Association Activities

Discuss SCRABBLE-related organizations and how they can recruit and support players.

Association Activities

Postby verbalobe » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:17 pm

[Cross-posted from cgp Jan 3 2009 -- and note to mehill: this is NOT about uncharted waters. It is about taking a disciplined approach. This can be done, even with existing ideas that have been up on the shelf for years. -jvp]

--- In crossword-games-pro, Michael Baron <mbaron1949@...> wrote:
>.... If membership fees were, say, $20-25/year, and there were, say,
> 3000-4000 NSA members, what would we like to see $60K-100K applied
> toward? A hardcopy Scrabble News (many subscribers are not online)? ... et2007.pdf (PDF) shows 69% of Americans with "Some College" and 84% of Americans with a "Bachelors Degree or More" have Internet use at home.

It can be argued whether those educational quanta map to competitive Scrabble players, and it can be argued whether the resulting subscribers without Internet can be described as "many", but there at least is some data.

> Is a newsletter, on and or off line, still desired?

I would assume, perhaps foolishly, that the current newsletter was developed to meet objectives specific to the existing organization. Since the objectives of a new organization would differ, probably markedly, I would likewise assume that any outreach organ, in any medium, would differ as well.

I like to work from objectives. I would throw out the current newsletter *in toto* and ask a small subcommittee of 1-3 people to build a set of communications requirements out of the noise and dust of the early formation of the new association.

For example:

a. Will forms inviting the public to join the new NSA be distributed with every Hasbro set in retail stores? If so, some attention should be paid to these members who perhaps have no interest in clubs or tournaments, but just expect ... something.

b. Question (a) speaks to one of the fundamental issues here. The current NSA is a marketing group beholden to Hasbro. While we want to maintain a decent relationship with Hasbro so long as they remain relevant, we have no obligation to think in terms of building a brand relationship (like a "Scrabble fan club"). We should be asking: who are the real constituents, how do they divide up, and what do they either NEED (in order to FUNCTION), or what do they EXPECT (in return for FEES)?

Possible constituencies with legitimate unique needs/expectations:
- Club players
- Club directors
- Tournament players
- Tournament directors
- New players
- Elite/grandmaster players
- Hasbro/old-NSA
- etc.

The definition of FUNCTION is key. It is where the Association has a role in shaping the discussion of what it means to be an excellent wordgame player, what excellence as a "Scrabble scene" means. Does it mean large purses? Does it mean a growing membership? Does it mean being able to play on an even field with other (English) world associations? Does it mean never offending anyone with "bad" words on a board? Etc., etc.

Added to cross-tables version of this post: Does it mean subsidizing grandmasters? Does it mean annotating every tournament game, for full analysis? Does it mean a ratings system with XYZ characteristics? Does it mean big media sponsorship and coverage?

(I'm just throwing those out there as examples of the types of discussions that have to flourish in the formation of a new Association.)

A specific example: If "new players" are indeed a constituency, and success in serving them is defined in such-and-such a way, then do they "need" a newsletter? With what kinds of info? In print, or online? Do club directors need assistance in cultivating new players? Does the Association need to network with venues where new players are born (schools program, lexulous, Pogo, ISC, etc.)? And so forth -- you get the idea. This kind of structure for the inquiry would provide real answers, not just a mishmash of opinions.
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Re: Association Activities

Postby MEHnotinvain » Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:50 am

what do you mean by DISCIPLINED approach?????

it is VERY hard for me to speak to people on this topic because it seems to me that certain attitudes prevent them from listening. If anyone told me that they had thought 10 fluckin years about how to do something--and the SAME person CONSTANTLY noted that necessary steps should be taken to do the VERY spit you idiots is tryna do RIGHTdafluckNOW--i certainly would seek that person's counsel, if not do EVERYfluckinTHING that person said.

INSTEAD, headz is STILL following da lead of someone who does not care about THEIR BEST interests, but merely his own (which is more SINFUL than criminal, but dat aint da point). i have said REPEATEDLY that John Williams has EVERY RIGHT to run his business as he sees fit AND i do not begrudge him that right. i have also REPEATEDLY said that he is PETTY, GREEDY, n STUPID (don't know n don't care WHY he hold a grudge--some of it is certainly a fragile ego, da skimmin off da top thing is ridiculous--if iss a dollar to be made, he wanna take a fluckin penny off da top, n da petty greedy thing cost him MILLIONS dat he coulda made had he prevented scrabble from goin bigtime by NOT doin what should have been OBVIOUS to someone in his position).

