The Constitution of the Hemsby Dining Club
The calendar. A dinner is ordinarily held during the odd-numbered months of January, March, May, July, September and November. The poll is sent out via the mailing list at midday on the second Tuesday in the month before and concludes forty-eight hours later at midday on the following Thursday.
The chosen evening. Dinners are held on either a Wednesday or Thursday evening. Where the additional date of Burns night (25 January) does not fall on a Wednesday or Thursday, it is included. The earliest date with the most votes is deemed the winner. Invitees vote for dates with the expectation that they will attend whatever restaurant is chosen, rather than their vote being dependent on them getting their choice.
Those invited. Everybody who is a subscriber to the mailing list is invited to vote. Those not on the mailing list are also welcome to vote.
The chosen venue. Venues may be suggested at any time, and will be added to the next poll for consideration. Venues will be not be added once a poll is in progress. If a venue loses three times, it is removed from future polls. The winning venue will be the first one from those venues with the most votes on the chosen day. In the case of a tie, the following procedure is followed to break it. Firstly, new suggestions are preferred, so as to encourage us to explore more restaurants. Among several new suggestions, we prefer venues suggested earlier. If this does not break the tie, that is, if no new suggestions have won, old suggestions are preferred in order of the proportion of the votes that the venue received in the last three polls where it appeared. This value is denoted R3. For clarity, venues appear in the poll sorted in the order described, so that the first venue with the most votes wins.
The booking. When the poll completes, a reservation is made at the restaurant for the number who said they could make it on the winning date, plus one extra place, since the group size invariably expands the week before the meal. When the restaurant confirms the reservation, a confirmation is sent out to the mailing list. Three days before the meal, we check (off-list) that everyone is still able to come and get a final count. The reservation is varied (if necessary) and confirmed with the restaurant. If, on the first reservation, the restaurant hasn't sufficient availability, or the restaurant later cancels, the choice of date is retained and the second choice restaurant on the same date is tried, and so on, until no restaurants are left. In this case we declare the plan 'cursed' and immediately have another vote with the remaining restaurants. If a venue expresses annoyance at being messed around by changing numbers, it is excluded from future polls, for the sake of politeness. If the venue cancels without good reason, it is similarly excluded.
Amendments to the constitution. Proposals for amendments to any of these articles, including this one, should be sent before the vote is sent for inclusion as an additional option. A two-thirds majority from those who have attended a dinner in the past will effect the amendment. Silly proposals are especially welcome.