Talk:Vote on 3 Policy Labels

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I generally like where you're going with the taxonomy of policy at PS:One. I like the ring of 'Member Created Policy' more for things that exist to satisfy outside agents - there's less colloquial connotation. Can we use that phrase in the language of this vote? --Dbever (talk) 08:08, 14 July 2015 (CDT)

Nomenclature adjusted

Sounds good to me. --Hef (talk) 08:48, 19 July 2015 (CDT)

For Posterity

Because the email forum can just eat history like a black hole... --Lucas (talk) 20:44, 25 April 2015 (CDT)!topic/pumping-station-one/PArqcIK2WAc!topic/pumping-station-one/rt9n-EtFzJc!topic/pumping-station-one/X34cjS32Sd8!topic/pumping-station-one/9fWRWIp5IGk!topic/pumping-station-one/Vj57Kv_pqRw!topic/pumping-station-one/u6EF2q5VxRw

The above are relevant points of discussion on the member's mailing list --Hef (talk) 20:54, 7 May 2015 (CDT)

Original Vote

Also for posterity, as best I can tell the member meeting minutes for the original vote to buy the insurance policy happened here: Meeting Notes 2009-04-21. Not much descriptive text there unfortunately, but unless we changed policies some time after that, I think this is the vote to refer to if people need to. People may also find this helpful: Board Meeting Notes 2013-07-23. Meeting minutes from when our insurance agent came to talk to the board and gave some advice. It looks like it answers a lot of questions people have been having recently about our insurance, though it's not totally related to this vote. --Justin (talk) 11:26, 5 May 2015 (CDT)


I am curious. Is there any precedent to those policies? In other words, have any other policies ever been enacted by the board with no membership vote? --Lucas (talk) 11:32, 22 April 2015 (CDT)

  • None that I am aware of. The precedent would be for these types of policies to go before the membership and be voted on with an explanation as to why they are needed. --Hef (talk) 09:05, 23 April 2015 (CDT)
Why is this policy necessary? The bylaws don't need to give the board of directors of a corporate authority to amend their bylaws, and no bylaw purporting to prohibit a board of directors to amend bylaws could possibly be effective. A board of directors must exercise independent judgment to act in the best interests of the corporation. Jason (talk) 12:55, 7 May 2015 (CDT)

Inflamitory Title

The title should be changed to something more neutral, such as Vote on Setting Policies. --Sylphiae (talk) 13:31, 22 April 2015 (CDT)

  • Good call. I probably should have gotten into a more neutral mood before writing the first pass of this proposal. (The title has been changed_ --Hef (talk) 09:05, 23 April 2015 (CDT)


I like Joel's suggestion about the policies being in effect until member quorum is met rather than the language here about automatic expiry.

  • Agreed. --Glenn 23 April 2015

"expires 3 weeks after being voted on" does not specify that the board of directors voted on it versus membership voting on it. skm

pointless or dangerous

The language has been gutted, so my points here are no longer as applicable.

Most of this section was written by User:CarlFK. There's a lot in here to dispute, so I'm going to inline most of my comments. --Justin (talk) 10:47, 5 May 2015 (CDT)

I think this "auto propose a vote" thing is bad.

It does not do anything good for the space. There is no trade this for that for a net gain. There is a cost (the voting process), there is no gain, so the ROI is negative.

It does a lot of good for the space. The ultimate stakeholders of Pumping Station: One, NFP are the members. As such, the members decide the direction of the organization. If you think that the voting process is a "cost" and is "annoying", then you should probably make yourself a non-voting member. Those of us who actually have an interest in the running of the space want to vote on things. --Justin (talk) 10:47, 5 May 2015 (CDT)
Some votes necessitated by the policy will be nonsense or inappropriate for the rabble to vote on in the first place. So yes, there can be a cost and pointless votes can be annoying. Jason (talk) 12:58, 7 May 2015 (CDT)

(bare with the 2 levels of voting here. We are voting on how to vote, so the word vote doesn't always reference the same thing.)

There is a 2x2 grid of choices made up of (this proposed vote (A)pass, (B)not pass) x (members (1)agree, (2)disagree) A1, A2, B1, B2.

(A) Assume this proposed vote passes and now the members have to vote on all policies voted on and passed by the BoD.

There are two possible outcomes of such votes: pass or not pass. (not meeting quorum just delays the outcome.)

