Deciding on a default Plenum format we're all happy with

As briefly mentioned in the SF chat on Signal, having a default format for the Plenum (defined below) should prevent most confusions/misunderstandings we’ve had in the past. As such, let’s decide on one:

  • Fixed day of the month (potential new members should not have to wait too long before there’s a vote about their membership). The current pattern seems to be the first Tuesday of the month. Alternatively, we could decide on the date for the next Plenum as the last point of each Plenum
  • Fixed time to start the Plenum, e.g. 19h or 19:30
  • A location to upload/edit the agenda for the Plenum well before it takes place. Google Docs, Nextcloud, …? It should be easily accessible to all members, such that the threshold to add/suggest points for the agenda is as low as possible. The deadline for editing the agenda should also be clearly mentioned
  • Who is responsible for creating/generating the agenda? The current SF president? Any SF board member? Any SF member? Have a function/button to automatically generate it? Generate it as the last point of each Plenum?
  • Likewise, a location to upload/post the minutes from the Plenum ASAP afterwards

There’s also the issue of language — should the agenda/minutes be in German, English, or both?

Hi Peter,

Thanks for taking the initiative. Below my thoughts and opinion on the points you raised:

> Fixed day of the month (potential new members should not have to wait too long before there’s a vote about their membership). The current pattern seems to be the first Tuesday of the month. Alternatively, we could decide on the date for the next Plenum as the last point of each Plenum

I would be in favor of having a fixed day in the month, which was the practice in the past. And I suggest having the flexibility to skip the plenum in case the agenda is thin and none of the items are urgent.

This is what our statutes say: “Die reguläre Mitgliederversammlung findet in der Regel monatlich an einem bestimmten Wochentag statt. Die reguläre und die Jahresabschluss-Mitgliederversammlung können entscheiden, einzelne reguläre Versammlungen aufgrund von zu geringer zu erwartender Mitgliederanwesenheit (z.B. bei Schulferien) ausfallen zu lassen.

> Fixed time to start the Plenum, e.g. 19h or 19:30

Both proposals sound good to me.

> A location to upload/edit the agenda for the Plenum well before it takes place. Google Docs, Nextcloud, …? It should be easily accessible to all members, such that the threshold to add/suggest points for the agenda is as low as possible. The deadline for editing the agenda should also be clearly mentioned

I am very much in favor of using our own cloud - specifically, since we already have one. I can live with Google or any other cloud service as long as

  • documents are stored under an organizational account,
  • the organizational account is under control of the board, and
  • all members have access to the documents.

The deadline is 3 days before the meeting. This is what our statutes say about it: “Jedes Vereinsmitglied hat das Recht, zuhanden der nächsten Mitgliederversammlung Anträge zu stellen. Derartige Anträge sind in die Traktandenliste aufzunehmen, sofern sie der Allgemeinheit der Mitglieder rechtzeitig, das heisst spätestens 3 volle Tage vor dem Datum der nächsten Mitgliederversammlung, über die Mailingliste zugestellt worden sind.

> Who is responsible for creating/generating the agenda? The current SF president? Any SF board member? Any SF member? Have a function/button to automatically generate it? Generate it as the last point of each Plenum?

In the past, I was in favor of an opportunistic approach: The first person having a topic creates the open agenda by copying the template and placing it in the cloud. This approach has obviously failed. I thus suggest creating the agenda for the next plenum already during the plenum (for instance at the end) to make sure it is done. Any of the participants can do. It is only important that it is done.

> Likewise, a location to upload/post the minutes from the Plenum ASAP afterwards
Same location as for the minutes. Naming convention to be agreed. I personally like the following folder structure:

<Year>/<YYYY-MM-DD>/ <YYYY-MM-DD> Plenum - Minutes.md
The agenda and supplementary information can go into the same folder.

Additional note: I recommend using markdown for the agenda and minutes as it is simple, platform independent and fairly future proof.

> Language

In my view, English and German are both acceptable - whatever is more convenient for the minute taker. I also have room for mixed language documents. Let us not have the language barrier get in the way. Translating the minutes into both languages is in my view too much effort.