Opened 19 months ago

Last modified 6 months ago

#22079 new project

Community governance documents

Reported by: alison Owned by: alison
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Community Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords:
Cc: community-team, richard@…, karsten Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:

Description

This is the parent ticket for organizing ideas and drafts for community governance documents.

Child Tickets

TicketStatusOwnerSummaryComponent
#22082closedalisonRefine membership guidelines draft and submit proposal to tor-internal@Community
#22511closedTor Code of ConductCommunity

Attachments (2)

0001-Add-pronouns-to-membership-questions.patch (823 bytes) - added by juga 7 months ago.
0001-Fast-tracking-of-proposals.patch (1.8 KB) - added by catalyst 6 months ago.

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (31)

comment:1 Changed 12 months ago by alison

Amendments needed to existing documents:

  • Change Community Council guidelines to say that a person must be a Core Contributor and remain a Core Contributor in order to stay on the Council.
  • Change membership guidelines to say that you need six months of activity to become a core contributor, but activity within the last 12 months is enough to stay a core contributor.
  • Separate membership secretary/account manager roles into two separate roles:

administer the list of core contributors, and
make sure we are following the core contributor process.

comment:2 Changed 12 months ago by atagar

For what it's worth concerning the 'split secretary/account manager roles' I think Tim suggested that to reduce load on me, but as discussed on the thread that wouldn't be helpful.

comment:3 Changed 12 months ago by atagar

Oh, also if you're collecting amendment ideas then something from May...

Speaking of which, if we want to have a Q&A as part of next year's council
selection someone should write a proposal for it. The vote we just had
made it clear there's quite a few differing views on how this should be
done.

comment:4 Changed 11 months ago by alison

what happens when a councilmember resigns?

the current policy says we can:

  • continue with a 4 person council until terms end on March 31 (our policy lets us have a 3, 4 or 5 member council)
  • hold community council elections early (we need 5 people to ask for this)

maybe instead we should revise the CC guidelines to have a countback, which means filling vacancies with the person who received the next highest votes.

comment:5 Changed 10 months ago by teor

I'd like us to make new and revised documents more readable. This helps people who know fewer English words. (Most people I have talked to prefer simple English over translations.)

Here is a process that seems to work so far:

  1. Get permission to copy the text into an online readability checker. Remove comments and names first!
  2. Use the readability checker to highlight long words and long sentences.
  3. Put the highlights into the document.
  4. Ask for help to rewrite them.

comment:6 Changed 10 months ago by teor

Someone found a better readability site:
http://www.hemingwayapp.com/

It does live checking. And it doesn't have usage limits.

comment:7 Changed 8 months ago by nickm

A few proposed amendments to the community council guidelines and procedures. Many of these would require votes.

  • I think people should be able to publicly nominate others for the community council; nominees should be free to decline or accept the nomination.
  • Community council deliberations should come with a self-imposed time limit, and a policy of what happens if the council cannot reach a decision. A suggested time limit is one month, or two months at the most. Possible fallback actions are: "Take no action"; "Declare that they cannot come to a decision"; "Choose some mutually agreed upon project member to arbitrate and decide";
  • Community council members terms should be somehow staggered or arranged to overlap, so that the entire council is not so likely to all have their terms end at once.
  • Possibly, unanimity should not be required; best effort unanimity, falling back to unanimity-minus-one, may be enough.
  • Possibly, the CC should adopt the policy that the Tor bylaws have for absent board members, to survive attendance issues.

comment:8 Changed 8 months ago by arma

Another community council change that somebody suggested to me in Rome: choose the members of the council holistically, rather than having a bunch of people apply and then just pushing together the top k vote-getters. Holistically could mean to make sure to have the right skills on it (a lawyer, a psychologist, etc) or it could aim to make sure different backgrounds or perspectives are represented.

More generally, we should think about what our reasons are for "vote individually, and call the top k people the council" -- so they feel they have the mandate of the people? so we don't have to answer the question of who would pick the council otherwise? so we're being "fair" to the candidates? something else? -- and brainstorm whether some other mechanism would do better for us.

While we're doing revisions, we should also assess the progress we've made at diversity in our community, and see if we want to require any more axes of diversity (beyond "has a woman") in our future councils.

