Metro DC DSA Mass Communications Policy

Metro DC DSA Mass Communications Policy

Section 1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to give the Steering Committee a framework for approving requests from members that would involve sending communications through the chapter managed systems that would be considered a “mass communication” (defined in Section 2 of this policy). The reason for this is because Metro DC DSA (hereafter referred to as “the chapter”) manages comms systems that contain over 5000 emails and thousands of personal phone numbers. Excessive use of these systems can lead to a number of things that would be a serious detriment to the organizing work of the membership. Some examples include (but aren’t limited to) mass unsubscribing to the chapter email list by members or supporters, or email services such as Gmail flagging emails from the chapter as spam for excessive use.

The goal of this policy isn’t to prevent members from using our collective infrastructure to grow the work of the chapter and its various projects. The goal of this policy is simply to establish objective criteria for how requests are approved, so that when those questions come up it isn’t simply left to the personal tastes of the officers and volunteers charged with managing those requests and to help ensure the requests that are approved represent areas of work that are deeply and widely supported by members.

Section 2. Definition

Mass communications or mass comms refers to emails, text messages and any other electronic communications where the target of the request would comprise a significant portion of the total chapter-wide list. This would specifically apply (but isn’t limited to) chapter-wide emails and mass texts. A general rule of thumb is any communication where the target would exceed 500 people. This is a general rule and not intended as a hard and fast threshold.

Section 3. Requesting Mass Communications

Mass communications shall be requested through the Red Desk system. This is the only method by which requests can be made.

In order for a request to be considered for approval, the member making the request (hereafter referred to as “the member”) or working group, committee, or branch (hereafter referred to collectively as “the working group”) must fulfil the following criteria:

The member must be a member of Metro DC DSA.
The member must be making the request on behalf of a working group that is formally recognized as outlined in the chapter bylaws.
The working group must have designated member(whether these are the chair, secretary, steward, etc) of that working group which have been duly elected by the membership of that working group to take on responsibility for submitting requests.
The member must be one of those elected officers of the working group.
The request must be made no less than 72 hours ahead of the desired send date.

The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping a current list of all working groups that meet these requirements and the members empowered to make those requests. Working groups shall be required to notify the Secretary of any changes in their executive structure and be able to provide documentation regarding officer elections upon request.

Section 4. Exemptions

The only bodies exempt from the requirements outlined in Section 3 shall be the Administrative Committee and the Publications Committee, as they are the only standing committees in the chapter and whose governance and leadership are enumerated explicitly in the chapter’s bylaws. Their requests will still require approval as outlined in Section 5 of this policy.

The Secretary or Steering Committee are empowered to waive the 72 hour notice in exceptional circumstance at their discretion.

Section 5. Approval

Members who fulfil the requirements outlined in Section 4 are eligible for approval.

All mass communications must be approved by either the Secretary or by a properly noticed majority vote of the Steering Committee.

Even though these requirements are met, the request may still be denied or deferred. In those cases the Secretary will work with the member to make any changes necessary so that the request can be fulfilled. Some of these changes might include language in the communication, length, targets, or date. The Secretary may also recommend alternative platforms for the communication. If for any reason the request is denied outright the Secretary will provide the member with a reason in writing.

Section 6. Appeals

Members can appeal any decision by the Secretary to the Steering Committee, who can overturn the decisions by a simple majority vote. Decision by the Steering Committee can be appealed to the General Body and subject to a vote if properly seconded. Such appeals shall be considered to be on their “third read” for the purposes of voting.

Section 7. Penalties

Members with permission levels to grant chapter-wide email requests but do so without approval from the appropriate officers may be subject to discipline. This can include a warning or revoking some or all permissions and access. If it is believed that a member willfully and maliciously abused their access that matter will be investigated and may lead to more severe disciplinary action by Steering. Steering committee members who have been found to have broken this policy may be subject to discipline by the Steering Committee.

Approved by Steering on 9/15/2020