Caribbean ICT Virtual Community (CIVIC)

Proposed Structure and Organization chart


7  September , 2007


1. CIVIC Definition and Objectives: 

2. CIVIC membership  

3. Moderation  

4. Multilingual support 

5. Facilitation 

6. Diversity Facilitator 

7. Document approval – representation – mandates - votes 

8. Tools available for the CIVIC members: 

9. Access - public/private space – privacy rights 

10. Thematic working group

11. Netiquette rules or how to participate in virtual communities

Annex 1. How To Participate In Online Forums  


1. CIVIC Definition and Objectives:


"The Caribbean ICT Virtual Community (CIVIC) is a dynamic online community of Caribbean ICT stakeholders. The community is open to people with an interest in contributing to the promotion/support of ICTs for the development of the Caribbean.


The community:


CIVIC was formed from participants of the Caribbean ICT Roundtable held in the Barbados on October 28-30 2002, but it is now open to all active Caribbean ICT stakeholders (see “CIVIC membership” below).

It is based upon an asynchronism, electronic conferencing platform, the ICA Caribbean mailing list and its related web tools (currently hosted on the Dgroup virtual platform). There will be additional  webtools as CIVIC evolves.


It is a Caribbean managed and Caribbean owned virtual community.

The term 'Caribbean' refers to the following countries :- Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Trinidad & Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, St Kitts Nevis, Suriname, Grenada, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, USVI, Netherlands Antilles, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Puerto Rico, Montserrat.


Initial support for its organization was provided by Institute of Connectivity for the Americas (ICA).


2. CIVIC Membership

2.1 There are two types of membership: Full members or associate membership. Full membership of  CIVIC is open to persons of Caribbean nationality or descent,  and persons living or working in the region or doing research in the region. Associate membership is open to  anybody wants to be a member but who does not fit this criteria.

2.2 To subscribe, persons will  complete:


2.3 Following assessment of membership eligibility individuals will be  subscribed to the virtual conferencing device/mailing list and will have access to the web based tools. Membership is individual rather then institutional, but members can/should indicate when they are presenting institutional views, statements, etc.


2.4 All members have equal voice in the discussions , equal access to all tools, documents, archives, etc, and have to respect the same community approved rules and procedures. Voting rights however are reserved for full members (see above )

2.5 Members who repeatedly do not respect the commonly accepted behavior in virtual communities, called “netiquette” (see below), will have their subscription and membership cancelled with prior notification.


2.6 Members:


    1. 2.7 Members are requested to provide and maintain a functional email address. Emails that “bounce” (no longer existing) or present errors for a long period of time will be deleted, and membership will be lost. 


    1. 2.8 CIVIC Members are expected to:  


3. Moderation


The mailing list is moderated, to maintain a “clean” and safe info-environment and to keep a high signal-to-noise ratio. Technical Moderation may be applied for formatting and inserting translated versions of the posts.


3.1 The moderator's role is to:


    1. 3.2 Posts related to non ICT/non Caribbean or global ICT issues shall be accepted only with a short introduction note relating it to the Caribbean or a group specific interest or ongoing discussion. 


    1. 3.3 Personal messages, “flames”, insults, disrespectful posts, one to one discussions shall not be approved. 


    1. 3.4 The acting moderator shall not censor posts but is charged with keeping a “healthy” working environment. 

    2. 3.5  Any member who feels that they are being censored may openly discuss this problem in the community 

    3. 3.6 All rejected messages are to be kept archived for future reference. 

    4. 3.7Any member may receive moderation administrative mails and monitor the work of the moderator(s). 

    5. 3.8 The list shall be informed whether the moderator(s) are working voluntarily or working with a stipend.  


The moderators at August 2007 are

Yacine Khelladi:
Angelica Ospina:


4. Multilingual support


4.1 The CIVIC is open to all Caribbean countries.

4.2 Postings, messages, discussions and documents are encouraged in all the  languages used in the Caribbean.

4.3 Acknowledging the language barrier for regional networking, all reasonable efforts will be made to provide multilingual support for:

    1. 4.4Members of CIVIC undertake to give all messages equal attention, no matter which language was used by the sender. 


5. Facilitation


    1. 5.1 To help attain its objectives, organize an agenda, guide the ongoing discussions, and articulate and document the inputs, the virtual community list shall be facilitated. 


    1. 5.2 The facilitator(s) is (are) mandated by CIVIC with defined goals and deliverables. 


    1. 5.3 The facilitator is not necessarily the same person as the moderator. 

Facilitators could be volunteers and/or sponsored by  CIVIC supporting partners. Guest facilitators can agree to lead discussions in an area that interests them/where they have special knowledge for specified periods.

6. Diversity Facilitator


6.1 Among CIVIC members a specific facilitator may be chosen and mandated to:


6.2 He/she will:



7. Document approval – representation – mandates - votes 


7.1 CIVIC constituency approval shall be sought in order to:


    1. 7.2Any item for decision shall be submitted to the main CIVIC list, with a clear subject line including "decision" or "approval request". 


    1. 7.3 A "grace period" of at least five (5) working days should be reserved to receive comments, disapprovals, amendments, alternative proposals, etc. The "grace period" shall be respected in each instance that a decision item is rewritten or amended and resubmitted for approval. 

    2. 7.4 An abstention shall be considered to be an "assent" unless the voter openly opposes the matter before the community 

If there is no opposition, amendment or counter proposition on a decision, then it will be considered approved by consensus.


