"What I have in mind is a sort of Chautauqua- that's the only name I can think of for it- like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, *this* America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep." ---R.M. Pirsig (ZMM, Chapter1)


To borrow a word from Robert Pirsig, MOQ FOCUS may best be described as a series of monthly Chautauquas. MOQ FOCUS (MF) is designed to provide a more deliberate counterpart to our broader and faster-paced discussion group, MOQ Discuss (MD):

  1. Each month, a single topic- ultimately culminating in a question - is selected by a vote of the members. The discussion moderator may revise the format of the topic and/or the topic-question as necessary.
  2. By considering only one question every month, the MF aims to provide a slower-paced atmosphere, more conducive to "deep" discussion, in which members will find it easier to follow the threads and participate meaningfully even if they only have an hour or two a week to follow the list.
  3. At the end of each month, the person who proposed the topic-question will be given the chance to write a summary of the discussion. If the topic-proposer passes on this opportunity, the moderator, or another member of the moderator's choosing, will be given the chance to write the summary.
  4. To close each discussion, each participant will be given the opportunity to prepare an informal "Opinion" consisting of their respective answer to the topic-question and a brief statement (about 250 words or less) explaining why they answered the way they did.
  5. Following the conclusion of the topic, for the sake of posterity, the month's respective summary, and Opinions, will then be linked from a monthly index on the MOQ.ORG website.


  1. Members must have read both ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE and LILA.
  2. LILA'S CHILD by Dan Glover with annotations by Robert Pirsig is also *highly* recommended.
  3. Members may post only two messages per week (except for topic-question suggestions, voting, and Opinions).
  4. Every post must be relevant to the topic-question.
  5. Members must express themselves clearly, concisely and courteously.
  6. Members may not use html email nor send attachments.
  7. Although there is no strict word-limit on posts, members are asked to try and keep posts to a reasonable length.
  8. The MF moderator reserves the right to block any posts which break these rules.
  9. If a member believes his or her post has been unjustly blocked by the moderator, the moderator's decision may be appealed one time to the full Steering Committee. The decision of the Steering Committee is final.
  10. Posts which are blocked from MF by the moderator should not be posted to MD without the express permission of the moderator or the Steering Committee. Reposting to MD in the absence of such permission could result in action from the Discussion Facilitators ranging from a gentle warning and reminder of the forum rules to permanent removal from one or both lists.
  11. (a) "Topic-Hijacking" - Because experience has taught us that allowing the MF topics to spill over into MD quickly kills the activity on the MF list, the Steering Committee respectfully requests that members do not carry MF topics into the MD forum until the MF discussion of the topic is officially over.
    (b) "Suggestion-Hijacking" - Similarly, it is respectfully requested that members do not initiate discussions in the MD based on topic-suggestions offered in the MF by other members, which have not yet been voted upon, without first securing the permission of the member who made the suggestion.


The 'Suggestion of Topics' and 'Vote for Topic' are separate. Whereas members may suggest as many topics as they would like, they can vote for one topic only. Please note: A topic-suggestion does NOT count as an automatic vote for that topic; members suggesting topics during the Call for Topics will still have to cast a vote for their topic (or another if they so desire) during the Call for Votes. Our voting procedure is as follows, where day 0 is the first day of each new month:

  • Day -6 (00:00hrs GMT): The moderator will call for topic-suggestions. All topic-suggestions will be forwarded to the MF list along with topic posts for the current month.
  • Day -3 (00:00hrs GMT): The moderator will call for all members to vote for a topic and will issue a reminder that Opinions will soon be called for. Voting posts will not be forwarded to the list.
  • Day 0 (00:00hrs GMT): The next topic-question and voting results are announced and the new discussion begins. The Moderator will call for Opinions.
  • Day 2 (00:00hrs GMT): Members send in their Opinion on the previous month' s topic.
  • Day 7 (00:00 hrs GMT): Summary and Opinions from previous month's discussion are posted to MOQ.ORG

If members suggest topics or vote before the set days these will be held back until the set days and then posted to the list. In the event of a tie the discussion moderator will decide. In the event that a period of one week within the normal monthly topic period should pass without any posts being offered by the members, the moderator will make a call for final comments and Opinions and the discussion will be closed. The continuation of any topic-question that supports a full month of discussion will be automatically added to the topic-suggestions for the following month.


The moderator is a member of the MF who has been selected by the Steering Committee to act as a program facilitator. A different person assumes the role of moderator each month. Contact information for the Steering Committee and the current list of Steering Committee members is available on the MF Steering Committee  page.