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.
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 while arousing and maintaining interest other than 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 presented with a viable and dignified sources.
Methods for resolving deadlocks
If the "deadlocks" is a disagreement between two parties then the decision should be made by a disinterested moderator, as there is no need for the entirety of Buzzpedia to settle small arguments between two parties.
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 expedited by a moderator.
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 and determine 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.
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:
- Making edits to site-wide policy pages (i.e. Governance Policy, Style Rules, Source Rules, etc) may be carried out by moderators
- Moderators 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.
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:
- Assigning members to specific committees (e.g., the plagiarism committee).
- 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 vote, or come to a consensus on who their moderators will be. These four moderators will be the same from each section. This would lead us to have 12 initial moderators. Additionally, one moderator from each section is to be chosen as an administrator. 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 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.
A popular vote will be organized by superusers 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 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.
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
A Board of editors will consist of 3 main committees:
- 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. This entails using any internet plagiarism checking site they please.
Page style and source committee (may be a smaller group of people)
- Review articles flagged for incorrect source citation
- Review articles flagged for incorrect source citation.
- Review articles flagged or suspected for plagiarized content, reconcile conflicts and report any habitual plagiarizers to the Board of Ederous with Level 3 operator status.
Grammar 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.
- Also aid in the preservation of uniform formal "voice" on buzzpedia.
A Board of 'Peace keepers' will also be created to establish neutrality and ethics in wikipedia.
These specific members of the buzzpedia community are “neutrality” keepers. Their sole duty is to review controversial articles, subjective content, or flagged web pages so that buzzpedia’s rules and regulations are upheld uniformly as closely as possible. They are responsible for peace among different communities, neutrality of content posted, and check for potentially subjective wording. Board of peacekeepers are also responsible for reporting/ flaggeing articles that are “stumps” or “dead end.” Content needs to be added or the topic needs to be removed if there is insufficient data. Board of Pacefiers have L1 status to access locked articles. No board member may have L2 or L3 administrative status. Members can only interpret how neutral an article or vote is, editing greater than 20% by word count to keep neutrality needs approval by the administration. The population of the committee may not exceed 10% of the total buzzpedia member population.
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.
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.