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Diedre Conkling's picture

Division of Councilors in ALAConnect

I am not thrilled with what I consider the artificial division of Council made by having different groups set up in ALAConnect for Chapter Councilors, Division Councilors, Round Table Councilors and Councilors-at-Large.  I think we should all be talking with each other.  I can't think of anything that I would say that just related to Councilors-at-Large.  I know that there may be some things that people think they have to discuss only with Chapter Councilors, or something like that, but I really doubt that overall this is true.  I think the majority of us are elected to Council because we care about the organization as a whole.  Does this compartmentalizing really help us do this?

Also, I see that I can limit what I say in this forum to just people in the group or the public.  We are Council.  Our discussions should always be open to the public.  This should be true of all of the other groups within ALA Connect as well.  We want more openness, not less.  I think this goes in  the opposite direction of the discussions we have had about opening up discussion lists and other communication options.

 I am not against ALAConnect, though I did not feel a need for one more way to connect with all of you, but I do think we need to really think about some of these issues and how this tool is being developed.

I am also going to post this on the Council Discussion list because there are very few Councilors using this tool at this point.

Diedre Conkling's picture

I ran across this information on some groups in ALA Connect:

  • You may not leave this group because it is a closed group. You should request removal from a group administrator.
  • If a group is closed wouldn't you want to restrict those being added to a group and not those who would like to remove themselves from a group?  How does this directive make any sense?

    Aaron Dobbs's picture

    Hi all,

    The short answer to Diedre's questions:
    "If a group is closed wouldn't you want to restrict those being added to a group and not those who would like to remove themselves from a group?  How does this directive make any sense?"

    Closed groups are groups in which the members are added or removed via their membership status in iMIS (the database where our affiliations, contact info, etc. are stored within ALA).

    Non-members cannot add themselves to Closed groups (but can petition the chair/admins to be added)

    Logically, committee members cannot remove themselves from a committee's group. You can't just resign your seat on a committee, you have to notify the chair, this is consistent with long-term ALA committee membership practice.

    There are other groups available on ALA Connect which you can join and un-join at whim.  There are also moderated and open groups. Pretty much any combo of group (fully private, fully open, moderated, read-only, etc) is possible in Connect.

    Regarding access to content, within a group's ALA Connect space, we agreed (after all kinds of discussion about three Conferences/meetings ago) that each Committee could decide what to make public and what to keep private/members only.

    Personal opinions aside, that's what we agreed upon...

    That agreement basically allowed (sidestepped initial specific disagreements which would have killed) the creation of the TFoEMP and the excellent recommendations which we voted up during the last Council meetings.

    -Aaron (councilor at large, if that matters)
    :-)'

    *****

    If I'd asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. -- Henry Ford

    -Aaron
    :-)'

    "Always remember everyone is working to make the organization better in their own way."
    -Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian

    Diedre Conkling's picture

    Aaron said:
    Logically, committee members cannot remove themselves from a
    committee's group. You can't just resign your seat on a committee, you
    have to notify the chair, this is consistent with long-term ALA
    committee membership practice.

    ------------

    I agree that one would not or even should not want to remove themselves from a committee's group but I really had not thinking about this when I wrote this part of my message.

    I belong to a number of things like sections in LLAMA that I am only slightly interested in.  These are not committees for which I am a member but sections within a division or even a division or a round table which I want to have a general membership in and support and want to support by paying dues but may not want to be all that involved with for any number of reasons. 

    For example, I have membership in the LLAMA BES (Building and Equipment Section).  I am only interested from time to time in this groups activities and want to remain a member but don't necessarily want this listed in ALA Connect since I don't particularly want to receive a lot of messages from the section. As far as I can tell, to get rid of messages from a section that I have not read I have to actually open the message to get rid of it.  There is no other way to drop them off the list of unread messages.  So, I thought that if I dropped out of some of the groups I would be able to limit the number of unread messages.  I tried to drop the groups and got the message "You may not leave this group because it is a /closed/ group. You should request removal from a group administrator."

    Can you see why I think that one should be able to take themselves off of some groups in ALA Connect?  Do you understand that I am not talking about committees or situations where one has made a commitment to be an active participant as a member of the committee.

    I also think that one should be able to sort of drop by any groups in ALA Connect and see what is happening, whether or not one is a member.  This does seem to be possible if the post was made public.  That is good.

    I do wish that one at least had to opt out of making a message public instead of opting in.

    Basically, I guess I am disappointed that there is not more flexibility available for controlling one's own account but I know that this can be very complex.  I also know that I am not on the committee or staff trying to make a one size fits all solution for a huge organization - which is basically an impossible task.

     

    Aaron Dobbs's picture

    Lots of good questions are being asked about ALAConnect around this thread, I'll try to answer a bunch of them with either my experiences to date, links to the ALAConnect documentation, answers I received to similar questions early on in testing and ALA staff clarifications...
    Surprise, I'm not a know-it-all *grin*

    I'm using Diedre's questions as a base for examples and discussion (I
    hope that's okay)
    dc>
    dc> For example, I have membership in the LLAMA BES (Building and Equipment Section). I am only interested from time to time in this groups activities and want to remain a member but don't necessarily want this listed in ALA Connect since I don't particularly want to receive a lot of messages from the section.