(1) If the vote passes, nothing changes.  The existing policy is still in affect.  
(2) If the vote does not pass, the policy is no longer in effect.  This leaves PS1 in an undefined state that is probably bad.  In the case of any of the 3 pseudo policies, PS1 no longer has insurance (or something that is essentially that.) 
I think there's some weasely arguments that people have been making about this whole insurance thing. To be sure, I really, highly doubt that the insurance company would be allowed to simply drop coverage that we have been paying for just because we don't have a policy in place. If so, they would have dropped our coverage a long time ago. More likely if something happened, for example someone got bitten by a dog that should not have been allowed in the space, our policy wouldn't cover any damages brought before Pumping Station: One. To be sure this would be a bad thing, but it's not so ephemeral and fear mongering as the whole "they'll drop our coverage!" line we've been getting. --Justin (talk) 10:47, 5 May 2015 (CDT)
In the case of an animal attack at the space, the victim would most likely sue anyone related to the incident. This includes the dog's owner, the handler (if different), PS:One, each Board member personally, and the landlord. The insurance company will deny any coverage for this and throw everyone under the bus. PS:One would have to spend a considerable portion of its revenue in legal fees defending against this. But we also have a contractual obligation to insure our landlord, which we will have failed to do. Hence this would be a breach of our lease.
Drinking after 2 AM is a different situation. In that case, a prior Board applied for insurance stating that we stop serving at 2 AM. In the event of a claim involving drinking after 2 AM, the insurer would likely consider it a misrepresentation on our part and cancel the policy, leaving PS:One, the Board members personally, and the landlord on the hook. As above, we have a contractual obligation to insure our landlord.
The Board enacted the three policies it did to fulfill PS:One's obligations, which the Bylaws explicitly permits. --Rdpierce (talk) 12:09, 5 May 2015 (CDT)
Whether or not we have a policy will not affect whether or not someone will sue us, and I still haven't seen any guarantee that having the policy means that the insurance company will still cover us if an animal does come in. Furthermore, having a policy in place will not prevent someone from actually bringing an animal into the space. Really, it doesn't. We don't need a policy in place to tell people that they're not allowed to have animals in the space either.
Now, if by some chance someone does manage to sneak an animal past our tight security into the space and have it bite someone before we have a chance to kick them out (perhaps even as part of the incident where we try to remove the animal, as is likely), what might happen? Will the insurance company go through our bylaws and policies to see that we totally had a policy saying that person couldn't bring an animal in? No, they will not do that. They don't care what our policies are. What they will care about is that we made a good faith effort to remove the animal from the premises as soon as we were made aware of the situation. For this, it doesn't matter that we have a policy. If we want to tell someone their pet can't be in the space, all we have to say is "our insurance doesn't allow us to have animals in the space." --Justin (talk) 12:24, 5 May 2015 (CDT)
Before the policy, PS:One had an open door to dogs. After the policy, assuming we follow up by posting clear signs at the entrances, we will have taken every reasonable precaution to have prevented an accident. If we assume most people follow the rules, then hopefully nobody will bring a (non-service animal) dog to the space in spite of the rules, so nobody ever will get bit on the premises. If people follow the rules, then the policy just about eliminates the risk of a dog bite, and it also means we aren't endangering our landlord with liability that isn't insured against.
Now in the unlikely case that someone does bring an animal (other than a service animal) into the space in spite of the policy, we have grounds to ask the person to leave. If the animal bites someone, we still have no insurance to cover the situation. But our liability situation is very different. In the former case, the owner, according to PS:One, did nothing wrong. PS:One allowed the animal that caused injury into the space. We knew we had no insurance coverage for it, and we let it happen anyway. Afterward, the animal and its owner were practically trespassing when the incident took place. We did everything in our power to prevent anything like that from happening. --Rdpierce (talk) 23:33, 5 May 2015 (CDT)
I think you're still missing my point. Animals were not allowed in the space as soon as we signed the insurance policy. Before the faux board policy was created, PS:1 did not allow animals in the space because we already agreed to an insurance policy that disallowed that. What was missing was that the members were not well informed of this restriction. So all that was really needed was to inform the membership of what we had already agreed to. And again, the insurance company will still not cover us if the "policy" remains unenforced. I'm sure that they really won't care if we have a policy in our made up rules system. They will only care if we were negligent. --Justin (talk) 12:23, 6 May 2015 (CDT)
Justin, this isn't factually correct, and this really is splitting hairs. The insurance policy does not disallow animals. Insurance doesn't care if we allow animals or not. But if someone gets bit, they won't pay anyone a dime. Therefore it would be phenomenally stupid to allow animals (other than service animals, which by law we cannot exclude) at the space. Now the Board doesn't have the power to write policies on its own to correct phenomenal stupidity. But our lease requires us to carry insurance, that is an obligation, and allowing animals knowing full well we don't have insurance that covers animal bites would be a breach of that obligation. The Bylaws allow the Board to decide on issues pertaining to obligations. So the Board enacted the policy.
I have found nothing in our membership agreement or any policy that prevents the membership from doing anything excluded by insurance. Yes it's a breach or our lease, but breaching a contract isn't illegal. Therefore, prior to the Board enacting that policy, animals were allowed at the space. Plenty of people did bring dogs to the space. No action was taken against these people.
You are correct that the insurance company won't cover us if we do not enforce the policy. Therefore, we must enforce it. We notified the membership, and we definitely need proper signs on the entrances. If we do enforce it, then there should be zero animals at the space, and zero risk of a bite. And in the very unlikely circumstance someone does bring an animal into the space in spite of the policy, and it bites someone before the person can be asked to leave, then at least we can say we did everything reasonable within our power to prevent it from happening, and that we were not negligent. If we have no such policy and freely let animals into the space, we can no longer make that claim. --Rdpierce (talk) 20:32, 6 May 2015 (CDT)

(B) Proposed vote does not pass

(1) the board did stuff, the members keep hacking.
(2) Someone doesn't like what the board did.  they propose a vote of something different.  The members vote on it.

B2 is really a subset of our current process: Someone wants something that requires a vote and follows the existing procedure.

A1 - voting paperwork A2 - voting paperwork and possibly undesirable

B1 - no paperwork B2 - voting paperwork and probably desirable but maybe undesirable because evil future members.

My Summary: all this really does is force the membership to vote and pass more things. That is annoying work. There will also be debates on what is and isn't a policy that needs to be voted on, not because anyone want's to over turn it, but we want to follow this rule we put in place. I think the chance of the members revoking a policy is basically 0. If that 0 event happens, we currently don't know what state that will leave things in. I suspect there is a good chance it leaves us in a bad state and PS1 just shot itself in the foot.

Again, if you don't like voting, and think it's "annoying", you can make yourself a non-voting member. Most of us who do vote do not think voting on policies is annoying and want to have a say in it. Whether or not we have these policies does not affect our obligation to the law or the insurance company. We don't need to make a policy that says "Don't murder people" because that's already illegal. The membership already agreed to enter into the contract with the insurance company when we bought the policy, therefore the membership already agreed to comply with it. The board really only needed to inform the membership of what was already agreed on. It's sort of a moot point anyways though because the point of this vote is not to figure out our insurance liabilities but to reaffirm the limits of the board's powers. --Justin (talk) 10:47, 5 May 2015 (CDT)

We currently have the ability to shot ourselves, so passing this vote dose not give anyone any more abilities.

