Eligibility for Council

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Eligibility for Council: What it takes to be a full-fledged council member with the ability to block decisions.
List of Policies - Policy Development


as discussed by Council in July 2008, then referred to Laurel Hoyt for compilation.

Council needs broad input from the FreeGeek community to make decisions. This requires openness to many views and good judgment about how to use meeting time.

Attendance and Membership

Council meetings are open to guests from the public. Any active Free Geek volunteer, paid worker, or board member is welcome to participate fully except as limited by our conflict of interest policy. Definitions of these categories can be found elsewhere. Council membership is attained at a member's third consecutive meeting, and is lost if three consecutive meetings are missed.

Participation and Preparation

Full participation in council meetings includes attending (being there, listening), and contributing to conversation. To use time well, participants are expected to prepare for meetings with reading and discussion. A facilitator has the option of telling speakers with detailed questions and large needs for background information to refrain from taking meeting time for these needs. Guests and others who are not active council members are asked to minimize their time speaking, and to not weigh in strongly on concerns not shared by the rest of the group. In other words, guests and non-council members should not slow deliberations by being lone representatives of concerns they believe are weighty enough to block consensus on a proposal.

Previous Policy

as approved by council in September 2002, then revised as above:

One must attend two consecutive meetings to vote and miss three consecutive meetings to lose the privelege. Also, one must be on the council mailing list for voting eligibility. Exceptions can be made in advance for these eligibility requirements.

On blocking votes, we decided to allow unlimited blocking for each person unless this becomes an issue later on. Also, the blocking member needs to explain their blocking vote.


The voting language is an artifact of the time period this was written in, while we were almost all new to consensus.

Any community member is eligable to participate in discussion at the Community Council. "Eligibility," in practice, effects mostly just blocking ability.

  • When an unqualified member attends at least three meetings in a row, he or she becomes qualified at the third meeting.

The bit about requiring mailing list membership is usually overlooked in recent formulations of this policy.