» Constitution

Constitution of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue

I. Statement of Purpose

The Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue (SIGdial) is constituted as a special interest group of one or more parent organizations. Parent organizations for SIGdial are currently the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) and the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA); SIGdial also has an affiliation relationship with the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.  SIGdial may also collaborate with associated organizations.

The purpose of SIGdial shall be:

  • To promote interest in discourse and dialogue processing.
  • To provide members of the parent organisations having a special interest in discourse and dialogue processing with a means of exchanging news of recent research developments and other matters of interest in discourse and dialogue processing.
  • To endorse or sponsor meetings and workshops in discourse and dialogue processing that appear to be timely and worthwhile, including an annual conference, operating within the framework of the parent organizations’ by-laws for SIGsTo provide and make available resources relevant to discourse and dialogue processing, including corpora, analysis tools, analysis and generation software, research papers and generated data.

SIGdial will operate within the framework of the parent organisations’ general guidelines for SIGs.

II. Elected Officers

The elected officers of the SIG shall consist of a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. All officers shall be members in good standing with the SIGdial organization and a parent organization

The term of all elected officers of the SIG shall be 2 years. Officers may be re-elected but consecutive appointments are limited to four consecutive terms.

The duties of the President shall be:

  • To have primary executive authority over actions and activities of the SIG.
  • To prepare an annual written report on the activities of the SIG for presentation to the parent organisations.
  • To act as Liaison Representative to the parent organizations.
  • To designate Liaison Representatives for the SIG, who shall be primarily responsible for communication with the boards of the associated organisations.
  • To designate such other officers as are appropriate to the fulfillment of the goals of the SIG, including a returning officer as specified in Sections III and V below, and communications officers to maintain the web presence of the SIG and to facilitate communications among members of the SIG
  • To appoint, in agreement with the other elected officers, an international advisory committee (the SIGdial Board) with members from both parent organisations, who represents at least four countries, at least one of which is in North America, one in Europe and one in the Pacific Rim, and who shall be called upon in relation to the planning and coordination of SIGdial activities and the preparation and revision of SIGdial documents.

The duties of the Vice President shall be:

  • To support the execution of Presidential duties, including acting as a surrogate at meetings the President cannot attend.
  • To assist the President in organizing the annual SIGDIAL conference. In particular, the Vice President shall help select the General and Program chairsand provide guidance in the logistics, making sure that the Chairs are on schedule in fulfilling their responsibilities.

The duties of the Secretary shall be:

  • To maintain a membership roster of the SIG.To maintain documents stating the aims of the group and the names and affiliations of the current officers, suitable for sending to prospective members and other inquirers.
  • To collect the minutes of the annual business meeting for the SIG.
  • To maintain records of questions raised to the SIGdial Board and of decisions reached by vote of the Board.
  • To maintain other records related to SIG activities, including but not limited to annual reports, records of sponsored and endorsed events, and recordings of presentations at the annual conference.

The duties of the Treasurer shall be:

  • To supervise any funds awarded to the SIG by the parent organisations or profit from the annual conference; to collect and manage any dues that may be required by the organization; and to present a written annual report on the SIG finances to the Executive Committee of the boards of the parent organisations.
  • To produce accountings of the financial holdings of the SIG quarterly, and when requested by the President of the SIG or the parent organizations.
  • To receive and verify accountings from the General chairs of the annual conference at regular intervals prior to the conference, and after the conference.
  • To confirm the fiscal viability of any new policy initiatives made by the President and approved by the Board.
  • With the President, to manage the disbursement of funds for the annual conference, and for sponsorships, travel grants and other expenditures in categories approved by the Board.

III. Election of Officers

Officers of the SIG shall be elected by a vote of the membership. Elections shall normally be carried out at least one month, and at most two months, before the expiration of current terms of office. In the event of a casual vacancy, an extraordinary election shall be held for an officer to complete the current term of office. Candidates must be nominated by two members, must accept nomination, and must be members in good standing SIGdial and of a parent organisation.

Voting procedures will be approved by the SIGdial Board and supervised by a returning officer appointed by the President and agreed to by all candidates. Voting procedures may vary from election to election, as seems most fair and efficient, given available technology, but will conform to the following guidelines. Nominations shall be called at least two  months prior to the election, and shall close one month prior to the election. All members shall be notified of the election date, voting procedure and the nominations at least four weeks prior to the close of voting, and results shall be notified to the members within four weeks of the close of voting.

SIGdial Board members also serve two-year terms.  They are elected as follows: Three members shall be elected according to the usual election of officers described previous, and three shall be appointed by the President.

IV. New Policy Initiatives

New policy initiatives that impact the future direction or logistical organization of SIGdial, such as changes to the Constitution, must be raised by the President before the SIGdial Board for approval. Policy initiatives can only be implemented when a majority is reached among votes received from the Board members. In the case of ties, the President shall cast a vote to break the tie. If the new policy initiatives involve budgetary allocations, the Treasurer must confirm the fiscal viability of the policy.  The Secretary shall keep records of all questions raised to the SIGdial board and of all SIGdial board votes.

IV. Dues

Dues may be charged by the SIG as determined from time to time by the elected officers and approved by the boards of the parent organisations. A scale of dues may be charged which depends on the member’s geographical location, and the medium by which he receives mailings (e.g. electronic or physical mail).

V. Referenda

A change to this constitution, or a motion on any other matter, may be initiated by five members (petitioners) in writing or by agreement of the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer (on the suggestion of a member or otherwise). The motions will be put to the members within six months of receipt of a petition, if the petitioners so request. Otherwise, constitutional amendments and other motions will be put to the vote in conjunction with the regular elections.

Members will be given notification at least three months in advance of any referendum, and further motions or amendments proposed by two members shall be accepted up to two months before the close of voting. Voting procedure shall follow the same guidelines as described for election of officers, in Section III, supervised by a returning officer appointed by the President and agreed to by all petitioners. All members shall be notified of the date of the referendum and the proposed motions and amendments at least four weeks prior to the close of voting, and results shall be notified to the members within four weeks of the close of voting.

Any change to this constitution requires a two-thirds majority of those eligible to vote and is subject to approval by the parent organisations. Any other matter requires a simple majority of those actually voting.

Notification shall signify dispatch of mail by the medium and to the address last notified to the secretary.

VI. Resource Management

In providing and making available any resources as defined in Clause I, and especially any held and distributed electronically, the SIG shall follow proper procedures with respect to matters like copyright, registration and data protection as is appropriate to each case. Furthermore, where the SIG may be deemed the proprietor of a resource, as the SIG is a subordinate body of the parent organisations other members of the parent organisations who are not members of the SIG may have access to the SIG’s resources and the parent organisations may themselves make available such resources even to non-members. The SIG shall not enter into any formal or potentially legally binding contracts without notifying a parent organisation board (or its delegate). The SIG shall not enter into any financial commitments for such resources without ensuring that the moneys required are available.