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From: k...@umbc.edu (Kurt Reisler)
Newsgroups: comp.org.decus
Subject: Proposed DECUS Forum structure is not a better replacement for SIGs
Date: 22 Mar 1994 22:47:19 -0500
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[Seems that I am doing a lot of this lately.  Once again, this is posted
with permission, and a copy will also be posted to Board_Public on DCS.
I was asked to point out that this is not just Brian's view, but is the
view of the counterparts as well - Kurt]

> From "star::breton"@star.enet.dec.com  Mon Mar 21 16:49:29 1994
> Date: Mon, 21 Mar 1994 16:18:54 -0500 (EST)
> From: Brian - OpenVMS Product Management 21-Mar-1994 1622
>  <"star::breton"@star.enet.dec.com>
> Subject: Proposed DECUS Forum structure is not a better replacement for SIGs
> Cc: bre...@star.enet.dec.com

  TO: DECUS US Chapter Board of Directors
      DECUS US Function Chairs
      Digital Counterparts
      DECUS US SIG Chairs


  At the Chicago Function  Head  meeting  there  was  much  discussion
  around  the idea of Forums.   Forums are the proposed alternative to
  Special Interest Groups (SIGs) which are currently in place.  I  was
  fairly  vocal  in  my  concern  for  the  existence  of  some formal
  structure with which to advocate technologies and business practices
  within   the   Chapter.   I  have  spent  much  time  reviewing  and
  contemplating the things I heard at this meeting.  I have  discussed
  my  findings with a number of Digital Counterparts.  They and I have
  come to the conclusion that as described, Forums do NOT fulfill  our
  advocacy requirements.

  Forums as defined  by  Sandy  Kruger,  speaking  for  the  Board  of
  Directors  at  this  meeting,  are  "opportunities  for  members  to
  participate in an activity".  Forums differ from SIGs, according  to
  Sandy,   in   that  the  "club-like  feeling  will  be  eliminated".
  According to the new direction of the Chapter, Advocacy is the  most
  principle  role  for  the Chapter.  The current Board indicates that
  advocacy hasn't been structured very well within the Chapter in  the
  past.  The direction the Board is giving to Advocacy is to develop a
  voice of the membership/industry.  Accordingly, the means of  having
  a voice is through Forums.

  However, Forums are not a group  of  people.   They  are  a  set  of
  activities  centered around advocacy.  It has been determined that a
  point person needs  to  be  identified  for  each  Forum  while  the
  remaining  structure  of  Forums  is unclear.  The Board's preferred
  Forum model is one of today's Working Groups wherein a group gets  a
  topic, discusses it, develops a "White Paper" or some such response,
  presents the findings to the  appropriate  party  (vendor,  members,
  standard  committees, etc.), obtains audience feedback and then goes
  out of business.   Members  can  request  Forums,  vendors  such  as
  Digital can request Forums.

  An  important  ingredient  to  the  Advocacy  recipe   is   one   of
  understanding  and trust.  These are not built over night.  It takes
  time to build up the relationship to a truly meaningful point.  This
  requires  stability.   It  also  requires  an  identifiable point of
  contact and team.  As I articulated at the meeting, Counterparts are
  extremely  concerned with the nomadic nature of Forums as described.
  Forums which last a year will not allow people to be able to  create
  any kind of relationship and trust.

  Our concerns are two fold.  First that membership will not  find  it
  very  attractive to attempt to keep up with Forums coming and going,
  hence they will not be so inclined to  participate.   Secondly  that
  Digital  will  think  less  of  the  Chapter  if  relationships with
  entities go away.

