WALRUS/Guidelines for chairs of online monthly meetings

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The roles of the meeting chair are to:

  1. Start the meeting on time and make a general welcome to participants.
  2. Provide a brief overview of the agenda.
  3. Call on people to give their status updates at the start of the meeting. This can be a little complicated because people often arrive late to the meeting. The chair should try to keep track of who has spoken already and who should be invited to speak next.
  4. Keep the meeting on schedule. For example, during the one minute status updates from people, the chair should watch the clock to make sure that people are not exceeding one minute by a significant amount. The chair can ask people to finish their comments to that the next person can contribute their updates.
  5. Keep people focused on the agenda. If discussions starts to become too long on a subject, especially a tangential subject, then the chair can suggest that people discuss the issue outside of the meeting, such as via email, IRC, or a separate meeting.
  6. Encourage civility in the meeting. If civility becomes a problem then the chair can ask people to be calm. Some types of disagreement, even strong disagreement, are okay when people are civil. If someone becomes especially disruptive or uncivil then the chair can ask the Zoom meeting host to mute that person and/or remove that person from the meeting.