Saturday, February 15, 2014

SF Pride Finally Creates a Members' Page but . . .

Nearly five months ago, a reform slate of candidates for the board of directors of SF Pride won seats and forced out the old guard. One of the new directors is Jesse Oliver Sanford who touted his extensive tech and web skills in his campaign materials here, here, here and here as reasons to vote for him.

For months, I've raised the serious IT issues in writing and verbally with the board and received many assurances that the directors were working on upgrading the site, and never did I or the general membership receive a written outline of what was in the works. The closest he came to an outline was in an email in early January:

I'm not an officer and the reports are typically given by the officers. [...] I've been serving on the hiring, nominating and P&P committees, and participating actively in policy and issue discussions. Shortly, I will also be chairing the IT ad hoc committee. I would be happy to provide more details on any of the above as appropriate and needed.

When I again asked at the February board meeting about the tech issues, Jesse said the IT matters would soon be addressed. Not impressed with the response, I wrote this post on Tuesday expressing my frustration. On Thursday evening, I saw Jesse for a few minutes on the street and he said he'd created a members' page separate from the primary SF Pride site, and that I could find the link to the page at the SF Pride blog.

OK, I'll give Jesse credit that the bare-bones members' page has finally been created but must also note it has a thrown-together air about it. Good to see that the agendas and minutes of membership and board meetings are on the site, but much more substance is required, such as reports from directors.

Really, we're in the center of the tech universe and after nearly five months the main site has not undergone a major modernization and no written plan with clear measurable goals has been presented to the members, and believe we deserve a better site that is easy to navigate, allows for respectfully interactive threads and discussions, and takes full advantage of technology.

Having problems delivering on all that? Then put out a call for assistance to the thousands of queers who work in Big Tech, heck, maybe even enlist the pro bono services of a web-building firm and get cracking on engaging the SF Pride membership more fully.

Jesse has designed a Membership Expectations page and on it he said:

Monthly Membership Meetings (also known as the General Planning Meeting) are generally held on the 2nd Tuesday of every month. This is the primary method for you as a member to directly involve yourself in the governance and direction of the organization.

While I have long lauded SF Pride for holding two open meetings each month, I respectfully disagree that they are the primary method of membership engagement because there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of members who can't make the meetings. No one method should be seen as the best route of involvement for members.

A friend and longtime member and observer of SF Pride, who also very much approves of the new board and its work, rejected my complaints over the IT issues. "Give them time," he pleaded on the phone this week. I responded saying just as I was tough, but constructively critical of the old board, I was taking the same approach to the new directors.

Just as there are expectations of the members, we also have expectations of the directors and I'm here to bring a degree of accountability to the new board.

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