# Community Council session notes

This session included a discussion of some of the challenges that the Community Council has encountered over the last months.

Two members of the Community Council facilitated this session during which they acknowledged limitations, shared some of the challenges that they have faced, and requested feedback on how to improve their approaches going forward.

## Challenges & Questions

  1. Deciding on methods for communication and determining time frames for reaching decisions.

By when should the Community Council reach each decision? How can communication between Community Council members improve so as to enable decision-making processes? Community Council members acknowledged that a bounded period of time would have forced the Council to find better ways of communicating their opinions and reaching decisions.

The Community Council will communicate its decisions within 2 weeks, going forward.

  1. Decision-making processes

What should the decision-making process be? How can it be developed? How to reach decisions and how to announce them? Where should decisions be announced and to whom?

Did the Council reach out to other councils for advice? The Tor Community Council reached out to the Council of Ubuntu for advice...

Community Council members: What would happen if all 4 members refuse or are unable to reach a decision? Ideally the council would have a unanimous decision, and when not possible, they would go with majority vote.

How can the Council enforce decisions? Which decisions can/should the Council enforce?

It's not clear how you proceed with public infrastructure that is shared (e.g. irc), or how you manage public physical spaces. For example, even if the Council decided that certain people can attend the meeting, the company makes the final decision on this.

The majority of the decisions will be considering the impact on the community as a whole, rather than on the specific individuals.

What is the approach for announcing decisions to the community?

The Community Council announcements need to be neutral, because if they reflect opinions then the decisions might be undermined. Would it be helpful to phrase decisions as recommendations instead? Some could be phrased as recommendations, while others will probably be phrased as decisions.

Tor started writing official documents (Social Contract, Membership guidelines, etc.). Within those documents are the processes for voting and what the Community Council should be deliberating on, and how people who are members can raise questions or problems for situations. We have some draft guidelines, but it's still work in progress.

  1. Confidentiality

Should decisions be announced to the whole Tor community in every case? There was a discussion about the need for confidentiality in certain cases where it is not deemed to be the best to disclose all information to the broader Tor community. Over the last months it was really unclear how much information the Council could share. Having clear guidelines on this would have been helpful. The Council expects that anything it writes to Tor internal might be leaked and published on a newspaper.This creates constraints in terms of how much the Council can share.

  1. Electing Community Council members.

Should Community Council members be elected? If so, what should the process for that be?

The Council needs to have legitimacy to be effective. People need to empower the Council.

We should seek diversity in the composition of the Community Council. Should we consider electing a chair?

Another function that we might want to develop is called "clerks": their sole job is to document stuff and publish stuff to the community.

  1. Setting expectations.

Need to set expectations and meet them on a regular basis.

What are the privileges that people might have and that can be revoked? Once you have a frame of the types of punishments, based on that you can asssess what the right type of punishment would be. This can lead to more objectivity, and set clear expectations to the community, in terms of what type of punishment to expect based on certain behaviour.

How can you re-apply for a privilege, once it has been revoked? What is the process?

  1. Role of the Community Council.

Role of Community Council: Mediating community conflicts, specifying different types of interaction and the process with which it is resolved (only for volunteers). The role of the community council involves considering the effects on the existing community, as well as on the future community.

What is the role and responsibility of the members of the Council? And what is the role of the Council in regards to the Tor coroporation? The Community Council might make different decisions to the how do we balance the decisions of each? What happens when the corporation and the Council make different decisions?

  1. Volunteers.

Anyone can be a volunteer. How can you protect people when you might not even know that they are a volunteer? The membership guidelines attempt to address this.

If someone is not an employee, does the Council have the same authority to enforce things?

There is a legal obligation for non-profits to protect volunteers from harm. So the legal obligation does not end with the corporation.

Would the council be responsible for solving conflict in regards to OONI volunteers?

Last modified 16 months ago Last modified on Oct 3, 2016, 6:26:46 PM