Geek Meetings

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Geek Meetings

Meetings by Consent


Geek Meetings is a standard procedure for handling meetings. It is based upon the MIBS SRC3. Geek Meetings was created as an alternative to the MIBS to update language, add new items, and remove items that didn't fit in with the Mission of this group. This document may only be amended in a way prescribed by the By Laws of the governing group. The current original incantation was molded into what it is by the QC Co-Lab, and distributed under a Creative Commons license.

From the original creators HakDC

It is designed to be a replacement for Robert's Rules of Order. Version 1.0 was written by Nick Farr who said:file:///opt/browser_ads/Commercial.html"Roberts Rules of Order was designed for people who like meetings and can't stand each other. MIBS SRC3 is designed for people who hate meetings, generally get along pretty well, but can sometimes get pretty opinionated and obstinate about thorny issues AND tend to ramble on at length. This process is designed to bring drama down to a manageable level."

The Basic Ideas

Be a closer/finisher/doer

  • Fix problems BEFORE the meeting. If it does not REQUIRE a vote do not vote.
  • If you have the best idea compile supporters/facts/benefits/and possible downsides.
  • Be prepared to explain the good and bad!
  • No solution is perfect so please don't sugar coat.

Keep meetings as short as possible

  • Keep everyone informed
  • Keep the discussion on track while encouraging different ideas and perspective.
  • Give everyone a chance to speak and offer solutions
  • Seek out information on your own before the meeting, try to answer your own question before the meeting.

Handle problems outside of meetings

  • Take basic input and solve problems outside of meetings Most everything should be decided on a wiki, over mailing lists and any other communication method that reaches all members.
  • Come to meetings with solutions, finalize them in the meeting.
  • Keep drama manageable
  • Be willing to try something new/different.
  • Try to achieve unanimous consensus
  • When consensus does not seem possible, suggest the the group postpone and re-work until you can reach consensus.
  • When solutions keep being postponed, the majority rules.

Before the meeting:

If you are working on something cool, bring your elevator pitch!

  • Let everyone at the meeting know about it!
  • Post to the wiki, blog, etc.
  • Stick around after the meeting to demo, answer questions, etc.
  • Make sure you are ready to act. Things move quickly and your idea can become a project in no time.

Avoid bringing issues to meetings. Solve them on your own.

  • Avoid making new policies.
  • Avoid bureaucracy.
  • Avoid special meetings.
  • Use e-mail, wiki, IRC, Jabber, tacking notices to the wall and any other communication method to define the problem and seek solutions.

When issues cannot be solved by daily consensus...

When issues cannot be solved by daily consensus (or require membership/board approval for legal reasons) submit them for the next meeting as an agenda item. Make sure each agenda item has:

  • A BRIEF SUMMARY of the relevant problem
  • A more comprehensive discussion of
    • WHAT the problem is
    • WHY it's relevant to the membership, board, etc.
    • WHO is involved
    • BUDGET if any is required
  • Describe the proposed solutions. List pros and cons of each solution.
  • Propose ONE BEST SOLUTION as official agenda proposal to be adopted in the "Consent Agenda"
  • Suggest the time it should take to achieve resolution on the issue.

All agenda items should be submitted at least 48 hours in advance of a meeting, but may be added at any meeting by any member at the discretion of the presiding officer -- provided what the issue to be discussed and how to resolve it meets the guidelines outlined above.

The Meeting Agenda

Each meeting should have an agenda. The cut-off time for addition to or revision of the agenda's items is three days preceding a regular meeting. This allows time for the members to review the agenda, proposals, and to see if they have any objections worthy of pulling the item from the agenda.

The agenda should include

Draft minutes of the last meeting

  • The Secretary shall post them in a way prescribed by the guidelines above or by any special governing By laws or required legal posting.
  • Highlight all of the relevant ideas and arguments presented by each member for each agenda item.
  • Provide a list of members present at each meeting.
  • Provide a list of member reports, and a relevant contact point for each report.
  • The minutes of any meeting shall be posted in draft form immediately after the meeting and continually revised by the members until "perfect".
  • In a perfect meeting, members have read the minutes and made any necessary corrections by three days following a member meeting.

The Consent Agenda

  • Each of the newly proposed agenda items first appears in the consent agenda.
  • Any member present at any meeting may pull an item out of the consent agenda for discussion, at which point it goes under "New Business".
  • If nobody objects to the solutions presented by the consent agenda, everything in the consent agenda passes by consensus. (This is to encourage people to discuss solutions and policies ahead of time.)
  • In a perfect meeting, the consent agenda passes everything without debate, because it was discussed and agreed to before the meeting.
  • The consent agenda shall be frozen three days prior to the meeting to encourage members to review and discuss the agenda in its final form prior to the meeting.

Officer Reports

  • Each of the Officers should submit an official report by three days before the regular meeting.
  • Questions from any member of interest to the membership at large should be fielded at this time by the officers.
  • In a perfect meeting, everyone already asked their questions of the officers and the officers included those answers in their report.

Member Reports

  • Each member who has work or a proposed project they wish to share with the group may ask for time to address to the group now.
  • In no case will there be more than one minute to talk and one minute to answer quick questions.
  • Have a wiki space or other communications or meeting time preplanned to announce for members to get involved with your project.
  • A contact point will be entered into the minutes.
  • If there are many agenda items to discuss, the presiding officer may limit Member Reports time to ten minutes.
  • Members should, but need not put their intention to give a report in the agenda.

Old Business

  • These are the issues that remained unresolved from the last meeting.
  • In a perfect meeting, there is no old business.

