The existing North American rules are currently being used for WGPO events. The Executive Committee agreed that the committee’s focus in its first year of operations will be to develop and have adopted WGPO’s own initial tournament rules, which shall maintain in substance the position of the existing rules, but rework them, as necessary, in text, style, and structure to achieve greater clarity and ease of use; consideration of any proposals for substantial changes to the rules will be deferred until the second year of the committee’s operations, unless circumstances require more immediate action in specific instances. Under our new Bylaws, the final arbiter on rules decisions is the Board of Player Representatives, and Rules Committee determinations may be appealed to that body. The committee’s chair coordinated the development of the newly-adopted WGPO Bylaws, a major project which took considerable time and required Rules Committee work to be temporarily suspended during that process.
The proposed WGPO Bylaws have been ratified resoundingly by the members, by a vote of 68-3, or 96 percent. The 71 players who cast votes represented about 15% of the total membership. The Official WGPO Bylaws is now filed under the “ABOUT WGPO” section.
The WGPO Executive Committee deeply appreciates both the long, hard work of all those, led by John Spangler, who helped draft these Bylaws, and the constructive comments offered by many members. Finally, thank you to all those who voted, whether “yea” or “nay”; you have demonstrated your support for the concept of a players’ organization where the players, not a few self-designated leaders, make the key decisions.
As always, players with questions and/or concerns should feel free to contact any or all of the members of the EC (Keith Hagel, firstname.lastname@example.org; Steph Steele, email@example.com; and Rick Wong, firstname.lastname@example.org)
— Keith Hagel
As Proposed by the WGPO Executive Committee
for Ratification by the WGPO Membership
WORD GAME PLAYERS’ ORGANIZATION
(1) These Bylaws shall govern the organization and operation of the Word Game Players’ Organization (WGPO), an independent body of individuals who enjoy playing the word game Scrabble®*.
(2) In the event that the WGPO incorporates as a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation, its Articles of Incorporation shall supersede any conflicting provision of these Bylaws.
(3) Divisions of the WGPO may be created for word games other than Scrabble® if the Board of Player Representatives determines that sufficient interest exists. The organizational structure of these divisions shall be determined by the Board of Player Representatives.
The mission of the WGPO is to run a word game players’ organization, in accordance with its bylaws, openly and democratically, by and for the players. The organization advocates a respectful and supportive environment that encourages every member, regardless of rating or previous tournament experience, to play often, play fair, and have fun.
The objectives of the WGPO are to:
(1) Foster a spirit of good fellowship and interest in the game of Scrabble®;
(2) Encourage and facilitate the existence and growth of local clubs to promote word game play;
(3) Oversee and approve organized tournament play through which player ratings are determined;
(4) Establish, revise, and interpret rules governing tournament play to promote order and harmony; and
(5) Develop, publish, and administer ethical standards governing the behavior and play of all WGPO members and provide a disciplinary system for enforcing those standards.
(1) All persons who play the Scrabble® word game or other word games shall be eligible for membership in the WGPO.
(2) All WGPO members in good standing shall have voting rights in any election or referendum held by the WGPO. Any member who is not under a WGPO disciplinary penalty is a member in good standing.
(3) Membership in the WGPO is currently free upon application. The establishment of an annual membership fee and any subsequent increases to that fee shall only occur upon recommendation of the Executive Committee followed by ratification by the membership in a referendum as provided in subsection (4) of Article VII of these Bylaws.
(4) Members who serve on the WGPO’s Executive Committee, its Board of Player Representatives, or its standing or ad hoc committees shall not receive compensation for that service but may be reimbursed for legitimate expenses, by action of the Executive Committee under guidelines established by the Board of Player Representatives.
(1) The management of the WGPO shall be vested in an Executive Committee, made up of three WGPO members elected by the WGPO membership. The Executive Committee is empowered to act for the WGPO with respect to the business of the organization. It shall supervise, administer, direct, and control the operational affairs of the WGPO.
(2) Terms of the members of the Executive Committee shall be a for a period of two years beginning on January 1 in the year that starts following their election, except that at the initial election of Executive Committee members, the two members elected with the two highest total votes shall serve three-year terms.
(3) Any member of the WGPO who is in good standing and who is 18 years of age or older when his or her term of office would commence is eligible to be a member of the Executive Committee.
(4) Any action of the Executive Committee shall be by an affirmative vote of at least two of its members. The Executive Committee may conduct votes by e-mail, telephone, or other means agreed to by all three of its members.
