Friday, October 16, 2009

Building the Democratically Organized Web Community

Introduction to basic principles of Democratic organization

This article concerns the fundamental concepts that foster democratically organized communities with the intent to online applications. I am tempted to list all of the problems that online forums present to communication, but this Intro would just go on and on. So let's skip that and get back to the solutions that were fully intact and functional before the Web came along.

Here, I will present what I believe to be the proven foundational principles for organizing democratically. I will also demonstrate (see demonstration) how these principles may be applied in online communications. My approach will be extremely liberal in affording maximum freedom of speech, while at the same time, achieving the highest degree of order among discussion participants, if they so chose.

Unity of the Whole

Foundational to assessing any discussion or deliberation, we should comprehend the magnitude of the whole. We cannot speak of equality, majority or minority outside the context of a whole number, because these concepts are not expressed with absolute numbers but relative quantities. So we will need to be able to precisely count the membership as a whole number at any moment.

An open circuit cannot be measured accurately because the posters are only coming and going as a collection of individuals, making it difficult to measure the continuity of the community. A closed circuit is one that is capable of being expressed as a whole number. With a whole number, we can then determine relative quantities of equality, majority and minority.

We cannot measure a relative quantity if the magnitude of the whole is unknown.

Equality Rules

Equality (not majority) is the foundation that the membership must stand upon. The best environment for discussion is one in which all of the participants have equal rights and responsibilities. Each participant is respected as much as any other. The members must be equal, their votes must count equally and the powerless must check the exercised power of the powerful in order to produce equality or balance. To determine how democratic we are, we must answer the issues of equality first.

Free Speech is a privacy issue.

Privacy is of great concern if we are going to establish a community that people feel comfortable in. Members should not have to stand transparent before the administrators. No one should have to be concerned that they are being watched. No greater threat to privacy exists in a community than the intrusive practice of checking and banning IP numbers. When one IP number is banned, the moderators and administrators must check all subsequently appearing IP numbers, in order to make the ban effective. IP checking and banning is a violation of the privacy of every poster. No other practice is as irrational as banning. The purpose is to grow the community. Banning does the opposite. It decreases the community by the one that is banned and anyone else who recognizes the error of banning. The Trolls never leave the Internet. They just wait around for a new forum to open and they are back in business. My plan includes the Trolls as valuable contributors to the community.

No one should be pressured to reveal personal information on open circuits. Allowing officers the luxury of peeping into IP numbers, tracing or tracking, or other invasive "moderating" techniques, presents a danger to the public safety (since the public has no way of regulating who is accessing what information) and has caused much fear and disruption on the Internet. The right to privacy includes the right to anonymity, especially on open circuits. We never request or require personal information from anyone for any reason.

It's not good enough to advertise a privacy policy. The burden of proof is upon the administrators who must offer verifiable privacy guarantees. We can best protect the privacy of each individual by restricting the activities of mods and administrators. Strict rules must be enforced upon moderators and administrators. By restricting the administrator to pre-approved actions that can only be administered at designated times, we can ensure that the administrator is not just sitting all day, logged in, and peeping over the poster's shoulder.

Furthermore, the greatest threat to free speech comes from imposed moderation. The leaders of the free speech community cannot be promoters of questionable acts of censorship. Censorship that may be illegitimate given a context.

Invasion of privacy includes:

a) Ability to see you when you are "hidden". Did you know that when you are "hidden" on a board that your username appears to the administrator in italics? Your username appears like this: username. This tells the administrator that you are on line and that you are "hidden". There is no need for member transparency.

b) Ability to see your IP number and trace it to a specific geographical location. In some cases people have been contacted directly at work or home by irate administrators and moderators. This is invasive to the privacy of the individual.

c) Ability to monitor your viewing habits.

d) Ability to edit your posts. This is also a violation since it ascribes words to you that you have not written.

e) Ability to edit their own posts, allowing the opportunity to retroactively changing the history of posting transactions and effectively rendering a transaction unavailable for review by the community members.

All of these actions either violate the democratic principles of equality or of privacy.

The rights of privacy also extends to control over who can respond to you. On an open circuit we forfeit this right. That is why it is necessary to have recourse to varying degrees of closed and open circuits, which allow more individual control.

Privacy Guarantee. Verifiable proof that adm and mods are not violating the privacy of any member for any "reason".


A democratic organization is clear about why it exists and what it desires to achieve. These act as a navigating compass, offering guidance and discipline toward the desired outcome. Although many forums attract a collection of individuals by giving out memberships as fast as people can submit the form, this does not produce a qualified membership. It may be better to have a clearly defined purpose, a plan for accomplishing the purpose and then a way of qualifying those who can accomplish the purpose. The purpose and plans qualify the membership. The purpose is stated very clearly and the members are selected according to how well they can accomplish the plans. Everyone being equal to the purpose, the purpose becomes an unifying and equalizing agent that gives the community an homogeneous identity. The community will promote a program that enables the entire membership.


Members are selected according to their interest and attention to the purposes of the community. Members have rights and responsibilities in order to function properly in the community. A prospective member must qualify by assuming some responsibility from the start. No one should be elected to membership who is not qualified for the purpose.

The primary purpose of an open circuit is for contact with the public. Elected members should have the option of retreating to relatively closed circuits and have no business complaining about the behavior of the public. Members must discipline themselves, not the public. The public is not coming to the circuit to receive "moderation" or behavior modification.

Rights & Responsibilities

The most basic rights and responsibilities can be discovered and defined in a microcosm of the democratic community - the democratic discussion form. It is in the practice of democratic discussion that we learn the arts of democratic organization and leadership. A proper democratic form is that which best promotes the rights and responsibilities of each participant:

The right to speak.

The responsibility to respond.

The right to hear and to be heard.

The responsibility to listen.

Thus it is from these rights and responsibilities that the basic conversation and discussion forms originate. In a circle of 10 people, each participant has the right and responsibility to speak one time and the right and responsibility to listen and to hear nine times. And in the Discussion Workshop we verify that these rights and responsibilities are being met by each participant.

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is essential not only for the individual but for the healthy development of the community. The community has a right to hear and consider all points of views. The community cheats itself out of ideas if it hinders people from speaking honestly on a matter. But if the community is going to listen, it must encourage the practice of silence.

For example, if we are sitting in a circle around a campfire the custom of speaking is to speak once and then maintain silence for as long as it takes for each of the other speakers to contribute. If there are ten people in the circle each will speak once and listen nine times before speaking again. Random posting is best for the dramatic mode and is not conducive to the expository. Therefore we should expect drama on an open circuit. It may be disappointing to expect some other effect. The nature of an open circuit is theatrical. It is more of a stage performance than a private interview.

We do not moderate or censor the content of an individual speech but we may limit the form in arranging all of the speech of the community.

