This page contains the Buzzpedia Charter, a policy that explains how collective decisions are to be made and enforced on Buzzpedia.
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.
A popular vote will be taken by a group of elected chairmen which will be expected to give exceptional regards to the most popular view held in discussion.
Matters requiring a vote
For raising issues that need to be voted on by a committee, the debate should be first pursued through a forum/ discussion tabs. For the time being. Unless the issue cannot be settled organically, the issue will progress to chairmen.
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
- any change greater than 50% (by word count) of an established page
Voting should be enacted only on major issues pertaining to the entire project. Not every admin is required to vote, but it is necessary to get the majority of the community to participate if a vote is enacted.
Allowing debate on an issue to continue until consensus is reached can be 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 while arousing and maintaining interest other than a dominant hierarchy that inhibits the authors and readers of the articles from interaction through domineering decisions.
Matters to be left to discussion by interested parties
Guidelines for civil discussions
Methods for resolving deadlocks
If the "deadlocks" is a disagreement between two parties then the decision should be made by a third party. There is no need for the whole class to settle an argument between two people.
Conditions where debate should be cut off
In some cases, where all else has failed, debate may need to be cut off for a timely decision to be made. In such a case, the unresolved debate should be taken care of via one of the other methods of decision making.
Unilateral Decision Making
In order to ensure the Buzzpedia runs smoothly and efficiently, a small subset of the users will be appointed to "super-user" 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.
Unilateral decision makers and their areas of responsibility
- Changes to site wide policy(i.e. Governance Policy, Style Rules, Source Rules, etc) will be carried out by moderators, there will be three moderators selected from each section. Moderators that do not carry out the will of the whole people, they can be removed as a moderator by the other moderators.
- Moderators should also be tasked with the everyday maintenance of the site, making sure that the Buzzpedia runs smoothly and efficiently.
These specific members of buzzpedia, committee of administrators, have specific duties subdivided corresponding to their administrative privileges: L1, L2, L3. All articles that have been modified more than 20% of their original content must be sent to the Board of Oprarior for approval. If a > 50% poll is observed, the editing may be approved, otherwise sent for re-editing to the Board of Edereous. If a poll hasn’t been conducted within 48 hours of the submission date, the edit is considered accepted.
L1: These are a group of administrators that may conduct/ participate on polls regarding edits, changes to the domain, and/or changes to any buzzpedia policies. The size of L1 status must not exceed 15% of the buzzpedia’s community. Members must be veteran buzzpedia users; they must have contributed at least 2 lengthy articles and edited 5 articles with meaningful contribution to the content of the articles. Powers: L1 members have the power to access lock important articles that are trademark to Georgia Tech and have been well established as “finished.” This prevents vandalism and controversy on well known facts.
L2: These administrators are of the L1 tier. The L2 administration population cannot exceed 10% of the 15% in L1 tier. The sole special power of this committee is to hire buzzpedia members into committees upon member's request/ interest. They can be allotted L1 status, L2 status. These members can also lock important articles from further editing.
L3: These administrators are of the L1 and L2 tier. These are top administrators that may ban IP addresses, users, or organizations. This committee may also hire users into L3 administrative status as they see fit. The population of L3 administrators must not exceed 1% of the L2 tier’s population. Grounds for dismissal:
- Advertisement on Buzzpedia
- Phishing on Buzzpedia users
- Harassment of articles and other users
- Unethical conduct
- Spamming on Buzzpedia
- Abusing administrative power
Administrator's major objective is to oversee the editing process and how close the project is to its original ideals. This administration also serves to preserve content that is vital and central to Georgia Tech’s history. Also the voting process gives a clear cut “go a head” for large editing that may be subjective to weather or not such large edits should be done or not, resulting in inconclusive debates/discussions . Locking articles is essential to preservation of Georgia Tech’s history. We should, once we have finished, and if the project is worthy, submit it as a concise digital summaries of Georgia Tech’s historical events to the Library of Archives.
Guidelines for making unilateral decisions
Methods for selecting, and removing, unilateral decision makers
When the governance policy is completed and ratified, each class will vote, or come to a consensus on who their moderators will be. This number, currently 3, will be the same from each class. This would lead us to have 9 initial moderators. If, at any time, the modeators feel as though they are overwhelmed by the amount of work they are having to do, they can appoint more moderators. But, they must abide by the following rules:
- All classes must be evenly represented
- 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
- The candidate must qualify requirements under Unilateral decision makers and their areas of responsibility heading (L1)
A simliar process is put forth for the removal of a moderator. Two-thirds of the existing moderators (except for the one being removed) must agree that the moderator in question is any or all of the following:
- Not doing the job adequately
- Abusing the power of the position
- Making decisions and/or changes without understanding what the general public wants
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.
Some users can be assigned admin status allowing them to lock pages, delete pages, and ban other users from the wiki. These powers will be needed to enforce community decisions.
Of the moderators chosen, one from each class is to be granted administrator privileges. It should be the moderator who has at least has the want to be an administrator and the technical knowledge of how the Buzzpedia works.
The administrator duites can be transferred within the moderators if the current administrator either no longer wants to be in the position or the other moderators feel that the administrator is not doing a competent job.
Assigning technical privileges
At the beginning of the Buzzpedia, there should be one administrator selected from each class (they are also a moderator). Thereby, the person selected gets the responsibilities of the moderator and of an administrator.
Guidelines for using technical privileges
The administrator privileges should only be used to carry out routine maintenance on the Buzzpedia, for example deleting pages that are obviously extra or not needed. The administrators are also responsible for banning members who are a disturbance to the site. In order to ban a member, ALL the administrators must agree unanimously that the member should be kicked out.
Formal Areas of Responsibility
The job of creating the Wiki may be easier if the work is formally subdivided.
Responsibilities and privileges of page creators
Page creators should not have any special say for minor edits to their pages. All major changes must be brought up for discussion. On the discussion page, the author has no special say and must present his argument along with all other contributors on the discussion page. If consensus is reached about a change for an article on the discussion page, then the ruling of the consensus must be carried out (change or no change to an article). In the event of a voting tie, the author of the article will be the deciding vote.
Committees are a good idea.
List of committees and their areas of responsibility
- 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 is not copied from an article and that its rightful authors get the notoriety they deserve.
Page Layout Committee (may be a smaller group of people)
Grammer Usage Committee
- The grammer usage committee should be ready to make sure correct English grammar is used, words are spelled right, and sentence format makes sense.
Citing Committee (making sure things are cited correctly)
Source Committee(making sure sources are valid and are appropriate to use)
Style Committee (making sure articles adhere to the Buzzpedia Style Guide)
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 meet once a week for a brief meeting to discuss the progress within each committee. This brief meeting will eliminate any major problems or issues between committees through frequent coordination and discussion.
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.
The Plagiarism committee should be notified whenever some adds material to the wiki so they can immediately check the material right away rather than scanning over a lot of material at once where they are less likely to catch pieces of plagiarism.
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.