Ok, Part Three: The generic department!
This is meant to describe the overall concept of how a department works. That way we can later define as few or as many departments as we need to address our needs. (Departments for setting, system, and social stuff are kind of a no-duh - we need em.) This is the template for all the others so we know how things are supposed to work between departments and within a given department in general.
Departments are a collection of trained active players, led by two leads, that address specific needs for the site and players within an assigned topic. Individual site members may be members of more than one department, but a lead may only serve as a lead for one department at a time.
Each department is considered a peer and equal to other departments on the site and within their assigned topic the department is allowed to make additional policy and decisions on that topic provided the policies do not violate the guiding principles outlined in this document. Departments do not have authority outside their assigned topic.
Departments are led by two leads, who are responsible for stepping in for each other when the other is unavailable or in a conflict of interest position. They are also responsible for resolving topical disputes within the department, defining and providing training for site members who wish to participate in department projects and votes, and defining training and documentation for future leads of their department.
Where a topic bridges two or more departments, the department leads and department members should work together to address their parts of the topic to create policy that addresses the needs and concerns of all involved departments.
Proposals are a formal suggestion to a department to change a departmental policy or ruling and may be put forth by any active player. This proposal is announced to all and must be available for review and voting by all department members for two weeks before it may be considered agreed upon by the department.
During that two week window the proposal may be updated to address specific issues noted by reviewers. If issues are brought up then effort to account for the issue should be made and changes if needed made to the proposal. The two week approval window is automatically extended from the moment of revision for another two weeks to allow voters to change votes in light of new information.
At the end of the two week window, the results of the proposal are made visible. If an objection still exists, mediation by the appropriate lead(s) may be attempted.
Mediating within a Department
This process is meant to address disagreements regarding the department’s assigned topics - disputes of fact not personal disputes between department members. This process is intended to provide a structure for departments to handle the day-to-day needs without overwhelming the department leads with minor requests.
When two department members disagree on a departmental topic matter they should first attempt to discuss the situation between themselves and find a mutually agreeable solution. If that fails, the department members may then turn to others in the department for assistance in coming to a mutual agreement. If that fails, they may turn to the leads for the department for the relevant topic. Before entering mediation, the situation must first be attempted to be resolved and two or more possible outcomes defined for the leads to consider.
Once a lead has been called to make the decision, all affected parties agree to accept the decision of the department lead where the decision is not in violation of guiding principles.
Leads are obligated to consider the available outcomes first before they may create another option to resolve the conflict. They must show their process of thought, and the logic used to determine it should be included in the decision writeup so it may inform any future decisions and ensure that transparency has been maintained. The decision is only considered finalized once the decision writeup is put into the wiki for record keeping.
Conflict of Interest
Oftentimes, conflict of interest is something people do without realizing it out of an instinct to be kind. While it can be dangerous, it is often not malicious, and it is very important to keep that in mind. As a social community, conflict of interest will naturally grow amongst friends.
Because site members may have more than one role, they may easily find themselves in a position where they are making a judgement on a situations which will affect their role on the site or affect one of their characters, or the players or characters of a close friend, family member, or relationship. Likewise, bias good or ill may exist between site members for past actions, decisions or rulings that need to be accounted for.
In those situations, the site member is considered to be in conflict of interest. Being in conflict of interest does not automatically render the site member unable to voice opinion or observe the ruling on the decision, but it does mean their bias needs to be taken into account when it comes to making a decision on the situation.
In these cases, a separate neutral party should be involved to assist in the situation even if under normal circumstances they would not be called on. For example: A departmental policy that does not normally call for outside department input, or a lead decision in which one of the leads is in conflict of interest may require another member to step in. The neutral party should be agreed on by the members in conflict, but if that is not possible they may be requested by members of the department not including those in conflict of interest.
Any questions, comments, or even just a simple "Yep - that all looks about right" is good feedback here.