Freedom of speech includes the freedom of the members to organize themselves for the purposes of the community. Freedom of speech includes the opportunity to fully utilize the expository, narrative and dramatic modes of communication.


Democracy has become the standard because it makes use of every known hierarchical form. Because hierarchies are by definition non-democratic, we balance the use of hierarchies by taking turns or "role rotation". Short term meeting roles are appointed and long term official roles are elected. All members are rotated through appointments to short term and election to long term roles. Taking turns at different roles allows each member to acquire experience in varied approaches in accomplishing the purpose. In practice, proper democratic form is only role-playing in the expository mode.

Objective Evaluation

In order to have objective evaluation, we must first have clearly understood objectives. Objectives should aim at developing skills to be applied in building up the community. Since our goal is to democratize a web community, we can use proven practices as a guide to forming realistic objectives. Each Discussion Workshop project begins with clearly stated objectives. This enables the participants to understand the end and also enables the Evaluator to objectively assess the performance of the community. This is not an occasion to psychoanalyze your fellow members or to critique the personalities of people. It is an opportunity to help the community learn how to communicate effectually in their common endeavor. Evaluation of a discussion should focus upon the whole more than the content of individual posts.

Objective evaluation also includes administrative openness to the membership. The administration is verifiably transparent in it's mission to protect the member's rights to privacy. And the administration must have the humble attitude of "If it's not broke, let's improve it!"

Building a Practical Model

Now we will take the basic principles outlined in in this article and put together a working model. This model will be distinctive in many aspects:

  • Our primary objective in this project will be to turn over the administration of the community to each successive generation of members rather than to hold permanent control over the administration.

  • The community will be focused upon a program that qualifies each individual to accomplish the above stated objective.

  • We will adhere to a traditional interpretation of organizational terms.

  • We will completely reject IP checks and bans as a method of moderation on grounds that it threatens the privacy and the free speech of every member.

Monday, June 29, 2009

What is a forum?

I use the word "forum" in a classic sense. I think of a discussion as an organization not only of the topic but of the people themselves. Where they are positioned in the discussion may greatly influence the amount or type of power that they possess. A forum is the processing of the topic through various discussion forms. The variation of form gives both a greater range of expression to the speakers and a better listening experience for the audience.
Let us take any topic and put it through a complete process. Let's begin the process with a type of democratic form that is random, open circuit, with unlimited numbers of speakers. We have all seen this type of discussion in online forums. Usually, the only division of the discussion would be strictly topical, simply dividing the topic down to it's constituent parts, each division then becoming it's own topic. The discussion could be divided into separate threads or separate subforums.

Now in the random form the posters may sustain the expository mode just by outlining and composing their individual posts. We then accumulate a collection of expository posts. The benefit of this style is that every voice can speak as often and as much as they want. The problem is that it is very hard to follow the discussion, especially when opinions diverge. Also there is no form to maintain the mode.

What's the next logical step in the process of a classic forum? Rather than further division of the topic, the extension of an ordered expository discussion would be the ordering of the posters themselves. We might begin the discussion anew with one limitation - that each of them are allowed one and only one post. Or whatever limited number. Or we might ask them to make one post and remain silent until one round of posting is completed. Then the posters may resume again each allowing themselves one and only one post. This form helps to maintain the principle of equal say or equal time. It also checks the dramatic since the dramatic mode is improvised and thrives on random form. It demands that each speak once and listen nine times (in a group of ten). It introduces rational form, allowing the members control over the mode of discussion, and it is a measurable objective.

So now we have moved the topic through a process from one form to another. And the purpose of this is that the posters may refine their original presentations that were random and difficult to read and condense or summarise their expositions. This allows us a better listening experience because such an expository form would be trimmer, easier to follow and easy to reference concerning who thinks what, since all posts are summarised by each poster.
Let's say that multiple opinions emerge and their are clusters of opinions, say, three distinct viewpoints that each poster could position themselves with respectively. The next step in the process would be to appoint or elect three representatives of those opinions and use the circle form again to hash it out using a strict circle form (ABC ABC...). One or more opinions may emerge as stronger than the others. One opinion may be swayed to join another or may split into two factions due to it's own inherent weaknesses and be joined to the other two. We can then measure this in terms of relative quantities in a closed system using whole numbers and fractions. We can quantitatively assess the outcome of the debate.

Where two opposing opinions become clarified we may then move on in the process to a two sided evaluated debate using the following form (AB AB AB C)

A Pro
B Con
A rebuttal
B rebuttal
A closing
B closing
C Evaluation

The evaluation itself may be conducted by a team of observers who critique the grammar, rhetoric and logic.

Using this process, the discussion is moved from an irrational to rational form that can be counted by a whole number. The relative quantities of equality, majority and minority can be deduced from this whole number. The benefit is that the community receives a complete hearing of the topic. The majority is not allowed to outvoice the minority because by the end of the process the community has trimmed down the number of voices to two equal voices for the purpose of assessing the logic of each argument. The majority may still vote in favor of it's proposition but as the process continues the minority voice continues to be heard.

So we maintain another type of equality. If nine people believe one thing and one person believes another, we do not allow nine voices to one. We want to hear all of the logic of one side compared to all of the logic of the other. One logic may outweigh another. Allowing the nine to dominate gives us repetitious arguments and a drowning of the minority voice.

The value in this process lies in the fact that most of the people are often wrong! We know historically that the best ideas come from very small numbers. The scientific and literary communities comprise a small percentage of the whole community. Scientists like Galileo and Darwin and writers like Frederick Douglas, Allen Ginsberg and Mark Twain could be censored or their ideas could be persecuted.

An historical example would be the emergence of the theory of evolution into public currency. In the Scopes Trial of 1925, the Evolutionists lost the case to the Creationists but gained immense ground in bringing attention of the existence of Darwin's theories to the general public. 83 years later and it is hard even to find a Creationist who won't at least accept microevolution as a fact.
So this process is progressive.

But I am speaking in the context of Faciliating Online Communities. I believe that traditional democratic forms perform the best faciliation. This is self-moderated forum, quite distinct from just a topical organization of threads or subforums. And this is what I mean by the word "forum", a form that allows the community to discuss, deliberate and decide through an online action.

To recap, we used a three phase process of different discussion forms or organizations of people and speech for the purpose of achieving a better listening experience.

1) Random form, where everyone was allowed to speak as often and as much as they desired.

2) Circle form, where speakers were assigned to speak in a given place. They may have both the right and the responsibility to speak. In this circle form, each must listen to the others before they may speak again.

3) Debate form, that the logic of two or three opposing ideas must get an equal hearing regardless of the the number of supporters for each idea. In this form a greater demand is made upon the speakers to exercise their responsibilities to speak.

