I'm a member in a local community which is associated with multiple associations above it (think of it like statewide, nationwide and so on). So there are a lot of layers to the community. However, the local community is mostly self governed and independent, only few policies are internationally standardised across all communities.

One of this policy that has been standardised since the founding year is when you are allowed to join a local community. After a few decades, this was changed to loosen it up a little bit. This change was based on a high consensus among all levels so the change didn't create quite a backslash. Furthermore, the change was still standardised so every community had to adhere to it and couldn't make any individual changes.

Now this policy has been changed again. However, instead of an addition of a policy, a current policy was simply removed. This change hasn't been highly controversial (as in paralysing the whole organisation or it would be the only topic right now) but it does indeed incite some emotional discussions. The removal of this one policy affects the whole process of someone joining our community as it was one of the definitive formal rule to decide when somebody is allowed to join.

We now are advised to design our own joining process without this policy in place, meaning the international standardisation is mostly gone. In our country, we have decided to at least have some common ground, a guideline is being developed right now. However, it isn't mandatory to follow the guideline once it's out.

In our local community, this change also had impact. Some feel the removal of the policy was right, some don't feel that way and yet another group of members want to take the opportunity and design a new process altogether. The only thing certain right now is that we have to change the policy (by which it's also allowed to return to the old rule as long as it has a majority). Generally, more seasoned members favour to return to the old policy while newly joined ones favour the removal.

How can we get everyone onboard with a possible policy change? How do we avoid to upset long-time members when the old policy isn't reintroduced? How do we avoid a vice-versa situation where the old policy returns on our local level and younger members are upset that everything is "as it has always been"? How can we take into accounts the members concerned with designing a new process?

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    Can you give us some more information on what issues of the joining process are most concerning to members? Is this more along the lines of which forms applicants must fill out (e.g. originally it was Form 10-A and Form 12-BB-5-GT, later it was changed to Form 10-A only, now each local org must design its own form)? Does this have to do with residential catchments and "out of area" people joining the "wrong" local org so they can be with their friends and family rather than neighbors? Are there issues of discrimination (e.g. the "loosen it up" change was to allow Muslims to join)? – Robert Columbia May 19 at 17:42
  • The reason I'm asking is that a solution to, e.g. a problem with rural people joining big-city local orgs instead of their local orgs because urban orgs are better funded would likely look much different to the solution to some local orgs deciding to bar Muslims, people with disabilities, people over 30, or people who post on online public Q&A platforms from joining. – Robert Columbia May 19 at 17:54

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