Assurance Policy now in DRAFT

A week or so ago, the policy group pushed the Assurance Policy into DRAFT, which means according to PoP that it is now binding on the community.  To all the Assurers out there, this is your policy!

You should take a moment to have a look at it.  As it is in DRAFT, there is room for change, although each change will need to be voted through in the policy group.   You will see its evolution in the striking and bolding of parts.  Also be aware of the Assurance Handbook, which is where most of the daily practice will end up.  Now that there is a policy, the Handbook should also evolve more clearly and more rapidly.

The Assurance Policy establishes many things that in the past have been unclear or subject to variation.  Here’s a brief list of some changes:

  1. The general standard of a Name is that it is as written on a government-issued photo ID.  It should be recorded as fully as possible.
  2. However, because there are many variations in real life, multiple names will be possible.  That is, the online system will have a new feature added to it to add extra names, each requiring full Assurance independently.  When that is done, this will address the difficulties that people have with different documents, transliterations, married names, middle names and initials, etc.
  3. We’ve always encouraged Assurers to assure each other mutually, and this policy goes one step further:  it encourages non-Assurers to also assure you, under your supervision.  That is, when assuring a Member, you take the Member through the process of Assurance as if she were an Assurer.  You advise her on the steps, and encourage her to allocate 0,1,2 Assurance Points to you according to her judgement.  Be strict, it is better for her to allocate zero points to you to get used to the idea of assessing Name and other issues. You keep the forms, and when we get the system changed, you will enter in her points. Mutual Assurance will help us in the future:  It has the benefit of equalising the relationship, explaining the whole process, preparing the junior Member for the role and responsibilities of Assurer, and also identifying who you are to her.  As you the Assurer will be responsible for the entire result, and it takes extra time, you can choose to do it or not.
  4. As we now live in a world of Identity Theft, it is important for you the Assurer to protect the Members from harm.  In particular; false Assurances do happen, and could be used to acquire valuable information.  To this end, the Assurance Policy states:

    “A Member may check the status of another Member, especially for an assurance process…”

    In the future, we will need some way for you the Assurer to show you really are an Assurer.  How that is done is left up to the systems and management people; a future thought puzzle.

  5. The final big change is that Experience is no longer to be reflected in the Assurance Points.  In the future, there will be a separate set of points, called Experience Points.  Each Assurance you conduct will earn you 2 Experience Points, as before.  Separating out the points to match their meanings gets rid of a lot of mental gymnastics.  Again, we have to wait until the software is done.

As you can see, there is more work to do!  The policy needs to be reviewed, improved and taken the final step to POLICY.  Until it goes to POLICY, you still have a chance of fixing or improving it, even though it is already binding on you, the Assurer.  And, the Handbook needs updating with the new Policy work.
Also, the account system needs to be updated to add these features:  multiple names, a new set of points for Experience, mutual Assurance, and perhaps some support for showing your status as Assurer.  This will take time, but help will make it go faster:  are there any PHP programmers who can help make those coding changes?

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