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Organizational Provisions

Organizational Provisions for the Establishment, Monitoring and Execution of Electronic Communications Policy and Net Etiquette Guidelines and the Administration of Work Groups

1. Three functions are provided for in this document, two with respect to administration of EC Policy and one with respect to Work Groups. First is the EC policy-making function and voluntary netiquette provisions. Second is the monitoring and execution of that policy, an administrative function dealing with the use of all CPSR-owned or sponsored communications facilities within the established policy framework. Third is the management of the initiation, operation and retirement of CPSR discussion lists, a program-related function dealing with the employment of discussion lists as tools for pursuing CPSR organizational aims and thrusts, and for supporting issue analysis and programmatic policy-making activities in such areas as Internet governance, privacy, quality of work life, etc.

Policy Making

2. The Board of Directors is responsible for making CPSR policy of all kinds. While the Board is charged to make decisions on the establishment of policies and their specifics, before it does so it draws upon the experience of its elected members and uses feedback from various quarters depending on the nature of the policy in question. Such sources may include: ad hoc tasks groups that are established to address specific policy areas, such as the ECPG; standing issues-specific working groups, such as the Domain Name Systems or Y2K Working Groups; the multi-issues Activist Group; CPSR membership at large; external or internal consultants; and other specialists such as attorneys, accountants, financial and subject-area experts.

Administration of EC Policy and Netiquette Guidelines

3. Policy is only as good as its execution. Use of CPSR communications facilities is extended to employees, volunteer workers, officers and Board members, members at large and others on the condition that they agree to abide by the mandatory provisions of this policy and with the understanding that violation of these provisions constitute cause for disciplinary measures including possibly immediate suspension or termination of CPSR membership, or possibly termination in the case of employees, and/or use of CPSR communications facilities as may be determined by the Board of Directors or its duly designated body. Execution of this policy and the related guidelines requires an entity to follow through with the execution of the policy.

4. If the Board wishes to designate an existing committee to monitor EC policy implementation, the Personnel Committee would be the natural entity as this policy deals mainly with confidential human relations issues. Alternatively, a new, separate, body could be established. The designated body is referred to below simply as "the Committee."

5. Actions that the Committee is charged with include to: - where feasible, assist employees and members in amicably resolving issues arising out of the use or abuse of CPSR communications facilities; - review and recommend changes to the EC Policy; - act on complaints and alleged violations of mandatory aspects of the EC policy; - take disciplinary decisions and actions as necessary, and inform parties in writing of the outcome, including system administrators where termination of facility access is directed; - respond to petitions for review of such decisions; - work with the National Office staff to establish a working system for maintaining an up-to-date list of paid-up members and lapsed members; - Consider use of a CPSR user registration form including terms of usage and legal disclaimers; - take steps to determine if external facility providers have consistent privacy policies; - make recommendations to the Board of Directors on guidelines for the use of moderated and unmoderated Work Group lists and periodically review these practices and set guidelines for use by list moderators.

6. Requests to provide information to law enforcement or other agencies outside CPSR will be referred to this Committee, and it will decide how to proceed, if necessary consulting the Board. System operators are to take directions in such matters only from the Committee as presented in writing by the Committee chair, unless other prior arrangements exist with the facility providers.

7. Some of the provisions of the policy and guidelines obviously apply to everyone using CPSR communications facilities, including all of the mandatory principles and some of the voluntary ones. Others, such as recordkeeping provisions, are more applicable to National Office employees than to discussion list members. Common sense should prevail in making these determinations.

8. Exercise of disciplinary actions should never be used to stifle debate or unpopular opinions. Nor should the Committee or Board allow appeals to free speech to be used as excuses for inaction or reasons for ignoring serious or repeated breaches of these guidelines. Cases involving potential disciplinary actions should stand on their own merits whether they include popular or unpopular opinions.

Coordination of CPSR Work Groups

9. CPSR has in place a Board Program Committee that is charged with coordinating activities in pursuit of CPSR aims and thematic thrusts. This Committee is the natural home for the coordination of Work Groups and discussion lists. For purposes of this document, the term Working Group (WG) is used collectively to refer to all groups using list facilities with the exception those established specifically for the conduct of CPSR business by the Board, its officers and CPSR staff. The Program Committee is designated by the Board of Directors to undertake the role of WG coordination and administration. Given its strategic nature, the Program Committee should continue to be led by an elected member of the Board of Directors; however, the Committee, or a sub-committee that might be charged solely to carry out this function, may consist of other non-Board members designated by the Board.

10. Actions that the Program Committee is charged with in carrying out this policy include to: - consider the overall impact of all Work Groups (WGs) collectively in the pursuit of CPSR aims; - designate whether WGs are continuing or ad hoc, and completion dates; - establish standard periods when the leadership of WGs should be reviewed for change so as to avoid a monopoly in leadership; - designate Board members to liaise with each WG and set membership guidelines for WGs, e.g., membership should be extended only to active dues-paying CPSR members and invited consultants; - request and review annual WG plans; - review of the activities and products of individual WGs; - take actions relating to the establishment and retirement of WGs; - consider ways in which changing trends and member interests may suggest re-direction of CPSR goals and programs; and - identify gaps in WG coverage for important CPSR program areas.

11. CPSR should avoid the willy-nilly establishment of WGs that take on endless lives of their own and use scarce resources without any clear relationship to CPSR aims and program thrusts. At the same time, the Program Committee should foster the broadest participation in CPSR programs through its WGs as it can.

Back to CPSR Electronic Policy opening page
Created by nbrigham
Last modified April 07, 2005 01:42 PM

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I support critical thinking--including ethical issues--when it comes to decisions about the use of technology. I want more people to have access to learn about technology. I would like to see resources go into finding and implementing technologies that provide the most public good.