Seth, if you deem THIS a violation of da usage terms--sorry, but it HAD2B said...
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Re: Association Activities

Postby slipkin » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:04 am

MEHnotinvain wrote:Seth, if you deem THIS a violation of da usage terms--sorry, but it HAD2B said...

I'm not going to remove it, but I'll note that a large portion of your posts are about how nobody listens to your ideas, and a small portion of your posts are actually your ideas. Better to hammer the ideas over and over for 10 years than to hammer "people are flucked" for 10 years, yes?

Separately, I am not ignoring our e-mail thread. I just have a million things to think about, and I'm way behind on the e-mail.
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Re: Association Activities/NSA Newsletter

Postby waf » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:14 am

Pick any copy of the current NSA letter issued. 80 to 90 percent of the content is essentially a REPRINT of past results/upcoming tournaments ...information already available online either on NSA's website or Cross-Tables.

The one imperatively essential component of such a newsletter absolutely missing is the human component. The stories of the players, their fun stories. their anecdotes, their competition stories, their travel stories. The ones players write in, email ...whatever.
A voice for the players/members. Presently, the ONLY expectation is to pay your year dues and shut up.

There is no invitation to any of the REGISTERED MEMBERS WHO HAVE PAYED THEIR DUES either in the current newsletter format or on the website to voice any opinions, submissions whatsoever.
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Re: Association Activities/NSA Newsletter

Postby millcake16 » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:32 am

waf wrote:The one imperatively essential component of such a newsletter absolutely missing is the human component.

They used to do this in the early newsletters, and they just recently started doing it again. Geoff Thevenot and Paul Avrin were in a couple of recent issues. I'd like to see more than one player per issue, and it doesn't have to be an expert.

The stuff that I'd like to stay in the newsletter are:

Puzzles and contests
Annotated games
Spotlight on Strategy
Bingo Skills and Quick Lists

Pretty much everything else can be scrapped, since a lot of it is old news. Even the stuff I'd want to stay can be found on-line, but I'm not sure what to replace it with.
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Re: Association Activities

Postby wvscrabble » Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:27 pm

millcake16 wrote:Pretty much everything else can be scrapped, since a lot of it is old news. Even the stuff I'd want to stay can be found on-line, but I'm not sure what to replace it with.

Given that, a completely electronic version is, in my mind, the way to go. I know there are arguments that "not everyone has a computer" and "not everyone is online" but I submit these are old arguments, and amount to pure horse hockey today. NSA got this started to a certain extent by making old newsletters available through the member interface, but it was the same newsletter we'd all gotten in dead tree format.

I always thought it was weird to be reading results from September through October in mid-December.

I also realize that writing, publishing, editing, etc. are time-consuming components - ever more so for a minimal staff.
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Re: Association Activities

Postby verbalobe » Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:31 pm

MEHnotinvain wrote:what do you mean by DISCIPLINED approach?????

Just this: more or less every dollar, every bylaw, every committee, every activity, should be publicly and unambiguously traceable to a known objective or priority.

This has two general consequences:
  • Results can be measured. If you don't know what you were trying to accomplish, how can you tell if you got there?
  • If someone wants to criticize an expenditure or a decision or an activity, a debate can address the underlying purpose.
Of course none of this guarantees that:
  • The purposes will be sensible, or agreed by everyone
  • The decisions and activities will be effective or sensible, even relative to worthy purposes
But at least it should help avoid some things, like those where the answer might otherwise be "because it's always been done that way" or "because that's the way the Williams's did it."

It's about having a WHY before the WHAT and the HOW, that's all.
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Re: Association Activities

Postby MEHnotinvain » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:20 pm

The proper order is WHAT, HOW, WHY.

WHAT is the purpose of the steering committe and WHY that purpose?
WHAT direction should tourney scrabble take sans financial backing from Hasbro for a NSC and WHY?

HOW to achieve an objective--or solve a problem--requires the existence of such upfront. WHY is the RATIONALE for doing so.

