[Linux-aus] Constitution Fun

Arjen Lentz arjen at mysql.com
Thu Sep 18 08:07:04 UTC 2003

Hi Pia,

On Wed, 2003-09-17 at 22:54, Pia Smith wrote:
> On Wed, 2003-09-17 at 10:14, Robert Thomson wrote:
> > I recommend in 7.1 (register of members) that the register continue to
> > hold the mailing address of the members, as well as the email address,
> > and possibly other contact details (optional).  It should be a
> > member's responsibility to keep this information up to date, by
> > notifying LA.
> We discussed keeping a record of mailing addresses and decided against
> it, as they are hard to keep up to date, and for the most part
> irrelevant, seeing we are an online community. I am yet to be convinced
> :)
> [...]
> > 16.1 - Email and mail address, and maybe other contact details.  If a
> > committee member drops off the Internet, you still should have a way
> > to reach them.  (Of course, unofficially that's the way it is atm)
> See first point. Open for discussion.

We tried this some years ago for an organisation in The Netherlands
(FidoNet / networked Bulletin Board Systems related) and found out it
wouldn't fly legally. We could use electronic means for most things, but
if anyone asked for something on paper, they'd have a legal right to do
so. Therefore, we had to keep the snailmail address on file, too.

The law in Australia may (now) be different, so the issue may not
translate from the Dutch case at the time.

The case I would make is that yes, it is more difficult to maintain. But
email addresses are sadly fleeting in nature, too. No matter how well an
organisation is run, many members will always be of the passive variety.
Still, those members DO value what the organisation does, and are of
importance to the organisation (number-wise, financially, etc).
The more means the organisation has to contact these members, the
better. By ONLY having e-mail addresses, this ability is severely
restricted and it is likely that the organisation will, over time, lose
a significant number from its membership.

Naturally, the organisation can only do the best it can, given its
human/time/etc resources... and members should be made aware that
keeping their info upto-date is important to the organisation.
The advantage of email there is that if you send members an automated
email once a year or so, asking them to confirm their details, that is
very easy to reply to. Much more convenient than snailmail. So, if the
format is right, it should get a decent response rate. Send out one
reminder for those who didn't respond... the rest may require a
snailmail approach. Something like that may help to minimise the use of
snailmail as much as possible, but still keep the option.

Arjen Lentz, Technical Writer, Trainer
Brisbane, QLD Australia
MySQL AB, www.mysql.com

Brisbane 3 November (5 days): Using & Managing MySQL Training
Training,Support,Licenses,T-shirts @ https://order.mysql.com/?marl

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