We need to adopt a mechanism to make policy decisions, one that falls within our organizational guidelines, mission and philosophy: openness, decentralization, non-hierarchial.
What we have been seeing more and more as the IMC blossoms and explodes are people are suggesting wonderful changes in the way we operate, how things are done, or what our policy is on various issues. Often what happens is someone spends a decent amount of time thinking about the subject, then writing a reasoned argument detailing what the problem is, and what a solution is that they think would remedy this problem. This email then gets sent out to a bunch of email lists. If they are lucky a couple people will read it and respond in agreement, but often many people will not. Then the suggestion drifts off never to be seen again, never agreed on, never acted on. "All that time and energy and drive wasted," thinks the proposer, or even worse, "People are ignoring me, they don't like my suggestion" and then they get frustrateed and cease suggesting wonderful things.
Without a decision made on suggestions and proposals that people make, and that decision made public in such a way that people can find out what the current environment is we will continue to frustrate excited and important volunteers who have energizing and constructive suggestions for ways to improve the existing IMC. We also become inefficient, hitting the same issues over and over without any decisions made.
In order to resolve this gaping hole in our organizational model we need to have a solution to this problem. I am proposing an ad-hoc, temporary stop-gap solution that can be replaced if we come up with something better, but until we do we should use this.
First, create a policy working group. Anyone can join, but there should be at least one representative from every city IMC involved. This policy working group would be on an email list, imc-policy.
Second, assign a person to be the facilitator of this group, this person should not be a representative of any particular group, but just someone who can set the timelines and conduct voting.
Third, when someone has an issue, or a policy suggestion, that person is asked to write up a proposal utilizing the proposal template, and submit it to imc-policy.
Fourth, the facilitator assigns a time period for this proposal for discussion and comment. For example, "The proposal on changing our mission statement has a two week comment period, ending September 23. On September 24th there will be a vote, all votes must be in by September 26th." (Should this happen? Once discussion has closed the facilitator summarizes the Pro argument and the Con argument and sends out the proposal along with the summaries of these arguments attached. ?)
<Should this happen? Fifth, each person on the list brings the proposals back to their local groups, reads the proposal, the arguments for and against the proposal and then has a discussion with their local groups. ?)
The method of approval must be discussed and decided on. Will it be a vote, or a consensus?
If the proposal passes, it becomes policy. It then is put up on the policy website, categorized under different sub-headings and subjects. Such as Photo:Picture Credits:Compensation.
This policy is the IMC policy until it a proposal is made to change it.
In order to implement this, we need to speak with each city, outline this procedure and then get them to have at least one person from their group participate in this process, that person should subscribe to imc-policy and be asked to be conscientious of the process and participate. If they do not have the time or energy or focus to participate, someone else from their group should participate. When a new city is created, this procedure will have to be sent to them in their "Welcome Packet" and at least one member of the organization will have to subscribe and be active on the imc-policy list.
We will need to get a facilitator who can perform the administrative duties of setting the comment periods and moving each proposal along.
We will need to address the difficulties of language, how we will be able to include cities and countries whose language is not English and include them in the process.