Transparency and Accountability Standards

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Transparency and accountability are critical to being able to include a diverse and wide enough body of people to truly be "for the people" and "by the people".

Occupy Boston's [Declaration of Occupation] tell us that "We are committed to living the values of transparency, equality, accountability, awareness, sustainability, and compassion as we struggle against corporate predation, injustice, and oppression."

This working group will discuss "the future of the movement", in terms of how to ensure that what we do is both inclusive and transparent enough to be held accountable by its people.

Some of the questions that we may want to discuss:

How does a lack of transparency provide an opportunity for people to exclude others from the conversation?

Do we want to be "at least as good" as the government that we are criticising as "not transparent or accountable enough"?

Is there a fine line between the freedom to create and too much transparency?

What is that line?

How do we empower people, while also having an appropriate amount of transparency?

What do we consider "inclusive enough"? What forms of media are necessary, as a group, to notify people of meetings, discussions, etc, so that they can be part of those discussions?

Do we want "actual rules", guidelines? Or just a place to discuss conventions that we wish to try to respect?

What do we do about "affinity groups"?

Specific guidelines could be things like

1. how long before/after a new WG meets for the first time should it:

- tell the GA that it exists?
- start posting its meetings?
- post a page on the wiki with info about how to join?

2. does a concall or email list exchange constitute a "first meeting"?

3. how much time before a meeting should an agenda be posted?

4. what should the maximum time after a meeting be, before minutes are posted?

5. do meeting have to be in public spaces? or are private homes that aren't accessible to the public OK?

6. can WG members talk about meeting topics outside of the email lists and/or public meetings?

7. what about "affinity groups"? is this a fair way to "get around" the GA's call for transparency/accountability?

In general, transparency activists "demand" that governmental groups post agenda 48 working hours before a meeting. And that only posted topics be discussed at a meeting.


Background:

A rather long discussion about this topic occurred at the 2/2/12 GA that was cancelled due to lack of quorum. Kendra took notes, which will be available soon. There were 15-20 people there. Some came, some left.

People may want to review the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law guide, which was a hard fought for level of transparency in Massachusetts that became a standard for the country:

http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/oml-guide-032411.pdf

Full details on the law are available here:

http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/open-meeting-law/

Contact: volunteer@occupyboston.org for more info.

An in person meeting time is not set up yet. But there will be discussion online. Please contact us if you are interested in developing transparency standards. Further discussion proposed meeting a half hour before the first Saturday GA of the month. If you're interested, please write. Or call 978 808 7173

Back in 2011, the [Transparency Working Group] was started, primarily to provide transparency "among" WGs. The Transparency Standards WG is for discussiong standards for "practices".