The Proposal Reconsideration Proposal

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The Proposal Reconsideration Proposal

I plan on bringing this proposal to the March 19th GA, and have it heard using the discussion process.


A few of Occupy Boston's funding proposals have resulted in hard feelings. Generally, these hard feelings come about when a (large) funding proposal is brought to GA and passed, and people feel blind-sighted because they didn't know the proposal was coming, and were not at GA to object.

This problem is made worse by two factors:

  • We often don't know in advance what proposals are being brought to GA, and
  • The tactic of "packing" GAs, where the proposer brings enough friends to overcome a block; after the GA, the proposer and their friends disappear.

I'd like to propose a change to the way we handle funding proposals, to create more opportunity for participation, and to make the process fairer and more democratic. Ultimately, I'd like to see Occupy Boston become better at managing resources.


I ask that any proposal involving more than $500 be subject to a one-GA "settling period". This settling period would work as follows:

  • Funds or materials are not disbursed until the next GA after the proposal passes. This is the settling period.
  • During the following GA, anyone can ask for the proposal to be "reconsidered".
  • During reconsideration, the proposal is discussed again. The outcome of reconsideration is that (a) the original proposal stands, (b) the proposal is amended (if the original proposer is there to discuss the amendments), or (c) is rescinded.
  • If there are no calls for reconsideration, the proposal stands, and disbursements can be made.

In short, reconsideration provides a one-GA cycle where we can gather additional input, and even change our minds.

I realize that this settling period will slow down some decision making. But I hope that the extra time allows us to make decisions that are acceptable to a greater number of people.

Steve's "proposal reconsideration " proposal

Fantastic idea, if we had had it in place at the time of earlier decisions, like S17, we might have avoided some dissention and held onto some funds that were--- spent in ways not helpful to the OB mission. And, it deals with still present potential problem of "GA packing" by a self selected faction---
It is even a step toward improving GA "accountabilty", a step proposed from many sides.

One or two more well considered "reforms" of OB, and it will have the loose but accountable frame that will carry it forward for the rest of the ...Marathon

Feedback from the Community Forum

Some feedback from the community forum list:

From eden (*)

Steve, this looks great. I'd change the 'acceptance' to 'pending acceptance ' or such so, it is quite clear during the settling period that it may be amended or overturned.

From amberpaw (*)

Steve - this seems sensible to me. My own life is quite complex and having time to gather my thoughts and be attentive should help me be more involved again. Deborah

From Joe C (*)

But, I had asked for OXYcontin.....

Seriously--- wonderful proposal, solid

From terra (*)

love it!

(*) These links refer to messages in the community forum archive. The archive is only available to list members. In order to view the original messages, you'll need to be a list member, and you'll need to provide your email address and password.

Feedback on packing

From cmax1088

Not sure if its worth mentioning... but the "packing" of GA was often done by both the pro-proposal as well as anti-proposal people. Perhaps that happened less as time went on, but it was certainly something I experienced when I did attend GAs.

That's true, packing happens on both sides. I've mentioned packing as an aggravating factor for funding matters, but the proposal I've offered doesn't address the issue in general. It would be a great problem to solve, but I don't believe this is the solution.

Feedback on proposal background facts

From Linda (private email)

Your background facts for your proposal aren't correct: for both of those proposals, the sponsors came to a GA, announced their proposals & their intention to come back to the next GA to ask for action on them. This has been the difficulty: people have not investigated before getting bent out of shape & wasted a lot if time & energy & good will on this. I was present for all 4 GAs. Can never remember my username for the wiki but will appreciate you sharing this info. The s17 proposal was brought by Tessa & Dan s. The radio one by John Dwyer & others. You can check with them.

I think your proposal is fine; doesn't do any harm. But it needs to be stated that the policy has been recognized and followed in those 2 instances, though not for the recent proposal re NLG, by those who brought those 2. The harm has come,& continues to come it seems to me, from people who have gotten burnt out/ disappointed/frustrated/angry & act out of those feelings, bringing resentments & using those resentments on line too, as weapons. Strong language and accurate for my experience. I am working hard not to do the same....

Linda, let me begin by quoting a line from my proposal

I don't mean to pass judgment on these proposals, or on the people who brought them. Instead, I simply want to acknowledge that some were very upset about the passage of these proposals.

I'm sure you saw it, but I'd like to reiterate the point anyway :)

I was present for the GA when the S17 proposal passed; I took notes that evening. I remember a good turnout, and the S17 proposal getting a positive receiption; I felt good about supporting it.

I wasn't present for the Unregular Radio proposal, but it seemed well-received too.

And that's kind of the point: these went well when presented at GA, but people still got "bent out of shape" afterwards.

Perhaps news of passed proposals travels more quickly than news of upcoming proposals. We certainly give more visibility to the ones that pass.


the policy has been recognized and followed in those 2 instances

Here, I disagree. As far as I know, our convention has been "once a proposal passes, it's passed". What I'm proposing is more along the lines of "once a proposal passes, we have a period of time to collectively change our minds".

IMHO, it would be great if we could (prominently) publish all proposals in advance, but we haven't been successful in doing that. Putting time on the back end seems like the next best thing.

Proposal Reconsideration Proposal Passed