Please forgive my oversensitivity on this issue because it is an open wound. i suggested that the players form a steering committee to improve upon a plan that i devised and developed over 10 years. The WHAT is a PROFESSIONAL player assoc. The HOW is the plan (mine or anything BETTER that someone else might think of). The WHY is mostly for monetary gain, but i can't begin to tell you the social impact i considered (if you know WHO largely responsible for the problems in DARFUR, dess a HINT).

i posted a response to what Seth wrote that, to a degree, explain WHY headz have not heeded my warnings over the years or taken any of the necessary steps that YALL now are FORCED to take. Given JUST that, my anger and exasperation is certainly justified--n MAYBE i won't hold it against yall WHEN yall finish fluckin up. But WHILE yall fluckin up--n i got five on it--well, juss be glad that since i CAN'T kill alla yall, i won't kill nunna yall. i but shant hesitate to tell u yall DISGUSTINGLY fluckin dumb (n i would much rather look whomever DEAD in dey dayum eye when having dat say).

n NOTE to JVP--NONE of this is PERSONAL. i appreciate that both you and Seth have displayed a breadth of intellect in what you have said thus far. but yall STILL comin up short...

n since dat don't look like a good note to end on, rest assured that i have googobs of correspondence that would allay any questions or qualms about my M O...
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Re: Association Activities

Postby slipkin » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:43 pm

MEHnotinvain wrote:explain WHY headz have not heeded my warnings over the years or taken any of the necessary steps that YALL now are FORCED to take

Tell. us. the. steps. Here. Now. Stop telling us that we flucked up and didn't notice. I've only been playing for 4 years.

Here is a forum. Tell us your plans, even if it's for the 50th time.

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Re: Association Activities

Postby MEHnotinvain » Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:42 pm

Tell you HOW to make a million dollars while i aint got $10 to my name?????? DESS FUNNY...

PRUDENCE would DICTATE that i continue to poke n prod headz HOPING to catch a break. In the post that got lost in cyberspace, i likened the stated objectives of the steering committee to OZ--with whatever steps taken as a stroll on the YELLOW BRICK road. THAT path--the manner in which the steering committee was chosen--is a twisting, winding road that does not lead to OZ, but where Darth Sidius would have yall go (i mix da fluck outta a metaphor, don't i????).

That said, the FIRST step would have been to form a PROFESSIONAL player assoc. The steering committee, as i envisioned it, would have determined HOW to BEST proceed with a PLAN (n if anybody thought of something BETTER than what i devised--fine. IMPROVING on mine also woulda been an committee task).

The PRO assoc. COULD n WOULD get sponsors to fund the assoc, compensate the trademark owner--pay Hasbro, and do tv. i don't care HOW the amateur ranks play, but PRO tourneys would be MATCH STYLE (which is MADE FOR TV, mind u). That i don't care HOW the amateur tourneys would be run DON'T mean that they would be left in the lurch. The PPA would also have the capacity to support the amateur ranks.

WHERE would this money come from--or WHY would sponsors fund a PPA??????? THIS is WHY i call headz STUPID. PROPERLY done, issa SHITLOAD of money to be made SETTING up a PPA. This is also WHY i say John Williams is PETTY, GREEDY, n STUPID. He holdin a grudge, he skim PENNIES off da top while he gleefully lead a buncha morons (who dumber--da fool or da one FOLLOWIN a fool??) into da briar patch--ALL while MILLIONS of fluckin dollars izz left off da table cuz he busy holdin a grudge skimmin pennies off da top.

n u want me to SPECIFICALLY lay out a plan so SOME dummy can run tell another dummy THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE???????????? dess INSULTING as hell, but iss STILL funny...
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Re: Association Activities

Postby MEHnotinvain » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:20 pm

now, i repeat:

WHAT are the objectives of the steering committe (as it exists) and WHY those objectives???

compare that to

WHAT i said a steering committee SHOULD be created for and WHY.

WHERE do the WHYs respectively lead??????

ask me when u SEE me n maybe we'll talk (dess virtually anybody who WANNA know)
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Re: Association Activities

Postby changent » Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:55 pm

I too would like to see a very different newsletter. I've been hamstrung with the format we currently use. I'm happy to continue to create puzzles and such, and would be delighted to get more players involved in adding their anecdotes and such and perhaps some puzzles of their own. In recent years few players have offered us them. We publish what we get.

In the future, I'd like to see every director have a place (and they have one now, here!) to report their tourneys, while their players can add their anecdotes, and the newsletter can draw on all of that and print quite a bit more than what's currently seen in the SN. The AofB is my least favorite section.

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