To that I say, sure. The membership does have the ability to shoot itself in the foot, and that's okay. I believe that we won't because the membership is not as stupid and untrustworthy as people are trying to make us out as. Nothing that happens here suddenly gives us the right to do things that are illegal, and as the stakeholders in the organization, the members (we) are going to do everything in our power to do good things for the organization. We will not shoot ourselves in the foot. We're really not that dumb, I promise. --Justin (talk) 10:47, 5 May 2015 (CDT)

Opinion that pseudo-policies are not valid is incorrect

I object to the statement in the Background section of the vote "It's my opinion that the following three pseudo policies are invalid because they were not voted on by the general membership...." The Bylaws currently state that:

Bylaws#Issues Proper for a Vote of the Directors

   to fulfill any obligations to ensure the health of the organization.

In the case of these three policies, the Board decided to enact them to fulfil contractual and legal obligations to ensure the health of the organization. I can understand that someone might think the Board should not have done what they did. I can understand that someone may think the Bylaws should be changed so that the Board no longer has the power to do what it did. But the Bylaws as they exist today do allow for the actions in question. The policies themselves are valid. --Rdpierce (talk) 01:54, 25 April 2015 (CDT)

  • Setting policy was not necessary: Because those were already contractual obligations that space had taken on, the information on what the space had agreed to needed to be communicated, and a new official policy was not required. A few wiki pages detailing the info and an email out to the mailing list with an explanation would have sufficed. --Hef (talk) 11:48, 25 April 2015 (CDT)
  • Optionally, a follow up membership vote could have been run to set the policies in stone --Hef (talk) 11:48, 25 April 2015 (CDT)
  • I'm willing to drop the background info, as it doesn't really have much baring on the vote itself. My larger interest is ensuring that the membership is able to be directly involved and able to ensure sufficient rigor in any policy that the membership is required to agree too. --Hef (talk) 11:48, 25 April 2015 (CDT)

Freedom to Create protected (and constrained) by Adherence to Law

Our space does not operate in a vacuum; there are certain legal, contractual, and life/safety obligations we need to fulfill in order to have the protections that we enjoy, and give us the freedom to create. If the membership have the capability of overruling the actions of the BoD on these type of matters, then we are creating an environment where non-legal activity can occur, especially in the case where a retrospective gap analysis shows that we are not operating within the confines of a contract, and modifications to existing policies need to occur in order to enforce compliance to that contract.

I would recommend wording as follows: "Where there is a gap (or gaps) between existing policies and legal, contractual, or life/safety commitments, the Board of Directors is empowered to act in a proactive manner to bring the Organization into compliance as expediently as possible. It is incumbent upon the Board of Directors to communicate to the Membership the reason for the gap, and the rationale for the compliance-related activities. This communication shall be performed before- or concurrent-with the compliance-related activities." --Bioguy (talk) 07:24, 25 April 2015 (CDT)

  • The membership is not able to vote to do anything unlawful, see Bylaws#Issues Proper for a Vote of the Membership --Hef (talk) 11:39, 25 April 2015 (CDT)
  • The thing I am most interested in is that the membership have the ability to apply our historically stringent process of ensuring the high quality of policies. --Hef (talk) 11:41, 25 April 2015 (CDT)

I agree completely with your point #2. I disagree, however, on point #1, as the act of voting indicates a choice in wishing to meet contractual agreements that have already been put in place. I think we can vote to renegotiate our insurance policy, but we can't vote on whether or not we will comply with it once it has been signed, as that breaks the contract and nullifies our insurance policy.

I am of the opinion that a vote to violate a contractual obligation would be unlawful, however that point that has been met with enough contention that I am willing to spell it out in plain language. A line stating that member's must honor contractual obligations of the space has been added. --Hef (talk) 21:22, 7 May 2015 (CDT)

Another point: we need definitions of what a Policy is. These three "policies" seem to me to be more like "House Rules." --Bioguy (talk) 11:55, 25 April 2015 (CDT)

I'd like to move in the direction of member curated "House Rules". I am counting Board Member's as members, as it is likely they will continue to be the most appraised member's on the legal and contractual obligations of the space. I would like to allow the general membership to participate in the curation of rules, as I feel there is a lot of benefit to be had in doing so. --Hef (talk) 21:22, 7 May 2015 (CDT)

Mistaken in thinking we had to pass policies

I've been talking this over with Carl and now I question that we needed to vote policies. Perhaps we just needed to post announcements that we've seen violations of of our insurance coverage and that

  • people are not allowed to bring non service animals in to the space
  • people are not allowed to drink between these times

And in addition, our insurance agent let us know that we need per-event coverage for events that xyz.

And if we want we could have reported back with the research Ryan did about how much it would be to get coverage for each of the above.

With all the conversations over the past few days I'm thinking that we didn't need to vote on and declare new policies.

We only needed to vote about whether we'd extend coverage for what we did and to vote not to add coverage for the other things. Then, if members want the other things they could vote to spend however much for new coverage. - skm

