constitutes a decision not to do what the motion proposes be done, and prevents a subordinate board from taking any action which alters or conflicts with that decision. 

Daniel, thank you for that response.  Actually, that also sort of helps with what I am trying to say.  A defeated motion is a decision not to do something.  It just makes it more formal.  Doing nothing (i.e. not making a motion at all) is not making a decision as no outcome (passing or defeating the motion) has occurred.

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3 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

I find this somewhat troublesome.  Suppose the motion is to send the jellybeans, and the vote is tied.  A group that fails to constitute a majority (those opposed) has then made a decision on the part of the assembly, binding its board.  Furthermore, if there is, in fact, such a split, the result of the vote will depend on which way the motion was phrased.  If, instead, someone had moved to prohibit the board from taking action to send jellybeans, which would also be in order, and that motion had failed (with the same tie vote), wouldn't the result then be that the assembly had decided not to give such an instruction, and so the board is free to send such jellybeans?  Is a person who opposes the jellybean activity, then, obliged to offer a motion to send the jellybeans, after seeing the tie vote, in order to get the result desired?  And isn't it odd that he can do so?

Your problem seems to be with the fact that a tie vote defeats a motion. I'm afraid I can't help you with that.

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Your problem seems to be with the fact that a tie vote defeats a motion. I'm afraid I can't help you with that.

No, that is not my problem.  My problem is with the fact that a defeated motion is to be treated as a decision, rather than as failing to take action.  Or, maybe, my problem is with saying that the board may not contravene a decision of the body, without further defining that term, so that deciding not to pass a motion is treated as a decision.

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11 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

No, that is not my problem.  My problem is with the fact that a defeated motion is to be treated as a decision, rather than as failing to take action.  Or, maybe, my problem is with saying that the board may not contravene a decision of the body, without further defining that term, so that deciding not to pass a motion is treated as a decision.

Back to Parliamentary Law 101. When an assembly votes on a motion it is deciding whether it will or will not do what the motion proposes, and if an assembly rejects a motion it has decided not to do whatever it was that the motion proposed be done. 

RONR puts it this way (11th ed., p. 32, ll. 31-34): 

"If the assembly decides to do what a motion proposes, it adopts the motion, or the motion is carried; if the assembly expressly decides against doing what the motion proposes, the motion is lost, or rejected."

I can assure you that RONR Official Interpretation 2006-12  remains correct in all material respects. It may be of interest to note, however, that back in the days of the 10th Edition, our task was to convince doubters that the phrase "any action taken" on page 466, line 8, meant "any decision made", and so in the 11th Edition reference is now made to "any decision made" instead of "any action taken" (p. 483, l. 7). Frankly, it never occurred to me that anyone would doubt that rejection of a motion is a decision made.  :)

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