Talk:Bylaws

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We should start by looking at the bylaws of other hackerspaces

I read through the bylaws of HacDC, Pumping Station: one, Maker's Local 256, and Noisebridge. This is cribbed primarily from HacDC so far with some changes: one membership class, no new member sponsorship, and a different BoD structure. Definitely edit however you see fit and we can all talk out the details as we need to. Jonlesser 08:13, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

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Operating policy vs. bylaws Bylaws are overarching rules for how the corporation is structured. They require a majority of the entire membership to amend, not to mention written notifications, etc. Many specific problems could be covered by operating policy or better yet no policy and everyone playing fairly.

Section 3: Membership Dues[edit]

  • We should perhaps try to make something inline with the "starving hackers" provision found in many groups. Obviously we want most people to pay dues but especially if we had a talented member who didn't have the cash we would want to find a way for them to join. Perhaps volunteer time? Maybe even students or seniors rates? Just a thought Kellyegan 16:56, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm interested in the volunteer angle, but until we have things that require volunteering ("I volunteer to drink beers and solder stuff and be awesome!", nope), I'm skeptical it will be of value to the organization. Works well for velocipede because volunteers build bikes that are eventually exchanged for cash. Abachman 00:35, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  • On waiving membership dues, should include the ability to merely reduce the dues? Also does this mean that actual amount of dues may only be changed at annual meetings? Or is that included in procedure and terms. Kellyegan 02:43, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Perhaps include a statement that prevents dues from being lowered below what it costs to run the spaceMehuman 23:48, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Section 6: Transferability of Memberships[edit]

"No member may transfer a membership or any right arising therefrom. All rights of membership cease upon the member's death."

  • I suggest offering family memberships. We're homeschooling (unschooling) our kids and a useable lab space that's open during the day would make a killer spot for weekly or monthly all ages lab sessions. BUT, this would require giving my wife the key, if she's not a full member. Clearly, the full family that actually got two members worth of use out of the space would be extremely uncommon, so what's the harm in "every membership is a family membership"? Call it family, call it household, one vote per, and bam, we're reaching out to the community in a new way. YMCA does it, I say we do it. Abachman 00:48, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  • This section is designed to prevent members from unilaterally selecting someone to be a member and bypass the standard procedure. I would think weekly or monthly all ages lab session, which by the way sounds really fun, would be considered an event or workshop and therefore open to the public. The Y charges nearly twice as much ($74) for a two adult household, which includes kids, compared to a single adult ($49) with no kids. [1]. I think one key and one vote per membership is the way to start along with a liberal guest policy. There's currently no guest policy, but that may better handled as a free standing policy outside the bylaws.
  • I'm specifically not interested in an "all ages lab session" because that defeats the purpose. As a member, I have the freedom to be spontaneous in my use of the space, I'm asking to extend that freedom to spouses, domestic partnerships, and child dependents (as defined by the IRS). Abachman 22:17, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Unless i'm wrong this is just referring to transferring the vote a member it is not specifically banning a member's guest from entering or using the space. I personally don't have a problem with anyone's wife or child coming in and using the space with in reason. Mehuman 23:21, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm interpreting "any right" as including the right to use a key. The precise scenario is, I'm at work and leave my key at home, my family would be able to use the key. One key and one vote per "household", whatever, call it an atomic unit, I don't care. I'm not interested in addressing edge cases like roommate, BF/GF/SO, extended relatives, etc. If the person shows up on your tax return and is therefore not an independent financial entity in the eyes of the US gov't, they can use your key (and are held responsible under all applicable restrictions and sections of the bylaws herein pertaining to members, etcetera, etcetera). Not a real big deal here, I'm not fighting for this, just trying to clarify the original suggestion. Abachman 23:30, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Section 7: Officer Elections[edit]

  • the process should include provisions for announcement periods (i.e., how long ahead of the annual meeting should nomination and discussion take place?) and votes by proxy, should any member be unable to attend. Abachman 20:47, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
    • I am a big fan of getting the whole affair done in one sitting, rather than having any period of official campaign, debates, or the like ahead of the annual meeting. This process basically compresses everything into a singe event. Everybody who wants to be VP stands up and says why, then we vote. If someone really wants to be VP, there's nothing to stop them from campaigning for as long as they want in advance of the annual meeting, but there's no institutionalized expectation to do so. I added some clauses about running without being physically present. --Jonlesser 08:21, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Done in one sitting is cool, I don't imagine there'd even be competition. I'm only suggesting that it shouldn't be a surprise. Like, "hey we're electing officers in two weeks, email your nominations / votes if you can't be there." Abachman 00:55, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Article 4 - Meetings[edit]

I'd like to see the voting reduced to only exceptional circumstances. If decisions on important issues can't be decided by consensus, then action shouldn't be taken. Voting on everything will disenfranchise members with less free time (including myself) and less vocal minorities, which is not acceptable. A democratic voting process does not recognize the contributions of all members equally and violates the spirit of the organization.

I propose we amend Article 4 to remove sections 5 and 6 and replace them with a new article on "decision making" that reflects a consensus based process [1] [2] with votes taken only when consensus agreement on an issue cannot be reached and a vote is acceptable to all members. Similar to the IETF's "rough consensus model" [3] , the board and officers should be seeking the guidance and sentiment of the whole membership at all times in all decisions unless specific exceptions are discussed and agreed upon.

Divisions and serious dissension would either block decision making or lead to an invitation of voluntary resignation of membership. Hackerspaces are not hard to start, all you need are people. Anyone who doesn't think the group is a good fit would be more welcome to start their own than try to reshape Node against the will of existing members.

People join because they want to get things done, not because they want to play parliament. The decision making process should reflect that.

References[edit]

  1. Wikipedia: Consensus decision-making
  2. Free Geek structure description From the page: All of the above groups are democratic, making their decisions not by majority vote, but by consensus. You may be familiar with consensus decision-making from your extensive contact with Quakers, who have been using it since the 17th century.
  3. IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) rough consensus model

Abachman 17:37, 26 July 2009 (UTC)