GV Community Council FAQ

Why is GV forming a Community Council?

Up to now, GV’s core team and board have been responsible for most of the strategizing and thinking about organizational issues such as fundraising, our governance model and our editorial mission. We’ve worked through strategic questions with the community at Summits, on email lists, and through questionnaires, but have found that our community has become too large for community-wide discussions over email or messaging platforms.

We have therefore decided to build a Council—a group of community members who will commit to considering and debating, in a thoughtful, structured fashion, the key issues that we need to decide as we craft our plans for the future.

What will the Community Council do, exactly?

The Council will discuss and debate four key, interlocking issues related to GV’s future, devoting two weeks to each. For each issue, the core team will share an issue paper which Council members will be expected to read and discuss. We will use an email list and the Zoom video platform for scheduled conversations.

At the end of each two-week period, we will express our preferences and opinions about the issue using the D21 polling platform. We will then repeat the process to address the next issue on the agenda, until all four issues have been covered.

Who can join the Council?

Any person who falls into one or more of the following categories may participate:

  • Contributors who have been part of the GV community for at least three months and have published a post or translation in the past five years qualify for Council membership. This includes participants in campaigns, collaborative posts such as the Netizen Report, and Rising Voices microgrant project leads
  • All core team members, board members, newsroom editors, translation managers, and other contractors, qualify for membership
  • Community members who participated more than five years ago are also encouraged to apply

All council members must be in good standing with regard to Global Voices’ Community Ethics and Harassment Policy.

How much time will members need to devote to the Community Council?

We expect that each Council member will need to spend one hour per week on Council-related activities. This will be split between reading the issue paper, discussing the issue on email and Zoom, and voicing preferences on D21. Those who are interested in further research or deep discussion on the issues may find themselves spending two or three hours per week. The Council will be constituted on or around September 1, and discussions and deliberations will end around December 1, 2018.

I’ve only recently joined GV and don’t know much about the community. Can I still join the Council?

Of course! The insights of new GVers will be critical in helping us determine our future. Before each Council session, we’ll be sharing “issue papers” describing in detail the issue we plan to discuss and debate.

What topics will the Council discuss?

The Council will deliberate on these four issues:

  1. Organizational structure: Decision-making authority for the organization currently rests with the core team and the boards of Global Voices. Does this governance model serve the current—and future—needs of GV, or should it be amended?
  2. Breadth of Coverage: We cover a broad range of issues in our stories. This allows volunteers to write about a wide variety of topics, but it also creates greater demands for editors. Should we maintain this breath of coverage? Or should we seek to narrow our focus and cover certain issues in greater depth?
  3. Level of Inclusivity: We are a highly inclusive community. Our openness to relatively inexperienced contributors allows us to maintain an extremely diverse community, but it also limits our capacity to produce high-quality stories and advocacy campaigns. Should we maintain this level of inclusiveness? Or should we prioritize contributors with specialized skills and expertise in our areas of interest?
  4. Fundraising: Global Voices is supported mostly by non-governmental grant-making institutions. We have never accepted direct support from government institutions, nor have we sought advertising revenue. Should we change our approach to fundraising so that we are able to support our work to the fullest extent possible?

What does “consultative” mean, exactly? Will the Council make decisions about GV’s future?

The Council’s role will be to debate and discuss issues that are fundamental to Global Voices. The Community Council will not be a decision-making body, but a group that will deliberate on the issues articulated above. The results of these deliberations will inform the decisions and plans that the board and core team will make about our future.

What’s the relationship between the Council, the core team, and the GV board?

The core team and members of the GV board will also serve on the Council. The core team and board will be responsible for compiling and evaluating the results of Council deliberations, incorporating them into our organizational strategy, and creating and executing an action plan for our future based on that strategy.

Where can I find the materials related to the Council?

All materials about the Community Council will be available on the Community Blog, in the “Community Council” category.

What is the deadline for Council applications?

August 30, 2018

Will the Council materials be available in languages other than English?

We encourage Lingua teams to translate materials related to the Council. All translated materials will be published on the relevant Lingua site. If you have questions about translation, please talk to our Lingua Manager, Mohamed ElGohary.

Who will have access to Council notes, meeting recordings and poll results?

Minutes, notes and video/audio recordings of Council discussions will be made available to Council members, who will be expected to keep them confidential. Poll results and analyses will be shared with the wider GV Community.