    1. 7.5 If no consensus can be reached, a vote shall be organized by the moderator as follows: 

8. Tools available for the CIVIC members:

8.1 The mailing list:


8.2 The online archive:


8.3 The members web page

8.4 Resource page


8.5 Other tools which could take advantage of emerging technologies  will be added to support the efficiency of CIVIC


9. Access - public private space


9.1 Posting and receiving messages, accessing CIVIC web site, mail archives, resources, etc., is for registered members only.

    1. 9.2As a matter of courtesy, it is preferable, but not mandatory, that members ask permission to forward any email, partially or totally, to non list member(s). 

    2. 9.3 List owner(s) and moderator(s) shall not erase or modify a member(s) archived post, profile data or posting history without the expressed permission of the particular member(s).  

    3. 9.4 No person is authorized to use the members list or email addresses for any purpose other than for CIVIC business. 


10. Thematic Working Groups

10.1 CIVIC members may work in groups:

10.2 Thematic channels shall be permanent and organically linked to the main group and shall have access to the tools available for collaboration.

Examples of thematic channels are :-

    1. 1.CIVIC Capacity Building  

    2. 2.Advocacy  

    3. 3.Regional Governance forum  

    4. 4.Human resource development  

    5. 5.Private sector Development  

    6. 6.Trade and Commerce  

    7. 7.E governance and regulatory issues  

    8. 8.Gender issues  

    9. 9.Education and Youth  

    10. 10.E finance  

    11. 11.Regional network infrastructure  

    12. 12.e-Health  

    13. 13.Use of Free and Open Source Software.   

    1. 10.3Working groups may be created by members and the outputs of these working groups shall be validated by the CIVIC. Each working group shall have specific mandates and shall produce outputs within set timeliness  


11. Netiquette rules or how to participate in virtual communities

11.1 General Requirements (See Annex 1):

    1. 1.Do not send attachments (place them in our resource center or send a web link) 

    2. 2.Do send Plain Text (change the settings of your mailer) 

    3. 3.Write a good subject line (change it if necessary) 

    4. 4.Make your subject line readable 

    5. 5.If replying, don’t leave the whole previous message below your answer, just specific parts to which you are responding 

    6. 6.Include contact information- Mention the source(s), web links, copyrights, etc.  

    7. 7.Be careful not to spread viruses and do not send "spam".  


11.2 Good practices for newcomers


    1. 11.3The Art of the Subject Line 

Make sure that the 'subject' field of your email message is meaningful as it can be very frustrating to others not to be able to judge the content of a message from its subject.

When you use the 'reply' option, ensure that the subject still accurately reflects the content of your message (like the title of a book). If it doesn't, change it.

Try to restrict yourself to one subject per message; send multiple messages if you have multiple subjects.

One subject per message allows recipients to use the 'subject' field to judge the importance of the messages they have received.

Sometimes groups develop code words to make it even easier to identify the purpose or content of messages.

Appending the words News, FYI, URGENT, Update etc. to your subject line can help people judge the importance/relevance of your message.


11.4 Message Formatting

11.5 Other


N.B. The above content was partially taken and then modified from:









Annex 1 : Resources

The following was written by Shady Kanfi Senior Program Officer - Bellanet:

  1. 1.Be aware that whenever you post you always have two options: you can send to the list, or you can send to individuals.  

  2. 2.When your message veers away from the purpose of the list, or from the principle discussions, or when it gets personal, send your message to an individual and not the whole group.  

  3. 3.Follow the norms set by your community and/or facilitator.  

  4. 4.Everyone has freedom of speech on the Internet, but nobody has the right to say anything they want “anywhere” they want. 

  5. 5.If you join a group, and then don't follow group norms, that group has the right to kick you out. 

  6. 6.If you feel the need to flame, send hate mail, or otherwise reprimand another list member, do it off-list. 

  7. 7.Such messages destroy the tenuous sense of trust and community that group facilitators try so hard to encourage. 

  8. 8.Be courteous to other list members. It's OK to disagree, but always be respectful of the person even while you debate the issues. 

  9. 9.Sometimes what you say is lost when the way you say it is seen as disrespectful. 

  10. 10.Be cautious when responding to messages that make you passionate. Email lacks the other cues and clues that convey the sense in which what you say is to be taken, and you can easily convey the wrong impression. 

  11. 11.It is good practice to wait before responding, or to draft your message and review it sometime later before posting. 

  12. 12.It is always easier to edit a message you drafted earlier in the day, than it is to compose a new message with explanations for those who misunderstood the intent of your original post. 

  13. 13.If you meant something in jest, use a 'smiley' :-) to convey that meaning. The subtleties of sarcasm are different from culture to culture, and it may inadvertently cause offence. 

  14. 14.If you engage in a debate, try not to debate in order to change a person's mind, it happens less frequently than you might expect. 

  15.       15.Be satisfied with presenting your point of view clearly and thoroughly, so that others in the group understand what you are saying.

Mailing List Manners 101:

E-mail Tips & Techniques how to send e-mail without burning bridges or closing doors:

General Rules and Procedures Inside the MISTICA Virtual Community:

How To Participate In Online Forums:

This guide is also available in Spanish:

From Workplace to Workspace: Using Email Lists to Work Together - by Maureen James & Liz Rykert:

Intro to Mailing Lists -- Int'l Federation of Library Assoc:

Netiquette Guidelines. - Hambridge, Sally:

Rinaldi, Arlene H. The Net: User Guidelines and Netiquette. July 1994:; URL PDF

Brochure suitable for classroom use: PDF

AT&T Netiquette Notes: URL