New Business

  • These are the issues from the consent agenda that were pulled out for discussion.
  • The presiding officer may allow for a brief discussion of any new business not previously assigned on the agenda.
  • This should only be for a purpose that reflects the mission of the group
  • No action may be taken on new business not on the agenda
  • New business brought up, and not acted upon will be moved to the next agendas "Old Business"
  • In a perfect meeting, there is no new business.


  • No meeting should last more than 60 minutes
  • The presiding officer may extend the meeting by up to thirty (30) minutes twice.
  • After 120 minutes the presiding officer must call the meeting into adjournment.

Meeting Procedures

One person speaks at a time

  • No person speaks for more than one minute when others are waiting to speak.
  • The presiding officer will recognize only one person speaking at any time and clearly indicate who that is.
  • The presiding officer will strive to make sure each person is heard in discussion or each person's objection is heard before giving any person a second chance to talk.

Asking for objections.

  • The presiding officer will ask for objections to a given item or action.
    • When they say, "Any objections?" or "Anything else?", they are asking for objections.
  • Any member may object simply by indicating "Yes!".
  • If there are no objections after three seconds, then the item or action is approved, and/or the meeting moves on.
  • If any member objects then a vote will be called. Unless specifically noted if the objection receives one third (1/3) consent then discussion for the topic will continue for an additional five minutes or until another motion is called for.

Asking to extend time.

  • The presiding officer shall give a verbal and visual cue of time remaining in each item. 5, 2, 1 and "Time" cues should be given.
  • If time is called, a person may finish their sentence. After the sentence is finished, any member except the one speaking may call out, "More time, please!".
  • The presiding officer will ask, "Any objections?"
    • If there are no objections to granting more time, the same amount of time as originally allotted or as indicated below is granted. Otherwise, the meeting moves on.
    • If objections exist, it goes to a majority vote: "All in favor of extending time?" (Count those in favor), "All opposed to extending time" (Count those opposed). Majority vote rules.
    • In the case of an agenda item under discussion if an extension of time fails, or a solution has not been reached by the first extension of time, it automatically goes to old business for the next meeting. (Members will seek resolution through other communication methods by the next meeting.)

Asking for additions/changes.

  • The presiding officer will ask for additions or changes to be made, saying "Anything else?".
  • Any member may propose an addition by indicating "Yes!" then stating what they would like to add or change.
  • If there are no further additions or changes after three seconds, the meeting moves on.

Ask for a vote.

  • After one minute of discussion on old business or five minutes of discussion on any new business item, any member may ask for a vote between speakers by saying, "Vote please!".
  • The presiding officer will ask for objections
  • If the majority has objections to calling a vote, discussion continues with the same time allotted as if no up or down request was made.
  • If there are no objections to a vote, or the majority wants the vote, The presiding officer will Clarify the proposals being discussed
  • Each of the proposals will be stated preceded by "All in favor of?".
  • Each member may vote only once for each alternative.
  • The alternative with the highest votes wins and the meeting moves on.

Meeting Process

At the scheduled time, if people are generally ready, The presiding officer will start the meeting by saying, "Get comfortable and get quiet, we're starting," and ask the following questions or making the following recommended statements in the following order:

"Does anyone have any items to pull out of the consent agenda for discussion?"

  • If yes, wait for members to pull things out of the consent agenda.
  • Any member present may pull an item out of the consent agenda.
  • Who pulls items out must be recorded.
  • Consent agenda items are discussed in the order they appeared in the agenda.
  • Whatever is left in the consent agenda is approved and the meeting moves on.

"Does anyone have any other new items to add to the agenda"

  • Any member may add themselves to Member Reports provided time is available. If more than 10 members have a report, the presiding officer may limit member reports time.
  • New business items that do not appear in the consent agenda may only be added at the discretion of the presiding officer.

"Does anyone have any revisions to the minutes?"

  • If yes, wait for revisions.
  • Revisions should be a free flow discussion between the the Secretary and the group at large.

Members may only change what they said or acted upon.

  • If there are no further revisions, ask for objections to moving on.
  • Revisions should take no more than 5 minutes.
  • If time is reached, Ask to Extend Time.
    • Time may only be extended by 5 minutes once.
  • The minutes revision becomes a New Business agenda item.

"Do the officers have their reports?"

  • Each officer gets three minutes to give a report, and five minutes of Q&A.
  • Each officer reports may be extended for time once by majority vote.
  • Another extension automatically puts the report in New Business.
  • Once nobody responds to, "Anything else?", or time is reached and not extended, the meeting moves on.

"Do the Members have their reports?"

  • Members on the agenda and members who have added themselves to the Member Reports section have one minute to talk and one minute for Q&A.
  • The secretary will reflect the speaker, and a relevant contact point in the minutes.

"Moving on to old business!"

  • Each item of old business may be discussed for no more than 5 minutes.
  • If no solution to the issue raised in Old Business is reached after two meetings, the item may not be discussed at a meeting for two weeks.

"Moving on to new business."

  • Those submitting the proposal will be allowed no more than 10 minutes to explain the proposal and have a Q&A session.
  • After those submitting the proposal are finished, the time remaining is used for discussion.


  • If all business is taken care of, the meeting is automatically adjourned by declaration of the presiding officer
  • 60 Minutes after the meeting begins the chair must call time for the meeting.
  • Time may be extended by thirty (30) minutes twice.
  • At 120 minutes, the meeting shall be automatically adjourned by declaration of the presiding officer.
  • All remaining agenda items are moved into old business for the next meeting.


Roberts Rules of Order

MIBS Simplified Rules of Coordinated Consensus through Chaos

Nick Farr

Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported

Version History

1.2 - 3/7/2013 - Updated formatting and transferred from Google Docs to Mediawiki format. Versioning will now be handled by Mediawiki.

1.1 - 3/14/2010 - Updated language regarding objections when not specifically spelled out.

1.0 - 3/11/2010 - First Published