Approving charters

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How do we go about approving charters? What's the criteria?

Bnleez (talk)04:28, 6 July 2009

I'm thinking that the process is different for community wide workgroups and the more ad hoc working groups that form around OER content. I don't think the council needs to/should be involved in approving charters for ad hoc groups. Maybe all groups should evaluate and come to consensus on their own charter based on a set of criteria that they determine: is the charter complete?, does it adequately address all concerns/dissenting opinions?, are the outcomes achievable (with respect to resources, timeline)?... Also a group could request community review and comment. If so, a criteria for approval would be that they've addressed all review comments.

Community wide workgroups have extra steps for review and comment by the community and approval/endorsement by the community council. Wayne suggested in an older thread on establishing a workgroup that "Council's role should be to ensure that due transparent process has taken place rather than exercising value judgements on the charter." Council members would have an opportunity to review and comment during community review. The Council endorsement would be a last check to make sure the process has been followed.

So, in this document about generally using a charter, I suggest directing groups to develop a set of criteria to use for approving their own charter, maybe with some examples. The additional steps needed for community-wide workgroups can go in the workgroup guidelines.

Other thoughts?

ASnieckus (talk)07:27, 10 July 2009

Ad hoc work groups, OER content groups or project nodes in WE should have the freedom to operate as they see appropriate. I don't see any need for ad-hoc groups to use the workgroup guidelines and these may perhaps be counter productive and work against the principles of self-organisation in open wiki communities. There may be ad hoc groups that are looking for tips on how to operate or work in a wiki environment and they would be free to use these guidelines for their own projects.

Similarly, a specific project (eg externally funded project) may have different process and membership requirements to those we are suggesting for community-wide work groups. These groups should be free to organise themselves as they may require.

I firmly believe (and have seen) Governing boards fail when they start interfering in operations. Ultimately -- work groups (of any type) work in the realm of operations. For this reason, Council should not exercise value judgements on a charter but rather ensure that open and transparent development has occured.

With regards to the criteria for a proposed workgroup to become an "official" workgroup, I've posted a few thoughts. Bar the exceptions of workgroups which may result in financial, legal or technical dependencies -- I don't see that Council needs to approve a charter. In my view, Councils role is to foster due process -- the Charter guidelines provide a benchmark for due process. If these have been adhered to -- then Council will need to approve the policy proposals developed by the "official workgroups." If not, they will need to be deferred back to the community.

Cheers Wayne

Mackiwg (talk)17:01, 23 July 2009

Yup. We want a process for Official Workgroups founded on good practice and effective ways of working collaboratively in a large community setting, that other groups seeing as useful for their own purposes.


ASnieckus (talk)14:06, 24 July 2009

On my first attempt (here) at using this boiler plate (the version with 2 tables of signatures) for this section, I found it confusing:

As people started signing, it looked like duplication with possible ambiguity as the same names appeared in both tables including WCC members and non-WCC members in the first table.

I assume the intention is to have two levels of approval for Community project charters:

  1. by workgroup members (before submission to WCC)
  2. by the WCC.

I added some wording to clarify (here).

Suggestion to avoid such confusion: a separate page for Community Workgroup submissions:

=Community Workgroups=

== [[WG X]] ==

<table of WCC approvers>

Status: submitted

== [[WG Y]] ==

<table of WCC approvers>

Status: approved


Then we would only need one table in the charter and the process would become: To submit your Community workgroup charter add it to the [[Community Workgroups]] page ..., and then, whenever a Community project charter is approved by WCC, its main (charter) page receives {{Approved_charter}}.

KTucker (talk)14:09, 18 October 2009

Hi Kim,

Thanks for the feedback on use of the charter boilerplate. Really valuable. I agree that the two table approach is confusing.

When I added it, I was thinking it would help us see who had participated at different points in the groups history: initial signup, approval of charter, and any other later approval steps. But I think it's too confusing. No workgroup has used it in this way. The approvals have all been recorded in a different spot.

Based on this feedback, I think the members section should be just a list of those who signed up to participate. The approval section (at the bottom) could suggest a process to include collecting member signatures to indicate approval. I'll revise to reflect this approach.

I'm also seeing that your understanding is that a workgroup's charter needs to be approved by council. WE Workgroups started with that premise, but later decided it's not necessary (and unnecessarily adds to bureaucracy) for most groups; council approval is needed only when there are financial, legal or technical dependencies. We tried to make that clear in the Formal constituion... section. Because the Admendments to open community governance policy workgroup was initiated as a result of a Council meeting, it seems right to include Council approval, although the fact that many Council members are participating, might make this unnecessary.

Does this make any sense? I'm very interested in your thoughts on how WE can improve the policy.


ASnieckus (talk)12:48, 21 October 2009

Ditto on the requirement for Council approval of workgroup charters.

The intention was to develop a policy that promotes transparency and adequate opportunities for participation by all WikiEducators and Council's role is that of stewardship -- ensuring good democratic governance.

Subsequently -- the workgroup policy has been designed to promote this democratic process and council approval of charters is not required. However - a work group is free to suggest council approval of the charter as one of the process steps and I agree with Alison that in this case -- Council approval makes sense.

Cheers Wayne

Mackiwg (talk)16:04, 21 October 2009