Draft Proposal System Outline

From Big-8.org


First Draft of Proposal Guidelines (superseded)

These rules describe the process used to construct, evaluate, decide, and implement proposed changes to the Big-8 hierarchy. Such changes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Creating new groups
  • Removing dead groups
  • Changing group moderation status
  • Changing group moderator
  • Changing group charter
  • Changing Big-8 rules

Note that the Board will not be accepting all of these types of proposals at this time. See below for more details.

I. Informal Discussion

The first step is an informal public discussion of a proposed change. This step is optional, but is highly recommended. Someone (the "proponent") makes a proposal suggesting a change, posts it to news.groups and elsewhere, and the proposal is discussed. The proponent should address any concerns raised and adjust the proposal as necessary.

A. Proponent suggests a change

  1. The proposal may be posted directly to news.groups by the proponent. In this case, the format is completely informal.
  2. For wider distribution, a properly formatted proposal may be submitted to news.announce.newgroups. If the B8MB approves, the message will appear in news.announce.newgroups.
  3. The B8MB maintains a list of active proposals and posts it regularly to news.announce.newgroups. It is the proponent's responsibility to contact the B8MB if their proposal does not appear on the list.
  4. Appropriate crossposting of the proposal to appropriate newsgroups is encouraged.

B. The proposal is discussed in news.groups

  1. Appropriate crossposting of this discussion to appropriate newsgroups is encouraged.
  2. Updates of the proposal may be submitted to news.announce.newgroups. As above, the message will appear in news.announce.newgroups if the B8MB approves.

C. The proponent leads the discussion and Group Mentors assist

  1. The proponent should respond to suggestions and criticisms and adjust the proposal accordingly.
  2. Group Mentors volunteers are on hand to assist the proponent.
  3. Usenet Volunteer Polltakers (UVP), another volunteer organization, is available to conduct polls and votes used to develop and support the proposal. Polling announcements may be submitted to news.announce.newgroups, pending B8MB approval.
  4. Board members will help organize and moderate the discussion if necessary.

II. Submission of Proposal to the Board

At some point, the proponent may consider the proposal complete and ready for evaluation by the B8MB. Submitting a proposal to the Board is accomplished by posting the Proposal to news.announce.newgroups((posting to a moderated group causes the article to be e-mailed to group's moderator)). The Proposal will then be checked for conformity to the general ethos of the Big-8 and formatting guidelines (see below) and either rejected or accepted for evaluation and actually approved to appear in news.announce.newgroups.

A. Proponent submits Proposal.

The proponent submits the Proposal to the Board by posting it to news.announce.newgroups.

B. The Proposal is checked against the Board's requirements

Either the B8MB or its delegate decides whether the proposal meets the Board's requirements.

C. If rejected, the proponent may be notified.

If the proposal is rejected, the Board or its delegate may notify the proponent and explain why the proposal was rejected. In practice, proponents of serious proposals who post with a valid return address will be notified.

D. If accepted, Proposal is posted to news.announce.newgroups.

If the Proposal is accepted, it is approved for posting to news.announce.newgroups by the Technical Team. The proposal is then discussed publicly in news.groups and privately by the Board and any delegates.

III. Evaluation of the Proposal by the Board

After the Proposal has been accepted by the Board and posted to news.announce.newgroups, the Board discusses the Proposal privately via its mailing list and publicly in news.groups. Using its standard voting rules, the Board votes on the proposal. The results are posted to news.announce.newgroups and a minimum five-day waiting period begins, during which the Board considers any new arguments or evidence regarding the proposal.

A. The vote is determined by a majority of votes received.

B. Eligible voters

Eligible voters are the B8MB and any individuals or groups of individuals specifically designated by the B8MB as having voting rights for the type of proposal under consideration.

C. The voting follows the standard B8MB voting rules.

  1. Maximum duration of one week, but may be less if enough votes are received.
  2. "Active Member" policies apply to designates as well.
  3. The vote is called by the Chair or his designate.

D. The vote result is announced.

The vote result is posted to news.announce.newgroups immediately but no action is taken for five days.

  1. If the original vote result stands at the end of five days, the proposal is passed to the Technical Team for implementation.
  2. If significant new issues are raised during the waiting period, the vote is repeated.

IV. Implementation of the Decision

The Technical Team does whatever is necessary to implement the Board's decision.

Definitions

Proponent

The proponent is the person primarily responsible for developing a proposal and submitting it to the Board for evaluation.

Technical Team

The Technical Team is composed of one or more people on or appointed by the Board to issue control messages, moderate announcement groups, maintain the big-8.org web site and mailing lists, and perform other duties required to achieve the mission of the B8MB.

Group Mentors

Mentors help proponents understand the system, clarify their thinking, and meet the minimum standards for submitting a formal proposal for a decision. For more information, see the Group Mentors page.

Usenet Volunteer Polltakers

UVPs develop survey techniques and conduct polls as requested by the Board. For more information, see the Usenet Volunteer Polltakers page.

Proposal Requirements

Creating New Group

The format of a proposal for a new news group is still being discussed. Some information that we know we will need:

  1. Group Name
  2. Group Description (short)
  3. Moderation Status
    1. Moderators
    2. Moderation Policy
    3. Contact + Submission Addresses
  4. Group Charter
  5. Rationale: why the proponent thinks the group should be created

Removing Dead Group

The Board is not entertaining proposals of this type at this time.

Changing Group Moderation Status

The Board is not entertaining proposals of this type at this time.

Changing Group Moderator

The Board is not entertaining proposals of this type at this time.

Changing Group Charter

The Board is not entertaining proposals of this type at this time.

Changing Big-8 Rules

The Board is not entertaining proposals of this type at this time.

Outstanding Issues

  1. Do we want to explicitly encourage public discussion by the B8MB on the voting, rather than just assuming that there will be both public and private discussion?
  2. How are we handling multiple proposals on the same topic?
  3. Complete "The proposal is checked against the Board's requirements"; we only have a start at the moment.
  4. How do we decide what an "active proposal" is?
  5. Do we want to encourage RFD pointers and the term "RFD" in subject lines (as suggested by Kathy)?
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