Determining the shift from proposed to official workgroup

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Hi been doing a little thinking regarding recognition of official workgroups with reference to the current version of the guidlines.

Currently we are saying:

5. Submit the charter to the Council for evaluation and endorsement. (Council's role is to ...)
6. Post to the main WE list providing a concise summary of the Workgroup and requesting community review and comment on the Workgroup charter. Collect the comments and suggestions in a section of the charter.
7 Address each of the comments and suggestions and make amendments as needed to the Workgroup charter. Resubmit the charter to Council for its endorsement to begin work. (Council's role is to ensure that the amended charter adequately addresses the WE community's comments.)
8 With Council's endorsement, the Workgroup moves from a Proposed Workgroup to an Official WikiEducator Workgroup.

Thinking practically, assuming Council do not meet more than twice a year, the step to require Council endorsement of the Charter could delay progress and community ownership of community-wide initiatives. I see Council's role as the custodian of democratic and transparent process, and the vehicle for approving official policies. Therefore, I don't see the need for Council to approve the charter before the workgroup commences its work. Ultimately with regards to the approval of a policy -- Council will check to see that the guidelines have been followed -- if not then the policy proposal would be deferred back to the workgroup. So as long as we have clear criteria for an official workgroup -- then this step would not need Council approval.

So for example, the criteria for an official workgroup could be:

  • Procedures for proposing and constituting a work group have been followed.
  • Minimum of three WikiEducators required to from an Official Workgroup.
  • Minimum period of 10 working days from the date of the community announcement of the Workgroup charter required before final acceptance
  • Final acceptance of the Charter by majority approval of workgroup members listed on the date of acceptance
  • In the case of technology related Workgroups, the majority of the WikiEd Tech team must be participating members

Exceptions requiring Council approval of the charter prior to commencement of activities:

  • Workgroups which have legal implications for the WikiEducator community
  • Workgroups that require central funding for their operation or may impact on future funding requirements of the WikiEducator community
  • Workgroups relating to changes in the existing governance model of the Community.

I propose that we amend the draft for approving official workgroups along these lines.

Cheers W

Mackiwg (talk)15:55, 23 July 2009

Agreed. We have indicated that this process for creating and operating Official Workgroups be without undue steps and red-tape that could delay the process and undermine motivation. If we require that charters be vetted in the community, Council members can contribute as needed. The extra check of a group's charter by Council seems unnecessary, except in the instances you list.

Good thoughts.

ASnieckus (talk)13:58, 24 July 2009

I would like to see the council function as a workgroup and decide on the procedures for the workgroups.

Nelliemuller (talk)15:10, 25 July 2009

Yeah -- it would be great if the Council could operate as an ongoing workgroup.

In some respects, at least at a theoretical level this is possible in that every Council member can sign up and participate in any of WE's workgroups.

The difficulty in the real world is that we're not going to get all Council members to be available at the same time nor will a model where Council participates in everything be able to scale. The ability to support and encourage community members to collaborate in developing our processes, policies etc. is a huge asset for WE.

Similarly -- I suspect that Council will from time to time constitute workgroups for specific purposes of council -- and that's a good thing. These guidelines will also contribute to supporting Council members with less experience in the workgroup process -- while at the same time promoting transparent and participatory practice.

Back to the question -- Are you for or against the proposed criteria for the constitution of an official workgroup suggested above?

Mackiwg (talk)15:30, 25 July 2009

As we've not received any disapprovals of the proposed criteria for constituting an official workgroup from the participants of this group, I'm going to incorporate these suggestions into the policy draft.

We requested feedback on these criteria as per my email to workgroup participants on 25 July, requesting feedback by 30 July 2009. I include a copy of the email request below.

Copy of email to workgroup participants of 25 July 2009.

Hi Alison and wiki friends -

BIG thanks Alison for your tireless work and contributions in shaping the outputs for our workgroup on workgroups.

I'm in agreement with all the proposed steps -- lets go for it. Another request -- we're proposing an important change to the current draft of the guidelines document. An important request.

Could participants of our workgroup to take a look and see whether you agree with our emergent thinking with regards to the shift from a "proposed" workgroup to an "official" WE workgroup for community-wide projects.

Early thinking suggested that the Charter for a Work group would need to be approved by the WE Community Council before being constituted as an "official" workgroup for community-wide projects, and therefore "legitimased" to start their work.

This seems impractical and doesn't really fit with the wiki way of doing things. However at the same, we need mechanims to promote transparency and enoucarage wide participation by the community.

Bar the exeptions of workgroups which would have financial, legal or technical implications for the WE community -- I don't see the need for Council approval of the workgroup before being consitituted as an official community workgroup. Council's role is one of governance to ensure transparent and participatory process. So my thinking is if the guidelines/policy contain the minimum standards for transparency and participation -- then work groups can self-organise and get their work done without unessary beuracracy.

To facilitate the process, I've suggested a few criteria which must be met before a workgroup can be deemed an official workgroup. When the policy proposal is finaly presented to Council for approval --- Council checks that due process has been followed -- if not the draft policy is deferred back to the workgroup . Please take a look and see what you think and your thoughts and comments on the relevant talk page.

Here is the guidelines proposal as it stands at the moment. (These guidelines will ultimately become a policy proposal for approval by Council for the functioning of workgroups). Take a look at the section on Initiating a Workgroup:


I've tabled a suggestion for the formal consitution of workgroups on the talk page here under the post "Determining the shift from proposed to official workgroup:

Could you please comment on ore before 30 July whether you agree with the proposed criteria for an official workgroup suggest in disucssion post.

Cheers Wayne

Mackiwg (talk)13:40, 31 July 2009