This was only one process described. You can see the different effects that each form achieves. In the first, an opposing group may dismiss the arguments of others and simply ignore them but as the discussion takes form, greater responsibility is upon the speakers to respond.
The subtitle of this page is "A forum is an organization of varied discussion forms". There are other varieties of discussion forms and therefore many variations of forums that can be organized. The example I used in this article was a set of variations culminating in debate. Forums can also end in dialogue, panel discussion or workshop form. In the Discussion Workshop, we acquire thorough experience and training in all aspects of discussion arts.

See Also:
The Common Ground of the Conscious Day
Community of Practice
Discussion Workshop homepage
Facilitating Online Commuities blog
In the Neighborhood
Meaning of Community
On Latitudes and Longitudes
Organizing According to Time
Traditional Communities
What is Community?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Meaning of Community

I am reading The Meaning of Community by Ann Boyles:

While pundits ponder whether or not Internet users form any kind of viable
community as they sit at their computers in farflung corners of the world, a
deeper and more serious issue is the manner in which the entire structure of
computer networks undermines more traditional kinds of community

The mainstream meaning of the word "community" has changed very much since the popularization of digital media. Language has been wildly stretched either because the meaning has changed or perhaps it has been this stretching that has distorted the meaning? I lean toward the latter description of how things have changed. Words have been used ignorantly by promoters of so-called "communities" just for the purpose of promoting a certain digital platform into popularity. A good example is all of the PHP forums out there. The vocabulary of the PHP forum is fixed.

It is possible to have Guest posting in relationship to the membership of members, but administrators, seeking to attract more traffic, allowed "members" to join who were in no way qualified for eachother. The person simply needed to fill out a short form that a 12 year old could do in less than 2 minutes, and "Presto - you're a member!" So the meaning of the word "member" has been enervated.

Traditionally, a membership of individuals must be qualified. I have been involved in many communities where the very minimum requirements were that I attend at least two or more consecutive meetings, and it was expected that I regularly participate in the programs that the community offered because these programs advanced the purpose of the community.

Words like "Group" too have no meaning because a group traditionally would be organized according to temporal and/or ordinal limits, and not only exist as a random and unlimited collection of individuals.

The very words "Discussion" and "Forum" mean little much like what we are accustomed to.

A discussion is a group speaking in an organized, ordinal form, the circle formation (ABC ABC...) being one of the most well known, popular and versatile.

A debate is an argument presented before a third party for evaluation or judgement. It has a beginning and an end, it does not just go on and on.

A forum is an organization of varied discussion forms, not just an organization of topics, but an organization of process.

I advocate a return to the traditional meanings of community. I feel that community should be an empowering experience. Most so-called communities culminate their communications in an offline action. I am interested in the power to organize an online action through democratic deliberative forms.

People use e-terms. It's eThis and eThat. I was searching the web for "eDemocracy" and found groups who were using the web as a messageboard to promote offline democratic organizations. That is not a true eDemocracy. The organizing efforts of an eDemocracy culminate in online action. The election of it's membership would be one of the basic online actions.

"Information is another word that has been stretched. People say that "information has increased". When I have a verbal conversation with someone, it is not catagorized by the public as "relevant information". So while a chat is information, it's not relevant. Does it require preservation?

I think the correct meaning is that there is a "people overload". There are too many people to deal with. Seems like everyone wants to have the biggest group instead of the better group.

As much as knowledge has increased with the recording of information, knowledge becomes obsolete as the technology changes and formats are replaced.

A "meeting" of posters along the line of a latitude can not be easily facilitated in real time, therefore a new form must arise deserving of it's own name.

Terms like "discussion" "meeting" and others have a meaning that includes "broadcasting the communication". Why should a chat or meeting be broadcast? People think that community will grow if it is accessible. How did traditional communities like Rotary International manage to grow their memberships to where there are more than 32,000 clubs and over 1.2 million members world-wide?

See Also: Glossary of Terms
What is a forum?

Time to Organize

Unlike traditional communities in which geography is frequently seen as a common denominator, in the online realm communities frequently develop independent of geographical boundaries and can be found in a variety of different technical landscapes. Most commonly they fall into either centralised and distributed models, which refers to the space in which community members interact with one another.

When is a community?

What about time zone limits? In offline communities, I must choose a club that is within the geographical limitations of my residence. Likewise, online, we are limited by time. Half the web is always sleeping when the other half is awake. So every poster resides in a time zone and to visit one time zone that poster must be absent from their resident zone.

Example: my normal time online is during the hours of about 8 am until about 10 pm, local time. If I stay up late tonight to visit another time zone, I will sleep late tomarrow and be absent from my normal time zone at 8 am. I may change my habits and stay up every night all night and with that change my time zone residency, but I must of necessity no longer be a resident of my former time zone.

The web has responded with a very loose standard of unlimited numbers of posters, posting in an open circuit, in random order (or without order). The result is an inability among the "members" to maintain control of the mode of communication. Traditional ordinal forms help maintain the exposition of a deliberation but random posting has destroyed that form. The result is to enervate traditional discussion forms.

Random posting was a quick fix that has failed in many important functions. Random posting is bad for deliberations because it denies the democratic principle of equal time and equal say. A circle form secures equal time for each speaker and listener. It gives the whole group a better listening experience and it charges members with not only the right but the responsibility to speak (or at least signal that they are in attendance).

The circle dialogue is the basic problem solving form for it allows the members to self moderate and achieve a consistent expository mode of discussion. Random form is not conducive to the expository mode. Random posting in open circuits results in mixed mode, notably the digression of exposition into the dramatic mode.

People can speak in circle form when they meet within a given time zone. What is needed at this point is a movement toward circle form that will require people to meet according to time zone. This is not a geographical division since people who are awake at night in any zone can join a community in a suitable time zone. The division is primarily temporal and only incidentally, geographic.

Referring to any time zone map we can see that there are three seperate population regions:

1) The Americas
2) Europe, Middle East and Africa
3) Far East and South Pacific

Now think for a moment. Let's say I'm a member of a traditional service club (Rotary International, for example). I join at the club level because I live in a certain area of town. I am a member at the club level but also that club is a member of the worldwide organization. I meet in my club, but sometimes I go to visit another club, so at that time, I am absent from my home club. I may also move to another part of the city or country or world and join another club. I have not left the larger Rotary community in any of those instances, but it's quite apparent that I am limited by geography, which is why the service community is organized the way it is.

But I come to the Web and you tell me of the joy, the splendor, the complete ecstacy, that we are not bound by geography. Right. We can transcend geography a little but we are still limited by time zones and, incidentally, by geography. So what is the answer? You tell me that we can all just talk as much as we want and whenever we want. OK. But who is going to listen? A proper democratic form gives us a better listening experience.

The fact is that people congregate according to time zones. So why not use that fact to our advantage by giving people an organization that is divided by time zone residency (regardless of geographical residency).

Now translate the traditional service organization to time zones and what do you get?