    *ad* By default, ALAConnect does not send anyone email. ALA staff has configured Connect to require a user to explicitly turn on email (either manually turn on email from all groups, or manually turn on email from specific groups). The ALAConnect documentation about this can be found here:

    * How to Set Your Email Preferences in ALA Connect - http://connect.ala.org/node/69177

    dc> As far as I can tell, to get rid of messages from a section that I have not read I have to actually open the message to get rid of it. There is no other way to drop them off the list of unread messages. So, I thought that if I dropped out of some of the groups I would be able to limit the number of unread messages. I tried to drop the groups and got the message "You may not leave this group because it is a /closed/ group. You should request removal from a group administrator."

    *ad* Diedre, it sounds like you've turned on email notifications for all your groups? Change your preferences per the link above and you will not receive email from groups from which you don't want email.

    *ad* Diedre, if you mean you want to get rid of the "New" icon next to unread messages in the ALAConnect web interface, I have not found a "mark all read" option, either. (This would be a great feature)

    dc> I also think that one should be able to sort of drop by any groups in ALA Connect and see what is happening, whether or not one is a member. This does seem to be possible if the post was made public. That is good.

    *ad* I completely agree that logged-in ALA members should be able to see what is going on in any group in ALAConnect. However, ours seems to currently be a minority opinion.

    dc> I do wish that one at least had to opt out of making a message public instead of opting in.

    *ad* I think the current implementation takes the more conservative approach, to err on the side of caution; but I'm with you again :)

    dc> Basically, I guess I am disappointed that there is not more flexibility available for controlling one's own account but I know that this can be very complex. I also know that I am not on the committee or staff trying to make a one size fits all solution for a huge organization - which is basically an impossible task.

    *ad* I take a different view: I am impressed with the level of user account flexibility while staying within the constraints of the organizational structure of ALA - talk about dancing on a tightrope.

    For example, we (ALAConnect member-users) can (and here I'll quote Jenny) "completely hide their affiliations with any community, division, round table, or section if they don't want to appear on those groups' rosters. Members cannot "leave" these groups in Connect, just as they cannot "remove" them from their records in the member directory on the ALA website. However, we hope we've offered a viable alternative by letting members hide themselves and turn off email from those groups."

    *ad* Other folks, in related threads, have indicated they are not interested in the "social networking" features of ALA Connect. Jenny tells me "there aren't any email notices for new networking requests, so no one is forced to participate in that side of Connect."

    Jenny also clarified the following: "The only groups members cannot hide their affiliations with are committees/task forces/working groups since those are part of the official Handbook. A member needs to proactively change settings in order to receive notices from Connect, so if anyone is receiving unwanted emails [from "connect at ala dot org"] and did *not* change that setting, then we [ALA Helpdesk] need to know right away."

    Lastly (thank goodness, I'm sure) here are two other ALAConnect help documents which may further explain privacy settings

    * Frequently Asked Questions about Privacy in ALA Connect - http://connect.ala.org/privacy and thongs you can do with ALAConnect groups
    * Frequently Asked Questions about "Groups" in ALA Connect -
    http://connect.ala.org/node/69111

    -Aaron
    :-)'

    "Always remember everyone is working to make the organization better in their own way."
    -Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian

    Diedre Conkling's picture

    Aaron is absolutely incorrect in the assumptions he has made about some of my
    comments regarding ALA Connect. 

    First, he seems to have missed a part of my original comment that says that I am
    not at all against the development of ALA Connect.  I think it probably has a
    place in our organization.  What I am realizing is that the place I think it has
    in the organization and the place he thinks it has may not be the same.

    Second, I am absolutely NOT getting anything from ALA Connect in my email.  I
    did notice that I could have messages sent to my email if I wanted but this is
    not yet an option I have chosen to use.  However, I think it is a nice option as
    well as the option for RSS.  I may choose to use it in some instances at some
    point but I am not now using the email option.

    I just don't really like having a bunch of message sitting in my account that
    are "new" or unread.  It is probably just a weird desire to see a conclusion to
    things from time to time and a way to have a clean slate.  I guess this is one
    more of my unreasonable thoughts.

    You know, when I have made comments about ALA Connect, or any other thing or
    issue, I do actually try to research it a bit before commenting.  I did look at
    ALA Connect before this final release but did not see some of the issues that I
    am now seeing.  Sorry for not being able to entirely visualize the tool before
    now.  How unvisionary of me.

    I really do see some of the final ways in which this tool is set up being in
    conflict with some of our fundamental philosophies.  I do not think that there
    has to be this conflict and I think it would be a far better tool without the
    conflicts.

    I like the new toys but that does not mean I think they are perfect and don't
    need to be carefully and thoughtfully used and revised until they really meet
    our needs and our ethics.

    Aaron Dobbs's picture

    by the way, just wanted to echo Diedre's comment about how all Council stuff should be publicly posted ... yes, all our stuff (unless it qualifies for a closed-door session. like personnel issues or awards, etc.) *should* be open to member-viewing (similar to alacoun-ro option) 

    *****

    If I'd asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. -- Henry Ford

    -Aaron
    :-)'

    "Always remember everyone is working to make the organization better in their own way."
    -Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian