Mission Statement

The Open and Free Technology Community (henceforth referred to as “OFTC” or “the Network”) was founded at the end of 2001 by a group of experienced members of the Open Source and Free Software communities aiming to provide these communities with better communication, development, and support infrastructure. Our goal is to provide stable services to members of the community in any part of the world, while listening closely to their needs and desires.

Administrative Structure

The Administrative Structure of the Network is the system of governance the Network will use. Any action any member of Staff takes as Staff shall be recorded in the Network’s records as factually as is possible.

The following outlines all Staff positions.

Network Operations Committee

The Network Operations Committee (henceforth referred to as the “NOC”) shall consist of no fewer than six members. The NOC shall be responsible for deciding the policies of the Network as a whole.

  1. NOC Chair shall be responsible for calling and chairing NOC meetings. The Chair shall also be responsible for the appointment of Department Heads, from willing and able members of the NOC. The Chair is responsible for announcing elections, as well as appointing three vote counters for said election.
  2. Network Ombudsman is responsible for hearing and acting upon complaints from users or Staff against any member of Staff or the Network as a whole. The Ombudsman has the power to issue Reprimands against any Staff member for violating any Network Policy, any part of the Constitution, or for abusing any of their privileges. This reprimand may be turned over by a 3/4 majority vote of the active NOC members. The Ombudsman may also recommend to the NOC that further action be taken against the Staff member. Reprimands against members of NOC only take effect after the following NOC meeting in order to prevent an Ombudsman from being able to unilaterally dismiss the NOC. The Ombudsman is also responsible for issuing Commendations to Staff members and volunteers who are performing exemplary service to the network, which will be reflected on the Network’s records.
  3. Department Heads responsibilities are to be set by the Chair at the time of their appointment, as explicitly as is reasonable. The Department Heads shall be required to recruit Department Staff from willing and capable Network Staff. Department Heads are strongly recommended to recruit at least one Deputy Head. That Deputy Head must be a member of the NOC.

Network Operators

The Network Operators (henceforth referred to as “NetOps”) responsibilities shall be to enforce the Network policies set forth by the NOC. They shall also help any and all users of the Network in any way possible, without prejudice.

Further responsibilities of NetOps, and all privileges will be defined in Network Policy.


Server Sponsors are responsible for maintaining the hardware, connectivity, and operating system installation upon which our communications software runs.

Network Representatives

The Network Representatives (henceforth referred to as the “NetReps”) responsibilities are to assist users in any way possible and to report problems back to NetOps, the NOC, or the Ombudsman for resolution if they cannot be solved without privileged intervention.

Inter-Election Staff Changes

A member of Staff who is inactive for sixty days without notice of their absence shall be removed from Staff. Any member of Staff who announces their resignation shall have their privileges and access removed.

Any vacancies in Staff positions shall be filled at the earliest possible time by a standard vote of the NOC, based on candidates put forward by NOC members and/or NetOps. Candidates who are volunteers or who are already on Staff, and Candidates who have Commendations, shall be favoured to fill any vacancies.

Active and Inactive Staff

A Staff member who has not logged any activity in seven days will be considered an Inactive Staff member.

A Staff member who is Inactive for a period of sixty days will be removed from Staff, unless prior notice of their absence was given including an estimated time of return which has not yet arrived.

An Active Staff member is any Staff member who is not Inactive.

Change in Staff positions

Any proposed change in any member of Staff’s position or privileges shall be approved by a standard NOC vote.


In the event that a Chair, Ombudsman, or any other member of the NOC is performing poorly or in a manner detrimental to the network, it is the duty of the NetOps and the rest of NOC to bring about a vote of No Confidence against that NOC member.

Following a public discussion, the vote of No Confidence must get the votes of all active NetOps and NOC members. In order for an Impeachment to take place, a minimum of 3/4 of all NetOps and a minimum of 3/4 of all NOC members must vote to remove that member. An Impeached member will be stripped of all staff positions.

An Impeachment vote must be complete within seven days of the original call for a vote of No Confidence.

Vacancy at the level of either Chair or Ombudsman

In the event that the Chair should, for any reason, cease to be the Chair, the staff member who was positioned immediately following the Chair in the previous election shall assume the role of Chair.