When I am at a Rotary Club I can only be at that club, yet I am participating in the whole international community. When I visit another Rotary club on the other side of town, I can also participate in the programs but I have no right to speak or to vote in the business of that club because I am not a member. I am a member of one club that meets on a regular basis in my neighborhood. The neighborhood clubs gather in an area regulary but less frequently. The areas come together yearly for a convention of the whole community. The whole Rotary community does not need to gather and communicate on a daily basis.

If people gather according to their time zone then there is no reason not to meet at a certain time and also not to use ordinal forms.

I have been driven to consider this because it is a common misconception that online communication is instantaneous. Right. The communication from one machine to another machine is instantaneous but I am not a machine. If you email me from the light side of Earth tonight, I am not going to recieve your message until tomarrow morning, because I am sleeping on the dark side when your message arrives at my machine. Even if I answer you immediately in the morning, at that time you are sleeping because we are separated by the range of our own personal time meridians. The process is then repeated and it may take two days to have one complete transaction on the Internet.

Now, this can work for us if we workwith it. I must first understand that I am a part of one web first, the one that is awake when I am. The other part is always awake when I'm asleep. And since we reside in separate zones we must keep them separate in real time because they are separate. The only way I can join that other side of the Internet as a continuously active member is to leave my membership on this side. Just as if it were a geographical limit.

Butthe traditional service organization transcends this geographical limit and successfully organizes people all over the globe in the millions. Can we also transcend the time zone limitation using the same form and applying it to time zones?

In this blog I am going to put this concept together so that you can see it.

This is the way I imagine it - The board is divided into five catagories that are not topical, but ordinal.

The first catagory is the Ozone. The Ozone is the contact point with the public and is open circuit with random posting from all over the world.

Then there are three catagories based on the three time zone limits (although I am aware that a time zone is personal and each individual can post within the limits of the range of their particular personal time meridian). Each catagory contains two forums, one random and the other ordinal circle form. People qualify for membership in a zone based upon their attendance to the circle. Circles are organized using the random forum. We may even qualify people for circle posting in the random forum. Circle posting naturally filters out people who do not reside in the appropriate zone. And since it organizes people according to their time zone, it enables the greatest range of choices for choosing a meeting time. The wider our club zone, the less opportunities to meet.

The fifth catagory is the Fellowship Ring which runs throughout the month for all members to post in a slower, larger circle. Each has an equal say each month or as long as it takes to make one complete round. This can work because we have widened the limits of time for posting and it only requires one post per month. So it looks like this:

The Ozone

The Americas (the geography is only a rough guide)

Europe, Middle East and Africa

Far East and South Pacific

The Fellowship Ring

From Guest status to Member status, the effect is to move people from random posting into an ordinal form and to do it on a large scale by focusing upon a more local area. I am reminded of that old bumper sticker I saw so many times:
Think Globally - Act Locally.

Here we have organized with and for the time that people live in, locally; and we have accomodated the global effects of time also. We are no longer fighting against time. People can reside and participate in the comfort of whatever time zone they choose.

And we have qualified a membership on a local level and admitted them to a global community. They can visit a time zone outside of their residency and participate in it's programs but have no right to vote in that zone. To become an elected member of a different time zone, they must leave their current time residence and move into the zone. We know that they live in the zone because they are able to post consistently in a circle form.

Ultimately, we can organize people constitutionally because we have simply replaced the geographical limits with the time limits. And random posting can not threaten ordinal form any longer.

So why all the fuss about ordinal form? I'll be writing another post about that but basically ordinal form brings order to the organization of people, allowing them to deliberate to the point of concerted action.

The Common Ground of the Conscious Day

Each quadrant equals 30° (click to enlarge)

A given latitude at the equator extends from 0° to 180° (either W or E) with two posters on both ends. A given longitude (0°) equal to the latitude and extending from one pole to the other with two poster at both ends. The conscious day begins for all four with the two posters on the latitude exchanging posts between each other and the two posters on the longitude exchanging posts. What is the relative frequency of the posting cycles on each line?

I say that given any two longitudes and latitudes of equal length (or arc), with two posters posting between themselves from the extremes, that the two posters on the longitude will have a higher frequency of post exchanges between them throughout a conscious day.

On the map, place two posters at the extremes of a longitudinal area. Place one poster at the tip of Cape Horn, South America and the other poster in New Brunswick, Canada. Place two other posters at the extremes of a latitude equal to the length of the said longitude, one at French Guyana and the other in the Philipines. All other factors being equal (purpose, interest, speed of connection, etc.) the two on the longitude will have a higher frequency of exchanges than those on the latitude.

Let's form two groups of equal numbers and spaced evenly apart from one end to the other, one group on the longitude and the other on the latitude. The group on the longitude will have more opportunities for exchanges and will have more options to organize temporally and ordinally with greater facility than the group on the latitude.

What is the "comfort zone" of any one poster? If I live in one time zone, the further away another poster is from that zone, the more inconvenient it is to meet together. I guess that, of the 360º on the globe, the comfort zone is just about 180º (90º on either side of the longitude I reside upon). The window begins closing then.

120º allows a greater window of opportunity for meetings. I can divide the 360º of the entire globe into three zones of 120º each, and I will call them:

  • The Americas

  • Europe, Middle East and Africa

  • Far East and South Pacific

  • The geographical distribution is incidental because anyone sharing the same conscious day with a zone is qualified for membership in a group in that zone. In this blog, I am treating time as if it were a geographical limitation. If I do this, I can easily translate the organizational structure of the traditional service club to online communities of practice, with democratic forms fully intact. Nothing need be lost.

    MORAL OF THE STORY: Think Globally, Act Locally.Large clickable detailed world map 2.3MB with cities, longitudes and latitudes.

    On any day at noon, using a table globe, find the longitude that you reside upon. Place your finger on the longitude and run it over the pole until it arrives at the opposite longitude. Almost everyone is awake and conscious in your longitude and almost everyone is unconscious in the opposite longitude. As far as we know, it is impossible for conscious people to communicate with unconscious people. This is the Blind Spot, a total of 120º, a full third of the globe is unconscious at any time that the other two thirds is conscious.

    "Online communities, like any community need to have something in common, something needs to bring people together" - Trishus. I think that most people first think of purpose, but it might be better to first identify the natural physical connections that people have on the Internet.

    I think Bee is also referring to this when she speaks "the commonality" but again we are not quite at the roots of our physical connection.

    ElderBob uses a phrase that strikes me - "A common ground" This is antecedent to any purpose. Traditionally communities were first tied together by geography. The geography determined the purpose. Also separated people from eachother.

    We should understand more clearly what our common ground is and what it isn't, what unites and what divides and how or why it is so natural physical laws that you can't be in two places at one time now we have overcome geographical barriers but we must recognize that we are still bound by the physical laws that govern time and consciousness. The unconscious and the conscious cannot communicate on the web Any longitude at noon extended beyond the pole is an opposite longitude midnight that longitude is the Unconscious Web The same time that unites people also divides them as if it were a geographical limitation.

