Resolution 2003-09-09.iwj.1: Efficient Board Meetings

September 9th, 2003

This resolution was adopted by the Board of Directors of SPI at their meeting of July 7, 2003.

This resolution is cancelled by resolution 2004-10-15.iwj.1


  1. It is important that board meetings, which require simultaneous presence of a quorum of the board, be short.

  2. IRC discussions provide less easily read archives of discussions than email archives, and require substantial efforts at redaction to produce minutes.

  3. IRC discussions are less accessible to people who are not available at the time of the meeting than email.

  4. IRC discussions are more prone to misunderstandings, accidental offence, and personality clashes, than email.

  5. On-line board meetings via IRC are a poor medium for discussion for the reasons given above.


  1. Discussion at on-line real-time Board meetings of Software in the Public Interest shall be limited to the absolute minimum necessary, by the specific measures below, and by the active cooperation of the Board and others during meeting.

  2. No items shall appear on the agenda of a Board meeting that are not accompanied by a firm proposal (or alternative versions, if there's a disagreement) in ready-to-vote resolution form. There ought to have been at least a week or so for discussion by email.

  3. Reports of any kind shall be posted in advance to the board list. They should be accompanied by a standard form resolution like 'the board thanks so-and-so, and accepts the report'.

  4. There shall be strictly no discussion during the meeting. Anything that requires more discussion than has taken place before the meeting shall be postponed until next meeting or email voting. If board members feel the discussion has not been adequate then they should vote NO on the relevant motion.

  5. The meeting chair shall be ruthless in enforcing the rules above.

  6. The above rules may be deviated from in case of necessity, such as external deadlines, emergencies etc.


The practice of waiting for guests to state their name during the meeting will cease. Instead, the Secretary or their delegate shall start logging the channel 15 minutes before the meeting, and guests will be asked to state their name during that period, or when they arrive if they arrive later.


The information about the availability of board members for the next meeting will be collected by email in advance of the meeting by a volunteer member of the Board, who will correlate the information and propose a date for approval by the meeting.