[Theforum] (was) let's kill it

Marlene Bruce marlene at members.evolt.org
Wed Apr 17 18:06:25 CDT 2002

Hey folks,

A discussion was started on the admin list which I believe has
bearing from the standpoint of theforum. To sum up the origins:

* An email to the admin list went unanswered for three days.
* Someone who had resigned from admin went in and answered it anyway,
thinking they were helping.
* A current admin member took exception, stating that either the
responder was welcome to rejoin admin, or they should leave admin
duties up to those who are responsibile and accountable for them.
* Someone else called to have admin "killed" as an official group,
and to start a different one called "editorial" or the like. I was
the second person to "second" that idea.
* Then it was pointed out that changing the name of the group doesn't
erase the problem of responsibility and accountability.

I attempt to address the following email in response to my
"seconding". My clarifying inserts are [bracketed]:

>OK, fine. But who decides who should get the rights to each of those
>[the lists created to take over current admin responsibilities], and
>what happens when they [one or more of the list members] accept the
>rights, but not the responsibilities? And what's the process for
>handling the situation when someone somehow acquires the rights to
>one [of the lists] without going through the decision-making
>process, refuses to accept the accountability for exercising those
>rights, and gets 'really annoyed' when they get called on it?

I see your point (my email was written and sent before I received
your previous one). I believe from the beginning I've been inclined
to want to see process in place to avoid these problems. Remember a
few months after we started evolt, when I was trying to get everyone
into working committees? We even went to great lengths to set up an
app to vote ourselves into committees, and then nothing happened with
them. Then things evolved, and 14 months ago we voted in Executives
and the Board of Directors. Then nothing happened with that either.

I hear ya. I want to see things fixed. The pervasive air of division,
side-taking, and lack of trust that's arisen among the "admin" team
has done a lot to make me almost completely abandon evolt. So has the
lack of mature professionalism often exhibited in our on- and
off-list communications (as I'm aware of them).

But let me tackle this from the bigger picture standpoint...

>See, this doesn't actually *fix* anything. It's deckchairs on the
>Titanic time if the larger issues aren't resolved. And guess what -
>those are process, organisation and governance issues.

I don't know what to tell you any more. I agree that until we have,
as you say, "process, organization and governance," evolt will
continue to be a piecemeal hobby of sorts for those who participate.
Without those, evolt will never become anything but a forum of sorts.
By that I mean we really *can't* take donations legally (as evolt),
we can't sell things legally (as evolt), and a lot that is done in
evolt's name really holds no water from an officially recognized

What big corporation is going to donate to some group's hobby? And
how many people will donate to evolt without some accounting of what
is happening to the money? And I brought this up with Dan in a phone
call off-list over the weekend, but what about taxes? If we're
producing anything to sell, someone somewhere in the chain has to
worry about taxes.

Heck, I spoke with my mom a couple of months ago about donating a
fairly substantial sum to evolt, and her first questions were,
"Where's your list of things needing purchasing? What's evolt's plan
for future growth? How do you account for where the money goes?" Well
gee, mom, I can't answer those. So she donated to another cause which
was made legitimate by it's process, organization, governance, and
resulting responsibility and accountability.

Not only that, but other organizations are actually progressing in
their growth and ability to do good for their primary audience. Other
than revamping our site (once) and adding server space for public
development efforts (which Dan is effectively paying for by
supporting all of our servers), and adding a few more lists, what
have we done in 3 1/2 years?

Please PLEASE don't take that as a personal stab. I know we've done a
LOT given how we've gone about it. It's just that there could be so
much more. Might we just a wee bit be resting on our laurels?

What I'm getting at here is that there are two basic ways evolt can evolve:

1. It remains a hobby and limps along piecemeal. It grows
organically, and helps our audience in relatively small ways (lists,
articles, server space, all by accepting small donations of time and

2. It becomes something serious, with all the attending work,
required organization and professionalism, and becomes something that
can really foster growth for our audience in potentially
*significant* ways (donating money and other resources *to* other
groups, starting local chapters, fostering research, holding
educational workshops and forums, etc.).

If we continue like we are, only #1 will happen.

If we want to have vision and can somehow discipline ourselves into
creating and accepting process, organization and governance, then
maybe #2 is possible.

This is important too: Until we move towards #2, there will be a lot
of talent here that will continue to go unused. I've wanted to offer
much more to evolt than I've been able to realize. Why? In part it's
because under our present way of doing things there's really not much
room for me. How many designers does evolt, in its current
incarnation, need?

But just think, if we were moving towards realizing #2, how many ways
my talents and yours could help the cause and impact so many more
people? This is a rhetorical question, but how many of you here would
like to give something to evolt but don't feel there's really a way
to do so?

>Oh, also, can I point out how insulting this is to those of us who
>have put in so much work to have the term 'Admin' denigrated by
>someone who doesn't even want to be part of that group? Unless of
>course, it's only work on thesite which counts... (although I've
>done a small share of that too).

Sure, I can see that too.


P.S. I happen to think that one of the first things we should spend
money on for evolt is a method to conference.

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