  Rich DeJordy, Advocacy Function Chair, has stated that  the  primary
  goal  of  advocacy  is  "maintaining  credibility with DEC" with the
  "core of  activity  done  by  Forums".   As  Bill  Mayhew,  Business
  Practices  Function  Chair,  stated  at  this meeting "in order [for
  advocacy] to work there must be a continuous process".  Counterparts
  agree  that in order for advocacy to work there must be some form of
  activity with Forums that is  performed  continually.   Forums  will
  only  work  if   they  are  a  team   not  a person whose purpose is
  advocacy and that this team is supported by the  society  long-term.
  It is Forums that will spin-off other "Working Group" activity based
  within the area on which on it focuses. The Forum should be able  to
  support  multpile Working Group activity without  it having to spawn 
  off a  completely new Forum.

  On behalf of the Counterparts I urge you to  re-think, or  at  least
  re-articulate,  the  concept of Forums.  Counterparts will not exist
  for Forums which last a year or less.  They will however  support  a
  Forum  which  is a group of people who over the long term looks into
  various segments of a specific interest.  Today we have such  Forums
  and  they  are  called SIGs.  Today some are working well,  some are
  not.  We should concentrate our DECUS and  Counterpart  energies  on
  making  today's SIGs work correctly, not disband them and start from
  scratch.  There is  currently  a  lot  of  trust  and  understanding
  between SIGs, their membership and Counterparts.  This should not be 
  evaporated.


  Respectfully,

  Brian Breton, outgoing Counterpart Committee Chair

	[19 lines of distribution deleted]
-- 
                Kurt Reisler (UNIX SIG Chair, DECUS US Chapter)
		  Captain, UNISIG International Luge Team
		       Only a guest at k...@umbc.edu
	     Are creative spellings like a patentable life form?

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From: k...@umbc.edu (Kurt Reisler)
Newsgroups: comp.org.decus
Subject: The UNIX SIG Postion on Forums
Date: 1 Apr 1994 12:06:34 -0500
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This was posted to Board_Public on DCS on March 31st.  I had hoped that
it would have floated over to comp.org.decus on its own, but it appears
that the on-way importation of notes from Board_Public to this news
groups either did not catch it, or perhaps choked on it (it is rather
lengthy).  My appologies if you have seen it before, but it is smaller
than any of the GIFs posted to the net :-)  Kurt

		The Position of the UNIX SIG/MIF

After consultation with the leadership of the UNIX SIG/MIF, other
SIG/MIF Chairs, various Digital Counterparts, and the leadership of
other DECUS Chapters, the UNIX SIG/MIF has arrived at the following
position statement:

	- The UNIX SIG has met the requirements defined for a Member
	  Initiated Forum (MIF) as defined by the Board of Directors on 
	  9 December 1993, with the filing of its SIG/MIF petition on 21
	  December 1993 (well in advance of the 1 February 1994 deadline).
	  The UNIX SIG/MIF stands by that petition, and expects the
	  Board of Directors to live up to its commitments by either
	  approving or disapproving that petition, based solely on the
	  requirements defined by the Board of Directors on 9 December 1993.

	- The UNIX SIG/MIF has no current interest in petitioning the
	  Board for the creation of any forums under the new forum
	  definition that was detailed to Rebecca Parsons by Sandy
	  Krueger in mid-March 1994. While the activities specified in
	  the new forum definition encompass some of the advocacy
	  activities required, the definition precludes the sanctioned
	  performance of other critical advocacy activities, as
	  expressed by Brian Breton on behalf of the counterparts. In
	  addition, the new definition dangerously reduces the technical
	  significance of a forum, and its interaction with the Digital
	  counterparts. We support the Digital Counterparts and other
	  DECUS leaders (past and present) who are opposed to this new
	  definition of a forum.

	- The UNIX SIG/MIF will continue its efforts to provide the
	  exchange of UNIX-related technical information among its
	  peers, with or without the continued support and participation
	  of the US Chapter of DECUS. In addition, the UNIX SIG/MIF will
	  continue and strengthen its activities and relationships with
	  other DECUS Chapters and UNIX organizations.

If you have comments on this position statement, please send mail to
rei...@decus.org or k...@umbc.edu.  Please feel free to redistribute
this message.

