{{OrgPsy} The following guidelines are examples of how principles of open source government have been applied on a small scale to the business of committee meetings. Some organizations with politically volatile climates adopt the Open Source Committee procedures because they democratically emphasize idea over person. In other words, having elected "leaders" will inherently privilege the individual politics of those leaders, but the open model described below allows meetings to be conducted in an orderly fashion without fear of such posturing.

Parliamentary procedureEdit

If the purpose of the organization is to meet about issues and taking some sort of institutional action, a version of Parliamentary procedure can easily be adopted to the Open Source model. This consists of the following: agenda items, discussions, motions, debate, and voting. To ensure organization, someone will need to chair the meeting, officiating between the parts above.

The chairEdit

In Open Source Committee, there is no standing chair, but instead a fluid one. In other words, a new person chairs each meeting, according to whatever system the organization decides. One could have a rotating list, one could choose randomly from volunteers, etc. Since there is no standing chair, no individual's politic can take center stage. This minimizes conflict in the interests of democracy. The fluid chair announces agenda items, officiates motions, ends debates in a timely fashion, and legitimizes the voting process, discussed below. Per tradition, the fluid chair typically possess a gavel with which he or she calls the meeting to order, or proceeds from one item to the next.

Agenda itemsEdit

In the interests of democracy, Open Source Committee holds that everyone in an organization has the right to create agenda items, and that the option of anonymity upholds the democratic process. Some organizations have implemented wiki technology towards this end, others have used other collaborative means—ranging from posterboards to anonymous mailboxes, etc. We will, for the sake of example, discuss agenda items with the use of a wiki interface.

New documents can be opened for each upcoming meeting. We suggest that organizations have a regular schedule set out ahead of time. When someone starts an agenda, anyone is free to add their concerns to the collaborative document. At the start of the meeting, the fluid chair can print the latest version and use that as the organizational strategy and as the official subject for the meeting.


Typically, the fluid chair allows for discussion of each agenda item in turn. This proceeds naturally, or until a predetermined time limit has been reached, before moving to the next item. If discussion turns towards the possibility of action, anyone is free to make a motion. If seconded, the chair entertains debate. (The Committee should previously, either in a meeting or through something like a wiki interface, have established time limits, if necessary.) After debate, the chair calls to order and a vote takes place.


Voting on whether to pass a motion can occur through either hand-raising, or paper voting. In the case of hand raising, a previously determined secretary (whose appointment can follow the same principle as that of the fluid chair) will record the number of votes to be recorded in the minutes. In the case of paper voting, some sort of ballot should be designed. A popular ballot includes three choices (yes, no, abstain), and several lines. Whenever a vote is called, the secretary numbers the vote, and committee members vote privately. These votes are collated after the meeting and counted.

These procedures allow an organization to conduct non-politicized meetings where no one person is given power over anyone else. The structure exists to privilege ideas over personalities.

See alsoEdit


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