Robert’s rules were created over a century ago to help organizations and debating groups to have some kind of order. They for instance allocated reasons when it may be permitted to interrupt a speaker, the number of times a speaker may address a certain subject. It sets the normal order for a meeting, it explains what a motion is and how one is made, whether it needs a second or not (some do others don’t) Most associations governing documents require the use of Roberts Rules or a similar set of rules proclaiming in their bylaws that parliamentary procedure shall follow Roberts Rules of Order.
One of the benefits of the rules is that there is a standard order of business which provides a framework for an association to conduct its business. Not only do the rules provide a certain order to meetings and the decisions reached but a fair hearing is granted to both sides of a debate. The usual and formal procedure is this. The Chairman recognizes the maker of a motion. It is promptly seconded, Failure to do so means it will not again come up for discussion at this meeting) the chairman then restates the motion. and debate begins. Following debate the chairman will call for a vote and the majority will usually rule.
The motion will then be recorded in the minutes of that meeting. The normal procedure is for the chair to recognize those who wish to speak in the order they seek recognition.
The chair would be wise to alternate recognition between those in favor and those opposed and only offer a second time after everyone who has a right to speak has spoken first. A good presiding officer will preside impartially and not be drawn into the debate, allowing rather the members to debate. Robert’s rules call for a motion and a second before debate begins. Occasionally it might be prudent to let a member briefly discuss his or her reasons for making a motion before doing so. Unanimous consent to this will allow you to suspend this major rule. This is unlikely to occur in homeowners associations as they now have to approve and distribute an agenda 4 days before any meeting listing the items for discussion at that meeting. No discussion leading to a vote may take place if the item is not properly placed on the agenda. Emergencies are one of those items but even the need for an emergency discussion needs first be voted before an item may be discussed as an emergency measure.