MIBS Simplified Rules of Coordinated Consensus through Chaos

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Information on this page needs to be revised; it may not reflect the current situation or policies at HacDC

MIBS SRC3 is the standard procedure for handling meetings of HacDC. It is designed to be a replacement for Robert's Rules of Order. Version 1.0 was written by Nick Farr who said:

"Roberts Rules of Order was designed for people who like meetings and can't stand each other. MIBS SRC3 is designed for people who hate meetings, generally get along pretty well, but can sometimes get pretty opinionated and obstinate about thorny issues AND tend to ramble on at length. This process is designed to bring drama down to a manageable level."

The Basic Ideas:

  • Keep meetings as short as possible
    • Keep everyone informed
    • Keep the discussion on track while encouraging different ideas and perspective.
    • Give everyone a chance to speak and offer solutions
  • Handle problems outside of meetings
    • Take basic input and solve problems outside of meetings Most everything should be decided on the wiki, over mailing lists and any other communication method that reaches all members.
    • Come to meetings with solutions, finalize them in the meeting.
  • Keep drama manageable
    • Try to achieve unanimous consensus
    • When consensus does not seem possible, postpone and re-work until you can.
    • When solutions keeps being postponed, the majority rules.

Before the meeting

  1. If you are working on something cool, bring your elevator pitch!
    • Let everyone at the meeting know about it!
    • Post to the wiki, blog, etc.
    • Stick around after the meeting to demo, answer questions, etc.
  2. Avoid bringing issues to meetings. Solve them on your own.
    • Avoid making new policies.
    • Avoid bureaucracy.
    • Use e-mail, the wiki, IRC, Jabber, tacking notices to the wall and any other communication method to define the problem and seek solutions.
  3. When issues cannot be solved by daily consensus, (or require membership/board approval for legal reasons) submit them for the next meeting as an agenda item. Make sure each agenda item has:
    • A BRIEF SUMMARY of the relevant problem
    • A more comprehensive discussion of
      • WHAT the problem is
      • WHY it's relevant to the membership, board, etc.
      • WHO is involved
    • Describe the proposed solutions. List pros and cons of each solution.
    • Propose ONE BEST SOLUTION as official agenda proposal to be adopted in the "Consent Agenda"
    • Suggest the time it should take to achieve resolution on the issue.
  4. All agenda items should be submitted at least 48 hours in advance of a meeting, but may be added at any meeting by any member--provided what the issue to be discussed and how to resolve it is clear.

The Meeting Agenda

Each meeting should have an agenda. The cut-off time for addition to or revision of the the agenda's items is 11:59 PM on the Saturday preceding a regular Tuesday meeting. This allows the members about three days to review the agenda and proposals, to see if they have any objections worthy of pulling the item from the agenda.

The agenda should include:

I. Draft minutes of the last meeting
The Keeper of the MIBS (Secretary) shall type up the meeting minutes highlighting all the relevant ideas and arguments presented by each member for each agenda item at each meeting, as well as providing a list of members present at each meeting. The minutes of any meeting shall be posted in draft form immediately after the meeting and continually revised by the members until "perfect". In a perfect meeting, members have read the minutes and made any necessary corrections by 11:59 the Saturday following a member meeting.
II. The Consent Agenda
Each of the newly proposed agenda items appears in the consent agenda. Any member present at any meeting may pull an item out of the consent agenda for discussion, at which point it goes under "New Business". If nobody objects to the solutions presented by the consent agenda, everything in the consent agenda passes by consensus. (This is to encourage people to discuss solutions and policies ahead of time.) In a perfect meeting, the consent agenda passes everything without actual discussion, because it was discussed and agreed to before the meeting. This meeting agenda shall be frozen at 11:59, the Saturday prior to the meeting to encourage members to review and discuss the agenda in its final form prior to the meeting.
III. Minister Reports
Each of The Ministers should submit an official report by Saturday at 11:59pm. During "Minister Reports" questions from the membership of interest to the membership at large should be fielded by the officers. In a perfect meeting, everyone already asked their questions of the officers and the officers included those answers in their report.
IV. Member Reports
Each member who has work or a proposed project they wish to share with the group may ask for time to address to the group, but in no case more than one minute to talk and one minute to answer quick questions. If there are many agenda items to discuss, the Coordinator in Chief may limit Member Reports to five minutes. Members should, but need not put their intention to give a report in the agenda.
IV. Old Business
These are the issues that remained unresolved from the last meeting. In a perfect meeting, there is no old business.
V. New Business
These are the issues from the consent agenda that were pulled out for discussion. In a perfect meeting, there is no new business.
VI. Adjournment
No meeting should last more than 60 minutes, especially if it starts at 19:30. In a perfect meeting, all business can be wrapped up in two minutes, allowing more time for showing off and collaborating on cool projects.

Meeting Procedures

One person speaks at a time
  • No person speaks for more than one minute when others are waiting to speak.
  • The Coordinator in Chief will recognize only one person speaking at any time and clearly indicate who that is.
  • The Coordinator in Chief will strive to make sure each person is heard in discussion or each person's objection is heard before giving any person a second chance to talk.
Asking for objections.
  • The Coordinator in Chief will ask for objections to a given item or action. When they say, "Any objections?" or "Anything else?", they are asking for objections.
  • Any member may object simply by indicating "Yes!".
  • If there are no objections after three seconds, then the item or action is approved, and/or the meeting moves on.
  • If any member objects, they have fifteen seconds to explain why, then the relevant formal objection procedure takes hold.
Asking to extend time.
  • The Coordinator in Chief shall give a verbal and visual cue of time remaining in each item. 5, 2, 1 and "Time" cues should be given.
  • If time is called, a person may finish their sentence. After the sentence is finished, any member except the one speaking may call out, "More time, please!".
  • The Coordinator in Chief will ask, "Any objections?"
    • If there are no objections to granting more time, the same amount of time as originally allotted or as indicated below is granted. Otherwise, the meeting moves on.
    • If objections exist, it goes to a majority vote: "All in favor of extending time?" (Count those in favor), "All opposed to extending time" (Count those opposed). Majority vote rules.
    • In the case of an agenda item under discussion if an extension of time fails, or a solution has not been reached by the first extension of time, it automatically goes to old business for the next meeting. (The idea being that members will seek resolution through other communication methods by the next meeting.)
Asking for additions/changes.
  • The Coordinator in Chief will ask for additions or changes to be made, saying "Anything else?".
  • Any member may propose an addition by indicating "Yes!" then stating what they would like to add or change.
  • If there are no further additions or changes after three seconds, the meeting moves on.
Ask for a vote.
  • After one minute of discussion on old business or five minutes of discussion on any new business item, any member may ask for a vote between speakers by saying, "Vote please!".
  • The Coordinator in Chief will ask for objections
  • If the majority has objections to calling a vote, discussion continues with the same time allotted as if no up or down request was made.
  • If there are no objections to a vote, or the majority wants the vote, the Coordinator in Chief will Clarify the proposals being discussed
  • Each of the proposals will be stated preceded by "All in favor of?".
  • Each member may vote only once for each alternative.
  • The alternative with the highest votes wins and the meeting moves on.

Meeting Process

At the scheduled time, if people are generally ready, the Coordinator in Chief will start the meeting by saying, "Get comfortable and get quiet, we're starting," and ask the following questions or making the following statements in the following order:

  1. "Does anyone have any items to pull out of the consent agenda for discussion?"
    • If yes, wait for members to pull things out of the consent agenda.
    • Any member present may pull an item out of the consent agenda.
    • Who pulls items out must be recorded.
    • Consent agenda items are discussed in the order they appeared in the agenda.
    • Whatever is left in the consent agenda is approved and the meeting moves on.
  2. "Does anyone have any other new items to add to the agenda"
    • Any member may add themselves to Member Reports provided time is available. If more than 10 members have a report, the coordinator in chief may limit member reports time.
    • New business items that do not appear in the consent agenda may only be added at the discretion of the coordinator in chief.
  3. Does anyone have any revisions to the minutes?
    • If yes, wait for revisions.
    • Revisions should be a free flow discussion between the KotM and the group at large.
    • Members may only change what they said or acted upon.
    • If there are no further revisions, ask for objections to moving on.
    • If time is reached, Ask to Extend Time. Time may only be extended once, the minutes revision becomes a New Business agenda item.
  4. "Do the officers have their reports?"
    • Each officer gets five minutes to give a report, if no written one was submitted and five minutes of Q&A.
    • Each officer reports may be extended for time once by majority vote.
    • Another extension automatically puts the report in New Business.
    • Once nobody responds to, "Anything else?", or time is reached and not extended, the meeting moves on.
  5. "Do the Members have their reports?"
    • Members on the agenda and members who added themselves to the Member Reports section have one minute to talk and one minute for Q&A.
  6. "Moving on to old business!"
    • Each item of old business may be discussed for no more than 5 minutes.
    • If no solution to the issue raised in Old Business is reached after two meetings, the item may not be discussed at a meeting for two weeks.
  7. "Moving on to new business."
    • Those submitting the proposal will be allowed no more than 10 minutes to explain the proposal and have a Q&A sesssion.
    • After those submitting the proposal are finished, the time remaining is used for discussion.
  8. "Adjournment?".
    • If all business is taken care of, the meeting is automatically adjourned by declaration of the Coordinator in Chief
    • 90 minutes after the meeting begins the chair must call time for the meeting.
    • Any member may extend for no more than a half hour.
    • At 120 minutes, the meeting shall be automatically adjourned by declaration of the Coordinator in Chief
    • All remaining new business items are moved into old business for next week.