|A - I n f o s|
Decision making guidelines for a-infos-org
The decision making guidelines described below and especially the parts concerning the voting procedure may seem complicated at a first glance. The reason for this is that we feel obliged to take decisions only after a thorough discussion to find a unanimous solution. Votes are only intended as a last resort when all attempts to bring about consensus have been made and failed. Thus, the somewhat complicated procedure of voting described below which will hopefully not often be carried out
A proposal for something specific to be done in the a-infos-org collective can be made more clearly defined by describing it as a MOTION. Like this, members can distinguish between an off-hand remark and a proposal that will be passed if not objected to.
If a MOTION proposed by a member of the -org collective has not been objected to by any other member of -org within a period of 120 hours (5 regular work days so Weekends and general holidays not counted), it will be regarded as accepted.
Where a disagreement arises on a-infos org we will try and resolve it without a vote by the procedure that follows, all members of ainfos-org agree to follow this procedure
a. A neutral moderator will be taken from a list of people who have indicated they are willing to do this. They will be chosen by rotation. The moderator will be considered unable to take part in the discussion on the motion in question. If at any stage the moderator decides that he/she wishes to take part in the debate the moderator will become the next person in rotation willing to abstain from the debate.
b. Discussion will be around a 'Motion', that is an email whose text only consists of the proposed policy change and a short explanation why policy should be changed and which is given a subject line starting with Motion. Where two people post motions covering the same topic the first received (according to the time recorded by tao on receiving it) will be the motion then discussed.
c. Each member of a-infos-org can send one email per 12 hour period (according to the time recorded by tao on receiving it) on this motion. It should be sent as a reply so the subject reads re: Motion X If more then one mail is sent in this period the Moderator will point this out to the sender and for purpose of proposed amendments will discount any posts after the first one. The person may choose to include it again in a post in the following period in which case it will then be considered _but_ it must be reposted to be considered. As an exception to this the original proposer can indicate that they accept an amendment.
d. Where the original proposer will not accept an amendment the moderator will encourage an off-list discussion between the amendments proposer and the motions proposer. The moderator if they wish can suggest alternative wordings that may be acceptable to both parties. If any amendments proposer or motion proposer thinks that the moderator is no longer being neutral, s/he can send the moderators mail to the list with a demand to change the moderator as in J (below). If agreement is reached the moderator may then announce this to the list. Off list efforts are an addition to on-list ones and not a substitute for them.
e. The moderator should never mail the list on the motion except where it is outlined above and at 24 hour periods to mail whatever the current version of the motion is (i.e. with accepted amendments). The moderator is free to make suggestions to any single individual involved in the discussion by private email in order to help them reach consensus _but_ this should not be CCed or BCCed to anyone else. If the moderator feels the need to join in discussions at any point, s/he can retire by declaring themselves non- neutral and moderation will rotate to the next willing person in the list."
f. If a 72 hour period (according to the time recorded at tao on the most recent posting of the motion) of regular week hours passes without any proposed amendments or objection to the entire motion (and a further 48 hours period passes without any late proposed amendments or objections to the motion with an excuse for being late (e.g. consequence of provider collapse) then the moderator will announce that consensus has been reached.
g. If no agreement over the original proposal in general or any additional amendment has been reached after a '7-day period' any list member can post a 'Call for votes' to the list. That is an e-mail consisting of an explanation why the issue should now be voted on and with the subject line Call For Votes.
The one who call for vote will post to the list both the last version of the MOTION and the AMENDMENTs Suggested to it including AMENDMENTS proposed to previous VERSIONS of the MOTION and were not included in it as compromise agreed by the provider of the MOTION and the provider of an AMENDMENT.
Once a call for votes has been posted all list members should email the list saying
'We should vote now'
'It is too early to vote'
'Yes I support Motion XX as it is - not conditioned on AMENDMENT's
I am for MOTION XX conditioned on the acceptance of amendment x, and or y, and or z.
I am against MOTION XX no matter what AMENDMENT will be accepted.