    Let's say a community travels in their wagons to a place they want to settle. The common ground unites them before the purpose. Once the common ground has been surveyed, the purpose arises in relation to that common ground. Let's say they arrive at a river and decide to settle there because water is essential for life. The river unites all of the communities upstream and downstream and it unites the people who share resources on both sides of the river, but it also divides them.

    This rule holds for all communities. The boundaries that unite, also divide. Once we organize according to the natural limitations of time we can use proven traditional systems for self-propagating community. We sere the natural self-propagating effect in the need to split the meeting into two meetings. But since the demographics must be substantially different (otherwise, why split the meeting?) the two meeting constitutes two separate groups of clubs with the same purpose. They never divided over the purpose but the common ground that unites and divides.

    From the same coordinates on the globe, run your finger West or east along a latitude. The further away from the longitude the conscious the connection, the fewer are the conscious people of a population until you get to the opposite longitude. Moving your finger back East or west from the opposite longitude, the closer to primary longitude, the more conscious the zone, so that the most conscious connection is on the longitude itself.

    United Time and the Time Divide

    must determine the physical limits of time online as if they were geographical limitations. It is the primary physical tie, the common ground, the commonality, as if it were a geographical tie. It's also what divides us like an ocean.

    Spanning the Time Divide Leigh separated the community into three "meetings". I call these three meetings, "groups" or "clubs" and they have been logically divided according to the common ground of the conscious day.

    The Time Divide means that posting frequency is highest on a longitude and decreases between the area of two longitudes according to their distance apart. The easiest way to form a cohesive group is to find people who reside on or in the neighborhood of your longitude. This is a rough guide because the longitude is personal. Someone who is working the night shift in China and is online may have a time zone residency equal to your own. So how do we qualify them for membership in a group according to their personal time zone residency? By their frequency of posting. By "Frequency" I mean the time it takes for one complete cycle of stimulus-response-stimulus. Those posters on a common longitude have a higher frequency than those on the opposite longitude. An opposite longitude is the given longitude extended beyond either of the poles. That opposite longitude has the lowest frequency. Any area between any other longitude other than the opposite longitude has a higher frequency. Obviously, the closer each of the members are to a common longitude (in personal time zone terms), the greater options there are for scheduling an ordinal meeting. do the members of Rotary all communicate and meet daily? neither should people who are in distinctly separate time zones. Why and how can we separate the time zones? We divide the community in order to bring it together in an organized manner. We can do this division in nearly the same way that geography is divided. geography is continuous, it's not actually divided. But we divide it anyway in a large organization such as rotary. Likewise, time zones are not really divided. They are continuously connected. We divide them nearly the same way as dividing geographical areas. we divide them by where the people actually are. Let's take a look at the map and see how this fits. "A centralized outcome through decentralized means" - George Siemens

    In a word, we can bridge the Time Divide by dividing the community by time.

    must determine the physical limits of time online as if they were geographical limitations.

    Historians tell us that one of the causes that brought about the civil war was the fact that most railroads were built to span the divide from East to West with little investment in the South to North rail lines. The telegraph system lines (the first digital communications technology) were installed running along those lines. This approach emphasized East-West communications while neglecting the South-North connections.

    How big should a group be?

    A useful nuance from the statement is the absence of any mention of quantity or percentage of community members who should be fully engaged. However, a community can only have so many voices and members before it reaches an unmanageable size. I believe that size limitations apply in both the online and physical worlds when talking about community effectiveness.

    I wonder what people are thinking? can they really bring all of the world together into one global community without proper organization? The time it takes to absorb. Never more than the average person can absorb. No matter how many people you meet with a whatever level the best group size is about 10-12. 5 small groups in neighborhoods of a town 15-20 people meet every two weeks area meeting of all town clubs and surrounding area meet every 2 months 50% turnout = appr. 40 people Statewide of 25 areas meets every 4 months 25% turnout = 250 people It doesn't bring everybody together but the more interested but it works because community involves different levels of interest and participation, and this form serves well.

    There should seldom be a problem attending a meeting. It should be a given that everyone will be there and the exception when people are absent. This can happen if small groups of 10-20 members organize around a longitude. There is no reason to be juggling to set the meeting time. Just as if I were to attend a meeting of Rotary in my town. I would have a choice of several clubs in different neighborhoods of my town. I would attend that one regularly and visit the others occasionally, attend a gathering of all neighborhood clubs about every two months, a regional every six months and a national every year. This is structure is completely translatable to time zones.

    Common Ground



    Spanning the Time Divide




    The Opposite Longitude



    The Circle Game

    Why Community?

    nucleus club

    Longitudes and Latitudes

    Each quadrant equals 30° (click to enlarge)

    A given latitude at the equator extends from 0° to 180° (either W or E) with two posters on both ends. A given longitude (0°) equal to the latitude and extending from one pole to the other with two poster at both ends. The conscious day begins for all four with the two posters on the latitude exchanging posts between each other and the two posters on the longitude exchanging posts. What is the relative frequency of the posting cycles on each line?

    I say that given any two longitudes and latitudes of equal length (or arc), with two posters posting between themselves from the extremes, that the two posters on the longitude will have a higher frequency of post exchanges between them throughout a conscious day.

    On the map, place two posters at the extremes of a longitudinal area. Place one poster at the tip of Cape Horn, South America and the other poster in New Brunswick, Canada. Place two other posters at the extremes of a latitude equal to the length of the said longitude, one at London, UK and the other in Irkutsk, Russia. All other factors being equal (purpose, interest, speed of connection, etc.) the two on the longitude will have a higher frequency of exchanges than those on the latitude.

    Let's form two groups of equal numbers and spaced evenly apart from one end to the other, one group on the longitude and the other on the latitude. The group on the longitude will have more opportunities for exchanges and will have more options to organize temporally and ordinally with greater facility than the group on the latitude.

    What is the "comfort zone" of any one poster? If I live in one time zone, the further away another poster is from that zone, the more inconvenient it is to meet together. I would say that, of the 360º on the globe, the comfort zone is just about 90º to 120º (45º to 60º on either side of the longitude I reside upon). If it is 120º, then I can divide the 360º of the entire globe into three zones of 120º each, and I will call them:

  • The Americas

  • Europe, Middle East and Africa

  • Far East and South Pacific

  • The geographical distribution is incidental because anyone sharing the same conscious day with a zone is qualified for membership in a group in that zone.

    In this blog, I am treating time as if it were a geographical limitation. If I do this, I can easily translate the organizational structure of the traditional service club to online communities of practice, with democratic forms fully intact. Nothing need be lost.

