Board meeting procedure

Ean Schuessler ean at
Tue Jul 29 22:29:47 UTC 2003

I am in favor of this proposal and would certainly not shed any tears if
the entire IRC meeting practice withered away and died. I find email to
be easier to understand, more self documenting and far more secure than
IRC. Therefore, I say yes.

On Tue, 2003-07-29 at 14:53, Ian Jackson wrote:
> After last board meeting, I said that I think we should change the
> usual procedure at board meetings to avoid them turning into argument
> fests.
> No-one followed up to my email, so I assume people didn't think it
> unreasonable, but this last meeting turned into another collosal waste
> of time and IRC argument.
> So, since just stating my opinion hasn't worked, I'm going to propose
> a formal resolution, which I'll ask Wichert to put (as the first
> item!) on the agenda of the next meeting.  A draft is below.
> Please comment on them now so that we can have a nice argument.
> My goals are:
> - to save the Secretary from having to write up enormous IRC logs into
>   coherent minutes
> - to get our routine meetings down to 15-20 minutes
> - to improve the quality of our decisionmaking by allowing wider,
>   easier, and better discussion
> - to improve the accessibility of our decisionmaking by moving the
>   bulk of it to email.
> 1. It is important that board meetings, which require simultaneous
>    presence of a quorum of the board, be short.
> 2. IRC discussions provide less easily read archives of discussions
>    than email archives, and require substantial efforts at redaction
>    to produce minutes.
> 3. IRC discussions are less accessible to people who are not available
>    at the time of the meeting than email.
> 4. IRC discussions are more prone to misunderstandings, accidental
>    offence, and personality clashes, than email.
> 5. On-line board meetings via IRC are a poor medium for
>    discussion for the reasons given above.
> 6. Discussion at on-line real-time Board meetings of Software in the
>    Public Interest shall be limited to the absolute minimum necessary,
>    by the specific measures below, and by the active cooperation of
>    the Board and others during meeting.
> 7. No items shall appear on the agenda of a Board meeting that are
>    not accompanied by a firm proposal (or alternative versions, if
>    there's a disagreement) in ready-to-vote resolution form.  There
>    ought to have been at least a week or so for discussion by email.
> 8. Reports of any kind shall be posted in advance to the board list.  They
>    should be accompanied by a standard form resolution like `the board
>    thanks so-and-so, and accepts the report'.
> 9. There shall be strictly no discussion during the meeting.  Anything
>    that requires more discussion than has taken place before the
>    meeting shall be postponed until next meeting or email voting.  If
>    board members feel the discussion has not been adequate then they
>    should vote NO on the relevant motion.
> 10. The meeting chair shall be ruthless in enforcing the rules above.
> 11. The above rules may be deviated from in case of necessity, such as
>    external deadlines, emergencies etc.
> 12. The practice of waiting for guests to state their name during the
>    meeting will cease.  Instead, the Secretary shall start logging the
>    channel 15 minutes before the meeting, and guests will be asked to
>    state their name during that period, or when they arrive if they
>    arrive later.
> 13. The information about the availability of board members for the
>    next meeting will be collected by email in advance of the meeting
>    by a volunteer member of the Board, who will correlate the
>    information and propose a date for approval by the meeting.

Ean Schuessler                                      ean at
Brainfood, Inc.                    

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