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This page contains the Buzzpedia Charter, a policy that explains how collective decisions are to be made and enforced on Buzzpedia.


Decision Making

Like Wikipedia, Buzzpedia uses a hybrid form of decision making. The sections below spell out when different forms of governance should be applied, and how they should be carried out.


Allowing debate on an issue to continue until consensus is reached is a good way to get input from all interested parties. It also allows for decisions to be made organically and informally. However, it may not always be possible to reach consensus in a timely manner, as disagreements may be hard to overcome.

Resolving issues through a consensus encourages group participation because the act of discussion develops and maintains interest in the project. Other methods of decision making can create a dominant hierarchy that inhibits the authors and readers of the articles from interaction through domineering decisions.

Guidelines for civil discussions

  • All arguments pertaining the credibility of a certain piece of information should be supported with credible sources.
  • When participating in discussions about Buzzpedia policy and content, remember to treat others on the wiki as you would wish to be treated!
  • Discussions on Buzzpedia are about arguments not people. Remember to direct criticism and support towards the arguments made, not the people making them.

Methods for resolving deadlocks

In some cases discussion may "deadlock" in a disagreement between two parties, which they cannot resolve in a timely matter. In such a case, the decision should be made by a disinterested moderator. Parties who believe they have a deadlocked discussion may ask for help on the Buzzpedia:Moderator's noticeboard. Moderators should base their decisions on the strength of the arguments made by the involved parties. Moderators are encouraged to ask for help from the instructor if they are having difficulty evaluating the arguments made by their classmates. In the case of large, heated discussions, Moderators are encouraged to take a survey get a sense of the majority opinion in the case.

Executive Decision Making (Superusers)

In order to ensure the Buzzpedia runs smoothly and efficiently, a small subset of the users will be appointed to "superuser" status. These moderators are in charge of making sure that the general will of the people gets carried out quickly and correctly. Their job is vital in keeping the project on track and on time. These specific members of Buzzpedia have specific duties and responsibilities corresponding to their administrative privileges: moderators and administrators. It is important to note that superusers can be removed if they abuse their special privileges.

A superuser's major objective is to oversee the editing process. This administration also serves to preserve content that is vital and central to Georgia Tech’s history.

Executive Decision Makers and Their Areas of Responsibility


Moderators serve as arbitrators first and foremost. There will be four moderators selected from each section. Pending substantive evidence, moderators who are unfit of their status can be demoted by a popular vote of other moderators or by administrators. Moderators have the following responsibilities:

  • Moderators are responsible for making edits to site-wide policy pages (i.e. Governance Policy, Style Rules, Source Rules, etc)
    • Site-wide policy pages should only be edited after the changes to policy have been decided on via a popular vote.
  • Moderators have the power to lock important articles that have been well established as “finished.” This prevents vandalism and controversy on well known facts.
  • Moderators are responsible for resolving debates between users, as described in the consensus section above.

Administrators are tasked with the everyday maintenance of the site, making sure that the Buzzpedia runs smoothly and efficiently. This involves page deletion, user bans, and user disputes that have been escalated by moderators. Administrators have the following responsibilities:

  • Admins must perform all the same tasks as moderators
  • Banning IP addresses, users, or organizations.
  • Promoting or demoting users to/from moderator status.
  • Deleting pages that have been marked for deletion.

Guidelines for Making Executive Decisions

If at least 75% of admins from a given section agree on a decision on a certain topic, and at least 75% of admins from another section disagree on their decision, each section should be able to follow through with their own decision as long as it abides the general rules of Buzzpedia, much like state laws must abide federal laws.

Methods for Selecting, and Removing, Executive Decision Makers

When the governance policy is completed and ratified, each section will select four moderators. Those interested in being moderators should volunteer on the Buzzpedia:Moderator volunteer board. If more than four volunteers come forward from any given section, four will be selected by an in-class vote on Friday, October 22. If four volunteers do not come forward from any given section by Friday, October 22, the instructor will appoint needed moderators based on the editing activity on the site to date. The instructor will appoint the most active Buzzpedia editors from each section to fill any empty moderator positions.

Additionally, one moderator from each section is to be chosen as an administrator. Moderators should indicate whether or not they wish to be their section's administrator. If more than one moderator wants administrator status, an in-class election will be held. If no moderator volunteers to be administrator from any given section, the instructor will appoint the most active moderator from that section as administrator.

If, at any time, the moderators feel as though they are overwhelmed by the amount of work they are having to do, they can appoint more moderators or step down from their positions. The appointing of moderators after the initial selection must abide by the following rules:

  • All sections must be evenly represented (i.e., if an additional moderator is appointed from a single section, the remaining sections may appoint one moderator each).
  • The number of moderators can never exceed 15% of the total number of registered users on Buzzpedia.
  • The majority of the existing moderators agree that more moderators are needed.
  • The majority of the existing moderators agree the the proposed moderator is a good fit for the needs of Buzzpedia.

