Independent Media Centre Ireland

Indymedia Ireland To Formalise Its Operating Rules

category national | indymedia ireland | feature author Wednesday June 15, 2005 16:04author by Indymedia Ireland Editorial Group - Indymedia Ireland

It only took us 4 years to decide who we are, what we do and how we work

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Over almost 4 years of operation Indymedia Ireland have evolved a set of working practices and processes for keeping this site running and making it live up to its goals as best we can. Until now most of these operating rules have been hidden away among mountains of posts on the newswire, or even hidden inside the heads of individual editors. At our recent meeting we discussed the following documents which formalise how we work. We hope that they will make it easier for new people to get involved and understand how we work.

These documents are scheduled to be fully discussed, amended and agreed at our next meeting on June 29th. In the meantime, we offer them up to our users for any constructive criticisms that they might have. This is in keeping with our philosophy of facilitating as many voices and opinions as possible in all discussions about policy. The last major document that we agreed, our editorial guidelines were initally discussed on this newswire article and some of the suggested amendments were finally incorporated into our current document.

We are on the verge of updating our software to the new Oscailt 3.0 version which should give us the technical capability of expanding indymedia Ireland in a number of new areas. We hope that local collectives can start in areas around the country, with their own newswires on the site. We also hope to provide space to new types of material. Although we might be technically capable of all these things, we are in need of as many people with ideas and enthusiasm as ever.

So why not think about getting involved in some of the work of indymedia Ireland? At this stage, you need almost no technical skills to provide useful assistance in running the site and if computers aren't your thing, there are a huge number of other ways in which you can help out in making Indymedia Ireland a real voice of the people. We have nothing to lose but our mental chains.

Indymedia Ireland Collective - Basic Rules

  1. The indymedia collective is the ultimate decision making body for indymedia Ireland.
  2. Membership of the collective is made up of all those who do a certain minimum amount of work for indymedia and who the collective accepts as a member. (merely contributing material to the newswire publicising one's own events or group is not considered indymedia work)
  3. All members of the collective have an equal say in decisions.
  4. The collective is the sole responsible body for setting mandates for working groups, for agreeing communications with the international network and for agreeing the aims and principles of indymedia ireland.
  5. The collective makes decisions at real-world meetings which should be held once a month and should have an agenda circulated in advance.Members who can not attend collective meetings can vote by proxy on any of the agenda items.
  6. Although we have yet to produce a statement of our basic aims and principles, we adhere to the principles of the global indymedia network and the network's Principles of Unity
  7. Collective members are encouraged to join the Independent Media Support Group, which currently funds our operating costs.
  8. The running of the web-site is mandated to the internet collective.

Indymedia Ireland Internet Collective - How We Work

Section 1. What is the Indymedia Ireland Internet Collective and what is its mandate?

  1. The indymedia Ireland Internet Collective is the group responsible for the Internet presence of Indymedia Ireland, in particular for the management of the site and domain It is a sub-group of the overall Indymedia Ireland Collective [see above] and fulfills the mandate given by that group. Roughly speaking this mandate is to run all aspects of the website in accordace with the aims of the indymedia collective.
  2. All members of the Internet Collective have the following rights
    1. The right to vote on promotion of articles to features. If any 3 members vote for an article before there are any objections it is immediately promoted without any delay.
    2. The right to vote on the promotion of photos to the top of the newswire column. If any 2 members vote to feature a photo, it is featured immediately.
    3. The right to vote on the appointment of members and the definition of mandates for the sub-groups and the distribution of administration and moderation priveleges on the site. These decisions follow the default decision making process.
    4. The right to create and propose features and any other general privileges decided by the collective.
    5. The right to vote on changes to the editorial guidelines, to add new topics, regions etc and to vote on any major proposed changes to the website.

