Some thoughts concerning "rules of engagement" that fall outside of the Bylaws document...

Re: [HFB] Some thoughts concerning "rules of engagement" that fall outside of the Bylaws document...

RM Bauer
Karma: 554
2012-10-23 11:08 UTC
I don't know why accommodations haven't been made in the law for those with
speech or hearing disabilities. Perhaps because there is no right to serve
on a Board. I have heard of a challenge in New York. This issue is not
unique to conferencing calls and occurs even with in-person meetings,
although speech-to-text solutions may exist, I'm simply not familiar with
the issue.

Note that mixed meetings where some participants only participate by chat
are not allowed because the other participants can have a conversation that
the chat client does not reveal. I'm not sure why the bylaws mention IRC
other than council used IRC and people continue to make the mistake of
thinking of the Board as analogous to Council. I have to look over the
bylaws again anyway.

There are many formalities associated with nonprofit corporations. PA has
an advantage over many states in that it permits Directors to reside and be
outside USA, permit meetings to be outside USA, and do not require any
meeting (including Annual Meeting) to be in person. There are other
advantages in terms of organization and fundraising flexibility. Plus,
it's already done. Plus, do it outside of PA and I can't help with it.

Rob


On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 4:52 AM, Lucas Maneos <maemo@subs.maneos.org> wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 11:32:33PM -0400, robert bauer wrote:
> > I can't explain why these non-profits have done what they have done. How
> > do we know they have not made a mistake?
>
> We (well, I) don't. But if they are wrong, and the law forbids any
> non-voice conferencing, it seems quite discriminatory to me (for
> instance it means no one with a speech or hearing disability can serve
> on the board) and I'm surprised it hasn't been challenged.
>
> In light of this, are we sure we want the foundation incorporated in
> Pennsylvania? Clearly we want to be able to have IRC meetings (it's
> even written in the bylaws), is there some benefit in being in PA that
> trumps this?
>
> L.
>

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Re: [HFB] Some thoughts concerning "rules of engagement" that fall outside of the Bylaws document...

Lucas Maneos
Karma: 228
2012-10-23 15:16 UTC
On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 07:08:08AM -0400, robert bauer wrote:
> This issue is not unique to conferencing calls and occurs even with
> in-person meetings, although speech-to-text solutions may exist, I'm
> simply not familiar with the issue.

Hm, I wonder if it can be worked around by ensuring the directors have TTS
on their IRC machines, so they can all "hear" each other.

> Plus, it's already done. Plus, do it outside of PA and I can't help
> with it.

Indeed, those are very compelling reasons :-)

L.
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Re: [HFB] Some thoughts concerning "rules of engagement" that fall outside of the Bylaws document...

Tim Samoff
Karma: 1631
2012-10-23 15:29 UTC
Hi,

Lucas Maneos wrote:
> Hm, I wonder if it can be worked around by ensuring the directors have TTS
> on their IRC machines, so they can all "hear" each other.
>

I feel like specific Pennsylvania "rules" are fine for now, as ammended
by our bylaws. I think that stating voice meetings as the exemplar with
exception of IRC and additional forms of "other electronic technology"
when necessary would be acceptable under the laws and statutes therein.

By calling out the origination clause and amending Foundation specific
clauses we would be agreeing to and abiding by the Pennsylvania rules
for more cases if not all.

This is similar to complying with "Section 508" for accessibility
issues... As long as a "good effort" is put forth there are usually no
hard and fast reasons why anyone should be persecuted. (I.e., a website
that shows videos cannot always provide proper forms of transcripts or
subtitles, but if a subtitle is embedded into a video is shows "good
effort.").

In this way, we can show "good effort" by abiding by the laws and adding
our amendment as a "worst case" exception.

This is where the law gets fuzzy and I think it can work to our favor.

But, again, I'm not a lawyer and all of this is anecdotal.

Tim

--
http://samoff.com

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Re: [HFB] Some thoughts concerning "rules of engagement" that fall outside of the Bylaws document...

Piotr Jawidzyk
Karma: 961
2012-10-24 01:25 UTC
> We (well, I) don't.  But if they are wrong, and the law forbids any
> non-voice conferencing, it seems quite discriminatory to me (for
> instance it means no one with a speech or hearing disability can serve
> on the board) and I'm surprised it hasn't been challenged.
>
> In light of this, are we sure we want the foundation incorporated in
> Pennsylvania?  Clearly we want to be able to have IRC meetings (it's
> even written in the bylaws), is there some benefit in being in PA that
> trumps this?
>
> L.

Absolutely agree - it seems to me, that in our case, using audio-focused way of Communicating will decrease productivity of Board a lot (much less thing "talked out" in given timeframe of meeting), not to mention problems like audio disortions over lower quality connection access of some members, fact, that more people are fluent on english writing (as opposed to speaking), and mentioned disabilities.

Can't it be resolved, by simply meeting via preffered method (IRC for examle), and then "legalising" decisions by summary meeting over audio? This way, all things leading to decisions, would be made using "productive" way of communicating, yet, everything required by law, would be then (re)proposed and agreed on (short) sound-only meetings.

What PA based lawyer will tell about that? Leag! Feasible?

/Estel
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Re: [HFB] Some thoughts concerning "rules of engagement" that fall outside of the Bylaws document...

Sebastiaan Lauwers
Karma: 279
2012-10-24 11:09 UTC
Hi,

On 22 October 2012 19:48, robert bauer <nybauer@gmail.com> wrote:
> The Board meetings cannot be done on IRC - at least the Board members have
> to have audio. If you want a free, web-based conferencing solution, you may
> want to look at www.concert-oh.com. There may be others - I just don't know
> others personally is all. WebEx charges for more than 3 attendees AFAIK.

I'm the lead dev/product manager for a VoIP solution. Our company
already tries to provide some services to certain FOSS organisations,
as a way to give back.

We are more in the PSTN callcentre/conferencing business, but if
wanted, I can see if we can setup a service for free for the
Foundation. I'm currently on holiday, so can't get an initial
feedback, so let me know if I should pursue this or not.

If you do want me to inquire about this, I would need the
requirements: number of people in the conference, type of access (PSTN
or pure VoIP, and countries involved), frequencies of the conferences,
storage requirements (how many hours per month, how long should the
recordings be stored, method of retrieval [email, ftp, etc]).

Just a note: I am not officially offering anything, but I can try to
see if we can provide such a service.

Regards,

-S.

--
question = ( to ) ? be : ! be;
-- Wm. Shakespeare
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Re: [HFB] Some thoughts concerning "rules of engagement" that fall outside of the Bylaws document...

Tim Samoff
Karma: 1631
2012-10-24 15:16 UTC
Hi Sebastian!

Sebastian 'CrashandDie' Lauwers wrote:
> We are more in the PSTN callcentre/conferencing business, but if
> wanted, I can see if we can setup a service for free for the
> Foundation...

Thank you. We're still in the process if we need to institute this as a
requirement, but if we are going to be needing voice meetings, then this
service would be fantastic. Please do inquire about the possibility when
you return home.

> If you do want me to inquire about this, I would need the
> requirements: number of people in the conference, type of access
> (PSTN or pure VoIP, and countries involved), frequencies of the
> conferences, storage requirements (how many hours per month, how long
> should the recordings be stored, method of retrieval [email, ftp,
> etc]).

This will be easy: Quarterly(ish) 1-hour meetings, three people... I
don't know about storage, though. We can take meeting notes and avoid
digital storage if need be. It's really a simple setup.

> Just a note: I am not officially offering anything, but I can try to
> see if we can provide such a service.

Completely understood.

Thank you!
Tim

--
http://samoff.com

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