Last edited 8 months ago by arma (previous) (diff)

comment:9 in reply to:  7 Changed 8 months ago by arma

Replying to nickm:

  • Possibly, unanimity should not be required; best effort unanimity, falling back to unanimity-minus-one, may be enough.

I think when writing the council guidelines we didn't provide anywhere near this level of instruction for the council members.

I think (at present) that means it's up to the council to figure out how it functions.

I see that this could be problematic, e.g. if some council people disagree about how things should be done, so writing down more of the expectations, though constraining, could also be freeing.

I heard that a lot of what the first (elected) council did was to try to decide about its policies and procedures in more detail. Maybe we can ask them to publish some of those choices, and we can codify the ones we like, and/or help to identify areas where the current instructions are too vague?

comment:10 Changed 8 months ago by pospeselr

Cc: richard@… added

comment:11 Changed 8 months ago by atagar

Some more things that have come up...

  • Lets add 'what is your irc nick?' to our membership questions so they can be granted permissions when subscribed.
  • As part of the above I'd like permission to include the #tor-internal password in the welcome email. Or maybe we should drop the password? Since we have two authentication checks (GroupServ membership and the password) the later should be redundant, and including it in the welcome email would cut down on friction for new members to get involved.
  • Lets clarify what we do when folks are added during a vote. My suggestion is that they cannot take part in the vote but also do not count toward quorum.
  • Lets clarify what we do when a person's membership is revoked during a vote. My suggestion is that they can still take part in the vote and count toward quorum.

comment:12 Changed 8 months ago by juga

I'd also include pronoun in the membership questions. Attaching patch. Maybe English expression is not correct

Last edited 8 months ago by juga (previous) (diff)

comment:13 Changed 8 months ago by atagar

Another thing that was mentioned on irc was to simplify the process of making small amendments. Maybe something similar to our membership addition policy (if nobody objects then it happens, otherwise it proceeds with a standard voting process).

comment:14 in reply to:  11 Changed 8 months ago by catalyst

Replying to atagar:

Some more things that have come up...

  • Lets add 'what is your irc nick?' to our membership questions so they can be granted permissions when subscribed.

I suggest clarifying this as "your IRC nick on the OFTC network"

comment:15 Changed 7 months ago by karsten

Here's another suggestion for the voting policy. I suggest we replace:

* The secretary cannot cast a vote. However, in the case of a tie
  they act as the tie breaker.

with:

* The secretary can cast a vote, if they wish to, by sending it to
  the proposer before starting the vote for everyone.

The main reason for this change is that whenever there's a tie and the secretary acts as tie breaker, the secretary's vote will not be secret as opposed to all other votes. Because, if the secretary voted and there's a vote result that was decided by a single vote, that's the secretary's vote.

If we make this change, we won't be able to resolve ties anymore. If two or more proposal receive the exact same number of votes, none of them wins.

The requirement to send the vote to the proposer before starting the vote ensures that the secretary cannot change their opinion in the middle of the vote. Of course, the proposer would have to keep the secretary's vote secret as much as the secretary has to keep all other votes secret.

comment:16 Changed 7 months ago by karsten

Cc: karsten added

comment:17 in reply to:  12 ; Changed 7 months ago by catalyst

Replying to juga:

I'd also include pronoun in the membership questions. Attaching patch. Maybe English expression is not correct

Thanks for suggesting this!

I recommend not using the wording "preferred pronoun" when asking for someone's pronouns. Perhaps "What pronouns should we use to refer to you when talking to others? (optional)"? I also think it's really important to make this optional (while also encouraging cisgender people to state their pronouns to normalize the practice).

comment:18 Changed 7 months ago by arma

Our voting policy says:
https://gitweb.torproject.org/community/policies.git/tree/voting.txt#n72
"However, if 'take no action' accounts for at least 1/3 of the vote the proposals are rejected."

But in recent votes, e.g.
https://gitweb.torproject.org/community/policies.git/tree/votes/17-09-12_membership/summary.txt#n20
and
https://gitweb.torproject.org/community/policies.git/tree/votes/18-03-26_code_of_conduct/summary.txt#n20
we have not been offering the "take no action" option.

