Frequently Asked Question

What are Robert's Rules?
Last Updated 2 years ago


Adopted from SF DSA’s Orientation Manual

Robert’s Rules provides rules and procedures that allow a deliberative assembly to make its decisions efficiently, but with all due regard for the rights of the minority. Following the rules ensures more a fair and more achievable outcome without wasting time, but remembering all the details of parliamentary procedure can be a tall order. Keeping some quick reference material on hand when you enter a meeting will ensure you have the important information you need to effectively and democratically achieve the business of the assembly.

What is a motion?

When that light bulb goes off in your head and you have a great idea, you make a motion to get your idea discussed and a decision made. Until a motion is made, seconded, and stated by the chair, no discussion is in order. This rule of “motion before discussion” saves valuable meeting time. When you start off with a definite proposal — “I move that ...” — your group discusses the motion’s merits and all the details necessary to make a decision. And during the discussion, you and the other membersa are free to alter your motion as much as necessary before reaching the final decision. This process is much more productive than just starting off jabbering about some vague idea hoping to work it out as you go, and then getting around to making a motion summarizing what you think you may have just proposed.

Steps for a basic motion

  1. The member rises and addresses the chair.
  2. The chair recognizes the member.
  3. The member makes a motion.
  4. Another member seconds the motion.
  5. The chair states the motion.
  6. The members debate the motion.
  7. The chair puts the question, and the members vote.
  8. The chair announces the result of the vote.

Other things

If you want to... You would say...
Adjourn "I move that we adjourn"
Recess "I move that we recess until…”
Complain about noise, etc "Point of privilege”
Suspend further consideration of something "I move that we table this"
End debate "I move the previous question”
Postpone consideration of something "I move we postpone this matter until…”
Amend a motion "I move that this motion be amended by…”
Object to procedure or personal affront "Point of order"
Request information "Point of information"
Object to considering some undiplomatic or improper matter "I object to consideration of this question”
Take up matter previously tabled "I move we take from the table…"
Consider something out of its scheduled order "I move we suspend the rules and consider…"

Please Wait!

Please wait... it will take a second!