    MORAL OF THE STORY: Think Globally, Act Locally.
    Large clickable detailed world map 2.3MB with cities, longitudes and latitudes.

    FOC Blog Entries

    Time and Culture
    Time is change. I think that this is all that people are referring to when they use the word "time".

    Natural time is the passing of one change to the next. We use the natural changes around us to mark time. It's the relations of these changes that mark time. If we lived in a vacuum where no change occurred, there would be no sense of time passing.

    If lightning strikes a tree and splits it down the middle then that is a change that becomes a reference point. We could speak of something that "happened before lightning split that tree" or "happened after lightning split that tree". We could place all events either on one side or the other side of that natural change.

    That would be natural time as measured in relation to natural change.

    Artificial Time is the act of counting units of space.

    Natural time is the change that comes with natural events. In the instance of the lightning splitting the tree we have several problems.

    1) The magnitude of change. To what extent does this event have influence? Certainly if the tree is in the yard of a farm then this is an event that can be a center of reference for the family. But is it of great enough magnitude to influence a calendar? The magnitude of the tree splitting is of local influence.

    We mark our modern, western calendar BC and AD. The calendar places every event before or after the birth of Christ. Even if the birth of Christ is questionable, no doubt something of magnitude happened to the civilized world about 2000 years ago. There was a social and political revolution. The magnitude is global.

    2) No event is repeated identically. An event is singular therefore we can only use it to separate before from after. In order to count continuous units we would need recurring events. We must settle for the recurrence of similar events.

    Each day is similar but not identical. a morning is more similar to another morning than an evening. A night is more similar to another night than it is to a day.

    Humans perceive distant events as being more identical. The sun rising or a year passing is more uniform. the lunar phases appear identical to the naked eye.

    These natural changes are more uniform and therefore become centers of reference. For we know that the sun will rise but do not know if another tree will split.

    A.D. is the abbreviation for Anno Domini - Latin for The Year Of Our Lord - used in the Gregorian Calendar to refer to the current era. A date such as 1945 A.D. literally means 'the 1945th year of our lord', the lord in question being Jesus Christ, providing a religious context and clearly distinguishing the time from an earlier era, where B.C (Before Christ) is used. The use of A.D. was popularised by Bede.

    Of course, before all of that happened, the human race was using other natural time measurements, the solar day and the solar year, the lunar months and year, seasonal changes etc.

    BTW, these are mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis. I was from this reading of Genesis that I first thought of the terms "natural" and "artificial" time. Because Genesis talks about signs and seasons and times but when it comes to the seven days of the week, in Gen 2:2 it says "On the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."

    A seven day week has no natural foundation. Or it may be that the battle to explain this with an Act of God overlooks the possibility that the 28 day Lunar cycle had evolved into 4 parts of 7? In which case it may be natural. If it is that organized human activity naturally needs a rest or "breath" every 7 days, then it would be natural time also.

    We might be tempted to classify seconds, minutes and hours as artificial but a second could correspond to the average walking pace of humans. 1 step per second.

    Still, the act of counting these units is artificial time because each is singular.

    History is a document of natural time, natural events and changes. Artificial time is counted out to natural events so as to enable the cataloging of events. Otherwise we would have to juggle an infinite number of events.

    We would be saying "It happened before the tree was split by lightning which was after the neighbors moved to the other side of town which was before the first baby was born and of course that was before the second baby but it was after the the new neighbors bought the vacant house that was left by the old neighbors moving away now was that before or after the new highway came through?"

    "You're talking about that again you old fool?"

    A.M. and P.M. refer to Ante Meridian and Post Meridian. The sun moves in an arc through the sky. The meridian is that arc bisected. When the sun is on the meridian it is Noon. All the time before it arrives at the meridian is called "Ante Meridian" and after it passes the meridian it is called "Post Meridian".

    This is a problem as it is a local reference. The time is not the same for everyone and even locally the arc changes from day to day. At the poles, it takes 6 months for the sun to arrive at the meridian. So the word "day" is stretched quite a bit.

    The longest unambiguously documented lifespan is that of Jeanne Calment of France (1875–1997), who was aged 122 years. She met Vincent van Gogh when aged 14, and in 1988 this led to her, at age 113, becoming noticed by the media. Subsequent investigation found that her life was documented in the records of her native city of Arles beyond reasonable question. More evidence for the Calment case has been produced than for any other supercentenarian case, which makes her case a "gold standard" among the "oldest people" recordholders. This is contrasted with the now-disputed claim of age 120 for the oldest man ever, Shigechiyo Izumi. While currently still recognized by Guinness World Records, even the Japanese authorities have hinted that his age was not certain. This claim was accepted in 1978, but subsequent additional research (as early as 1984) has raised doubt as to whether his birth date was confused with a brother's who died at a young age.

    Currently (since 29 January 2007), the oldest living person is 114-year-old Yone Minagawa of Japan, born on 4 January 1893.

    The word "generation" is also a measure of natural time. A generation would include the youngest infant born and the oldest person to die today. This varies but probably averages around 100 years. For practical calculations we count 100 years to a generation.

    Who was the oldest person that you can remember meeting in your life? I remember meeting a man who was 100 years old. I attended his birthday party. He played a song on a saw!

    I also met someone who was about 94. He helped build the first airplanes that were constructed for World War I.

    I first got interested in the concept of "Natural and Artificial Time" from a reading of the first 5 or 6 chapters of Genesis. The Book of Genesis could be it's own topic but I want to cite a few verses that deal with time.

    1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

    1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

    1.16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

    1.17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

    1.18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

    1.19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

    Natural time was the first method of counting time. Not until humans developed the ability to count could Artificial Time exist. Natural time is not uniform or regular. It only appears so from a distance. Because every change is unique and singular, humans looked to distant events that appeared to be uniform such as the movements of the sun and moon.

    This passage also talks of day and night and seasons. a day and a night is a the same thing as a change of season. If you are at either one of the Poles, a complete cycle of one day and one night equals a year. At the Equator the day and night are equal and you can feel all four seasons in one day.

    But I want to separate the ideas of Natural and Artificial Time. The names of the days of the weeks and the names of the months of the year and the numbers of years are artificial. There are no "Sundays" or "Mondays" or "Junes" or "Julys" or year numbers in natural time.

    2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

    2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

    It seems that the narrative in Genesis is dealing with some fundamental philosophical questions about life and culture. The things that it can not explain are attributed to Acts of God. For example, the calendar can be explained as being based upon solar or lunar cycles. But what do you tell someone who asks the Rabbi "Why is there a seven day week?" Since there is no natural change that measures seven days. So to explain the custom of working six days and resting on the seventh the story was told that God rested on the seventh day.

    Incidentally, Genesis later goes on to record generations from Adam and they are much longer than what we moderns think. I think of a generation as being from grandparents to parent to siblings, making a generation about 20 years. The whole generation is about 100 years from birth to death of every member of the generation.

    Here are a few generations in Chapter 5

    Chapter 5:

    5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

    5:2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

    5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth

    5:4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:

    5:5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

    5:6 And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:

    5:7 And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:

    5:8 And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.

    5:9 And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:

    5:10 And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:

    5:11 And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.

    Here the generations from parent to child is around 100 years and the life of a person 1000.

    So a generation would be about 1000 years. This is a ridiculous proposition for the Western mind but in the East and Middle East they still think this way.

    Another way to think of a generation is the time that most of the people in a certain period are alive. That would be the time of peak activity when that generation is in it's prime. In the USA, that happened in the 20's and again in the 60's and again in the 90's, didn't it? This is frequently called "The Thirty Year Thing".

    Telling time is difficult to learn. People assume that it's simple after they learn it. But how many times do you ask yourself what time it is? Quite often I have to stop and count something like days and months and years.

    This is another topic for our next forum meeting. How did you learn to tell time?

    This is the order that I learned. First I learned the difference between "day" and "night". that is probably the most obvious difference because when you are a child you are up in the day and go to bed at night. I then learned that one sequence of a day and a night was a "Day". So the word "day" took on two meanings, the daylight hours and a period of a day and a night.

    After learning that I learned "morning" from "afternoon" not because of where the sun was but because of mealtimes. "Morning" was before lunch and "afternoon" came after lunch. Then "evening" was around dinnertime. Evening could be before, at or after dinner depending on whether it was summer or winter but I didn't know this until much later which is probably why I grasped "morning" and "afternoon" much easier.

    About the same time I learned the difference between "today" "yesterday" and "tomorrow".

    I was also confronted with what I call the "dead years". This happened when I was confronted with sights and sounds from the year of my birth that could not be interpreted when received. There was a period that existed before I was born. But I didn't know it existed until I was about 5 or 6! I was dead before being born but never considered it that way. Those years themselves appeared dead to me. The present was alive and in colors but the dead years were only a skeleton.

    Next, I learned the days of the week and the rollover after 7 into another week. About that time, I learned the names of the months and their order and the rollover after 12.

    Then I learned the concept of a year and reading the clock, the hour, minute and second.

    I was in my teens when I was presented with World History and the concept of a "century" and "millennium". Yes, they were mentioned before that but it wasn't until about age 13 or 14 that I was challenged to separate the period of Homer from Chaucer. I don't think it really sunk in until I was about 22!

    So how did you learn to tell time?

    Time Zones

    Regarding the different customary uses of time, cultures can vary greatly. Punctuality is very important to my own culture and those cultures having close association with my own. In a global context, there are many interpretations of what might be called "on time". In Latin America you may be "on time" for an appointment by arriving 40 minutes late. To arrive precisely at the designated time you would be said to have arrived "early". Rather than appearing to have respect for the other parties time, they may interpret you to be awkwardly anxious. My concern is to deal with these kinds of conflict.

    Probably, a good guide for interpreting time more uniformly between the different cultures is to take all of the cultures and divide them into three social/economic sectors:

    The Third Sector, the largest sector, is founded upon Old World agrarian values. Natural time is Standard Time here. People rise with the sun and go to sleep with it. Activities are scheduled over longer spaces of time. Work must be completed by the end of a season and preparation for the next. The times of the seasons are more important than clock time. Full moon is a good time to plant and harvest. Full Moon is also a safer time for women to engage in courtship where electric lights are few. In this context people being more exposed to the natural elements may have delays due to weather such as snowstorms, excessive rainfall, drought, etc. This is by far the largest sector worldwide but it's presence is practically inconsequential on the Internet.

    The Second Sector came with the Industrialization of society and the proliferation of machines. The clock became the most prominent machine to debut in the past 500 years. Time was divided into equal increments allowing the days work to be of equal length throughout the varying seasons. This sector became distributed mainly in temperate zones of the globe. The people work in factories with powered machines This would include automobiles, factories, hand power tools, sewing machines,

    Basically, the more machines are proliferated and used in combinations or conglomerations (such as factories), the greater the need for organization of people and therefore greater respect for time limitations.

    20th century Daylight Savings Time

    The different cultures developed customs according to how many timepieces were available for a population. A timepiece cost money and in some less developed countries fewer people have watches so they are still on Natural Time. Many cities in Latin America did not get electric lighting until the 60's. Many large cities have only now installed mass transit systems that link one end of the city to another. many do not have private automobiles and so do not have as much control over their means of transporting themselves to an appointment. Therefore it is quite acceptable to arrive as much as 40 minutes late for an appointment.

    The First Sector and smallest sector works in closed offices, organizing information with electronic machines. In this context there is a more precise understanding of the meaning of time. All of this sector has precision clocks fully distributed across the Internet.

    The three sectors exist in all of the cultures to varying degrees but for purposes of organizing members of a Web community, we should consider that all (with extremely few exceptions) are in the First Sector. In Latin America you would be hard put to find an Internet user who would consider it acceptable to arrive at an online appointment 40 minutes late!

    Even if you lumped all of these cultures together we would be safe to say that 60 minutes is late. The highest standards in the 20th century put punctuality to the minute. Slightly lesser standards applied to business and professional standards. It might be reasonable to wait 5 to 10 minutes for a late person.

    So in the context of the Internet, I want to determine a reasonable standard for being "on time" and being "late". I would say that these terms must be fix relative to the precision with which an appointment can actually be made on the Internet and I must conclude that online appointments will have a higher standard of precision in the norm.

    Every computer I use has a hours and minutes clock displayed in the lower right hand corner. Clocks are distributed equally in every part of the Internet. People in the first Sectors spend most of their day on the computer. I don't have to travel to keep an appointment. It seems that we could make appointments with greater precision.

    Why people don't attend well to online appointments is because they simply don't care to. They have a ready made excuse that with random posting people can organize without appointments. I argue that random posting is limiting and hindering the organization of people. Random posting obstructs the use of temporal and ordinal forms and has almost driven proper democratic forms into extinction. They are excusing themselves from their responsibilities to community organization. Therefore, it dis-empowers people. It dis-empowers the other members and the whole community. They might be disqualified from membership in a committed Community of Practice.

    Test my ability to arrange an appointment. precision need a Buddy who is motivated to be as precise as possible. I want to determine the best standard under the optimal conditions and then determine an average acceptable limit or what can be reasonably expected from the average member of a web community.

    sitting at computer a click away from the site keep the appointment to the minute two minutes late is tolerable but questionable especially if habitual five minute late and you're a lollygagger
    But if not, then they must be classed as a "visiting member" who might participate in the program but have no voice or vote in the business meeting of that club. As a member of their home club, they not only participate in the program but have a voice and vote in the business meeting of that club.This is just like a traditional service organization. If I join Rotary in Rochester, NY, I regularly participate in the programs and have a vote in the business meeting. When I visit another Rotary club that is not my own, on the other side of Rochester (or anywhere in the world) I am welcome as a visiting member (of Rotary Inernational via my home club membership) at a meeting and may participate in the program but have no voice or vote in the business portion of the meeting. I am a "visiting member".