Section 2. General Rules for Internet Collective Members

  1. Collective members are people who have been granted a username and password by the collective. All members have equal say in decisions. Decisions are made on the mailing list.
  2. Anybody can apply to join the collective Alternatively an existing member can propose a new member.
  3. The internet collective operates according to the maxim 'dictatorship of the doers'. This means that applicant members will be expected to have demonstrated a willingness to do work for the indymedia project before they are accepted as members.
  4. An applicant member becomes a full member following a decision by the internet collective to accept their application.
  5. Any member who has been inactive for 3 months will be deemed to have resigned, although they can of course rejoin by going through the membership process again.
  6. Members should work to develop the site in line with the aims and principles of the Indymedia Ireland Collective.
  7. Members should follow all decisions related to their role as an imc volunteer taken by the editorial collective and act within their mandate. Otherwise members are free to carry out whatever political activity they please as long as they make it clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of indymedia. We suggest that members specify that they are "1 of IMC" or something similar when acting in a personal capacity.
  8. Members should disclose any significant political affiliations such as membership of political parties, organisations, etc. to the rest of the collective.
  9. Members should respect the privacy of other members and not use their privileges to access or share any information about others without the explicit agreement of the collective.
  10. Membership privileges can only be revoked by the request of the member him/herself, or by a decision of the collective that the member is no longer trusted to follow their mandate.

Section 3. Sub-groups of the Internet Collective.

  1. There are three sub-groups of the Internet Collective, Adminsitrators, Techies and Newswire Moderators (daleks).
  2. The Newswire Moderators' mandate is to moderate the content on the newswire in line with the editorial guidelines.
  3. The Admininstrators' Mandate is to carry out any changes to the oscailt configuration, such as adding new topics, adding new members etc. that the collective decides.
  4. The Techies' mandate is to ensure that the site is functioning properly, to take care of the hosting and to guard the security of the site and the privacy of users, to the best of their ability.

General Rules For Decision Making

  1. All decisions require somebody to propose it. Anybody can put forward a proposal, whether they are a member or not. The proposer should carry out the decision once approved or should find a member to volunteer to do so.
  2. Generally decision making methods for actions specify the number of approvals required, the time allowed for objections and a mechanism for resolving disagreements in cases where there are objections.
  3. The collective, or any subgroup can agree a particular decision making mechanism for any specific action within their mandate.
  4. If there is no specific decision making method defined for a particular action, the following default method will be used

Default Method For Decision Making

To be used in cases where there is no more-specific process agreed.

  1. The decision is approved if a proposal is supported by three members and there are no objections.
  2. For online decisions, the proposer should specify a time limit. If there are any objections to this time-limit it defaults to one week..
  3. If any member objects to the proposal, the proposal is debated in an attempt to reach a consensus.
  4. Debates should have a specific time limit. For online decisions this defaults to one week. The proposer can, at any stage in the debate, modify their proposal in an attempt to reach consensus.
  5. At the end of the time limit, each member can express their opinion.
    • Yes - signifying support for the current proposal
    • No - signifying that the member is against the proposal but has no problem going along with it if it is the majority opinion
    • Extension - signifying a wish to extend the debate
    • Block - signifying a strong opposition to the proposal as it stands.
  6. If any member votes to extend or block, a new time limit is agreed and the debate continues. In the case of real-world meetings, the decision is deferred until the next meeting.
  7. For any particular decision, each member can only vote to extend once. Members can block repeatedly, but only the first one carries an extension.
  8. Whenever a time limit is reached and there are no outstanding extensions, the votes are tallied. If there are no blocks and more Yes votes than No votes, the decision is passed. Otherwise it fails.
  9. If a majority vote yes and there are outstanding blocks at the end of the process, the collective will engage in a crisis discussion to attempt to resolve the problem. This discussion will culminate in one of the following outcomes:
    • The blocker(s) being excluded from the collective (requires agreement of 75% of members)
    • The collective dividing in two and sharing the existing resources of the collective to run two autonomous IMC's which will cooperate in those areas where they do agree.
    • The overturning of the original proposal


PDF Document printable PDF file of organisational structure chart 0.02 Mb

Indymedia Ireland is a media collective. We are independent volunteer citizen journalists producing and distributing the authentic voices of the people. Indymedia Ireland is an open news project where anyone can post their own news, comment, videos or photos about Ireland or related matters.