       ===============================================================

			Background Information

On the Saturday the fourth of December 1993, the Board of Directors of the 
US Chapter of DECUS dropped a bomb.  At one meeting, they terminated all 
volunteer leadership committees, terminated all DECUS funded communications,
promised to make the Internet accessible to all DECUS members, and ushered
the US Chapter into a period of paranoia, non-communication and self-
flagellation, the likes of which many of us have never seen in the past.
With the exception of the Board positions, the Chair and Vice Chair of
the Management Committee, and the SIG Chairs, all other leadership
positions were terminated effective immediately. At the same time, we were
all asked to ensure that the San Francisco symposium would be successful.

On Thursday the ninth of December 1993, the Board of Directors handed
out a single page document (see Attachment 1) that defined a new
structure, which the Board of Directors referred to as a "Member
Initiated Forum," or MIF. The SIGs were informed that they had until 1
February 1994 to petition the Board for "MIF Status." The SIG Chairs
were told, both verbally and via e-mail, that their SIGs would remain
intact through the 1 February deadline, and those SIGs that submitted
MIF petitions would also remain "golden" through the MIF approval
process.

On 21 December 1993, the UNIX SIG (formerly UNISIG) submitted its MIF
petition via a variety of electronic methods (e-mail to the BoD, fax to
the DECUS office, and posting in Board_Public on DCS).  By the second of
February 1994, all SIGs had submitted MIF petitions, with the exception
of the Technology, Engineering and Hardware (THE) SIG and the Personal
Computer (PC) SIG.  A delay on the petition deadline had been granted 
to allow those who were "inconvenienced" by the Northridge earthquake 
to submit.

On 25 February, the Vice President of the US Chapter, Tom McIntyre,
opened a new topic stream in the Board_Public NOTES Conference of DCS
entitled "Forum Concept Definition" (see Attachment 2). This posting
introduced an entirely new definition of a forum which is radically
different from both the existing SIG and the 8 December MIF definition.
The new definition supports some of the functions which were previously
performed under the auspices of the working groups created under the
SIGs. In addition to the lack of support for the technical exchange,
both informal and formal, that are vital to long term success, the new
definitions seriously limit the effectiveness of these organizations in
other ways. Noteworthy among these limitations are the absolute control
of the Board over the existence and operations of these groups and the
impracticality of managing activities under the constraints imposed by
the definition. There was some discussion in the topic stream of this
definition. Most of it was either seeking clarification or expressing
opposition. As with most other issues brought up by the membership and
(present and former) volunteer leadership in the Board_Public notes
conference, none of these questions and requests for clarification have
been publicly addressed by the Board of Directors.

Over the weekend of 11 March 1994, there was a "Function Head" meeting
held in Chicago.  After this meeting, Rebecca Parsons (Chair of the now
unofficial SIG Council) received a telephone call from Sandy Krueger,
chair of the former Management Council.  Based on Rebecca's summary of
this conversation (released via e-mail and posted to Board_Public on 21
March 1994), it appears that the Board has expanded on the forum
definition posted by Tom McIntyre.  It further appears that the Board
intends this new definition to supersede the definition for a MIF, and
that those who are interested in petitioning under this new definition of
a forum must do so by 15 April 1994 (see Attachment 3).

On 21 March 1994, a message from Brian Breton, counterpart to the VMS
SIG and Chairman of the Digital Counterpart Council was sent to the
Board and the existing and former DECUS leadership (see Attachment 4).
This message, entitled "Proposed DECUS Forum structure is not a better
replacement for SIGs" stated the opposition of the Digital Counterparts
to this new definition of forums as a replacement for SIGs or MIFs.

As of this date, there has been no response from the Board of Directors,
or from the newly appointed Committee Review Committee Function Head,
Ms. Margaret Drake.



Attachment 1: The 9 December 1993 MIF Definition

    Working Definition of Member Initiated Forums 
    
    Each Forum provides functions for a portion of the industry that:
    
    1.  analyze that segment of the industry,
    2.  facilitate communication about that segment of the industry, and
    3.  advocate the importance of and needs of that segment of the industry.
    
    Any group of DECUS members who identify a technology, issue or industry
    area that is not currently being represented in a manner that addresses
    their needs within DECUS, may petition to become a Forum.  The petition
    must be made to the Board and must include the following:
    
    1.  why this is an appropriate Forum within the context of the DECUS 
        U.S. Chapter,
    2.  a statement of metrics that are appropriate for evaluating the
    	performance of the Forum that defined the Forum's constituency,
    3.  a plan of activities including a list of expected deliverables, and
    4.  the name of a member who will serve as chair person of the Forum
        responsible for form[al] communication with the chapter.
    
    The Board may appoint someone to receive and review such petition, who
    will provide to the Board a recommendation concerning the petition
    request.
    


Attachment 2: The 25 February "Forum Definition Concept"

          <<< TOPAZ::$255$DUA108:[NOTES$LIBRARY]BOARD_PUBLIC.NOTE;1 >>>
                  -< Welcome to the Board_Public conference >-
==============================================================================
Note 197.0                 Forum Concept Definition                 10 replies
TOPAZ::MCINTYRET "Vice President"                  62 lines  25-FEB-1994 18:47
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Forum Definition

DECUS U.S. Chapter members may participate in the information exchange and
advocacy activities of the chapter in many ways.  The Forum mechanism
provides an opportunity to participate in identified projects. Members may
join a Forum either as part of their annual membership renewal, or by
making an appropriate update to their membership record (by a means to be
determined). New Forum members are furnished with information on the
current status of Forum projects and recent project reports.  In order to
avoid diluting the focus on important areas of advocacy and technical
interchange, the number of Forums is limited. 

Forums are established annually to develop both technical and business area 
activities for member participation.  Forums are principally established to
collect information from their members or to represent their members
positions in advocacy relationships.  Each Forum will conduct at least one
formal project each year and report on the results of the project.  All 
Forum members are expected to participate actively in at least one of the 
Forum's projects. A Forum is also expected to gather at the major meetings
of the DECUS U.S. Chapter in order to allow face to face business to be
conducted.  However, it is recognized that, in some exceptional cases,
Forums may be able to function effectively without such meetings. 

Forums are not primarily designed for the establishment and promotion of
identity.  Other less formal affinity groups may be formed from time to
time and petition for identification to the Electronic Function, Program
Committee or other appropriate function.  These petitions will not require
any approval other than that of the function being asked to publicize the
affinity group. 

Forum Formation

Areas of interest for Forum formation are recommended on an annual basis
based on collective inputs from the Technical Focus Function, the Advocacy
Function, the Counterparts Chair, the Business Practices Chair, inputs from
existing Forum Chairs and other interested DECUS members. Continuation of
existing Forums will be contingent on a continuing need and the performance
of the Forum on its projects of the preceding year. 

Each Forum Chair must annually submit an activity plan to the Committee 
Review Function prior to the commencement of Forum activities.  The plan 
must detail at least the following information:

	- Forum Focus
	- Description of expected membership
	- Description of forum project(s)

The description of projects must include expectations regarding resources 
such as Counterpart requirements, communication requirements and any 
other identifiable resources.

The Forum Plans will be reviewed by the Committee Review Function with 
consultation from other function areas and a recommendation will be 
forwarded to the DECUS U.S. Chapter President Elect or President for 
action.  This review will be completed and the appointments made early
enough for information to be included in the annual membership renewal
materials.  A Forum is chartered for a single fiscal year.  The charter may 
be renewed indefinitely at the discretion of successive Presidents 
Elect.

White papers and other Forum reports will be published through DECUS 
standard electronic and hard copy channels as appropriate.



Attachment 3: The Chicago Forum Definition 
	      (distributed 21 March 1994)

This message contains some clarifications to the definitions of forums. 
This information was passed to me by Sandy Krueger after the Chicago
function head meeting.  For completeness, I will also include the definition
of forums that was posted by Tom McIntyre, the author of the definition, in
board_public.  

	[Deleted.  See attachment 2]

The points below are additions and clarifications for this definition.

Point 1:  Forums will be reviewed by the Advocacy, Tech Focus, Counterpart,
and CRC FHs.  These will "meet" to review the petitions and then make
recommendations to the board.  since the "membership" in forums are to be
declared during "membership renewal" and it is anticipated that for this
round, this is tied to NO, the recommendations must be to the board by 15
April.  The precise mechanism to be used for this review is yet to be
determined.   Paula, do you have a more precise schedule?

Point 2:  Forums are intended primarily/exclusively/pick-one to "further the
role of Advocacy".  BPSG is considered something of a "permanent forum"
since it is anticipated that they will have many on-going activities in this
area.

Point 3:  Forums should more accurately be labeled "activities"   Some
example "bod suggested and encouraged" activities include: 

a) A forum to develop a white paper discussing clusters from the customer's
perspective (what for, how Digital compares to others, etc).  Btw, this one
was suggested by Digital.  Note:  based on the definition of forums, this
white paper is to be written by everyone who elects themselves to be a
member of this particular forum.  It is unclear to Rich (as an example of a
function head and in his role as advocacy function head) whether this is
workable or desirable.  

b)  A survey in some area. 

c)  A forum to define a proposal for the appropriate standards strategy for
DECUS.  

d)  Something that is not a forum/activity would be the development and
execution of a mini-workshop or track.  this sort of *thing* would be
handled through the appropriate function head.  
   
Point 4:  Essentially, it is an activity/forum if it is developed BY forums
together as opposed to FOR forums (ie: for membership).  The activity is
useful to the user community, but it is not *delivered* to the user
community. Prepositions are very important here.

Point 5:  Multi-year forums are possible.  If stated as such in the
petition, approval to start would state a probability (although not
certainty) that it would continue for it's requested life.  The BoD wants to
clarify that it might have initially over-emphasized the volatility of these
groups.  Forums would have to be re-approved each year, but the expectation
for those with multi-year plans would be that they would be re-approved if
they were operating according to their initial plan.

Point 6:  Forums are not collections of people who share an on-going
technical focus.  Forums are a collection of people who have a specific
advocacy related task to perform and need some kind of resources from the
chapter.   Forums are not another name for SIGs.  SIGs as we currently
understand them are not related to forums.  The use of the word forum is
inappropriate.  Activity is the proper and descriptive word.  

Sandy and I also discussed the existing batch of MIF petitions.  I would
suggest each SIG/MIF chair look at the appropriate petition and determine
what changes, if any, should be made to it in light of this definition. 

This is, to the best of my understanding, representative of the current
interpretation by the BoD of what a forum is and on what basis the forum
petitions will be examined.  I have talked with Brian Breton and Rich
DeJordy who were both at the Chicago meeting.  If there are additional
questions, send them to me or to one of those two.  I will attempt to answer
or get answers to any questions anyone of you has.  

Becca



Attachment 4: The Counterpart Council's message to the Board
	      (distributed 21 March 1994)

  TO: DECUS US Chapter Board of Directors
      DECUS US Function Chairs
      Digital Counterparts
      DECUS US SIG Chairs


  At the Chicago Function  Head  meeting  there  was  much  discussion
  around  the idea of Forums.   Forums are the proposed alternative to
  Special Interest Groups (SIGs) which are currently in place.  I  was
  fairly  vocal  in  my  concern  for  the  existence  of  some formal
  structure with which to advocate technologies and business practices
  within   the   Chapter.   I  have  spent  much  time  reviewing  and
  contemplating the things I heard at this meeting.  I have  discussed
  my  findings with a number of Digital Counterparts.  They and I have
  come to the conclusion that as described, Forums do NOT fulfill  our
  advocacy requirements.

  Forums as defined  by  Sandy  Kruger,  speaking  for  the  Board  of
  Directors  at  this  meeting,  are  "opportunities  for  members  to
  participate in an activity".  Forums differ from SIGs, according  to
  Sandy,   in   that  the  "club-like  feeling  will  be  eliminated".
  According to the new direction of the Chapter, Advocacy is the  most
  principle  role  for  the Chapter.  The current Board indicates that
  advocacy hasn't been structured very well within the Chapter in  the
  past.  The direction the Board is giving to Advocacy is to develop a
  voice of the membership/industry.  Accordingly, the means of  having
  a voice is through Forums.

  However, Forums are not a group  of  people.   They  are  a  set  of
  activities  centered around advocacy.  It has been determined that a
  point person needs  to  be  identified  for  each  Forum  while  the
  remaining  structure  of  Forums  is unclear.  The Board's preferred
  Forum model is one of today's Working Groups wherein a group gets  a
  topic, discusses it, develops a "White Paper" or some such response,
  presents the findings to the  appropriate  party  (vendor,  members,
  standard  committees, etc.), obtains audience feedback and then goes
  out of business.   Members  can  request  Forums,  vendors  such  as
  Digital can request Forums.

  An  important  ingredient  to  the  Advocacy  recipe   is   one   of
  understanding  and trust.  These are not built over night.  It takes
  time to build up the relationship to a truly meaningful point.  This
  requires  stability.   It  also  requires  an  identifiable point of
  contact and team.  As I articulated at the meeting, Counterparts are
  extremely  concerned with the nomadic nature of Forums as described.
  Forums which last a year will not allow people to be able to  create
  any kind of relationship and trust.

  Our concerns are two fold.  First that membership will not  find  it
  very  attractive to attempt to keep up with Forums coming and going,
  hence they will not be so inclined to  participate.   Secondly  that
  Digital  will  think  less  of  the  Chapter  if  relationships with
  entities go away.

  Rich DeJordy, Advocacy Function Chair, has stated that  the  primary
  goal  of  advocacy  is  "maintaining  credibility with DEC" with the
  "core of  activity  done  by  Forums".   As  Bill  Mayhew,  Business
  Practices  Function  Chair,  stated  at  this meeting "in order [for
  advocacy] to work there must be a continuous process".  Counterparts
  agree  that in order for advocacy to work there must be some form of
  activity with Forums that is  performed  continually.   Forums  will
  only  work  if   they  are  a  team   not  a person whose purpose is
  advocacy and that this team is supported by the  society  long-term.
  It is Forums that will spin-off other "Working Group" activity based
  within the area on which on it focuses. The Forum should be able  to
  support  multpile Working Group activity without  it having to spawn 
  off a  completely new Forum.

  On behalf of the Counterparts I urge you to  re-think, or  at  least
  re-articulate,  the  concept of Forums.  Counterparts will not exist
  for Forums which last a year or less.  They will however  support  a
  Forum  which  is a group of people who over the long term looks into
  various segments of a specific interest.  Today we have such  Forums
  and  they  are  called SIGs.  Today some are working well,  some are
  not.  We should concentrate our DECUS and  Counterpart  energies  on
  making  today's SIGs work correctly, not disband them and start from
  scratch.  There is  currently  a  lot  of  trust  and  understanding
  between SIGs, their membership and Counterparts.  This should not be 
  evaporated.


  Respectfully,

  Brian Breton, outgoing Counterpart Committee Chair

-- 
                Kurt Reisler (UNIX SIG Chair, DECUS US Chapter)
		  Captain, UNISIG International Luge Team
		       Only a guest at k...@umbc.edu
	     Are creative spellings like a patentable life form?

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