AGREE!!! 100 MILLION PERCENT! --Bioguy (talk) 11:55, 25 April 2015 (CDT)
Skm, I agree with your analysis. --Hef (talk) 13:10, 25 April 2015 (CDT)
The thing about having policies (however those come to be) that are in line with the requirements of our insurance coverage is that it makes it very easy to point at how we're complying with those requirements. This may not be a big deal, but it does seem like something to consider to me. --Dbever (talk) 20:02, 25 April 2015 (CDT)
Putting up something on the wiki (or website) is probably a good idea, especially since we would have something to point to. I'd rather it not get the "policy" label until it's a membership vote, but I don't have a problem with something being posted immediately to indicate compliance. --Hef (talk) 20:38, 25 April 2015 (CDT)
but it will be ludicrous if we have to make policies for every item. we haven't made a policy to ban parkour or pyrotechnics but we'd need special coverage for those which we don't have right now --Skm (talk) 20:10, 25 April 2015 (CDT)
Skay, I'm not sure where you're getting the impression that we need a policy for every single item that may break the law? I think that was the slippery slope argument Sparr tried to use on the list. As for making announcements without having policies, it's sort of a distinction without a difference, I think? De facto instead of de jure, but it doesn't necessarily mean that we wouldn't have gotten the same backlash that we did. --Sylphiae (talk) 20:13, 25 April 2015 (CDT)
Sylphiae, I was replying to Derek about whether having policies that we can point to to show that we comply would be helpful. we have a lot of exclusions other than the 2 we listed. I didn't mean to make a slippery slope argument but I did huh. --Skm (talk) 20:17, 25 April 2015 (CDT)
I agree with Derek here and would say it is a very big deal. We can't have people drinking in the space at 3 AM claiming that it isn't a real policy so the Board can't enforce it. If the person is drinking at 3 AM, drives home, and gets in an accident, we need to prove that we weren't responsible. "Hey, see here, we enacted a policy, he violated the policy, so it's 100% on him, not us!" is our defense. We can't have someone argue "Well, it's not really a policy, so you kind of did allow the person to drink, so you share in responsibility for the accident." --Rdpierce (talk) 01:43, 26 April 2015 (CDT)
One of the biggest issues I've seen is that policies can be too descriptive, and then when the commitments change, the policies do not. Why not a blanket policy that says "we will comply with facility requirements as spelled out by insurance policies" or something to that effect? That way we are not locking in overly specific language, but showing, for the record, that we intend to comply with requirements (As Derek pointed out above). We can further add something like "Specific requirements will be clearly posted" and then we can make signs and wiki posting clarifying what the "house rules" are. --Bioguy (talk) 08:53, 26 April 2015 (CDT)
Bioguy, while I wish we could do what you suggest, we can't expect the membership to digest 100 pages of nearly incomprehensible insurance-speak as a requirement to be a member of the space. We do have a blanket prohibition in the membership agreement against breaking the law, so we don't need a policy to ban development of nuclear weapons at the space. (But there was no way to stop or change an event that was about to break the law before it happened. We have had problems with event proposals or advertisements, usually around proposed sale of alcohol or charging at the door to attend a party. In the past, talking to the organizers fixes it, but there's no guarantee.) So the areas where policy would be needed most are for things we do allow, that are excluded from coverage by insurance, that do happen or are likely to happen, and that could result in liability. People did bring their pet dogs to the space, and there has been late night drinking. Telling everyone to read the insurance policy won't stop these. --Rdpierce (talk) 09:25, 26 April 2015 (CDT)
Bioguy, I just saw your edit about "House Rules." Are you saying that those three Board policies could have been renamed House Rules? That's an interesting thought. But I'm not sure the people objecting to the Board having the power to create policies to address obligations would be any happier with the Board having the power to create "House Rules" that effectively get enforced as policies. Also, the justification for the Board creating policies under the Bylaws relies upon addressing obligations. I think "House Rules" that don't stem from legal or contractual obligations should originate from the membership. (E.g. the Board shouldn't create a House Rule banning country music in the shop. If the majority of the membership hates Garth Brooks, they need to be the ones to propose the vote.) --Rdpierce (talk) 09:25, 26 April 2015 (CDT)
Actually Ryan, my intent was to be a lot simpler than that: The policy would be (simplified language) "We have insurance, which requires house rules. These house rules will be posted. The insurance policy in full is filed in the safe" or wherever. Then we have "House Rules" which are one side of one sheet of paper, which outline the three policies as they stand. These can be distributed or posted on a wall. This way, if the insurance changes, we don't have to create a new policy, just change the posted rules.--Bioguy (talk) 11:32, 26 April 2015 (CDT)

This proposal ends up giving the Board new powers

The Board's authority to create policy under the current Bylaws stems from a power to "fulfill any obligations to ensure the health of the organization." While I recognize some persons worry that this could be loosely interpreted, I'd like to hope that the membership isn't going to assume an "evil board" that would abuse this. So the Bylaws set a high bar for the Board to enact a policy immediately.

This proposal allows the Board to implement *any* policy immediately. So it lowers the bar. A member who wants to propose a policy has to wait for it to be voted on, and it must pass before it becomes effective. But this proposal gives the Board a path unavailable to the general membership to create any policy it wants, without having to pass the high bar of "obligation" or really any bar, and it can be enforced from Day 1. The Board plays by very different rules here; member votes routinely fail due to lack of quorum, but via this mechanism, lack of quorum means the policy stays in force another week.

This fundamentally changes the structure of the organization. Right now I'd categorize it as "All policy authority rests in the membership, except in the case of legal and contractual obligations." This proposal gives the Board far more power and flexibility to create policy. Since the Board under this proposal would have the most efficient policy creation tools, it may become expected that the Board should use them, and that all policies really should originate with the Board. --Rdpierce (talk) 09:57, 26 April 2015 (CDT)

I propose that the language changes so that the board isn't given any new powers. I haven't decided what my vote will be, but it will definitely be no if the language does not change based on Ryan says here. --Skm (talk) 13:27, 26 April 2015 (CDT)
Actually, I think I need to disagree with this. While this does grant the board additional powers to create temporary policies without waiting on a member vote to confirm them, it does not make any change to the bylaws, i.e. Bylaws#Issues Proper for a Vote of the Directors. So this wouldn't suddenly overrule the bylaws and grant the board the power to set arbitrary policies, however temporary they may be. A change to the language might still be in order to clarify that this does not change the bylaws though. --Justin (talk) 12:02, 5 May 2015 (CDT)
Justin, that logic is contradictory. You assert that this policy proposal does not make any change to the Bylaws, nor does it overrule the Bylaws. The Bylaws give the Board the power "to decide on issues" "to fulfill any obligations to ensure the health of the organization". That is the grounds under which the Board created the three insurance-related policies that it did. If it is true that this policy proposal is not changing the Bylaws or overruling them, then it follows that the policy proposal cannot remove any powers from the Board that the Bylaws grants. --Rdpierce (talk) 00:12, 6 May 2015 (CDT)
Ryan, you're nitpicking my statement instead of responding to it in full. My point was that this vote does not change what issues are proper for a vote of the directors (which is why I linked to that section). Please try to keep the discussion about the actual issue at hand instead of just arguing semantics about my comments. For the record, I'm still of the opinion that the board overreached their authority when creating those policies. --Justin (talk) 12:49, 6 May 2015 (CDT)
OK, I've moved my concern about this to a new section. --Rdpierce (talk) 20:58, 6 May 2015 (CDT)

The vote no longer expands the BoD's power.

The vote did (at the time the title was written) broaden the BoD's power's substantially. I was working on a tradeoff between effectiveness and power balance. I clearly missed the mark, as the substantial amount of negative feedback I recieved regarding that part of the vote.. Most of that is moot, considering the new version does not broaden the BoD's power. --Hef (talk) 21:14, 7 May 2015 (CDT)

Automatic extension and rigid timeline prevents further editing

It sounds like the timeline is:

  • A. Board enacts temporary policy
  • B. (>=1 week from A) Board locks down language
  • C. (>=1 week from B, <3 weeks from A) First member vote on temporary policy
  • D. Each week thereafter, if quorum isn't met, another vote

Right now, with a member vote, if a late comment comes in after language lockdown that would fundamentally improve the vote, the sponsor can withdraw the vote and push it back a week. And, with a member vote, if quorum fails, the member can resubmit it as-is or can adjust it based on comments. If it can't be modified the evening it fails, then it pushes the next vote out two weeks.

With this process, it seems like the steering wheel gets torn out of the car after Step B. If a good comment comes in late, the Board can't push Step C back to incorporate it without causing the temporary policy to lapse. Also, the automatic extensions for Step D seem to prohibit further modifications if good input was received in the interim. So the rigid timeline here may result in lower quality than would be expected with member votes. --Rdpierce (talk) 10:36, 26 April 2015 (CDT)

I think this is a pretty good point. There should probably be something in the language that allows the policy to be changed in between votes. Though I think this would already be allowed under normal voting procedures. To ensure there's no confusion we can add a sentence that says "Improvements to the policy can be made between votes if quorum is not met," or something to that tune. --Justin (talk) 11:22, 5 May 2015 (CDT)

The Vote to Confirm has Been Removed

The new version removes the vote to confirm --Hef (talk) 21:15, 7 May 2015 (CDT)

This policy creates a conflict with the Bylaws

The Bylaws outline the Issues Proper for a Vote of the Directors. This proposal, being a policy and not a Bylaws revision, attempts to restrict the powers that the Bylaws grant the Board. If enacted, this policy would directly contradict the Bylaws and create a procedural dilemma. A member policy cannot restrict what the Bylaws allow the Board to do. If the vote sponsor disagrees with the Bylaws, then the proposal really needs to amend the Bylaws. --Rdpierce (talk) 20:50, 6 May 2015 (CDT)

No, This vote is trying to solidify the correct interpretation of the bylaws. --Lucas (talk) 07:37, 7 May 2015 (CDT)
Where is the disagreement, then? "Issues Proper for a Vote of the Directors" - The section defines what issues the Directors may vote upon. "The board may decide on issues related to:" - This gives the Board the power to make decisions on issues if they are related to something, below. In some cases, that decision making power is limited to "spending money from the general fund". But the final clause does not contain those words. Rather, it says, "to fulfill any obligations to ensure the health of the organization." So if we have a legal obligation (say, to maintain insurance and to insure our landlord), then the Board may vote to decide on issues related to that obligation, provided the Board does so to ensure the health of the organization. There isn't any explicit limitation on the types of decisions the Board may make related to an obligation. So if the Board feels creating a policy is related to an obligation, and that policy would ensure the health of the organization, the Bylaws give the Board the power to do it. --Rdpierce (talk) 08:14, 7 May 2015 (CDT)
I disagree as well. This proposal does not restrict the board’s ability to vote as outlined in the bylaws in any way. It does however reassert the voting memberships ability to override decisions made by the board. I don’t think the bylaws could be any clearer that this is the case.
Issues Proper for a Vote of the Membership
Any lawful issue may be brought before the membership for a vote. A vote of the membership may not be overridden except by a higher legal authority or by a subsequent vote of the membership. --Mskilton (talk) 07:48, 7 May 2015 (CDT)
If the purpose of this vote is supposed to be a confirmation of the bylaws then I don't see a point for this vote. The bylaws already exist. --Skm (talk) 09:19, 7 May 2015 (CDT)
Ideally true, but they where violated and interpreted incorrectly thus the need for this vote. --Lucas (talk) 09:22, 7 May 2015 (CDT)
1) you are begging the question that the bylaws were violated and interpreted incorrectly. 2) If I consider the case that your points are true, It still seems frivolous to me. I'm not going to vote on something just to clarify bylaws. I object to adding more bureaucracy. --Skm (talk) 09:30, 7 May 2015 (CDT)
The version of the vote created a conflict of the bylaws. At the time my intention was to rework the vote to be a clear amendment to the bylaws. However in the course of editing and attempting to find a more agreeable solution, the parts necessitating a bylaw modification have been removed. --Hef (talk) 21:16, 7 May 2015 (CDT)


The apostrophes should be removed from "Member's" in the language section. --Kuroishi (talk) 20:25, 8 May 2015 (CDT)

Done. Also, feel free to make these types of edits in the future. --Hef (talk) 20:57, 8 May 2015 (CDT)

Problems with Draft 3 language

The language, for reference:

* Members of Pumping Station: One will continue to honor contractual agreements of the space.
* All members of Pumping Station: One may curate documentation on contractual obligations of Pumping Station: One, 
  be it in electronic or hard copy form.

