Community Summit Role: Taking Stack and Keeping Time

Each Community Summit discussion will have:

  1. One Facilitator
  2. Two Notetakers (read about the Notetaker role)
  3. One Stack Keeper/Time Keeper

Please familiarize yourself with the Stack Keeper/Time Keeper role in advance, so you’re ready to volunteer!

Purpose: The purpose of taking stack is to ensure that all participants’ voices can be heard in the discussion. Otherwise, an individual or a small group of people could easily dominate the discussion and shut out other participants.

The role of Stack Keeper: At the beginning of each discussion, the Facilitator will request a volunteer to be the Stack Keeper. It is the Stack Keeper’s responsibility to structure and order the dialogue. “The Stack” is the order of participants who are speaking. If a participant raises their hand to say something, the Stack Keeper puts them on “Stack.” That is, the Stack Keeper puts their name at the bottom of the stack list. When the person at the top of Stack has finished speaking, the Stack Keeper crosses their names off and announces who the next two participants on stack are. The Stack Keeper should also make sure that people who have spoken before come after folks who have been added to the Stack for the first time.

Thus, the Stack Keeper is the person responsible for identifying who speaks and when. The Stack Keeper must constantly be paying attention and scanning the room to see who wants to speak. In addition to these duties, both the Facilitator and Stack Keeper may also contribute normally to the discussion.

Keeping time: The Stack Keeper is also responsible for keeping time during the discussion. It’s important that the Stack Keeper/Time Keeper let the Facilitator know when it’s time to wind down the discussion and shift to Next Steps and Action Items (at least 5 minutes before the scheduled end-time). This will help avoid an abrupt end to the discussion, and ensure that the group has clearly identified next steps before the discussion concludes.