PUG Rules of Association


The PlusNet UserGroup


Rules of Association


1.   NAME

The name of the organisation shall be PlusNet UserGroup, hereinafter referred to as PUG.

2.   AIMS

PUG's aims are: -

a.   To provide a dynamic, effective and business-like body to work in partnership with PlusNet plc for the benefit of customers within the entire PlusNet community.

b.   To help ensure that high-quality customer feedback and discussion is input directly into the relevant levels of PlusNet plc.

c.   To help ensure that PlusNet plc maintains day-to-day customer focus.

d.   To help drive PlusNet plc innovations and developments in a direction that promotes customer satisfaction and enhances marketing opportunities.

e.   To assist PlusNet plc in identifying, investigating and prioritising any service issues affecting customers.

f.   To promote a wider customer understanding of the services and technologies offered by PlusNet plc.

g.   To operate Campaigns and Projects to deal with or promote issues of interest or concern to the wider PlusNet Community.

h.   To coordinate customer beta testing of new functionality and content.

3.   MEMBERS

a.   Membership shall be open to all customers of PlusNet plc who are actively supportive of the aims of PUG as shown above. Classes of membership shall be determined by the Coordination Team (see Rule 4) and may include varying categories. Currently there are three categories of member:

* Full member
Responsible for the general organisation and operation of the UserGroup activities and liaison with PlusNet. Members in this category will have full voting rights and will be required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to protect Confidential Information which may be disclosed by PlusNet plc to the member.

* Supporting member
Providing assistance in website development, administering news, PUGIT, beta testing etc. Generally such members will not have voting rights on changes, but shall be consulted prior to any changes affecting their status or activities. Their opinions on other changes shall be considered by the Full members alongside those of Forum members in proposals for change of a more general nature.

* Forum member
General members, numbers limited only by the need to register on the PUG web site. Such members will not have voting rights although opinions expressed by Forum members shall be considered in any proposals for change put forward by the Coordination Team and voted on by the Full members.

NOTE:  Subject to Rule 3c, there is no restriction on members progressing through the categories provided that they
1. Want to and are able to devote the time.
2. Have the support of the Full membership.

Whilst there is no absolute maximum number of members defined in each category, practical reasons suggest that the Full membership is limited to 20 and a similar number for Supporting members. As PUG grows, these numbers will be reviewed by the Coordination Team.

b.   The Coordination Team may suspend or terminate the membership of any member whose activities, in the opinion of the Team, are prejudicial to PUG. Such members shall have the right of appeal to the Full members who shall make such arrangements as seem appropriate for the appeal to be heard taking into account the views expressed by the aggrieved member. The final decision shall be recorded in the PUG administration area and supplied to the member who may if so desired publish this in the open PUG forums. If it becomes clear (through a poll) that significant numbers of Forum members do not support the decision taken the Full members shall review the decision, including additional representation from a selection of Forum members chosen by the aggrieved member and/or the Full members. The reviewed decision shall than become final.

c.   Full and Supporting members will revert to Forum membership should they cease to be subscription customers of PlusNet plc or become members of staff.

3.1   Membership rules

1. Full members will be expected to contribute regularly to the PUG and / or the Community forums though no strict frequency of posting is defined. The Coordination Team shall review member contributions to the aims of PUG (including posting history) each year; a PM and email will be sent to those members seen as less effective seeking their agreement to revert to Forum membership. In the event of no response or disagreement to this change the Coordination Team shall decide in consultation with the Full members whether the change shall be enforced.

2. Notwithstanding the above, it is recognised that contribution to PUG is a voluntary activity and Real Life ™ will sometimes have to take precedence. No reasonable request to defer activity for up to six months will be refused.

3. Full or Supporting membership of PUG does not require specific technical expertise. Indeed those with particular skills in journalism or group management will be sought out as valued members in these categories.

4. Full members shall have the right to use the designation ‘PlusNet UserGroup member’  with PUG avatar against their posts in the PUG and Community forums; Supporting members may be described using a suitable title related to their main support activity in the PUG forums but shall not use the PUG avatar. Forum members shall have no special designation and shall not use the PUG avatar. However PlusNet staff members shall be described as such and may use a PlusNet avatar. Posts made by all members shall be regarded as their personal opinion unless (in the case of Full members only) it is stated otherwise, in such cases usually being described as “the PUG view”.

4.   ADMINISTRATION

a.   PUG shall be administered by a Coordination Team consisting nominally of five volunteers, including and headed by the Chairperson. Coordination Team members shall be Full members of PUG appointed on an annual basis and current members are eligible for re-appointment. The newly appointed Team shall take office once the appointment process is successfully concluded.

b.   The appointment process shall be initiated by one Full member acting as Facilitator (appointed by common consent of the members) posting an ‘Appointment of Coordination Team’ topic in the private PUG Issues forum. The text of the post shall be a ‘call for volunteers’ and members shall volunteer by replying within the topic; new participants are encouraged to volunteer and the Facilitator may also volunteer should he/she wish to do so. Members willing to act as Chairperson shall indicate this in their reply. This stage shall last up to 7 days and the Facilitator shall endeavour to establish a Team of appropriate size by encouraging negotiation among the volunteers, with inputs from other members. Assuming (and as soon as) this is achieved the Facilitator shall make a summary post listing the proposed membership and inviting the Full members to confirm this by posting ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ as replies in the topic. 7 days shall be allowed for confirmation posts to be made, however once a majority view is achieved the process may conclude with the Facilitator declaring the result in the topic and locking it as an indication to members that the process is closed. In the event that the Facilitator is unable to achieve a Team of appropriate size, or if Full members reject the Team proposed by the Facilitator, the current Coordination Team shall resolve the matter in accordance with Rule 4g.