As it is written now, PS:One's members have become obligated to pay the rent, seeing as they individually must honor the contractual agreements of the space. Also, if this is supposed to eliminate the need for the insurance-related policies, it doesn't work. It only applies to members. So it follows that the guest of a member, or a non-member attending a public event, isn't bound by the organization's contracts, so they can bring their dog and get drunk after 2 AM. --Rdpierce (talk) 15:28, 9 May 2015 (CDT)

Sorry, what's the problem with this? The members ARE, in fact, obligated to pay the rent. The members are the stakeholders of Pumping Station: One, NFP. So from a legal standpoint this is probably the most correct way to put it. And you are correct that these policies only apply to members. All of our policies and bylaws apply only to members. There is no expectation that someone who is not a member and has not agreed to our member agreement/bylaws/policies is bound by them. A guest of the space is exactly that. A guest. And they are only allowed to be in the space as long as a member allows them to be. We can ask a guest to leave for any reason, whether we have a policy about it or not. If someone who is not a member breaks our rules and the member who is hosting that guest refuses to do anything about it, then that member would be held responsible for the actions of their guest.
And just to get terribly pedantic, the bylaws do state that guests must abide by the member agreement. It would be the responsibility of that guest's host to make sure their guest is aware of what they can and cannot do in Pumping Station: One. --Justin (talk) 09:51, 11 May 2015 (CDT)
Justin, you need to go get your money back from I Just Pulled It Out of My Ass College of Law. Your post is alarmingly poorly informed. I'm only going to start with the first bit, which seems to reflect a misunderstanding about the consequences of the new proposal that others also share.
"The members ARE, in fact, obligated to pay the rent. The members are the stakeholders of Pumping Station: One, NFP. So from a legal standpoint this is probably the most correct way to put it. " Nonsense. Pumping Station One has a lease with Tony, not any individual members. I'm not paying the rent. Are you? Pull your thinking cap on tighter if you want to get "pedantic" and argue about that. Jason (talk) 11:24, 11 May 2015 (CDT)
Jason, are you agreeing with Ryan that the language of the vote is bad, or are you just disagreeing with me. I'm okay with being wrong. I am not a lawyer. What is your opinion on the language as it stands now? --Justin (talk) 12:07, 11 May 2015 (CDT)
Justin, to address your second point, I agree that guests are required to follow the membership agreement. But the Draft 3 vote text does not modify the membership agreement explicitly. All it does is require members (not guests) to honor the space's contracts (which as Jason said is seriously problematic) and lets members curate a list of contractual obligations the members must follow. It doesn't somehow create House Rules that apply to everyone. It therefore only affects members and not guests. --Rdpierce (talk) 12:20, 11 May 2015 (CDT)
I am a little concerned by the implication of this version of the language that members are individually responsible for fulfilling the organization's obligations. I don't know if there are situations in which this policy language would cause an issue (are the policies the membership votes on binding in any context outside of our organization? I don't know), but I have to wonder what this vague assertion "gets us". --Dbever (talk) 14:01, 11 May 2015 (CDT)
My intention is that the the language is not meant to binding outside the context of the organization. If it caries that implication, I am going to change the language. --Hef (talk) 14:34, 11 May 2015 (CDT)
During the previous meeting with the directors, several member's maintained that writing policies to comply with insurance was required for the health of the organization because members were not under any obligation to comply with with insurance. I don't agree with that idea, and feel that members do need to comply with insurance rules. Because this disagreement affects issues appropriate for a vote of the board of directors, I'd like one interpretation to become the clear interpretation. --Hef (talk) 14:34, 11 May 2015 (CDT)
I understand that you're trying to limit the Board's power to enact policies pertaining to obligations by fixing the specifics of insurance. But just fixing that doesn't do anything to change the Board's power to enact policies. That stems from the Bylaws, and you can't take power away from the Board if it is granted by the Bylaws unless you change the Bylaws. Just creating an alternate means to handle insurance related stuff doesn't mean this Board or another Board years down the road will utilize it and will never create another policy when the Bylaws allows it.
Also, not every situation where the Board has to deal with obligations stems from insurance. This doesn't address the meat of the Events policy, which is only partly based on insurance. Binding members and even guests to the conditions of the insurance policy won't address many of the issues. We actually had a case recently where advertising went out for an event that implied illegal activity would happen. (I believe selling liquor without a license, and/or having a cover charge for a party which is illegal for us because we have no Chicago Public Place of Amusement license.) Even if no illegal activity does occur, the Board needs to be able to insist that an event organizer change their advertising if they want to use PS:One because we don't want to bring the cops down on us. In this case, the event organizer was understanding and accommodating, but that isn't always guaranteed. If someone digs their heels in, we may not have time to get a proper vote done before the event in question.
And this doesn't address other unforeseen situations. Hypothetical case: We have a lease obligation to handle exterminators. Let's say we've got an infestation of something affecting Tony, who insists we take care of it immediately by fumigating the space. Because hiring exterminators relates to a lease obligation, the Board can enact a policy barring all members from going into the space during a 48 hour period. What then? A member might have a deadline and decide he's going to use the space anyway, since he's entitled to 24/7 access, and the Board doesn't have the authority to tell him no. In this case, a Board with the power to make policy related to the space's obligations would be really useful. --Rdpierce (talk) 00:33, 12 May 2015 (CDT)

Notes from in person discussions

I still consider this to be an important topic, and have been spending some time getting people on the same page as far as understanding each other's opinions.

Considering the rather unfortunate amount of personal anger involved in the mailing list discussions, I have been pursing one on one discussions, and small group discussions where and when possible.