A simliar process is put forth for the removal of a moderator. Two-thirds of the existing moderators (with the exception of the one selected for removal) must agree that the moderator in question is:

  • Not doing the job adequately,
  • Abusing the power of the position, or
  • Making decisions or changes of content based on their personal opinons, and without the support of other Buzzpedia members.

If at any point, a moderator wants to step down, they may do so for any reason. In order to fill the void created, a new moderator from the same class should be appointed by the existing moderators.

Popular Vote

A popular vote will be organized by moderators for matters concerning the majority of Buzzpedia users, as detailed below.

Matters requiring a vote

Only major issues that would enact large changes within the Buzzpedia will require a vote. Such issues pertain to:

  • any changes in source guide policies
  • any changes in governance policies
  • any changes in style guide policies

Voting procedures

Voting should be enacted only on major issues pertaining to the entire project. Not every user is required to vote, but it is necessary to get the majority of the community to participate if a vote is enacted.

Polls must have a reasonably short window of time in order to limit the time it takes to conduct a vote. It is the responsibility of users to actively check Buzzpedia and stay up to date with ongoing polls.The number of votes must passed a determined threshold in order for the poll to be considered valid.

Ongoing votes will be posted in the form of surveys on the Buzzpedia:Site Policy Voting Page


The job of creating the Wiki may be easier if the work is formally subdivided. Committees are a good idea because they allow an even distribution of workload instead of it all having to be done by one person. By spreading out the workload, the quality of work should be greater than if one person had to do everything.

List of committees and their areas of responsibility

Each committee is linked to the committee's homepage, which is used to organize committee activity

  • Buzzpedia:Plagiarism Committee
    • The Plagiarism Committee should be ready to make sure references match up with the information provided in a user's article. Their job includes but is not limited to :
      • Making sure information in an article is not copied from an outside source
      • Making sure that the rightful authors of all sources used on Buzzpedia get the credit they deserve
      • Making use of both internet plagiarism checking sites and manual methods to detect plagarism
      • Reviewing articles flagged for incorrect source citation.
      • Review articles flagged or suspected for plagiarized content, reconcile conflicts and report any habitual plagiarizers to the Buzzpedia:Moderator's noticeboard
  • Buzzpedia:Grammar and Usage Committee
    • The Grammar and Usage Committee will
      • Ensure Buzzpedia uses correct English grammar and spelling
      • Edit awkward or difficult to understand passages to make them easier to read
      • Ensure that all Buzzpedia articles are consistent with the Buzzpedia:Style Guide
      • Suggest needed improvements to the Style Guide for possible adoption by the class on the Buzzpedia:Moderator's noticeboard. Moderators should organize votes to approve major changes to the style guide.
  • Buzzpedia:Page Format Committee
    • The Page Format Committee will work to improve the "look and feel" of Buzzpedia. Their responsibilities include:
      • Ensuring that all images on Buzzpedia are available for legal re-use
      • Ensuring that pages are composed using the principles of good design, including attention to vertical lines, chunking, and balance
      • Ensuring that both internal and external links are used correctly
      • Designing and implementing an attractive home page and other navigation pages for Buzzpedia

Oversight of committee work

There will be a committee chair in charge of his or her committee's work. This chair will make sure that the work in his or her committee is spread out equally and that the work is getting done. If the committee chair fails to do this, then the chairs for other committees have the right to "impeach" the chair and select a new one.

Coordination between committees

Each student must volunteer for at least one committee he or she feels they will contribute most to. A user is less likely to do their job if they do not like their committee. Each student should think carefully about the committee they choose in order to make having committees successful.

All the head committee chairs should have contact with one another once a week for a brief discussion of the progress within each committee. This discussion may be held electronically or in person.

Committee membership

Each student must volunteer to be on one committee. No committee may have more than 25 members. Volunteer for membership in a committee on the committee's homepage.

Forming new committees

To form a new committee, suggest the committee desired on the Buzzpedia:Moderator's noticeboard. Moderator's should form any committee proposed, unless the formation of the committee is opposed by other users. In the case of an opposed committee, moderators should hold a vote to decide whether or not the committee should be formed.

Plagiarism Procedures

Plagiarism is a serious threat to the wiki, and must be policed against. However it can be difficult to diagnose plagiarism, and accusing someone of academic dishonesty is a serious matter. For this reason, the following rules have been established to govern how the Buzzpedia project deals with possible cases of plagiarism.

Methods for detecting plagiarism

Plagiarism is a hard thing to spot if one is not actively searching for it. To detect plagiarism, all sources should be checked to make sure that a contributor has correctly cited information and has not taken paragraphs of work that is not original work of their own.

If plagiarism is detected, the page can be marked with the "Suspected Plagiarism" category.

Notification of suspected plagiarism

An author should be notified of suspected plagiarism through the discussion tab of the respective article. The author should then be given sufficient time (3-4 days) to correctly alter the article.

If the author does not fix the plagiarism in their article after the respected time, a moderater will either step in or assign someone to step in and fix the article.

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