So, our original voting guidelines essentially require a 2/3 vote to enact new policies or the like. I think we should either get back to offering the take-no-action option, or change our voting guidelines to stop mentioning it. (I favor the former: get back to offering take-no-action.)

comment:19 Changed 7 months ago by atagar

Hi Roger. Sorry, not sure I follow. I read that as saying that enacting new policies needs a 2/3 super majority. As you cited those had options to reject the policy and keep the status quo.

comment:20 in reply to:  19 ; Changed 7 months ago by catalyst

Replying to atagar:

Hi Roger. Sorry, not sure I follow. I read that as saying that enacting new policies needs a 2/3 super majority. As you cited those had options to reject the policy and keep the status quo.

I interpret it as enacting a policy effectively requires a 2/3 supermajority if there is only one proposal (no alternatives) and no abstentions. (Abstentions seem to have the interesting effect of diluting reject/no-action votes.)

For the CoC/SoV votes, I would say the "take no action" alternative was the "b. I do not approve of the proposal." option. Similarly, for the membership policy vote, I think the "take no action" option would have been "B. I reject the attached proposal."

comment:21 Changed 7 months ago by teor

Similarly, for the community council vote, the "I would feel uncomfortable with this person" option is a "take no action" option. But it has a 1/4 threshold per individual, rather than 1/3.

comment:22 in reply to:  17 Changed 7 months ago by juga

Replying to catalyst:

I recommend not using the wording "preferred pronoun" when asking for someone's pronouns. Perhaps "What pronouns should we use to refer to you when talking to others? (optional)"? I also think it's really important to make this optional (while also encouraging cisgender people to state their pronouns to normalize the practice).

Thanks for your suggestions, i agree with them, replaced the patch.

comment:23 in reply to:  20 Changed 6 months ago by arma

Replying to catalyst:

Replying to atagar:

Hi Roger. Sorry, not sure I follow. I read that as saying that enacting new policies needs a 2/3 super majority. As you cited those had options to reject the policy and keep the status quo.

I interpret it as enacting a policy effectively requires a 2/3 supermajority if there is only one proposal (no alternatives) and no abstentions. (Abstentions seem to have the interesting effect of diluting reject/no-action votes.)

For the CoC/SoV votes, I would say the "take no action" alternative was the "b. I do not approve of the proposal." option. Similarly, for the membership policy vote, I think the "take no action" option would have been "B. I reject the attached proposal."

Yep, I agree with all of this. I think we should be aware of, and maybe help voters be aware of too, the fact that the "no" option in these votes only needs 1/3 of the votes to be the winner.

comment:24 Changed 6 months ago by arma

Another area we should clarify when we're doing a round of revisions for our policies:

The community council election process uses our voting mechanism, and our voting mechanism includes a one week period post-vote where people can check that their votes were counted and raise the alarm if something went wrong. But the community council election process doesn't specify whether, when using the voting mechanism, it means to bring in all the other aspects of the voting mechanism like this one-week period.

In my opinion if we're going to be using our voting mechanism for something, we need to include the one-week post-vote period too. But discussions with other Tor people indicate that understandings and expectations varied for this one. So we should make it more clear in the next round.

Changed 6 months ago by catalyst

comment:25 in reply to:  13 Changed 6 months ago by catalyst

Replying to atagar:

Another thing that was mentioned on irc was to simplify the process of making small amendments. Maybe something similar to our membership addition policy (if nobody objects then it happens, otherwise it proceeds with a standard voting process).

I added a patch with suggested changes for implementing a fast tracking process for proposals.

comment:26 Changed 6 months ago by cypherpunks

Resolution: wontfix
Status: newclosed

comment:27 Changed 6 months ago by atagar

Resolution: wontfix
Status: closedreopened

comment:28 Changed 6 months ago by arma

Status: reopenednew

comment:29 in reply to:  4 Changed 6 months ago by catalyst

Replying to alison:

what happens when a councilmember resigns?

[...]

maybe instead we should revise the CC guidelines to have a countback, which means filling vacancies with the person who received the next highest votes.

I would suggest not doing a countback. It's quite possible that people's opinions about candidates would have changed since the vote was taken, especially if significant time has passed.

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