c.   The Coordination Team shall have the power to co-opt volunteers from the Full membership to fill casual vacancies within their team.

d.   The Coordination Team shall also have the power to invite individuals to become Full members or Supporting members to undertake other tasks which are deemed to be necessary for the proper and effective conduct of PUG's affairs. In exercising this power the Coordination Team shall seek the views of current Full and Supporting members, and members of staff, and invite volunteers through the PUG and Community Site forums when they consider this to be appropriate.

e.   The Coordination Team shall meet at such intervals as it may deem necessary, but not less frequently than once a year. Meetings held by electronic means (including conference calls) shall be acceptable. All Team members shall be informed, by a post in the Meetings, Minutes and Admin forum, of the date, time and agenda of any meeting at least seven days in advance. A quorum shall consist of three Coordination Team members. If voting on any proposal results in a tie, then the Chairperson of the meeting shall have a second, casting, vote. Minutes of the proceedings of all meetings shall be taken, confirmed and recorded in such manner as the Team shall, from time to time, determine. A copy of the minutes shall be made available to Full members by posting them in the Meetings, Minutes and Admin forum as soon after the meeting as possible, but within seven days.

f.   The Coordination Team may appoint sub-teams with specific remits; sub-teams shall operate in such manner and on such conditions as the Coordination Team may determine.

g.   Inevitably, from time to time situations will arise which are not explicitly covered by these Rules of Association. The Coordination Team shall resolve these using a combination of good business practice, common sense and courtesy. Once the issues are resolved the Team shall consider whether amendments to the Rules are needed and when appropriate propose suitable changes to the Full members (Rule 7).

5.   FINANCE

Currently PUG has neither income nor expenditure and this situation is not expected to change in the foreseeable future. However should this change this Rule will be expanded to provide for suitable management of and accounting for such assets.

The PUG website runs on hardware provided by, and utilises software provided and maintained by PlusNet. PUG acknowledges PlusNet’s contribution to its operations but asserts its independence with regard to editorial control of site content and the conduct of its forums. This independence shall apply even if such content is posted elsewhere, e.g. on the Community site.

PUG also acknowledges reimbursement of expenses necessarily incurred by Full members when attending joint meetings with PlusNet staff at an appropriate venue.

6.   GENERAL MEETINGS

The Full members believe few general members would participate in a formal ‘general’ meeting hence such a meeting will not be held (even through the website) unless there is clear evidence of support for same (e.g. through votes cast on a poll conducted on the website).

Nevertheless it is necessary to ensure visibility is given to UserGroup activities and achievements and to this end a suitable summary will be published at least annually on the front page and in The PUG Place forum. The Coordination Team will prepare such summaries with Full and Supporting members given 7 days to comment and suggest changes prior to publication.

7.   THE RULES OF ASSOCIATION

A resolution to change the Rules of Association must be supported by at least two Full members with the proposer posting details of the resolution as a new topic in the Meetings, Minutes and Admin forum and separate reply posts confirming the support of the seconder(s); a member of the Coordination Team will acknowledge the proposal by adding a suitable reply and opening the proposal for discussion for a period of 7 days. After that time (or earlier if it appears discussion has concluded) the text of the final proposal will be posted (if necessary) and voting opened to run for 7 days, however voting may conclude earlier if the eventual outcome is clear. Voting shall be by members posting solely the word 'for' or 'against' as a reply in the topic after voting opens. The result of the vote shall be declared by a member of the Coordination Team posting a closing reply in the topic and locking it to signify voting is concluded.

Subject to the resolution being adopted (two-thirds majority of votes cast) the amended Rules will come into force at the conclusion of the vote.

8.   DISSOLUTION

Any resolution for the dissolution of PUG must be proposed by not less than four of the Full members by posting such as a separate topic in the Meetings, Minutes and Admin forum with separate reply posts indicating support of the proposers; a member of the Coordination Team will indicate the Team is aware of the proposal by adding a suitable reply. Such a resolution must be presented to ALL categories of PUG members at least 6 weeks prior to any vote seeking approval of such a resolution. Such presentation shall consist of a notice on the front page of the website linking to a topic in The PUG Place forum where comments/opinions shall be invited. At the conclusion of the consultation period the Full members shall give due consideration to opinions expressed by the general membership, then voting shall be carried out using the procedure described in Rule 7. Approval will require two-thirds majority of the votes cast and if approved the Chairperson will advise PlusNet plc of the decision. Any assets remaining on the dissolution of PUG after satisfying any outstanding debts and liabilities shall not be distributed amongst the members of PUG but shall be donated to such organisation(s) as the Full members may direct.

Issue 1.05   06/03/2008

Change History
Issue Date      Summary of Change
1.0 18/02/2008 Original
1.01 20/02/2008 Additional Rule 4i, flexibility in Rule 4a and minor improvements
1.02 26/02/2008 Rules 4a-4c substantially revised and amalgamated as 4a-4b. Remaining sub-rules renumbered.
1.03 27/02/2008 Rules 4e and 4f merged. Minor change to 4g with 4g-4h renumbered.
1.04 28/02/2008 Revised last sentence of Rule 4b + typos corrected.
1.05 06/03/2008 Minor change to Rule 4e, Rule 7 completely revised.
Article last edited on Tuesday, 09-Mar-2010 13:07 PM