I support AMENDMENT x, y, z,
I oppose AMENDMENT x, y, z,
'Motion XXX needs special majority'
'MOTION XX does not needs special majority'
"Five working days after the Call for votes, the moderator or any other org member will post the results.
If the majority Voted:
"It is too early to vote"
The Call to Vote will be regarded aborted, the discussions will continue and another Call for vote will be possible only after another 5 working days".
If the majority will Vote:
"We should vote now"
The Votes on the MOTION itself will be counted.
In the case of majority of Votes opposing the MOTION
no matter what Amendments will be accepted
and in the case these opponents were minority of more than
1/3 but the majority of votes were that the motion needs 2/3
the MOTION will be regarded aborted and the content will be opened for new MOTION by any org member.
In the other cases the vote for the amendments will be counted for each amendment. In the case the majority of Votes will support an amendment, it will be added to the MOTION, and the votes of support to the MOTION conditioned on this amendment will be added to the votes for the motion.
In the case of 2/3 support it will become a POLICY`
In the case of simple majority support it will become a POLICY if the opinion that it needs special majority will not be voted for by the majority.
After the vote, MOTION not accepted will be regarded as aborted.
Those entitled to vote are those who were subscribed to -org when the Call for Votes was posted (according to the lists@-list recorded by tao at this time) and who remain subscribed to -org throughout the period of the vote
The following procedure will be applied when there is a functioning moderator:
On The Call to Vote
- the moderator will post the entire motion, areas of disagreement will be highlighted inside a [ ] containing both the proposers text and the amenders text.
- the moderator will ask list members to post this text to him/her along with a clear indication of either choice or abstention where ever there is disagreement.
These will be used for further moderation if the MOTION will not be accepted as POLICY on that Call to Vote.
Exception: Whenever agreement is not reached but it is technically possible to implement the proposed changes parallel to the existing technical structure (i.e. by installing a new list etc.) without changing the previous structure, a vote is principally not taken. Instead, the new option is installed as alternative to the existing one. This procedure is only possible if the new proposal is not at odds with the aims and principles of a-infos though."
h. Once a vote is underway the following rules apply:
The moderator may not make any comment on the progress of the vote, or on what is being discussed except as laid out above either on the list or by private email. If asked the moderator should just point out that a vote is in progress and that they are unable to comment.
However everyone involved in the dispute concerning the proposal is encouraged to correspond privately and reach agreement. If they succeed in doing so they then notify the moderator who then notifies the list. Both parties should email the moderator indicating that agreement has been reached and with the agreed wording before the moderator may notify the list.
i. It is also the moderators duty to make sure that the debate is carried on without insult. If the moderator feels a post is inappropriate they will mail the person privately asking them not to repeat there behaviour and will also mail those attacked with a note saying they have done this. If the person repeats the offence the moderator will mail the list asking them to stop.
If the person continues to repeat the offence despite having been asked to stop both privately and on the list, the moderator can call on list members to vote on expelling that person from the discussion of that motion (not discussions around any other motion). The moderator and the offending person can not participate in this vote. If a simple majority of votes cast agrees to expel the offending person from discussions around that motion, any further comments and amendments from that person on the motion in question will be ignored until a decision is reached. Discussions around other motions or future motions around the same subject are not touched by this exclusion. Past experience has convinced us that such a mechanism is necessary to defend the collective decision making process from arbitrary disruption and destructive behaviour.
j. If any party become unhappy with the moderation the may call a vote of confidence in the moderator. If more then 25% of those who vote express no confidence then the moderator will be changed for the next person in rotation.
2. Once a motion has been passed it will then be posted to a-infos-org and will be considered policy from that time until other policy replaces it. All members of the collective will then work on -org in line with this policy. The motion will also be put in a publicly accessible policy archive placed on a web page for future reference. We should also install some way for people to use the archive by e- mail. After a one week period the motion is open to amendment or replacement but will stand as policy until it is amended or replaced.
k. In specific subjects already decided on, (using the regular decision making procedures), there will be an option for a quick call for vote on a MOTION - according to the procedure decided on before, for this subject. In these subjects the minimum 5 working days for discussions and five working days for collecting vote will not be implemented.