Welcome to the start of our first year with our refreshed website.
My updates during the ten weeks of our restructuring project were intended to keep our members up to date and involved with all we were attempting with the website. In those updates there were multiple topics, but as we go forward I’ll experiment (again), this time with the idea of a single topic.
What are we doing to qualify and quantify our membership?
We are aiming to estimate our membership numbers over the two weeks up to and including Monday 18th January 2016.
Ian’s ‘Census Referendum post on the main Facebook page gives a brief explanation, and there has been a rapid and positive response, but I noted some confusion in replies. This has prompted the topic and tone of my first update of the new writing year.
Why is it necessary to check and adjust our membership now?
In order to build anything it is necessary to have strong foundations.
As we continue to improve our website, the project will be carried out not only with the consent, but also it is hoped with the participation of our membership.
To enable us to develop ideas and strategies we must have a clear understanding of our numbers. We cannot be expected for example to ask for a majority vote on an action if we don’t know what a majority would be.
Facebook reports us having 608 members in the IASD.
Please trust me – this is not the case.
In a document I’ve set up on my PC, I have now listed 145 authors – taken from both our website and regular checks of our Facebook page over the past two months. If we allow for 100 unpublished members it still leaves us at half of the supposed membership.
What is creating the problem?
We have a number of authors presently on our website and appearing on our page who desire no more than an extra ‘free’ platform for their work. I know I’m like any other author and appreciate a free ride on a platform, but the IASD is different in several ways to many groups.
* Many hours are spent locating and listing our authors’ details.
* Many hours are spent working on the individual covers.
* Many hours are spent working on the presentation and navigation of the website.
Your Admin team have no issue with the time they give up for these activities, because our willingness is part of the group’s culture of support and discussion. We do these things because we have an active and appreciative membership.
We also have freeloaders.
Example of a freeloader in our midst:
We have a number of authors who have ‘joined’ us simply for publicity. They are only ever seen when asking for shares, likes, votes, sales, etc.
What do we ask of our members?
If you are a member of the IASD, all we ask is that you make an occasional ‘appearance’ in a thread which is not in the vein of the example of a freeloader I’ve given above.
As a member:
– You could be a writer of any standard, a reader, a reviewer, or a person with skills which are useful to the group: editing, proof-reading, graphics, etc.
– You do not have to be published, or even have written a book, but a regular ‘like’, or ‘share’, or ‘comment’ will let us know you care about the group and wish to be a part of the whole.
– I realise there will be the argument that it would cost nothing to keep the status quo, but I would argue that apart from accuracy in numbers, it costs integrity. I wouldn’t like us to bowl along thinking we were bigger than we were.
– We are not interested in, or willing to allow anybody to ‘freeload’ on the many hours of our support and discussion within the group. Some of our unpublished members are among the most active – and our success has come through inclusion and participation.
I apologise for what may appear a dictatorial or negative response to the activities of a few.
As always, your thoughts and ideas are all appreciated and noted. I’m sure I speak for everybody when I say we’d like to go from strength to strength as individuals as well as a group of like-minded people.
In summary, we will attempt to establish an accurate membership. If this means we have 300 or less members then that is fine, because we will at least know what a majority vote should look like. If we continue as we are, the Admin might as well dictate what we do and how we go about any amendments.
Thank you for having the patience to read this lengthy explanation.