[Seattle-SAGE] To be, or not to be: Seattle LOPSA

Trey Harris trey at eecs.harvard.edu
Thu Dec 29 12:18:37 PST 2005

In a message dated Thu, 29 Dec 2005, Daniel Brown writes:
> As I understand, our only link between Seattle SAGE Group and SAGE is
> in the name, and in our heads; we don't pay them (except as individual
> memberships), and they don't don't sponsor us (anymore: we moved our
> mailinglist).  As a result of those two tenuosities, we do such
> informative things in our meetings like telling newcomers what SAGE is
> and list upcoming events related to SAGE.  Some of us are paying
> members of SAGE, but we don't advertise that often.
> If that's correct, and unless LOPSA (can we convince them to get a new
> name?) requires stronger affiliation than that, I think we can
> affiliate ourselves to both, actually.  We can benefit ourselves with
> the activities of both as a result.  If we adopt a neutral name, it
> also has a likelihood of being more attractive.

I'd be careful in assuming that you can cut the difference and have the 
same sort of weak relationship to both.  SAGE never had a strong locals 
program, but LOPSA fully intends to, and I would expect that in the next 
year or so LOPSA will start activating that program by offering benefits 
for local groups, but in return establishing guidelines (such as requiring 
that N% of local group members be LOPSA members, that the group promote 
LOPSA programs in some low-key way, and probably that your primary 
affiliation is LOPSA--i.e., you're a 'chapter' rather than being an 
'affiliated organization').

Even so, until that happens, wait-and-see may seem to be a reasonable 
position to take, but I'll paraphrase Brent Chapman (O'Reilly Firewalls 
book, author of majordomo), who at LISA said "if you wait to see value 
from LOPSA does before contributing to it, then you'll never see any 
value--it'll be dead before you have the chance."  I think the same is 
true for the locals program.  We won't offer services to locals if we 
don't have strong locals to offer them to, and needless to say, the first 
locals who choose to affiliate will have the greatest impact on 
establishing the momentum (and direction) of the program.

I don't think there's any *risk* involved in throwing your lot in with 
us--the worst-case-scenario would be that LOPSA fails or doesn't produce 
what you want and so you would have the embarassment of switching your 
name again.  Certainly at the point we start (assuming we start) to have 
some sort of benefit/responsibility quid pro quo for locals, there would 
be phase-ins and opt-outs, and nobody would force you to do anything. 
(But again, if you want a place at the table in determining what the 
benefits and responsibilities are, you have to join us first.)

I'm not going to argue LOPSA's case beyond that--I'll be the first to 
admit that, today, we don't have a strong portfolio of benefits to hand 
you.  But again, the strength of that portfolio's going to depend on who 
signs up and when.

(speaking as a member of, but not for, the LOPSA Board)

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