Humboldt Mediation Services


  • 17 May 2015 3:20 PM
    Message # 3346554
    Stephen Davies (Administrator)


    to help with development of the following instructions, visit:

    (User: HMS_Guest P/W: HumboldtMediation)

    Minutes for each month should be posted as a separate topic in this forum.  Minutes should be stuck to the top of the forum for one month and/or until approved.

    HMS:Keeping Minutes


    Maintaining Minutes

    Pursuant to HMS's Bylaws, the secretary is responsible for maintaining the minutes. The Bylaws provide that the minutes should be . . . .

    The Secretary uploads Minutes as PDF documents to the private files directory of the HMS WildApricot website and posts a link announcement in the Minutes forum at the HMS Website. Each Month's Minutes are posted as a new topic. The current month's minutes are 'stuck' to the top of the forum thread for 30 days. Discussion and/or amendments to the minutes are posted and maintained as comments in the HMS Minutes forum.

    There is no prohibition on the Secretary assigning other persons to record individual meeting minutes. The Secretary is responsible for ensuring that the minutes are prepared and maintained in accordance with the Bylaws.

    Recording Minutes

    In addition to substantive minutes, the following discrete items should be observed and noted in the minutes:

    1. MDate - meeting date, e.g. {May 12, 2015}
    2. MTimeStart - Starting time, e.g. {6:04 pm}
    3. MTimeEnd - Ending time, e.g. {8:08 pm}
    4. MChair - Chair for the meeting, e.g. {Rob Roversi}
    5. MSecretary - Secretary, for the meeting, e.g. {Stephen T. Davies}
    6. MSecretaryEmail Secretary's email, e.g. {}
    7. MMP - Board members present, e.g. {Rob, Garry, Gina, Stephen, Peggy, Bea, Randy}
    8. MStaff - Staff present, e.g. {Peggy}
    9. MGuests - Guests identified, e.g. {\emph{none}}
    10. MotionsMade - Number of motions made, e.g. {2}
    11. MotionsPassed} - Number of motions passed, e.g. {2}
    12. NextMeetLlong - Next meeting date, e.g. {June 16, 2015, 6:00 pm; Gathering at 5:45 pm}
    13. NextMeetDateOnly - Next meeting date, e.g. {6/16/15}
    14. Savory - Savory for the meeting, e.g. {Gina}
    15. Sweet - For the meeting, e.g. {Garry}
    16. NewSavory - For the next meeting, e.g. {Rob}
    17. NewSweet - For the next meting, e.g. {Bea}

    Motions should be described. It should be noted whether the motion passes, the motion is continued for further discussion, and pertinent discussion described. Unless specifically requested or a motion is continued for further discussion, it is not necessary to identify who brought the motion or the number of votes for and against the motion. If denied, the reasons for the denial of a motion should be explained.

    Agenda items should be summarized, and, matters considered, approved, and/or deferred by consensus of the board should be recorded with the same level of detail required for motions.

    Accurate and concise summaries are preferred over verbatim transcripts.

    It is helpful to keep a running count of motions made and consensus items reached to ensure that all motions and consensus items are included in the minutes.

    Using Latex

    If using a Latex template for HMS Minutes, discrete meeting stats are entered as fields which are re-used throughout the document.

    Fig. 1

    The body of the minutes uses \section{}, \subsection{}, \subsubsection{} commands for numbering and some simple formatting, bold, italic, underling, and strike through. Sectioning with \part{} can also be used for closed sessions and other special matters.


    Fig. 2

    A copy of the latest template should be available from the HMS WildApricot Minutes Forum.

    Publishing Minutes

    After minutes have been approved by the Board, minutes should be posted to the 'Minutes' forum on the HMS WildApricot Website. Minutes are accessible by all registered Website Users, including Mediators, Training Committee, Staff, and Volunteer Support.

    Upload minutes by visiting this page and clicking the 'upload file' button. Upload the file to the 'minutes' directory.

    Announce, post, or otherwise make the Minutes available to registered website members by visiting this page, clicking 'new topic' and the 'insert file' button.

    Minutes are now published and accessible to registered HMS Website Members.

    [This section will be amended once appropriate changes are made to website access permissions.  The site is currently configured to require users be in the 'administrative' view in order to upload files to the server and to include files uploaded to the server, including images, in posts made to forums on the system.  Certain classes of users need to be able to upload and link to files in forums posts without the use of the slow, cumbersome, and error prone administrative view.  Most classes of users should not be permitted any access to the administrative view.]