(5) Any matter on which the Executive Committee cannot reach a decision may be referred by it in writing, by e-mail or otherwise, to the members of the Board of Player Representatives for a binding determination on the matter by that board.
(6) The Executive Committee may create committees, both standing and ad hoc, and delegate responsibilities to those committees as the Executive Committee deems to be in the best interest of the WGPO. Chairs and members on standing and ad hoc committees shall serve for open-ended or set terms specified by the Executive Committee, which may remove and replace any chair or member in its discretion. No committee once created, however, shall be abolished or its membership substantially removed by the Executive Committee without prior ratification by the Board of Player Representatives.
(7) The membership specifically authorizes action by the Executive Committee to establish nonprofit status or tax-exempt status, or both, for the WGPO if and when the Executive Committee finds that so doing is warranted by the organization’s size and circumstances.
(8) The Executive Committee shall take care to keep records of its votes and actions and to safeguard WGPO funds. The three members of the Executive Committee are coequal in authority, but the Executive Committee may choose to designate, under terms of its own making, a chair, a secretary, and a treasurer from its membership. No Executive Committee member shall be designated or style himself or herself as president or chief executive officer of the WGPO.
Board of Player Representatives
(1) The ultimate decision-making authority of the WGPO rests in its members as a body. The WGPO has been established as and shall always remain a players’ organization. An elected Board of Player Representatives shall act for the membership as a body in making those policy decisions that are not decided by a vote of the total membership.
(2) The Board of Player Representatives shall consist of five WGPO members elected by the WGPO membership. The Board may designate one of its members as its chair, to serve for a term set by the Board.
(3) Terms of the members of the Board of Player Representatives shall be for a period of two years beginning on January 1 in the year that starts following their election, except that at the initial election of Board of Player Representatives members, the three members elected with the three highest total votes shall serve three-year terms.
(4) Any member of the WGPO who is in good standing and who is 18 years of age or older when his or her term of office would commence is eligible to be a member of the Board of Player Representatives.
(5) Any action of the Board of Player Representatives shall be by an affirmative vote of at least three of its members. The Board may conduct votes by e-mail, telephone, or other means agreed to by action of the Board.
(6) Any member may raise an issue or concern with any member or members of the Board of Player Representatives at any time. The Board, at the suggestion of a WGPO member, at the request of the Executive Committee, or on its own initiative, may address policy matters affecting the WGPO. When it deems the matter of significant importance, the Board may refer action on a matter to a referendum by the total membership. A decision to change from the existing primary official tournament word list, and any subsequent editions of it, to some other source shall only be made by a referendum of the total membership.
(7) The Board of Player Representatives shall be the final arbiter on any disciplinary action or rules decision appealed to it.
Elections and Referenda
(1) While the use of e-mail and secure Internet voting is the primary means by which the WGPO shall conduct nominations, elections, and referenda, the body supervising these processes shall always make provision for use of government postal service or commercial delivery service for these processes for those members who do not have access to or choose not to use the Internet. For good cause, the Nominations and Elections Committee may recommend to the Executive Committee for its confirmation that minor adjustments be made in the dates and time periods specified in subsection (3) of this Article, but no adjustment shall change the length of any term of office.
(2) By no later than October 20 annually, the Executive Committee shall appoint an ad hoc Nominations and Elections Committee made up of three WGPO members in good standing, who shall accept nominations and supervise the election of Executive Committee members and Board of Player Representatives members whose terms begin in January of the next calendar year. No member of the Nominations and Elections Committee may be nominated for any of the positions being filled.
(3) (a) Nominations for the elections set out in subsection (2) of this Article shall be accepted by the ad hoc committee from November 1 through the following November 28. All nominations shall be in writing and submitted by e-mail or by government postal service or commercial delivery service to the contact designated by the ad hoc committee.
(b) Any member may nominate another member or himself or herself for a position being filled. The nomination shall include the nominee’s name; an e-mail or mailing address, or both, if known; and the position for which the member is being nominated.
(c) A nominee must meet the eligibility requirements for the position for which that member is nominated and must certify in writing that he or she meets the eligibility requirements for the position being sought and that the nominee is willing to serve in that position for its term of office. Only those nominees who meet eligibility requirements shall be included on the ballot. A nominee may only be a candidate for a single position. The ad hoc committee shall verify information and confirm willingness to serve before placing names on the ballot.
(d) The election shall be conducted online with a secure online voting process but with alternative provision for voting by government postal service or commercial delivery service. Only members in good standing may vote; no proxy voting shall be allowed. Internet voting shall commence on December 1 and remain open through December 14; votes submitted by government mail service or commercial delivery service must be received by December 14.
