CHRONICLE VOL. XXXVI No. 3 Page 9 AUGUST 2012
Our Society (Internal) Reorganization: The Special Interest Group Option
The Question of SIGs Described.
Hello again, from two of your Society administrative officers, Philip and Klaus. We have been trying over the past year or so to serve your needs better by offering you the option of indicating one (or more) of your key interests or main collecting themes relating to the Southern Atlantic Islands of St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.
We’ve asked you to please reply to our survey, mailed out to all members and advertised in the South Atlantic Chronicle (and publicised on our new homepage: see www.shatps.org and by so doing, helping to set up an organisational structure to better enable you to communicate with other like-mindes Society members.
The response has been great, considering the effort required, and for that we offer our thanks to all the membership. So far (and surveys are still coming in) fully forty-three members of SHATPS have replied, mailing their forms in to one or the other of us, ndicating how they’d like their interests to be reflected in the SIG breakout structure. Three-quarters of the 43 (or 32) members chose one or more SIGs for themselves. We consider this a very positive beginning.
Where do we go from here?
The next step for us is to publicise the results in a manner that allows members to see where they fit in the structure, but to do so in a manner that protects the confidentiality with respect to the general public, particularly as concerns their private information such as name and e-mail address.
We are sure most Society members will want to see what specific SIGs have been created as a result of this survey and the results collected. In light of the nature of the data, we have considered it beneficial to condense and merge certain SIGs that we initially proposed, due to small levels of interest expressed. We hope you will understand this necessity, if the SIG you chose for yourself now seems to be entitled differently from what you recall choosing. Only a very small number of individual cases are so affected.
Please be aware that we will prepare (and communicate to you all, either by e-mail or postal letter in cases where no e-mail address is available), a notice providing information about your SIG affiliation, and also it will give you a username and password that will allow you to visit the newly-created "SIG members only" page of our revised and updated website.
The leader position
Now, to another important point. You’ll recall from the FAQ communication we distributed earlier, there was an issue number 4: SIG leaders. That is, each group should take whatever steps they prefer (e.g., someone who volunteers, having an internal SIG election, someone who is nominated) to identify from within their group, a leader. That leader’s job, among others, is to encourage and coordinate the effort within his or her SIG to produce at least one article per year and submit it to the Editor of the SAC for publication. That’s not too onerous a task now, is it? Additionally, the leader can serve as contact point, speaking on behalf of the SIG in any communication with the executive of SHATPS.
Being a SIG leader will be easy. There’s not a lot to do, really. You can have your leader remain in the position for many years. Or, you may want the role to rotate within your SIG annually. All such decisions will be totally up to the SIG membership to work out among themselves, however they wish. If no-one steps forward, or if all decline to serve in such a role, perhaps one of us (Klaus or me) could intervene and try to help the SIG become better organised, but we’ll cross that bridge when/if we come to it.
Once your SIG identifies it’s leader by whatever process you like, do please soon have that person’s name sent to Klaus and Philip (we’re the SIG Co-ordinators). You can use the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll ensure the name is added to the right password-protected page.
Please recall our description of what a SIG is and what it is supposed to do. Basically, there are two reasons to form SIGs. We know from comments receive from some who declined to join any SIG that several members clearly had the wrong idea about the function of a SIG. One reason they seemed to object to it was because they thought they’d be deluged with spam sales e-mails or would be required to react to many unwanted messages from Society members. This is very much an incorrect view.
A SIG IS NOT: a work-intensive subcommittee which forces one to do a lot of extra tasks for the Society. The most you will ever be asked to do in a given year is to help…..if you choose to do so…..to write (that is, co-author within your SIG) one (only one!) article for the SAC.
· You will not be inundated with new spam e-mails from companies trying to sell you merchandise, or scam you.
· You will not be put on any mailing lists from outside companies,
· Nor will you suddenly be hit by a great number of e-mails or letters from fellow SIG members.
· You’ll never be asked to send in money to anyone for anything.
We envisage that the only extra “work” (I dislike using the word work, and prefer the term “fun” or “engagement”) you will have to do, is respond to one, or perhaps two, extra e-mails per year from your SIG leader, when s/he asks you to please help your SIG co-members, to write up an interesting, or provocative, or informative article for publication in the SAC.
If you really don’t want any contact from your SIG leader or fellow Society members who also chose your SIG, well, there’s no problem. Just stay disengaged from the group and all its activities and your leader will realise you don’t wish to participate. It’ll be that simple.
A SIG IS: a list of names. The names are of people who have similar collecting (or other type of) interest as you. Everyone in a SIG is, of course, a member of SHATPS. SIG members pay no additional dues. They can “opt out” of their SIG at any time if they don’t want to be helped to connect with other similarly-minded Society members, or if they are averse to helping to create one article per year. No-one is “forced” to join a SIG; joining a SIG really doesn’t “force” you to do anything. A SIG leader can ask, but cannot compel you, to help in writing an article. That is, you can decide to remain in a SIG and never lend a hand in co-authoring anything! But naturally we hope everyone will be “good citizens” and will do their part, however small it might be, to add something to an article once per year from their group.
We hope some active SIGs will want to contribute more than one article per year, if there is something worthy of note to write and contribute. Obviously submissions to SAC will continue to flow in through the usual manner directly to the Editor, whether or not they are “SIG Contributions”. One thing the Editor may elect to do (if he likes our suggestion) is to identify by a small notation, or symbol, perhaps somewhere on the heading, that a give article is a “SIG Contribution”, as distinct from the routine sort of submission all other authors voluntarily send in as they are ordinarily inclined to do.
Reconsideration of your selection
Now that you’ve read the descriptions of what we see SIGs representing, you may wish to reconsider your choices. Yes, indeed, there are many, many members who have wide-ranging – all-encompassing – interests that span all boundaries of our named SIGs. Such people sometimes went ahead and listed a large number of SIGs to which they wanted to belong. This now may seem to have been an unwise decision.
We hope you now understand that joining a SIG isn't an announcement as to what the member is collecting, nor is it a limitation on how you can express your interests even though you may have a broad spectrum of interests that span most SIGs we’re named. Most assuredly joining a SIG is a good way for you to find others with whom to communicate things relating to your interest and expand your knowledge about a particular topic. However, it also is a vehicle with which you make a decision about with whom you will cooperate and co-author an article for SAC. Accordingly, the smaller the SIG, the more personal effort is needed on the part of one individual.
We realise many, many members having wide-ranging collecting interests will not be able to join all the SIGs they think they should belong to, so as to properly reflect all they care about. You don’t have to let your SIG choice reflect accurately all which you find interesting. So, you’ll have to make tough decisions about which from SIGs to withdraw – particularly those members who selected more than two or three SIGs. There is a sizable number of you who did that, so if you fit into this category, please reconsider your earlier choices.
Privacy of member information
With respect to the security of e-mail addresses and individual names of the membership, the Secretary of the Society (Klaus) has agreed to allow access to the page "SIG members only", as part of the process to enter secure personal information as mentioned, linked to your SIG membership. Access will be only by SIG members, with the proviso that access also can be allowed by SHATPS officers. Note that unless the membership wishes, your names and e-mail addresses linked to your SIG choice(s) will not be made available openly to all SHATPS members. Naturally we publish a membership directory annually and include it in your regular SAC mailing, but it does not and will not show your SIG affiliation. We may revisit this restriction in the future if it proves unnecessary, or not desired.
The SIG entry site you encounter will be password-protected and we will add the e-mail addresses to the SHATPS membership number and the names of the SIG members inside the protected site. We will change the password from time to time. If any given SIG member doesn’t want the personal information (e-mail address, name, postal address) published despite the security we provide, that person is free to so indicate in a message to the Secretary and we will certainly accommodate the request. In such a situation however, the SIG affiliation will be rendered almost meaningless for you. For any such cases, please contact the Secretary on the SIG e-mail address which follows: sigs(at)shatps.org
Your SIG data are currently being entered on our new homepage, soon to be opened and made accessible to all SIG members of the Society.
The final SIG list you can see below in the revised list.