West Coast Compañeros Staff
From extensive discussions both on GMF and here on beta, I think there are three separate issues relating to ensuring the integrity and continuity of group administration.
The first issue is protecting groups from rogue Moderators who would usurp the functions of the Owner(s). (This issue would be resolved if Bruce's suggestion in #24127 is implemented.) The second issue is protecting the original Owner from rogue co-Owners who are current;y able to depose and remove her/him, or even delete the group. The third issue is ensuring group continuity by a succession mechanism for transferring group ownership when the last existing owner is deceased, disabled, or missing in action.
I would like to focus on the second issue in this topic. I suggest that it be addressed by creating a new Role that would be a unique instance of Owner. The name doesn't matter at this point. It could be Founder or just Owner* (Owner with an asterisk). The other Owner(s) in the group would be able to do everything except 1) demote, replace, or remove the Founder; 2) delete the group; or 3) designate a successor to the Founder. Those three functions would be reserved for the Founder.
In the case of newly created groups going forward, the Founder would be the group's creator. I realize that implementing this Role for existing groups could be more complicated. The general principle would be that the sole Owner of an existing group would automatically be promoted to Founder. Some cases with multiple owners would be straightforward, e.g., when the original creator is still functioning as one of the Owners. Where it would be messier is when there are multiple Owners and the original creator is no longer in the group. One possibility would be for all other Owners to step down temporarily so that the designated successor, or one elected by the remaining Owners, would be the last existing Owner and automatically inherit the role of Founder. The other Owner(s) could then be reinstated.
The third issue, dealing with the problem of a dead, disabled, or disappeared sole Owner or Founder (the 3Ds), should be taken up in a new topic.
The goal should be to make all of this as automated as possible, to minimize or eliminate the need for the involvement or intervention of Groups.io support.