I'm going to try and summarize opinions as accurately as I can, feel free to correct where inaccurate or misrepresented:

  • Loans: would be ok with a different name, so long as the name carried appropriate impact. Believes the idea of a policy, board voted policy, and member voted policy is nebulous and that is a root cause of the current dispute.
  • Sevin: A name other than board voted policy would be better.
  • Ray: unknown, hasn't weighed in from what I can tell, but is decidedly not concerned with board member burnout, and doesn't feel the membership is out of control.
  • Ryan: Ryan's opinions are complicated and varied to describe. I believe he sees this as a power struggle between the board members and non board members. It is clear that he feels the board needed to vote in these 3 policies, and fears that the membership might vote against if given the opportunity.
    • My opinions are definitely complicated and varied to describe. I believe the board did need to vote in these 3 policies, that the existing bylaws gave the board the authority to do so, and the main things the board did wrong were not to give the members timely communication about this nor initially solicit member feedback. I do not fear that the membership would vote against the 3 policies given the opportunity. But the vote process constrains PS:One when an immediate response is needed. And when contractual or legal obligations are involved, and there really isn't a valid choice to vote no, a member vote isn't appropriate, just as it isn't appropriate to have a member vote to pay the rent and utilities. I do value soliciting member comments and involvement to improve these kinds of policies, but I believe the benefits of this can be achieved without a member vote. I am concerned with what I believe is a member initiative to strip the board of the power needed to do its job, and while most people haven't directly attacked anyone, these past few weeks have still been living hell for the board, have sucked the board of the time and energy needed to deal with other necessary things, and have harmed PS:One's sustainability by discouraging many members from ever wanting to run for the board themselves. --Rdpierce (talk) 07:42, 13 May 2015 (CDT)
  • Tom: believes that the 3 policies need to exist in order to ensure insurance compliance. believes that the board was right to vote them in.
  • Skay: Believes the 3 policies didn't need to be voted on, as they would already be in effect, and that the only thing that was required is that the membership be informed.
  • Jenny: unknown, hasn't weighed in from what I can tell.
  • Kuroishi: Was not present for the vote, I think he feels that the policy votes were not necessary, but I am less certain of his opinion.
  • Justin: Interested in ensuring the org is member run
  • Carl: Interested in ensuring that participation in policy making is not a hard requirement
  • Jason: He wanted to talk to me, but we managed to miss each other. Seems interested in no one making polices that are summarized as "we will obey the law"
  • Elizabeth: I havn't talked to her in person, but she seems interested in no one accusing the board of wrongdoing.
    • I appreciate that you've been trying to understand where people are coming from. My concern isn't that no one accuse the board. I think it's healthy for the membership to make sure that the Board, Area Hosts, people holding volunteer positions, etc. are acting in the best interest of the space. However, I would like to see this happen without people falling into an us vs. them mentality. I believe that member animosity leads to board burnout, which leads to fewer people wanting to be on the board, and therefore a less sustainable space. I would like there to be empathy for different points of view on *all* sides, and a recognition that these are all human beings who are writing and working on these policies, votes, etc. I would like PS:One to have the necessary legal, insurance, and contractual structure to sustain a space with ~400 members, and I would like the membership to step up to provide the vision and "doing" of our do-ocracy. I would like this "middle ground" reality of PS:One recognized and celebrated in how we talk about ourselves.

The people I haven't talked to that I should before addressing a larger audience:

  • Jason
  • Elizabeth
  • Ray

Myself: I have been trying to clarify my opinion, and find I often end up disagreeing with previous revisions of my own opinion. Here is a summery of what I want to achieve

  • ensure member involvement in policy making.
  • Keep member over site on policies high
    • members are more accepting of policies they had the opportunity to be involved in
    • larger groups produce better policies by bringing more information and experience and finding more loopholes
  • keep the requirement for hard voted policies low, focus on the "be excellent"
  • not get tied to bad policies
  • not get stuck unable to adjust bad policies
  • get clarification on whether or not members are already obligated to not break the insurance agreements if hard voted policies are absent.
  • Allow the board members to protect the organization via a vote when a member vote is too inefficient to be effective
  • Allow the board members to protect themselves from the increased liability they assume by being recognized by the state as director and operators.
  • Ensure that subgroups (directors, area hosts, authorizers) of PS:One can set rules in PS:One that the entirety of PS:One would have set anyway. Uncertainty on the outcome of rule making decisions should lead to a larger subgroup or the entirety of the membership being involved.

--Hef (talk) 00:49, 13 May 2015 (CDT)

Confused by current language

Does the current language only propose that the "board policy" wiki pages be renamed? Skm (talk) 17:47, 20 July 2015 (CDT)

I talked to Hef a bit to clarify my confusion. From what I understand, the intent of the vote is to make the policies not binding as votes, but still in place as policies that are created by and able to be curated by members. The language doesn't communicate that to me. I don't have a good suggestion for replacement language. Skm (talk) 11:01, 21 July 2015 (CDT)

The term "member curated policies" is not defined in the Bylaws. No official document defines the term or grants authority to individual members to make or curate policies. And I question how it could possibly work in practice if multiple members end up "curating" policy via a wiki edit war, which is very possible if just 2 out of nearly 400 members disagree on what the policy should say. This term only appears in Hef's "handy-dandy guide" but Hef's document was never approved by vote by either the membership or the Board, and it cannot be considered official. If this vote passes as written and the three policies in question change status and become "member curated policies" instead of Board-voted policies, then I can only conclude that they would all become null and void. It is questionable if the Board could enforce them. These policies were designed to prevent PS:One's exposure to uninsured liability, which would leave the organization and the Board personally liable to defend against a lawsuit that our insurance won't defend, as well as to prevent members from taking actions that would jeopardize 501(c)(3) status for the organization. If an incident happened, the organization and directors would need to assert these policies as defenses. But if they are not valid as policies, they will not serve this purpose. If this vote passes as currently written, it would dangerously expose the organization and the directors personally to legal liability. --Rdpierce (talk) 08:11, 28 July 2015 (CDT)

