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The arbitration committee makes the final decision over contested network bans and reports of operator authority abuse. The committee consists of two regular users and three network operators, who are appointed by the lead network administrator. Once appointed, the committee members' terms last for six months, and members of the committee may only be removed by the lead network administrator in cases of serious network rule violations or serious operator abuse. In the event that a committee member leaves the committee before his term is completed, the lead network administrator can appoint someone to replace the committee member for the remainder of that term. The committee may choose to elect a chairperson at any time, who's responsibility is to coordinate the committee, write statements on behalf of the committee, and do whatever administrative work needs to be done.
An official case begins when someone sends a complaint to one of the arbitration committee members. The committee may choose to hear the case themselves or they may give the case to a server administrator or the lead network administrator, whichever is the most appropriate. The administrator can then handle the case independently of the committee, with full discretion, but the arbitration committee may at any time choose to take over the case again.
If the arbitration committee choses to hear a case, the users involved will be asked to join the official arbitration channel one-by-one with the committee members, giving each of them an opportunity to explain their point-of-view. Any evidence or testimonies given to a committee member is subject to perjury, which is enforced by a fixed network ban of 21 days and automatic loss of any network authority. All users testifying must be reminded of this before the testifying begins.
By default, any evidence, testimonies, and official contact with committee members, except for deliberations, will be made publicly available. In the event that any material needs to be submitted privately to the committee, the committee may choose to accept it as private with a majority. Once the material is accepted, the committee may not reveal the information without the consent of the submitter. Private material cannot be used as evidence.
After the evidence and testimonies have been collected, the committee members will deliberate and vote in closed session. The committee's authority is limited to placing restrictions on the relevant users in a complaint or placing restrictions on network operator power – administrative abuse is outside the jurisdiction of the committee. The committee is expected to form a consensus during the deliberations, and voting is used in order to confirm the consensus or when the consensus cannot be formed.
A final decision is made when a majority of committee members approve of a proposal. If a final decision cannot be made or if a quorum of two in support cannot be reached, then the final decision is made by the lead network administrator. Once a final decision has been made, a member of the majority side of the committee, and optionally the minority, will write a statement which includes relevant statements on policy, summaries of evidence submitted for the case, and decrees on what should be done. The arbitration committee may amend any decisions at a later date at their discretion.
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Infrastructure voting procedure
- The infrastructure team members will give their vote directly to the team leader.
- If there are two options to vote for, the team members can vote for either option. If there are more than two options to vote for, the team members should list each option in order from what they approve of most to least and the votes will be counted using a condorcet method selected by the team leader, any member may request to know the specific codorcet method in use. Team members may exclude options from their list that they have no preference with or may choose to abstain completely from voting if they have no opinion at all.
- By default, everyone voting will have three days to turn in their vote. The team leader should attempt to contact any voters that are unavailable to give them an opportunity to vote.
- If the person voting opposes the action, they must briefly explain why they oppose it. Everyone voting must be made aware of the opposal and the reason for it, and anyone who already voted must be given an opportunity to re-vote.
- It is recommended that the issue is discussed prior to the vote, preferably in #opers unless there is a reason to conduct the conversation in private.
- If a tie exists, the vote fails, a strict majority is required.
- Votes are a public matter, discussions may be held in confidence, but all votes made are open-ballot and will be available for inspection purposes to all ECNet staff and users at request.