Here is the beginnings of a membership agreement. It is not, nor intended to be, legaleze.

Comments welcome. -- AdamShand


To be eligible to become a member of Personal Telco you must meet the below requirements:

  1. You must be sponsored by an existing member.
  2. You must have contributed to the network by doing one of the below:

    1. Owning FootNote(Being listed as the primary technical contact in the node map also counts.) a gateway or repeater node which conforms to our NodeStandards. FootNote(You are eligible once your node has been up for one month. Your eligibility lapses if your node is unavailable for three months)

    2. (or) Be granted a membership by a majority vote of the board of advisors. FootNote(Such appointments would be limited in number and for recognition of significant and valuable contributions to Personal Telco.)

    3. (or) Pay a one-time fee of $500.

Please remember, anyone can use the network. What we are defining here is who gets voting rights to control the organization. We believe that the control should go to the people that actually contribute to the network.

Rules of Conduct

  1. You understand that physical activity and risk may be part of building network nodes. You agree not to hold Personal Telco liable for any harm that may result from activities either directly or indirectly related to the building of the network.
  2. You understand that Personal Telco can accept no responsibility for the maintenance or security of your network.
  3. You agree not to do anything illegal with or through any Personal Telco node. Unacceptable activities include, but are not limited to, spamming, breaching your ISP's terms and conditions of use and breaching the FCC rules and regulations for the ISM band.
  4. You must allow Personal Telco to audit the availability and location of your node.
  5. You must allow us to gather and redistribute statistics on your node. However we will never release your name, address, email or any other personally identifying information to a third party.
  6. Membership may be terminated, without cause or notification, by either party.


  1. You are eligible for MembershipBenefits.

  2. You understand that this is a living document and subject to changes. Personal Telco will make a best effort attempt to contact you via email prior to any changes in requirements or responsibilities coming into effect. However ultimate responsibility for knowing the contents of the membership agreement lies with you.
  3. The most current version of the document will always be available at the below URL:


Please leave your name with your comments.

What about sweet Labour? Seem to me that if a person donates X of hour he should be a member also.

Seem to me this sounds like a elite boys club?

The Rights and Responsibilities looks more like Limitation of Liability or Rules of Conduct; perhaps it should be renamed. For Rights and Responsibilities I would have expected to see more along the lines of what is in the MembershipBenefits: you can vote and be an officer of the group. --DavidSmith

Two points:

  1. It seems appropriate that contributing to the network is one of the means of attaining membership -- PTP clearly wants to grow the network. In lieu of a node contribution, money could also help build the network ... but $500 seems pretty steep. I put up a node for less than half of $500, but due to geography (I'm in a valley) it is largely useless to PTP. The $500 amount seems large in comparison to the actual cost of a node, which leads me to think we're actually creating an incentive for people to put up nodes (at much less than $500) even if the node will have no value to the PTP network since that will be cheaper than $500 cash. In my case, PTP would be beter served by having, say, $250 of my money than having my node. If it were up to me (and I know it isn't), I'd reduce the the money cost of membership to more closely approximate the cost of constructing a node.
    • Here's the rational. We really want you to put up a node rather then give us money, even if it's out in BFE because as this spreads there might be people near you. Every SSID set to is a win from a community, solidarity and publicity point of view. We're building a network and that's the focus. As for the actual figure of $500 that comes from a couple places. First, $500 is what we quote to businesses as the "cost of a node". It means we can do it right with a Soekris, NoCatAuth, an antenna, a high powered card etc. Also there are on going costs of running a node (bandwidth, time and energy etc). We didn't want to get into the situation where people just pay us, we want people to put up a node, *that* is the point of all this. -- AdamShand.

  2. Somebody (a few screen inches above) commented that this looks like 'an elite boy's club". I had a similar reaction when I read that one can also become a member through the majority vote of the board of advisors. That the board can make these selections/nominations *does* seem appropriate, but it worries me that there isn't a guideline or rationale published for how, when, or why the board should grant membership outside of the two traditional membership paths (a node or money). I imagine the provision for board-granted membership is there for someone who has made significant contributions (time, effort, knowledge, hardware ... whatever) to PTP but hasn't put up a node or $500 cash. To eliminate the prospect of "an elite boy's club" I think we should publish a policy on the basis by which the board can grant membership outside of the node or $500 paths. I think we want to avoid the appearance nepotism and caprice. --DavidSmith

    • I'm *very* concerned about that, I don't want that to be the perception. In fact one of the reasons for creating the NonProfit was to try and move it to more of an established organization and less of "Adam's Club". The exemption is not there to grandfather friends in, it's there for people who have peformed significant services and for some reason can't run a node. It's also there to be able to give honourary memberships to people who have helped out but aren't in the Portland area (say Schuyler for writing NoCatAuth or Rich Bader at EasyStreet for supporting us from the beginning). I'm sensitive to the idea that it's open to board abuse, but I really want to keep it simple rather then getting anymore rule bound then it already is. Suggestions greatfully accepted. -- Adam.

      • I'm confident that you, Adam, share my concern about the potential for misuse of the board-granted membership. However, we seem to take different approaches of how to deal with it. My worry is that as your involvement wanes (or any single person's), what is left to guide the organization is the set of bylaws, policies, and other written documents. My suggestion is to write a guideline document for how and when the board should be able to grant memberships, rather than to rely upon the good intentions of some future group of people.

        Perhaps: "From time to time the board of advisors, by majority vote, may choose to grant membership to an individual as recognition for significant and valuable contributions to PersonalTelco."

        • I like that. I've done something similar, is that better? I'm using footnotes because I really want to keep the actual in your face verbage as simple as possible. -- Adam.
        This at least lays out the intent. (Ashamed ingorance comes to the fore) Having not read the remainder of the bylaws I don't know if there is a provision for the members to disagree and perhaps overturn decisions of the board of advisors. I think there ought to be such a provision, so that among other things, the members could have a voice if they thought the board was misusing its membership-granting power.
        • There is no provision for members to overturn decisions by the board. However there are provisions for the members to effectively impeach the board. You can find the bylaws [ here] if you wish to educate yourself. :-) -- Adam.

        Sorry to be a pain. You'd think that I'd be a little less concerned about this, given I haven't been to a meeting this year. I think I'm out in idealogical left field, and I fully expect the majority of members are not as concerned about this as I seem to be. -- DavidSmith

        • You have no idea how glad I am that someone is pointing this stuff out now rather then six months from now when it's a total PITA to change. Please don't feel bad about it, so long as your critism is aimed at making it better I'm all ears. Personally I've viewed the silence on the wiki and the mailing list since the announcement as eerily ominous. -- Adam.

The 500$ option still makes me uncomfortable. It seems more like buying into than being a participant in the PTP. A grassroots org can have folks who benefit from its projects , in this case the users, while not being part of the voting membership.

The voting member base should be made up of the folks actively working on PTP projects. These are the folks who can make judgments, set guidelines, point the group in the right directions. Someone who buys in can sit back without the experience of doing and vote based on things other than practicalities.

Bad Case Scenerio...some folks with an agenda buy into the PTP and use their votes to guide the PTP towards being a tool for their ends, not the PTPs. Far fetched? There are tons of examples where a buy in leads to a shifting of goals.

If someone wants to toss PTP 500$ it should be a philanthropic thing and not a way to get the vote. They get a tax write off, they get the karma ups, they get the deep rush of doing good. If you want a vote, earn it.