Curation is not defined, and one way to address that could be to review and reuse applicable Wikipedia policies for editing articles such as Verifiability. Skm (talk) 08:25, 28 July 2015 (CDT)
And if the objection to curation is that someone will vandalize a page, then my comment on vandalism being a violation of member agreement should cover that objection? Skm (talk) 08:28, 28 July 2015 (CDT)
I think wiki vandalism is a violation of the membership agreement. and we can review and reuse the WikipediaVandalism page for help in deciding what falls under vandalism. Skm (talk) 08:25, 28 July 2015 (CDT)
Vandalism implies ill will. Two members could have a legitimate disagreement over a matter of policy. I don't see how this could be resolved definitively without resorting to a board or member vote. JFDI is not appropriate to set policy that actually needs to be enforced or which the organization needs to rely upon for a legal defense. It has no official standing, so it would need a vote to delegate this authority, and to define procedures to govern conflict resolution, otherwise any JFDI Policy is invalid. It sounds like this would give any one of four hundred members the power to bind the other 399. --Rdpierce (talk) 10:04, 28 July 2015 (CDT)
If members are confused, then they will work to gather consensus. If they cannot gather consensus, and if someone resorts to bad behavior, then it is vandalism and covered under membership agreement. Skm (talk) 10:12, 28 July 2015 (CDT)
It seems to me that this would be a fairly normal, easy, and generally acceptable practice. We start with using so-called member curated policies. And I think most of the time people are okay with those and willing to follow them. If there is general disagreement about the policy, then we should move up to a member vote to clarify the issue. These member curated policies can be enacted quickly without any need to wait for bureaucracy to work it out, and they can also be modified quickly when we need to. I don't think the discussion about vandalism on the wiki is really relevant. Nobody really expects the wiki to be the end-all be-all of policy for PS:1. Every policy relies on enforcement from actual real people to work. No one will accept that the policy has somehow changed just because someone went in to the wiki and edited the policy to say "No one may use auto-focus on the laser, except John Doe. Really, people just aren't that dumb. As it is, I can already go and edit any policy or bylaws page (it is a wiki after all). But that wouldn't change what the policy is, it would just make that wiki page wrong (and the change would soon be reverted by those who watch the changelog pretty closely). The same is true for member curated polices, which may not even have a wiki page. They might just be a sign in the shop that says "Don't do X." Changing the wiki page (if it exists) doesn't change the member curated policy. It only changes when the majority of people agree to the change and know about it. Justin (talk) 10:42, 28 July 2015 (CDT)

distinction between member and board member

The background language has "I have never seen the membership and the board as two distinct groups." but non-board members do not have the same liabilities. I don't know if you want to change this language or not. It is your vote, and "I ..." is accurate since it describes belief. But I want to point out that a lot of the controversy about this vote does come down to the board members being liable for things that non-board members are not liable for. Skm (talk) 11:01, 28 July 2015 (CDT)

I think one important point that maybe has been missed is that even though the board may have more liabilities than other members, those liabilities do not grant additional rights to board members above and beyond the rights of any other member. That may be a bit hard to swallow for anyone who is currently a board member, but it is true. While I, personally, certainly support doing things to help protect our board members from bad things happening, changing policy to protect board members is not something that can be considered "for the health of the organization" (as stated in the bylaws as votes proper for the board of the directors) so much as it is "for the health of the board members". I think it's important to keep that distinction in mind. Thinking about it this way, however, does not make the board powerless to protect themselves in my opinion. They have the same power as any other member of the organization to work to make things better, and we want to keep that amount of power to change things for the better strong. For everybody. Justin (talk) 11:10, 28 July 2015 (CDT)
Yeah, speaking as a board member, I didn't realize I had extra liability until after the board member orientation. (ignorance on my part about corporations and boards, no one's fault). After all the discussion that happened after the board vote, I realized that if members decide to do soemthing and I can't bear the liability, that I have the freedom to quit. I'm not sure this is the best attitude for me to have -- this means that people who find risk acceptable have more privilege -- so it means people who are vulnerable will not be board members. I don't like it. I'm relatively privileged since I am a middle class person, but I have a chronic medical condition and so I need a steady income and a reliable source of insurance. People who are more vulnerable than me would have even more problems. If only white middle-class or upper-class people can deal with liability risks then we have a stupid space. ... this is all just stupid brainstorming on my part. at first I thought only eccentric rich people would continue to be on a board like this but someone pointed out to me that rich people have more to lose. maybe they'd have to be very eccentric. maybe this is all a big brain fart. sorry! Skm (talk) 11:30, 28 July 2015 (CDT)
Actually skay, I think part of the point is that being on the board does not grant you additional privileges above any other member. So someone who is less privileged (i.e. they can at least afford to be a full member, but maybe not much more than that) would be able to have just as much impact in the organization as someone who can handle the liabilities that come along with being on the board. Historically speaking, I haven't seen board members suffering financially (at least not because they were on the board, there were definitely some members early on who contributed extra money to the space to help us make rent, but we're not really in that situation anymore), so I think it's mostly a moot point. It's more fantastical legal boogeymen than it is a real threat. And I'm not a huge fan of being governed by fictions. Justin (talk) 16:27, 28 July 2015 (CDT)
I meant privilege in terms of social inequality not in terms of what someone gets from an office. but I agree with you about not being governed by fictions. I think it's unlikely that everyone will decide to do something so stupid as to be damaging to the existence of the organization.
Justin, what you posted was highly offensive. Suggesting that the Board is acting solely to save their own skin is completely fallacious. In the case of a lawsuit not covered by insurance where the directors are sued personally, the organization also gets sued and has to defend itself. If this bankrupts the directors, it also probably bankrupts the organization. The directors' desire to reduce the organization's exposure to uninsured liability is, first and foremost, an attempt to keep PS:One from being sued into bankruptcy. --Rdpierce (talk) 12:08, 28 July 2015 (CDT)
I don't think he meant to be offensive. I just think he is taking a radical stance, similar to the stance of eviljoel on the mailing list. If a majority of the members feel this way, then so be it. Skm (talk) 12:10, 28 July 2015 (CDT)