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[ga] Proposal for mailing list policy

Here's an attempt at formulating a coherent and useful mailing list policy.
It would be useful if we could take this as a basis for discussion; what I 
expect to happen is that we get a "sense of the list" and modify the 
proposal in light of comments, make a new proposal near the end of the 
week, and attempt to take an opinion poll on the result, ending early next 

One thing that I'm particularly unsure about in this proposal is the 
requirement to be able to verify identity if demanded; this is a costly 
operation with many inherent problems wrt privacy/free speech, standards of 
proof and so on.
If implemented at all, I think the suggested method is something like what 
it would have to be, but I'd like to see if there is list support for 
either keeping it or dropping it altogether.


             Harald Tveit Alvestrand
Version 0.1 - for discussion on the GA list

The General Assembly (GA) is defined as follows:
[quote from the DNSO documents at http://www.dnso.org/]

(a) The GA shall be an open forum for participation in the work of the DNSO, and open to all who are willing to contribute effort to the work of the DNSO. The participants in the GA should be individuals who have a knowledge of and an interest in issues pertaining to the areas for which the DNSO has primary responsibility, and who are willing to contribute time, effort and expertise to the work of the DNSO, including work item proposal and development, discussion of work items, draft document preparation, and participation in research and drafting committees and working groups. 

(b) The GA shall meet at least once a year, if possible in conjunction with regularly scheduled meetings of the Board. To the maximum extent practicable, all meetings should be available for online attendance as well as physical attendance. 

(c) The costs of GA meetings shall be the responsibility of the DNSO, which may levy an equitable, cost-based fee on GA attendees to recoup those costs. There shall be no other fees required to participate in the GA. 

(d) The GA shall nominate, pursuant to procedures adopted by the NC and approved by the Board, persons to serve on the Board in those seats reserved for the DNSO. 

For purposes of its internal operation, the General Assembly maintains mailing lists.
These are as follows:

- announce@dnso.org for announcements from the DNSO
- ga@dnso.org for discussion among GA members on GA business

Both lists are open for subscription by any E-mail address.
Both lists are archived.
The membership of the lists is not made public.

The announce list is available for official pronouncements only.
The ga list is open for mail from any subscribed members, subject to constraints given below.

The purpose of the GA list is to allow discussion between GA members on GA matters. It is not itself a decision-making body.

Note: Neither list claims to be an authoritiative listing of the members of the GA, but when a mail is sent to the announce list, it is considered to be published to the GA membership.

The following entities have the right to post to the GA mailing list:

- GA members who are members of the GA mailing list, posting in their own name,
  who have posting rights in good standing
- The staff of the DNSO list management

The following rules apply to content of messages on the GA list:

- The messages must be relevant to the business of the GA
- The messages must observe a minimum of decorum, including:
  - Not indulging in personal attacks, insults or slander
  - Not using offensive language
- If the GA Chair or Sergeant-at-arms asks for a limit to the nuber of posts
  per person per day, this must be respected
- The size of messages should be kept reasonable
Certain persons appointed by the GA Chair (the Sergeants-At-Arms) have the task of monitoring the list for posts that violate these rules.
These are selected by the GA Chair for a given period of time, but may be removed from the role by the GA Chair or at their own request at any time.
Normally the appointment would be for 1 year.

A Sergeant-At-Arms may impose 2 sanctions against offenders:

- Monitoring of posts. This will cause delay of postings from the affected individual until a list moderator approves them as being within the content rules, or rejects them
- Suspension of posting rights. This will cause mail from that person not to be sent to the GA list.

Both sanctions are imposed for a limited period of time (typically 2 weeks), and are announced on the mailing list. Repeat offenders may get correspondingly longer sentences (for instance 4 weeks for a second offense, 8 weeks for a third).
The period is decided by the sergeant-at-arms.

Note that due to technical issues, monitoring one member's postings may cause monitoring to be applied to other members' posts. This is to be avoided as far as possible.

The action of the sergeant-at-arms may be appealed to the GA Chair.

The rules above refer to "members posting in their own name".
This assumes that a member is a person, and that his name can be ascertained.

Given the properties of the E-mail environment, this is not trivial. Hence, the following method is applied:

- In the normal case, anyone capable of subscribing to the list is assumed to be
  a person unless the list management is otherwise notified.
  The special list "ga-monitor@dnso.org" is provided for those email addresses that
  are not persons, but only wish to get a copy of GA messages.
- If the identity behind some email address set is challenged, the Sergeant-At-Arms may ask the challenged party for proof of identity. The Sergeant-at-arms has discretion in deciding whether to take action upon a challenge, and to decide what proof of identity is acceptable in each particular case.
A notarized copy of a civil identification (such as a driver's license or passport) is always acceptable.
The claimed identity belonging to the email address is recorded by the Sergeant-at-arms, and the finding is announced to the list. The challenged party may ask the Sergeant-at-arms not to publish his civil identity; this shall be respected.

In the case where no identity can be proved, or it is not possible to prove distinct identities for 2 mail addresses, the posting right of the email address whose distinct identity could not be proven is permanently suspended.

There exists an open list that can be subscribed to: ga-unfiltered@dnso.org.
This will get *all* mail sent to ga@dnso.org, no restrictions (except for possibly technical restrictions like message size).
It will not be archved on the DNSO site; others may choose to archive it if they feel like it.

The existence of this list will make it possible to have independent verification of what the filtering function does.

Addresses are removed from the mailing list if:

- delivery of mail to that address is impossible over a period of at least 7 days
- delivery of mail causes disruptive automatic behaviour (such as bounce messages
  sent to the mailing list, causing loops)
These matters are handled by the list maintainers, and no notification is done.
A list of addresses removed for technical reasons can be viewed at the DNSO website.
Harald Tveit Alvestrand, EDB Maxware, Norway