Disciplinary Process


Based on:


Members of the Church of Virus are encouraged to dissociate themselves from punitive disciplinary practices which we see as violating the "Virian Virtues" unless clearly provided for the benefit of, and acceded to by a particular transgressor. As such, all disciplinary actions, are intended to maintain the public credibility of the Church of Virus. Disciplinary actions' primary purpose is to protect the Church of Virus from disrepute. Another, closely related, purpose is that of maintaining the internal consistency of the Church of Virus.

This does not mean that we are unable to enforce certain community standards, in so far as this may be required from time-to-time. This is, as we shall show, completely justified. The ability to use our forums is select, that is, limited to members in good standing. Our members are assumed to have the same convictions and therefore to be approaching the questions before the Church of Virus with a common purpose. Throwing the doors open to people who are at open variance with the Body, either in principle or practice, makes it difficult or impossible to maintain order and civility in our deliberations. Nevertheless, we emphasise that disciplinary actions are only undertaken by the community and those acting for the community in order to protect the community, its name, its reputation, its goals, its members and our principles and not to "punish" a transgressor.


We are not merely a society but a Church. A community of people who share a religion and have a common system of values and interests who have agreed to come together to provide mutual support and fellowship. As such, all members of the community agree to bind themselves to work together for the common good. We do not have a hierarchical management or system of government, but have Meetings (on the Internet and in the "Real world") where any member in good standing may take the floor.


A person does not become a member of a community simply by asserting that they are such a member, but also by the community accepting the membership of that person. In the absence of more particular rules, the only way to determine who is a member of the community is a statement of affiliation by a putative member and the acceptance of this assertion by the community, in otherwords, a community of the willing.

Jurisdiction of the Community

If somebody asserts that they are a member of this community, then the opinion and will of the community is binding upon that member, and the will of the community governs that persons acceptance as a member. Further, it is evident that the community has the right to establish and impose rules of conduct for its membership, and responses to infractions of such rules, as well as the right and duty to establish when such rules are broken and enforce the infractions in order to optimize the experience of membership for all of the members and to ensure that the goals of the community are furthered. In addition, the community has the right and duty to ensure that members do not act in a manner contrary to the good of the community, or in such a way as to bring the community into disrepute. As a community of the willing, we cannot judge the acceptability of "any" body but only of those who wish to be members of this community.

The Disciplinary Process

When members manifest, or are accused of manifesting their disunity with the Church of Virus, by inconsistent or disorderly conduct, creation of dissension in the community, adoption of principles and practices contrary to the "Virian Virtues" and "Senseless Sins", or through an unwillingness to comply with the necessary rules of our community, the community shall endeavor to establish the facts, and persuade any erring or refractory members of the error of their ways, and bring them, through a written document of unfeigned repentance, and an undertaking of consistent orderly conduct in future, to be reunited with the community.

A possible offence may be noted by any Virian, and the person noticing a possible offence are requested to discuss the matter with the person they see as the offender, and if it cannot be resolved quietly and in private, to request the VirianCouncil to act. Such communications should be private.

In some cases, particularly when the offense is clear, the Virian Council or any of its members may move directly to urgent action designed to minimise the scope of the damage prior to following these procedures. Such actions might include, but are not limited to:

It should further be noted that users abusing the servers or services provided by any supplier may be subject to sanctions by that supplier (e.g. DOS attacks, IRC server abuse, ban evasion, transmission of span or list flooding) and may be dealt with by a service provider and the Church of Virus is not obliged to, and probably won't intervene in such cases, except to appoint a Reconciliation Committee to investigate the matter and take further action if needed.

Emergency action, including action by suppliers or their designated agents, will be followed, as soon as possible, by a process of procedures designed to ascertain:

After any "urgent response", the first step, assuming that a possible "wrong action" or infraction along with one or more possible perpetrators is identified, will be for one or more VirianVectors to communicate with, and possibly admonish the offender, unless the "wrong action" was such as to clearly motivate more rigorous steps.

Reconciliation Committee

In the former case, at this stage, the process is acting as much for the benefit of the offender as for the community. The intent is, with as little fuss as possible, to eliminate disunity and the potential for escalation. In the latter case, or should further action be deemed neccesary, the Virian Council or Prime Vector (yet to be determined) will appoint a Reconciliation Committee, to ascertain the facts about the matter reported, and (if the member complained of was guilty) to learn whether the offender is repentant.

While the Reconciliation Committee is in process, no public accusations, defenses or discussion of any complaints, justifications or personalities involved will be tolerated. Any breach of this rule shall be resolved by means of a Disciplinary Action.

The Reconciliation Committee has the ability, without calling for a vote, of Silencing? any member (not just a member with whom they are dealing). Such an invocation to silence? is not a disciplinary step, and should not be used as such; it is rather a means to restore order to the community and to relieve tensions in order to facilitate their task.

If an individual who has engaged in "wrong actions" does not seem contrite, the Virians on the Reconciliation Committee will attempt to persuade the offender to repent. If this is successful the offender will offer a written acknowledgment, expressing that what he or she has done is contrary to the principles of the Church of Virus, that they are sorry for it and intend to behave better in the future. The reason for its being in writing is so that the Church of Virus's disunity with the action will be on record. The acknowledgment might be seen as humiliating, it is not intended that way. If the offender is sincere they will be motivated to clear any damage to the Church of Virus or its reputation.

The Reconciliation Committee may accept such an acknowledgement or may impose sanctions upon the member, in consultation with the member or via a vote. Sanctions may include:

Should the offender not retract and reject their conduct, or should an offender repeatedly break their commitments to cease "wrong action", or should the Reconciliation Committee be convinced that the member does not intend to honor the spirit of an acknowledgement, then the question of Disownment will need to be raised. The Church of Virus will postpone Disownment as long as there seems the least chance of the situation being rectified. If, however, an erring member persistently refuses to offer a satisfactory acknowledgment, then the Church of Virus's appointed Reconciliation Committee will eventually write a paper indicating its disunity with the members actions and the Church of Virus's Disownment of the offender. The purpose of such a paper is the same as the purpose of the acknowledgment, to keep the ethical standards of the Church of Virus a clear matter of record. An offender subjected to Disownment loses all rights within the Church of Virus, most especially the right to use the various on-line communications facilities maintained by the Church of Virus.

A member, on notification of Disownment, may appeal this to the Virian Council, first at the time of the Disownment, and again at one year intervals after the disownment. The ballot of the Virian Council to accept or reject such appeals shall be secret, and its results shall be binding.


In this document following, some of the wording (particularly that relating to Disownment), has been taken from an article about the practices within another self-assertedly non-dogmatic, albeit Deistic religion, the "Society of Friends", or Quakers and included with relatively minor editing, modernisation and adaptation for on-line use. The source article many be found at http"Precedent for Disownment As Historically Practiced in the Society of Friends", Jenny Duskey, Larry Kuenning, Charlotte Kuenning, Licia Kuenning, 1991-08-28. It may be useful to know that rather than a formal structure, the Quakers ran "Meetings" at which there was no prescribed agenda, but where members in good standing could speak out as they felt needful, and that all actions were taken by a vote of the elders or community.

Last edited on Friday, October 10, 2003 10:16:05 am.