    Konstitucio de Postmasters (esperanto)

    Artikolo 1 Nomo de Organizajxo

    La nome de tiu cxi organizajxo estas Postmasters.

    Artikolo 2 Objektivoj kaj Celoj

    Postmasters estas online, ne-profito, serva organizajxo por la avantagxo de la tutmonda Interreta komunumao. Nia objektivo estas akceli kaj praktiki tradicia diskutada artoj. Ni estas ,mem-moderigi, mem-disvolvigxi, mem-propagigxi kaj mem-subtenigxi komunumao.

    To achieve our purpose Postmasters provides for the public an open circuit, free speech zone and offers The Discussion Workshop Series.

    The Discussion Workshop Series:

    1. Provides for its community members' opportunities which give them skill and experience as participants in online democratic discussions;

    2. Enables community members to coordinate democratic discussion so as to achieve online group action;

    3. Provides for the community fair and constructive evaluation of their efforts;

    4. Enables the members to investigate and deliberate upon matters relevant to the online community;

    5. Affords leadership training for its members.

    Article 3 Membership

    Sec 1.
    This is a private association, and membership herein shall be by invitation only. Any member may sponsor an eligible prospective member, and invite that person to join.

    Sec 2.
    Membership shall be determined by attendance at two consecutive meetings and election. The applicant shall be declared elected to membership upon the favorable vote of at least a majority of the active members present and voting. All members shall have equal rights and responsibilities.

    Sec 3.
    The membership shall be divided into two classifications: active and inactive.

    a) All active members shall be entitled to all rights and privileges, and shall share responsibilities. These responsibilities shall include support of its purposes and constructive contribution to its program and activities.

    b) Inactive membership may be conferred on any member requesting an extended absence from meetings, or who wishes to maintain membership without regular attendance at meetings. A member may also be classified as inactive by a majority vote of the Executive Committee for continued absence without notice. An inactive member may be restored to active membership upon request, provided there is a vacancy on the active roster. Inactive members shall have no voting privileges, shall not hold office, shall not be counted toward a quorum. Inactive members may, upon occasion, be requested to participate in Discussion Workshop programs.

    Article 4 Officers & Duties

    Sec. 1. The officers shall be a President, a Vice President Education, a Vice President Administrative, a Vice President Promotional, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Master Host, and the Immediate Past President.

    Sec 2. The President is the chief executive officer and is responsible for fulfilling our mission. The President presides at meetings appoints all Committees and has general supervision of the operation of the forums. The President shall be an ex officio member of all Committees except the Nominating Committee.

    Sec 3. The Vice President Education is the second ranking officer and is responsible for planning, organizing and directing a program which meets the educational needs of the members. The Vice President Education chairs the Education Committee.

    Sec 4. The Vice President Promotional is the third ranking officer and is responsible for developing and directing a publicity program that informs members and the general public about our purpose and programs. The Vice President Promotion chairs the Promotional Committee.

    Sec. 5. The Secretary keeps an accurate record of the business meetings and of the Executive Committee; maintains an accurate and complete roster of individual members of this Club and transmits the same to the successor in office.

    Sec. 6. The Treasurer is responsible for financial policies, procedures, and controls. The Treasurer receives and disburses, with approval, all funds and keeps an accurate account of all transactions. The Treasurer shall make financial reports to the Executive Committee quarterly and upon request, and shall transmit the accounts and all undistributed funds to the successor in office at the end of the term.

    Sec 7. The Master Host administers the Greetings Program and chairs the Social and Reception Committee.

    Sec 8. The Immediate Past President provides advice and counsel as requested by the President.

    Sec 9. Elections shall be held at the first meeting in January in each year, to take office the following March. Officers shall serve for terms of one (1) year. The terms of Officers shall commence at 12:01 a.m. on ___ and end on the last day of ___ at midnight.

    Sec. 10. Except for the Immediate Past President, the Officers shall be elected by the active members. If the office of Immediate Past President is vacated for any reason, it shall stay vacant for the remainder of the term.

    Sec. 11. Nominations for Officers shall be made by a Nominating Committee appointed by the President at least two (2) weeks prior to the election. This Committee shall consist of three (3) active members. This Committee shall present its report at the regular business meeting immediately preceding the business meeting at which the election is to take place, and shall present only the names of active members who have consented to serve if elected. Further nominations may be made from the floor at the time of the election by any active member.

    Sec 12. All elections shall be by secret ballot, unless a secret ballot is dispensed with by unanimous vote, with a majority vote of all active members present and voting necessary to elect each Officer. The Chairman of the Nominating Committee shall be the Immediate Past President, unless the best interests of the membership require otherwise.

    Sec. 13. Any Officer may formally resign and no acceptance by the membership shall be required to make it effective. Any Officer may be removed from office at any time, with or without cause, by majority vote of all active members present and voting at a business meeting.

    Sec. 14. Any vacancy in an Office, except for the Immediate Past President, shall be filled by a special election held at the next business meeting following the announcement of the vacancy.

    Sec 15. Presidents may not be re-elected for a successive term.

    Article 5 Meetings and Notice

    Sec. 1.
    Regular meetings, which shall include any business meeting of active members, shall be held every two weeks.

    Sec. 2.
    Special business meetings may be called by a majority vote of the active members present and voting at any regular meeting at which a quorum is present, or by the President. Meetings of the Executive Committee shall be held monthly.

    Sec. 4.
    No notice shall be required for regular business meetings. Notice of any change in the time or site of any regular meeting, and notice of all special meetings, shall be given at least four (4) days in advance of such meeting to all members. Notice of special meetings shall include a statement of the general purposes of the meeting, but any membership business otherwise valid may be transacted at the meeting.

    Article 6 Quorum and Voting
    Sec. 1.
    A majority of the active membership shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business. A majority of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of the Committee's business.

    Sec. 2.
    Each active member shall be entitled to one vote on any matter presented to the membership for a vote.

    Sec. 3.
    No voting by proxy or absentee ballot shall be permitted on any matter presented to the membership for a vote.

    Sec. 4.
    Unless a greater vote is required in a particular matter, the affirmative vote of at least a majority of those active members who are present and voting at a duly held business meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act.

    Article 7 Amendments
    Sec. 1.
    This Constitution may be amended only by two-thirds of the votes cast at a business meeting or a special meeting at which a quorum of the voting membership is present.

    Sec. 2.
    Proposed amendments may be submitted by any member at any time up to sixty (60) days before the membership meeting at which they will be considered.