PURE Community Governance
PURE is an open community run by gamers, for gamers, offered as a gift to the gaming public. Our Community Purpose and Values define the nature of that gift, and guide us in protecting and evolving it over time.
However, merely stating our Purpose & Values does not make them real. Manifesting them requires work to be done and decisions to be made. That’s where community governance comes in.
Service Leadership Philosophy
PURE is run with a service leadership ethos, in which the role of community leaders is fundamentally to support the volunteer teams and the community in furthering our Community Purpose. There are two key things to understand about this philosophy:
- The primary beneficiary of leaders’ work is the community, not the leaders themselves.
- The community is doing most of the work to further the Purpose. The leaders’ job is to provide the necessary support and cohesion for the community to do that work.
Final day-to-day decision-making authority rests with the voting members of PURE’s Core Leadership Team, the current roster for which can be found on the Volunteer page. Decisions are made by majority vote of the voting members.
In line with the service leadership philosophy described above, the Core Team fundamentally serves the community. Should the community-at-large ever express a forceful desire for a different Core Leadership Team, the current team is ethically compelled to surrender the position. There are not currently formal procedures in place for this, but if the community continues to scale, there is a good chance we will create those procedures as part of the process of non-profit incorporation (see Legal Structure below).
The PURE volunteer organization is a group of PURE community members that do the day-to-day work of maintaining the community and furthering the Community Purpose. The volunteer organization is part of the PURE community; all volunteers are community members themselves. The volunteer organization is led by the Core leadership team.
Volunteers are selected to join the organization based on their ability and commitment to support the Community Purpose, and their fit with the roles we have available. These criteria are assessed based on written applications, video interviews, and prior interaction.
For more details on our volunteer organization, see our Volunteering page.
PURE started as a hobbyist project in July of 2012, and as such is not yet a corporate entity. Currently, all of PURE’s assets (finances, domain names, servers, etc.) are legally the private property of an individual (James Hogan, a PURE Board Member and Former Community Lead).
As of September 2014, we have a formal engagement with a law firm that is helping us legally incorporate as a non-profit entity. Post-incorporation, we will be governed by a Board of Directors, selected from the community, with a legally-enforceable fiduciary responsibility to protect the legal, financial, and ethical interests of the community.
About the Legal Owner
By James Hogan, aka Adama, PURE Founder & Board Member
As discussed above (under the Legal Structure section), PURE has not yet evolved a legal structure in which its assets are owned by a legally incorporated non-profit. Because the community’s assets are still legally owned by me personally, supporting the PURE community requires a degree of trust that I have the enthusiasm, ability & integrity to effectively safeguard and develop this community. In that spirit, I’d like to tell you a bit about myself.
I started PURE because I’ve been passionate about both gaming and community for a long time, yet have rarely felt satisfied with the intersection of the two. I talk a lot about the vision and motivation behind PURE on our Vision & Strategy page, so I won’t repeat myself here. Suffice it to say that working on this project has been ridiculously enjoyable.
Excluding my 30+ years as an avid gamer, I have over 15 years of experience that’s directly relevant to PURE in one way or another: helping start & run a non-profit organization, substantial community-building projects in gaming, festival, and residential settings, substantial leadership & software development positions at PayPal, and involvement in a variety of other startups and entrepreneurial projects. One of the things I personally enjoy about this project is that it’s a blend of nearly everything I’ve learned from a wide variety of contexts.
PURE has been a major, consistent commitment in my life since founding the community in July of 2012. I am not paid or financially reimbursed in any way; this has purely been a labor of love.
As other life priorities (such as the need for income) develop, my level of day-to-day involvement in PURE shifts, anywhere from the primary focus of my time (50+ hours per week) to just a few hours per week. However, PURE does just fine even during those weeks I am less available—unlike many communities, we have a strong team of active volunteer leads that help address urgent issues and general week-to-week operations.
The bottom line is that I am committed to the self-sustainability of this community. I think it’s important that a healthy community not be overly dependent on any single individual, including the founder. I am not only committed to helping PURE thrive, but also towards the deeper goal of community sustainability by developing volunteer leads and organization-wide succession planning over time.
Transparency is one of our community values, and is highly relevant to governance — a community must trust in its governance in order to function, and trust requires transparency. Our volunteers, donors, and other supporters deserve to know that their resources and energy are being directed toward their intended purpose with prudence and care.
Financial Records & Projections
We maintain both historical financial records and future financial projections. They are updated twice per month. They can be accessed from the Info menu of our Reddit forum, and are also linked here for convenience: PURE Finances
Separate Financial Accounts
Community funds are stored in their own bank accounts and PayPal accounts. There is no “co-mingling” with funds belonging to any other person or organization.
Public Administrative Enforcement Logs
We believe that fair rule enforcement requires transparency, so that reasoning is clear and open to questions and criticism. When substantial administrative actions are taken against players for violating our Community Rules, the incidents and the reasoning is posted in our public log. This log is also available from the Info menu of our Reddit forum.
For unusually high-impact incidents involving broader community discussion, we publish more elaborate formal rulings; example here.
Another core responsibility of governance is security of the community’s assets. Although most individuals are trustworthy, it only takes one bad apple to severely harm an organization. At PURE, we take security seriously and go through great effort to protect our supporters’ funds and work from accidential or intentional harm.
Our PayPal account and bank account each use a unique, strong password of randomly-generated characters. Our PayPal password is known only by 3 key staff, and our bank account funds can be accessed by only one person (with knowledge transfer plans in place in the event that person is hit by a bus), and is stored securely in an encrypted 1Password database. James Hogan, a Board Member and former Community Lead, personally insures the community’s finances in the (extremely unlikely) event of loss due to hacking, embezzlement, or fraud.
We empty our PayPal account into our bank account monthly to minimize the risk of a PayPal account freeze.
Network & Information Security
Access to internal systems and information is highly segregated such that volunteer teams are given access only to what is necessary for the performance of their volunteer duties. For example, software developers have permissions to change settings on our test server, but not on our production servers. Our Communications team has the ability to edit most community documents, but cannot access the Operations team’s list of system account credentials.
Permissions are managed on a per-person basis wherever possible. Some services only allow certain functions to be performed by one specific account, and in these cases, we share the specific account with a minimal set of people. “High-security” shared accounts (for example, accessing our PayPal funds or our domain registration) are controlled tightly, with distribution only to highly trusted community members when absolutely necessary, and with precise tracking about who has been given which account’s credentials.
All permissions (with the possible exception of shared accounts) are revoked when an individual leaves a volunteer role. For some lower-security shared accounts, credentials are only changed periodically, even if some account users leave volunteer roles in the meantime.