(e) Each member eligible to vote may cast as many votes among the nominees listed as the number of positions to be filled on the Executive Committee and on the Board of Player Representatives, but a member may only cast a single vote per nominee. The nominees receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected to the number of positions being filled on each body.
(f) The ad hoc committee shall post online the results of the election, in their entirety, as quickly as possible, but by no later than 72 hours from the close of the voting period.
(4) The Board of Player Representatives shall establish procedures for conducting referenda by the membership as a whole on matters provided for by these Bylaws and on issues that it may choose to submit to the WGPO membership for a binding determination. Referenda shall ordinarily be held at the same time as the election required annually under subsection (2) of this Article, unless the Board of Player Representatives determines that circumstances require a more immediate vote by the membership. Voting by the WGPO membership as a whole on a referendum, an election, or any other matter shall extend over a period of two weeks. Unless some other standard is specifically set out in these Bylaws, votes by the WGPO membership as a whole on referenda or other matters shall be decided by an affirmative vote of a majority of those members voting.
Filling of Vacancies; Removal from Office
(1) The Board of Player Representatives by majority vote shall appoint a WGPO member to fill any vacancy occurring on Executive Committee or on the Board of Player Representatives for the remainder of the vacated term. A member proposed to fill a vacancy must meet the eligibility requirements for the office to which he or she is to be appointed.
(2) (a) If a member of the Executive Committee or of the Board of Player Representatives is suspended or terminated from membership in the WGPO through a WGPO disciplinary action, that person shall automatically forfeit his or her office in the WGPO.
(b) If 35 percent of the total membership of the WGPO petitions the Board of Player Representatives to remove a member of the Executive Committee or of the Board of Player Representatives, a referendum on whether that person shall continue to serve in office shall be conducted, and if a majority of the total membership votes in that referendum that the officeholder should not continue in office, then that officeholder shall automatically forfeit his or her office in the WGPO.
Clubs and Tournaments
(1) The WGPO recognizes and acknowledges that a strong system of clubs with experienced club directors is the backbone of word game play. The organization shall create basic standards for approval of local clubs that wish to affiliate with it and shall maintain a roster of WGPO-approved clubs. No fee shall be charged to become a WGPO-approved club.
(2) The WGPO shall establish, maintain or coordinate, and administer rules and ethical standards for organized tournament play, a calendar for tournaments approved by WGPO, and a ratings system and historical statistical records of WGPO member ratings and performance in tournament play.
(3) WGPO-approved tournaments shall be open both to WGPO members and to players who are not WGPO members if those individuals agree to abide by the tournament rules and ethical standards of the WGPO.
(4) No rating fees are currently imposed for WGPO-approved tournaments. The establishment of ratings fees and any subsequent increases to those fees shall only occur upon recommendation of the Executive Committee followed by ratification by the membership in a referendum as provided in subsection (4) of Article VII of these Bylaws.
(5) The WGPO shall develop and maintain a method to certify members to direct clubs and tournaments approved by the WGPO.
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the WGPO in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws and any special rules of order that the WGPO may adopt by joint action of the Executive Committee and the Board of Player Representatives.
Amendment of Bylaws
(1) Any provision of these Bylaws may be amended or repealed by the WGPO membership as a whole by an affirmative vote either of two-thirds of those voting or of a majority of the existing WGPO membership, whichever is less.
(2) Amendments may be proposed by the Board of Player Representatives or by a written petition signed by no less than 20 percent of the membership at the time of the submission of the petition to the Board of Player Representatives.
(3) Unless the Board of Player Representatives determines that a more immediate vote is required so that a separate referendum is to be taken, votes on proposed amendments to these Bylaws shall be conducted in the manner and at the same time as the annual election for members to the Executive Committee and the Board of Player Representatives under Article VII of these Bylaws.
Effective Date and Transition
(1) These Bylaws shall take effect upon their ratification by the WGPO membership as a whole by an affirmative vote of a majority of those members voting.
(2) Upon these Bylaws becoming effective, the existing initial WGPO Executive Committee and the existing initial WGPO Advisory Board shall become, respectively, the WGPO Executive Committee established in Article V and the WGPO Board of Player Representatives established in Article VI, the members of which shall serve until the beginning of the terms of the officeholders elected at the first election conducted under Article VII.
*Hasbro, Inc., is the owner of the registered SCRABBLE® Brand Crossword Game trademark in the United States and Canada, Outside the United States and Canada, the SCRABBLE® trademark is owned by J.W. Spear and Sons, PLC, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc.