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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mediating access to a shared medium with a token

I served on a jury last month that deliberated for several days after many days of evidence and testimony. It got rather heated at times, and two of the guys came within moments of jumping across the table at each other. It was ridiculous. It was almost like being thrown in with a bunch of monkeys (not unlike working in some parts of the valley).

Clearly, whatever we were doing was not working and needed to change. I figured we could shut down the whole sniping thing by making it blatantly obvious when someone "had the floor". I took a page from the book of token ring and a cue from an early episode of Breaking Bad and created my own "token".

It was just a bunch of highlighters and other normal markers held together with a rubber band, but it got the job done. It was a good size: not too big, not too small. It was also not too heavy but it had enough heft to be taken seriously.

If you had it, it was your turn to talk. Even a child could understand this notion. I put forth the idea and apparently nobody wanted to oppose it, so we went with it. We kept that going the rest of the time, and it worked.

The troublemakers managed to keep it together long enough to get through what we had to do. We gave our results to the court and that was that.

I'm just happy to not have to spend another minute with the bad ones. Ugh.