Governance document Helping Circle

As discussed at the last Team Governance and Working Methods meeting, both the Reef’s Governance document and Working Methods document need revisions to bring them up-to-date with how the project has developed since they were first written. As we decided at the same meeting, Lie and Chris were to form a helping circle to manage the process of revising the Governance document (it was actually supposed to be about the Working Methods document, but we realised fairly quickly that it was not the right one to start with).

This post is for all suggestions, comments and so on related to eventually putting forward a proposal to replace certain sections of the document. The hope is that we can rewrite the relevant sections, get feedback from Team Governance and the rest of the community, and put together a proposal containing all the revisions that can be put forward at a plenary in January (2023).

There are 6 sections to the Governance document. Here is each of them, together with what needs to happen next:

Section 1 - Preamble
This is four fairly straightforward bullet points about overarching values. There’s nothing obvious that needs to change, but someone may see something which can be improved.

Section 2 - Membership
This has been rewritten recently and the new version has already been consented to at a plenary meeting. However, there is currently an active thread being led by Alberto regarding full membership, so it would seem logical to incorporate that into this proposal. Also, as the version consented to at the plenary meeting hasn’t yet been changed with that of the existing document, this may as well also happen all at the same time at the end of this current process.

Section 3 - Decision-making
Lie is taking responsibility for rewriting this section.

Section 4 - Teams
Chris is taking responsibility for rewriting this section. Some of it will include incorporating the document on team leaders that Sophie and Sarah have worked on recently.

Section 5 - Accountability
Lie is taking responsibility for rewriting this section, after completing a related workshop via the SociocracyforAll site.

Section 6 - Conflict resolution
Chris is taking responsibility for liaising with Team Conflict Management, who are currently in the process of clarifying everything to do with this area.

Feel free to get involved via this thread…



Here is a link to the document, which I forgot to put in the original post:

Also, update regarding section 2: there has now been two revisions to this section, both of which have been consented to at separate plenaries .


Hello @ChrisM,

It’s taken me a while, mostly because I have too many other Reef things going on, but definitely also because I found it much harder than expected.

I saved my work in the "Resources’ folder in the Team Governance folder (internal link).

Section 2 on decision-making

Here’s some highlights about the changes I made or did not make to the section on decision-making:

  • I created an extra level of importance (so now there are 5 instead of 4). The reasoning is that this makes it possible to:

    • Create a level 5 that is decided by consensus and which is reserved for decisions on membership and on significant financial matters

    • Create a level 4 that is decided by full members only (by consent), for decisions that are costly to reverse.

  • Written consent is not covered separately, because I think it is covered partially by the way we take decisions of importance level 2 and partially by urgent decisions (new section).

Section 5 on accountability

This section probably needs further work, but I need more time or people’s ideas to be able to move forward.

What I’d like to add here is a bit of text on how to deal with power and responsibility. The debate at the last plenary meeting triggered me quite a bit in that sense. It’s a long story, but it mostly relates to a fear of what Starhawk calls “empowerment to the midline”, in her book “The Empowerment Manual”. Can we maybe dedicate some time to a short discussion on this, to see if this is worth looking into, and if yes, how we could do that?

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Hi @Lee,

I haven’t got time to have more than the briefest of looks at this right now, but it already seems like you’ve done some excellent work :slight_smile:

By the time we meet for our helping circle meeting on Friday, I will have posted my contribution here and had a proper look at yours…

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Hi @Lee,

I have uploaded the document I’m working on for Section 4 - Teams onto Nextcloud:

It turned out to also be much harder than I expected, and it is very far from finished :neutral_face: Having said that, there’s a few parts which I’m quite happy with, mostly in the annexes. And none of the things I’ve struggled with so far are particularly hard to clarify, but unfortunately I haven’t had as much time as I’d hoped recently to do the research.

Looking forward to meeting tomorrow and having a chat about all of our respective sections!


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@Sarah and @Sophie_Beese, Chris and I just had a meeting to discuss some issues related to the review of the governance document, and we realised that what we have on written consent in the revised document may actually all we need. So we figured we flag this, so that maybe you can put your helping circle on written consent on hold until we have a clearer view on what is actually still needed?

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