RantWoman hereby offers some recommended edits to the proposed Appendix on friendly use of Communications Technology, particularly the part about conference calls. RantWoman is posting thoughts on her blog partly as an exercise in transparency, partly as an invitation for Friends to share the discernment through comments or preparation for live in-perosn discussions.
Rantwoman emits these proposed edits in a certain sense of humility and peculiar humor EXCEPT that RantWoman really means it about asking to be recognized on conference calls by saying "Clerk please," as opposed to for instance "Madame Chair, this is RantWoman" which is what she would have to say on non-Quaker conference calls or meetings of various blindness consumer organizations.
(RantWoman also humbly adores conference calls precisely because everyone is on the same footing visually. This of course is also why many Friends deeply attached to non-verbal visual signalling just hate conference calls. As the draft notes, part of our work is to cope together in different situations!)
Appendix: Friendly Use of Comm Tech – 6/21/2015 – page 1
Friendly Use of Communication Technology
Technology can bridge geographic distance and can simplify time and travel considerations in our Yearly Meeting. Emails, conference calls, and video connections can provide access for people who have difficulties with mobility, hearing, or vision. We usefully remain patient and tender with each other during continuing changes in media, also with using the devices themselves, and the uneven rate of adoption.
This section considers the use of conference calls, email, and social media, specifically blogs.
[Blogs only? What about Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, random email listservs...? RantWoman concurs with the Clerk of the NPYM IT committee: this proposed text could benefit from attention by someone with some close familiarity with IT issues. 'nuff said for now?]
Query for Friends in the use of any communication technology:
********What does it mean for our communications technologies to serve as channels for movement of the Holy Spirit?
How can we make our Friendly communications accessible to all, across our differences in use of online media, ability to hear and see, and personal reactions to voiced disagreement?
Telephone and internet conference calls may be used for many purposes, including committee meetings and consultations, worship-sharing, and clearness processes. They have proven to be a medium through which Spirit can move and connect Friends together. Not every Friends group has found conference calls suitable for careful discernment of the sense of the meeting.To open a conference call to the leadings of the Holy Spirit, the following suggestions may be helpful.
For the clerk:
Arrange a time for the meeting in advance.
Send the agenda, related materials, and contact numbers out several days ahead.
Encourage Friends to center themselves before calling in.
Encourage Friends to begin the call with greeting one another. Then open with silent worship before turning to the meeting agenda.
********* Ask Friends to ask to be recognized by saying "Clerk Please, this is ..." and then waiting for the clerk to recognize them.
When the group is large or not familiar with each other’s voices, ask people to say their names each time they speak.
Remind Friends to pause between comments.
Keep track of who has spoken and invite those who have been quieter to speak.
If a decision is being made, ask if all are united in it. Give plenty of opportunity for any participant to voice hesitations.
Ask for silence if Friends need to re-center in the Spirit.
Conclude the conversation within an hour and a half.
Finish the time together with an opportunity for silent worship, or suggest that Friends continue in worship after the call.
*********Agree on a venue for Friends with leadings after a call to share thoughts or elaborate on something which arises during the call.
For the participants:
*********NEVER attempt to participate in a conference call while driving. PULL OVER! If you need to commit civil disobedience about something, find a safer outlet than distracted driving. (Or as RantWoman's first typo said, distractedderiving.)
Enter into worship before joining the conference call.
Enter the conference on time with materials and agenda close at hand.
State your name each time you speak.
**********Ask to be recognized: "Clerk please, this is ..."
Be concise in your comments.
Take care not to interrupt or talk over anyone. [This is the reason to say "Clerk please..." and then let the Clerk recognize people.
State when you become lost or confused. Ask for silence when needed.
********If participating by cell or cordless phone, Remain in a location with good reception.
Use a quiet space away from disruptive noise and activity. If there is background noise, mute your phone.
Queries for Friends using conference calls
Have we determined that a conference call is appropriate to the task at hand and the group involved?
When deciding to use a conference call, how do we accommodate Deaf and hard-of-hearing Friends?
Do we conduct our conference calls in a spirit of worship?
How do we interpret a Friend’s silence during a conference call?
********Do we consider options and needs for archiving the digital audio recording?