In the event that the Ombudsman should, for any reason, cease to be the Ombudsman, the Chair will hold a vote of the NOC for a new Ombudsman from among the Network’s staff.

The Chair and the Ombudsman may not be the same person. In the event that the Chair is elected Ombudsman, or the Ombudsman ascends to Chair, that person must resign one of those roles.


How members of Staff behave in public reflects upon the Network as a whole. Therefore, any action which misrepresents Network Policy may result in the Reprimand or dismissal of a member of Staff. Any Reprimands or dismissals, and the reasons therefore, shall be explained in Network records.

A Reprimand carries the following weight:

  1. Active Reprimands: 7 day suspension from Staff.
  2. Active Reprimands: 30 day suspension from Staff.
  3. Active Reprimands: Dismissal from Staff.

Appeals shall be handled by the NOC on a case-by-case basis. The Ombudsman, who issued the reprimand, may only serve as a witness to these proceedings; they shall not participate.


Eligibility and Candidates

In the interests of new staff not being unfairly punished during elections, no new applications will be accepted in the 30 days prior to an election.

All voters shall also be candidates. There are no nominations. Any voter may elect any other voter for any position. A voter must also vote themselves into some position.

In the event that an Active Staff member can not vote during the scheduled voting window, provisions must be made to allow them to vote in advance.

Announcement of Elections

Elections will be announced by the Chair of the NOC on the 1st of the month in which an election is going to take place.

Election Dates

Elections shall begin on the 8th and end on the 20th of every October.

Vote Counting

The three members of the counting staff (as appointed by the Chair) shall be responsible for announcing the results of elections at the completion of counting. Noone but the Chair shall know who the counters are, including the other counters, until the results are released by all counters. The votes themselves must be anonymised so that the counters can not determine which ballot came from which voter, while at the same time ensuring that no voter votes twice.

Election Structure

Elections must be held in a digital medium which allows all Staff members to participate if they so choose. No voter may submit ballots by proxy.

  • Any outstanding issues which need to be voted on shall be listed on the ballot.
  • Each voter is assigned a list of numbers, starting at 1, and ending at the total number of candidates for all positions.
  • Each voter shall assign each candidate one number from the list of numbers. A number shall not be given to more than one candidate. All numbers must be used.
  • The individual with the lowest cumulative ranking will be the Chair.
  • The individuals with the first through to eighth rankings lowest will be the NOC.
  • Each voter will be given a blank area within which they can specify a Staff member as Ombudsman. The Staff member with the most votes shall be the Ombudsman.
  • In the event of a tie that affects the role of Chair, if no affected candidates agree to resign to allow only one Staff member to be the Chair, the highest and lowest ballot rankings of each candidate will be removed and a new tally taken affecting all candidates. If there is still no resolution, a first-past-the-poll run-off vote must be held naming all tied candidates within 7 days.
  • In the event of a tie for the role of Ombudsman, the lowest numerically ranked candidate involved in the tie will assume the role of Ombudsman. If there is still no resolution, the procedure for Chair shall be followed for the Ombudsman.
  • In the event of a tie at any other level, all affected candidates shall assume the role of their ranking, even if this results in an enlarged NOC or NetOp group.
  • In the event that the person elected Ombudsman is also the Chair, that person must choose one position, and the next-lowest individual will fulfil the role that the lowest numerically ranked individual declined
  • The individuals with the ninth- through sixteenth-lowest rankings shall be the Network Operators.
  • All remaining candidates shall be NetReps.
  • Each voter will be given a blank area within which they can ask for a specific staff member to be removed. If more than 50% of the received ballots list a person to be removed, that person will be removed.

Forced Elections

If the NOC shrinks to below six members for more than thirty days, a new election must be held if none is scheduled within the following thirty days.

Network Policy

In addition to this Constitution, there also exists a Network Policy document. The purpose of this document is to decide the day-to-day operations of the Network. It shall not conflict with any articles in this Constitution.

Any Policy enacted in the Network Policy document shall have the same weight as any article in this Constitution. The Network Policy document may be altered by any standard Network Operations Committee vote.


Amendments to this document must be approved three quarters by all NOC members and three quarters all Network Operators.