Proposal: Draft Community Rules and Charter in a PiratePad

I’ve been using PiratePad (Pirate Party of Germany’s instance of Etherpad Lite) as a collaborative notepad for a while. We’ve drafted constitutions for reddit-based communities there, entire rulesets for original RPGs, and part of a novel (that no, you’re never going to read).

I propose that a voluntary Charter Committee be formed with the express purpose of writing a candidate Community Rules and a Community Charter statement.


I agree - writing a charter in a forum like this would be a mess. I don’t know anything about Pirate but I assume that it allows for anonymity, which i think is important. How do we tie it back to the HMS board tho? I want to make sure that we keep the dialogue going here, especially for late arrivals.

Also, are there some good model documents that we can use as a template? I hate starting from scratch when I know there must be many other (perhaps better) minds that have put a lot of work in to creating something like a charter for their community.

Community Management Playbook from Yammer

I was thinking more like another document or two we could crib from.

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I propose we break this thread up a bit - the community guidelines and general procedures for moderators should be developed by one group, and the Charter should be developed by another (obviously, the two can have crossover).

@ChickieD @CZAnne @awfulhorrid have all volunteered to be mods (there may be others I have missed). So I think they should be the ones to start developing the community guidelines and procedures for mods. This could be as simple as cut-n-pasting the rules from BB since (as far as I can tell) those are under CC license and seem to have served us well enough in the past. But that also might raise eyebrows and call in to question our independence. Also, some may feel as though those guidelines were inadequate as evidenced by the St. Elsewhere massacre or whatever we’re calling it. Either way, who ever takes on that role of creating the community guidelines should pick whatever tools are easiest for them, provided they are accessible by the community.

The Charter is a little more complicated, to my mind, anyway. It combines elements of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and I think will require significant discussion. It may also involve legal issues like incorporation and corporate structure. I don’t want to let the community guidelines get held up by that Charter process which might be a lot longer.


On the rules, a Ideoconference meeting of mods to discuss the guidelines might be a more efficient and dynamic mode of discussion.

I’m on vacation this week. Sometime at the start of May is good for me.

I have videoconference account we can use.

On the charter, can you spell out the purpose and elements it should have?


The charter should delinate who were are, the purpose of the board, governance structure, and provide mechanisms to change governance structure and the charter itself. Think Iceland’s Constitution.


Works for me.

@ChickieD - on your schedule. Middle two weeks of May aren’t brilliant for me (I’ve got students graduating and most who are returning are doing some sort of hands-on during their summer this year) but I can make it work.


So the inate human right to frozen food?


In defining the charter, I wonder if the biggest problem we run into won’t be defining a community which is open enough to eliminate authoritarianism and still cohesive enough to repel attacks on that structure from external forces attempting to manipulate those open, social protocols.

I am reminded of the brigading and astro-turfing of reddit during the previous American election and UK Referendum as well as the troubles concerning cliques forming over at wikipedia. The bbs seemed to have found a groove there for a short while, self regulating, but that was in the context of an established set of owners and writers/editors.

If we replace those people with roles to be filled and people who are interested in filling those roles train in them (to the satisfaction of predetermined community standards) then they could compose a pool of potential staff to facilitate suggested community projects/directives.

Essentially, based on the system of trust we’ve previously built with one another, and based on the expertise and willingness of people to step up into particular roles and provide particular services, this is the solution that’s already emerged here, and I am just doing a clunky job of describing it.

Perhaps when we codify the charter, we could make explicit the kinds of solutions that have already emerged (given the existent environmental factors such as the history and trust already developed) and encourage that kind or style of behaviour going forward?


Ok, I’m back from vacay. I will start looking into rules and such now. What did I sign up for, exactly? Did I have too many drinks while I was on vacation???


Welcome back! Hope your trip was enjoyable! Maybe we should start a Happy Mutant’s Guide to Planet Earth travel site…

I think what you signed up for is being a mod and designing the community guidelines. I think there was a thread (you started?) that seemed to indicate the majority was in favor of a smaller group drafting the rules, then bringing back that draft to the rest of the group for discussion and finalization. That’s my memory of it anyway - so many ideas to keep track of…


Just kidding. I am clear on what I signed up to do, just now I have to get down to work. It all sounded so easy while I was just imagining doing it.


I have no sense of humor on Monday mornings.


These cost but I’ve been off and on participating at this site and they seem pretty valuable. Their thing is more corporate communities.


I’m digging into this all tonight. If no one else has a PiratePad link I’ll set that up (never used it so feel free to jump in and save my butt).

Here’s my plan of action

  1. Take notes on all the conversations that have happened so far on this board related to moderation policy.
  2. I think we should also have a discussion about the moderation issues at BoingBoing that contributed to this space opening up and making sure create some guidelines that address those grievances. Probably the best way to do this is to open up a thread about that on this board and get member input.
  3. Find some sample guidelines to work off of.
  4. At that point, I think it’d be valuable to have a video meeting of mods to work through initial policy.
  5. Then present a rough draft to the community for input.

Comments, suggestions?


I would just add that I don’t think that only mods should be allowed on the working group - if someone feels passionate about helping to develop the policy but doesn’t feel like they’re inclined to actually be a moderator, I think that they should still be able to contribute. But I suspect that number will be small or none and that the identified mods will be the ones who end up doing the first draft.


Was of a similar mindset. Might be good to have a small user group repping - especially a few people who had grievances with BB mod.