Background: I am part of a small activist group (10-15 members) that both works on ongoing projects but still is actively developing a long term strategy. The latter means the organizational structure and fields of activity are not set in stone.
An issue we keep struggling with is how to (in lack of a better word) manage our rules and regulations, that is how we organize meetings, how we keep count of who's a member and who is not, how to prevent unnecessary hierarchy, how to facilitate the flow of information, etc. In short: how to keep track of the procedures that we agreed upon and found to be working for our group.
The way I see the problem at this point is that there's a continuum of possible choices ranging from no rules at all to a very rigid and detailed system of codes of conduct regulating all possible activites relating to the group. Neither of those extremes is desirable, but at the same time both end of the spectrum has it's own advantages. If rules are not written down it automatically means they are flexible and able to adapt to new situations the group faces. On the other hand it means that they are subject to collective forgetting and abuse by people who do not like or agree with them, as there's no clearly defined consensus to hold them accountable to. Detailed and collectively agreed upon regulations solve this issue for sure, but they require a lot of extra attention and time to adhere to and to keep them up to date, something a small activist group like ours simply has no resources for.
Our group has chosen something closer to the case of detailed written down regulations, but in practice we do not adhere to those rules quite a lot of times, which tells me something needs to change here. An obvious solution would be simply to move closer to the loosely regulated end of the scale but I'd like to avoid the undesired consequences of that.
So my question is whether there are time-tested methods to do this that solve as many of these issues as possible or at least make the compromises clear so it can be an informed choice rather something we keep struggling with?