Understanding Policy Structure at PS:One

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Policy Levels

Understanding policy structure at Pumping Station: One may be difficult to grasp at first. There are 4 effective levels of policy, each with it's own ruleset.


Most of the bylaws are for legal compliance with state compliance. The are more or less the highest authority on policy for PS:One.

The bylaws may be though of as a subset of Member voted policy, because they were voted in by the membership, and may be modified by the membership via member voting procedures.

Member Voted Policy

Member voted policy is the highest authority at PS:One, other then state and federal law. Member voted policy is able to modify the bylaws, adjust board policy, adjust bylaws, and adjust past member votes.

  • Member voted policy demonstrates an agreement of the membership via the quorum rules:
    • Currently 1/3 of voting eligible members who have attended a meeting in the last 3 months, or voted in the last 3 months, or have otherwise informed the secretary they wish to count towards quorum.
  • Member voted policy demonstrate a consensus of the membership.
  • The membership can vote on anything lawful.
  • Membership votes can amend the bylaws.
    • Bylaw amendments should be clear and call out that they are amending the bylaws.

In the general case, A member vote can not be effective at affecting future votes, because a future vote could simply remove the past vote that prevented the future vote.

Board Voted Policy

Usually, these are things that were granted to the board of directors via another membership vote. Most of the money spending authorization the board has comes from a yearly budget vote.

Board voted policy also covers things that are required to protect the health of the organization. This usually means situations where a legal or safety issue has come into play, and a Member created policy is insufficient do to a disagreement and a full member vote's minimum time to vote is too far away to be useful.

Member Created Policy

Also known as "JFDI Policy". These types of policies usually cover the minutia of PS:One, such as the correct procedure for using equipment, and are often formed from:

  • A group of "experts" that got together. They often operate under the moniker "Danger Committee"
  • An individual creating a process.
  • An individual acting as a current maintainer of process or equipment.
    • This is often required for adopting abandoned projects or ownership handoff.
  • An individual or group researching best practices, legal requirements, or contractual obligations of the organization.
  • Common examples of this can be seen in the wiki with the hackable/Do Not Hack labels.
  • Member Created Policy doesn't require a vote to create or modify.
  • Member Created Policy is often documentation of best practices
  • Member Created Policy is often documentation of legal requirements

Managing Complexity

Most of the rules at PS:One boil down to the 2 major tenants: Be Excellent, and Just Fucking Do It. This is an organization about treating people well and getting stuff done. Most of the membership is understanding when a rule is broken, and polite correction is often taken well.