Forum and email list

Marc Rosenblum via pbs
Thu, 16 Feb 2023 07:53:53 PST
On 2/12/2023 1:02 PM, Jane McGary via pbs wrote:
> Thank you to Mary Sue for her detailed discussion -- and for her 
> tremendous contribution to the PBS wiki. I was another board member 
> who preferred the email list to a forum, but when the forum went up I 
> registered for it and check it every day now. I haven't mastered the 
> posting of photos yet, but I'm not much of a photographer anyway. The 
> splitting of the forum posts into many topic areas worried me, and I'm 
> still not fond of it; however, users have found ways around strict 
> categorization in the Off-topic area.
> PBS got occasional complaints about the email list from users who 
> objected to the large number of emails they received through it, and 
> did not want to deal with the "digest" function. This wasn't a problem 
> for me because I filter my email manually before downloading it from 
> the provider's webmail site. I had to start doing that because of the 
> way membership payment notices come to me via PayPal; the provider 
> insisted on dumping them into the spam folder until I turned off the 
> filters. Now, if there is a thread that doesn't interest me, such as 
> "hybridizing Hippeastrum," I can delete it along with the advertising.
> Regarding the admittedly undemocratic way the PBS board is now 
> constituted, the subject of Robert Lauf's post, I think it arose 
> organically out of the founding of our society. The name "Pacific Bulb 
> Society" refers not only to the predominance of western North American 
> members at that time, but also to the hope that we would be pacific -- 
> i.e., peaceful. Many of our original members were in the International 
> Bulb Society (IBS), a long-standing group which was then falling apart 
> under the impact of hostile management. Early in the formative years 
> of PBS, we in turn had an administrative breakdown which we barely 
> survived. It has become a particular concern to avoid adversarial, 
> factional, or ideological clashes. This can make the board and the 
> various managers look like a clique. Nevertheless, decisions have been 
> taken to expand board membership, notably adding European members. The 
> call for applicants to the voting positions of vice president and 
> secretary -- neither of which requires a large time commitment -- is 
> an outreach too.
> I have a long history with the North American Rock Garden Society, so 
> I know that difficulty in recruiting board members and officers is not 
> unique to PBS. I've also been through at least two periods in which a 
> president, elected by the relatively few members who had bothered to 
> vote, did serious damage to that society. I switched from the PBS 
> president's position to my present one as membership coordinator 
> simply because the former membership person was unable to continue, 
> and maintaining the membership database is an almost daily activity. 
> Robin Hansen, the current president, is also the editor of the Bulb 
> Garden newsletter because she was the only qualified and willing 
> applicant for that task. Arnold Trachtenberg, the treasurer, also 
> handles the demanding tasks of getting the Bulb Garden printed and 
> mailed, and processing the occasional group book orders.
> Do you remember the story of the Little Red Hen? "Who will help me 
> grind the wheat?" "Not I," said the cow/pig/duck, etc. ... "Who will 
> help me eat the bread?" "I will!" said they all. Apropos to plant 
> societies! Please volunteer.
> Jane McGary, Membership Coordinator and PBS Board member
> On 2/12/2023 11:55 AM, Mary Sue Ittner via pbs wrote:
>> Over the years there have been many requests for volunteers to help 
>> running this organization and usually not a lot of replies. If you 
>> got rid of all of the people who contribute their time without 
>> getting anything in return, except for occasional thanks, I expect 
>> that would be the end of the Pacific Bulb Society. I for one am very 
>> grateful for all the volunteers. I periodically have asked for help 
>> with the wiki and for whatever reason, maybe because of the learning 
>> curve, it hasn't resulted in the last few years of any sustained 
>> help. Dues for this organization are modest and that allows people to 
>> participate in the BX and the SX and to get the Bulb Garden and 
>> provides money to pay to keep the list, the wiki, the BX/SX, the Bulb 
>> Garden, and the forum going. The main job of the Board is to find 
>> ways to make sure all of those things continue.
>> There was email discussion about forum vs list before the Board made 
>> the decision to start a forum. There were many of us who preferred 
>> the list, but also others that were unhappy with it. I suspect if 
>> there had been a vote there would have been no consensus. And who 
>> would you have vote? The list has always been available to people who 
>> were not members of the Pacific Bulb Society. So would all of them be 
>> allowed to vote even though they do not pay dues? It seems to me that 
>> the Board came up with a compromise. They created the forum, but did 
>> not do away with the list. The disadvantage to this is that 
>> announcements like the BX have to be two places and some people just 
>> participate in one or the other so we don't have the rich discussions 
>> that we once had. The advantage is that people who were unhappy with 
>> the list now have the forum and those people who preferred the list 
>> still have it. If David Pilling is able to find a list where it is 
>> easy to add photos I'm sure the people who use the list would be 
>> grateful.
>> David has given so much of his time over the years. I'm not sure how 
>> many people recognize this. It was 2009 when the wiki was no longer 
>> functional since the software was not being updated and some things 
>> no longer worked. We had to convert.  This is one of the times when I 
>> asked for help and got it. David volunteered and he has been the main 
>> stay of technical help since then. That's 13 years.  It took me a 
>> year to fix everything after we converted it to new software. During 
>> the conversion a lot of people checked pages for me and reported the 
>> mistakes I needed to fix. And a lot of people helped over the years 
>> with the wiki, but now there are few. Luckily David continues to help 
>> and Martin has spent a lot of time on it as well, but basically it's 
>> just the three of us.
>> Arnold has been volunteering since 2002, maybe before. He does all 
>> the mailings, manages the finances, contacts new members. Jane McGary 
>> has put in years and years, was President, before she took over 
>> membership and writes for the Bulb Garden. Diane Whitehead has been 
>> helping with the list for years and years. And there are many others 
>> who have helped for a long time. Robin is editing the Bulb Garden AND 
>> being the President. Who would you replace? PBS is lucky that they 
>> have continued to help. It would be really unfortunate if posts like 
>> the one from Robert led to resignations.
>> Mary Sue
>> On 2/12/2023 8:42 AM, Robert Lauf via pbs wrote:
>>>   Yes, it would be nice to allow members to vote on lots of things, 
>>> but the PBS governance model appears to be patterned on that of 
>>> Cuba.  The Board essentially elects its own members from a list of 
>>> candidates they select via an arbitrary, capricious, and completely 
>>> opaque process, much like the Politburo.  We were recently 
>>> (inadvertently) given a glimpse into the inner workings and 
>>> attitudes at the Mother Ship and it wasn't a pretty picture. Nor 
>>> surprisingly, many excellent people have better things to do than 
>>> try to improve things in the face of resistance, secrecy, and 
>>> outright abuse.  Is it any wonder that volunteers are hard to find 
>>> in this environment?
>>> It's time to send a few of the Commissars off the the Gulag and 
>>> start over.  Just my opinion, but feel free to make it your own.
>>> Bob  Zone 7
>>> While I very much appreciate the PBS and the work that our board 
>>> members do; and personally see no reason to change anything, I 
>>> believe that the static I have been seeing on the list does not 
>>> suggest that everyone feels as I do.
>>> That kind of static does NOT attract new members!
>>> NARGS, SRGC, AGS, and HPS all have elected boards and all function 
>>> quite well. I believe that if we had an elected board, the current 
>>> board members would still serve; because most of us appreciate you.
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