    Amending & Updating Minutes

    It's not uncommon for mistakes, inaccuracy, or omitted information to occur with first drafts. When this happens, the minutes need to be amended and republished for approval review with the new amendments.

    Please increase the minor version count for each amendment, and, increase the major version number after posting amended minutes for approval. E.G., version 3.2 would mean the minutes have been emailed to the board three times and there are two new amendments for review/approval.

    Minor changes can simply be made by replacing text. Important changes can be noted by striking out amended language and adding the changes. This makes it easier for people to see the changes. Stricken sections can be deleted or commented out when approved and there are no amendments that have not already been submitted for review.

    It is not uncommon for Board Members and Staff to want to include additional specifics or information that was not specifically addressed at the board meetings. By convention, additional information may be inserted as footnotes.

    If there are many amendments, i.e., multiple versions, the topic, or lead post, for each month's minutes should be updated to reference at the very least, the first and most recent amendment. Minor Amendments, and all but the first and last versions, do not need to be uploaded to the WildApricot system so long as all Board of Directors continue to receive minutes and proposed amended minutes via email to

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Latex

    Why use Latex for minutes?

    • Stable across platforms;
    • Makes Nice PDF docs/superior typesetting \& typography;
    • Consistent results w/ different printers;
    • Numbering adapts to Agenda numbering;
    • Mark up text notes in any format;
    • Best supported D.I.Y. professional publishing system[1] useful to know for other purposes;
    • Integrates with Web technologies, e.g. forms;
    • Ensures Minutes look the same over time; and,
    • Creators focus on content not formatting.
    • Tex format won't change like doc, wpd, odt do every couple years.

    What are some problems with Latex?

    • Too complicated for computer users.
    • Requires installation of additional software.
    1. (Aside from Framemaker for complex newspaper layouts.)

    Latex Editors

    Windows Notepad is all that's necessary for drafting. Advanced text editors such as open source Notepad++ or JEdit include helpful features such as syntax highlighting for Latex formatting. Drafting minutes is a simple as entering text between the appropriate \section{} commands and prefacing agenda/meeting items with appropriate \subsection{} and /subsubsection{} commands as shown in Fig. 2, above. Or, these sectioning commands can simply be pasted or inserted as appropriate into a text file.

    Any text editor can be used to draft minutes. A Latex publishing system is only needed to convert the latex file into PDF, Open Document, or HTML format. Windows notepad can be used. However, many text editors have more features than notepad, and, commonly include rules for syntax highlighting latex files, providing latex formatting hints and features for drafting latex documents. JEdit is a java based text editor that operates the same on Windows, Unix, and Mac platforms and includes support for editing latex documents.

    Latex is really a programming language for typesetting. A good book (or online self-study) is encouraged for using Latex if you have no prior programming experience and wish to develop templates or create other types of documents.

    Converting text drafts into pdf, html, and/or odt formats requires a Latex publishing system. Latex editors continue to be improved and new editors appear all the time. Here are some of the better known Latex editors.

    TexLive is arguably the best Open Source (Free) Latex publishing system for starting out on the Windows platform. It includes the ability to dynamically install additional (very common) latex packages that are used with the Minutes Template. It has an easy to use Windows installer; installs, and configures itself like most Microsoft standard compliant software. The downside is that to accomplish this with open source software on Windows, it includes a huge amount of software code that is not absolutely necessary; it's a large installation.

    MikeTex is another Windows based Latex publishing system. ProText is based on MikeTex, newer, and aims to be easier to use.

    TexStudio is nice because it runs and looks the same on Windows, Mac, Linux, and BSD operating systems.

    MacTex is available for the Mac/OS-X (Leopard and up).

    Kile is arguably the best Open Source Latex Editor. It is best used with the KDE4 desktop environment but works within Gnome and other desktop environments as well with some configuration.

    TexStudio's Gui is less cluttered for the simple use of the HMS Minutes Template.

    All of above programs have the ability to open, save, save, publish (print as html, pdf, odt, etc.) and include graphic buttons for all the formatting commands you need for minutes: bold, italic, underline, and strike through. The programs appear complicated because they contain many Latex features that are not at all necessary for generating Minutes using an existing template. They are only really necessary if (1) you want to publish the minutes yourself, as opposed to emailing notes to the Secretary for publishing, (2) you want to learn Latex or use it to publish other documents, or (3) you want to design and further develop the Latex Minutes Template.

    Please see Generating Minutes via Webform Submission for any information regarding using a web form to generate minutes via server-side Latex processing.

    Last modified: 18 May 2015 3:32 PM | Stephen Davies (Administrator)
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