HTML Writers Guild Guild Operations Events 1999 Meeting

1999 Membership Meeting Log

18 February 1999

[21:05] <Kynn> Okay, welcome to the 1999 Membership Meeting for the HTML Writers Guild, as required by the Guild's bylaws.
[21:05] <Kynn> All members are welcome to attend, and the Agenda has been posted at
[21:06] <Kynn> My name is Kynn Bartlett and I am the current President of the HTML Writers Guild. (email is if you need to write to me about anything)
[21:06] <Kynn> Other members of the Board present tonight are Leanne Phillips, treasurer and vice president of member education services;
[21:07] <Kynn> Oops
[21:07] <Kynn> Secretary. :)
[21:07] <Kynn> Ann is the Treasurer; she's not here because of a family health emergency. Leanne (IRC nick felan) is the secretary.
[21:07] <FredB> I'm telling Ann you fired her. :-)
[21:07] <Kynn> Heh
[21:07] <Kynn> Joe Cline is our Vice President of Technology and sysadmin for
[21:08] <felan> I don't want to be treasurer, so he'd better not. :)
[21:08] <Kynn> Fred Barnett is a Governing Board member and provides board supervision to the List Guide program.
[21:08] <FredB> Hello.
<Joe> Hi all. Thanks for coming.
[21:08] <Kynn> Jim Barchuk is our fifth Governing Board member present and was the first paid member of the HWG, as a bit of trivia.
[21:09] <Kynn> The first item on the agenda is the President's report; that's me, so I'll just lead right into that.
[21:10] <Kynn> I'm currently very pleased personally with the direction of the HTML Writers Guild at present.
[21:10] <Kynn> I feel that we are moving the right way and accomplishing what we should/could be doing to live up to the potential of this organization.
[21:10] <Kynn> As benchmarks, I use a list of items that were part of my "new year's resolution" last year, circulated on some of the Guild's discussion lists at the time.
[21:12] <Kynn> As of the end of last year, we had pretty much completed all of those checkpoints, which is a big accomplishment. I want to thank all the board members and volunteers for their dedication in moving the Guild forward.
[21:13] <Kynn> These goals included:
[21:14] <Kynn> * Joining the W3C. As we stand today, one of the editors of the XHTML working group -- the people building the next generation of HTML as a XML application -- is our Guild rep and 1999 board member Frank Boumphrey.
[21:14] <Kynn> We continue to participate in a number of other W3C working and interest groups, including the Web Accessibility Initiative.
[21:15] <Kynn> * Online classes. Last year at this time we had no classes program beyond just an idle wish. I'd like to publically thank Ann Navarro for making that dream into a reality.
[21:16] <Kynn> To date, more than a thousand students have taken classes through the Guild, and the number of online classes we offer continues to grow.
[21:17] <Kynn> * Increased paid and non-paid membership -- I will let Leanne tell you more about the figures, but the Guild is indisputably the largest organization of its type in the world, and we have over 90,000 members.
[21:18] <Kynn> * Reliable income and paid staff -- With the expansion of our paid membership and the online classes, the Guild has been able to hire paid staff to ensure that many of the most vital services to the membership are delivered reliably and on-time.
[21:19] <Kynn> Now, as we have reached the goals of last year, we have to start dreaming the dreams of THIS year, and NEXT year.
[21:19] <Kynn> We have several projects in the works, ranging from an online journal/magazine to a HWG conference tentatively scheduled for the year 2000.
[21:20] <Kynn> I hope to see the Guild expand beyond our initial status of "just a few mailing lists" and reach the full potential of an educational organization with the goal of advancing the craft and art of web authoring.
[21:20] <Kynn> I welcome anyone else who has a vision for what the Guild can be to write to me ( and work together on making 1999 the Guild's best year ever.
[21:21] <Kynn> Thank you, and I apologize for being longwinded. If you'd like to reply, there will be time at the end of the agenda for comments and questions.
[21:22] <Kynn> Item 3 on the agenda is Ann Navarro's report as treasurer. Unfortunately she is unable to be with us today, as she had a family medical emergency to attend to, and could not provide me with her notes before leaving for the hospital.
[21:22] <Kynn> Needless to say, however, the Guild's financial outlook for the last year has been excellent, with both increases in paid membership and new income from the online courses.
[21:23] <Kynn> Unofficial estimates -- the official figures will come later, from our accountants, in our annual financial filings -- are as follows:
[21:23] <Kynn> * approximately $72,000 income from new individual and business memberships
[21:24] <Kynn> * approximately $3,000 income from HWG t-shirts (Guildwear)
[21:24] <Kynn> * approximately $25,000 income from online courses
[21:24] <Kynn> Since I don't have anything else to state on treasurer reports, we move on to the next item, the secretary's report. Leanne, the floor is yours.
[21:26] <felan> My report is much shorter than Kynn's, as it focuses on membership numbers. We have, as Kynn's report indicated, a great deal more members than last year; approximately 30,000 have joined in the past year.
[21:27] <felan> Full memberships have also increased significantly, to approximately 2500; that's an increase from 883 last year at this time.
[21:28] <felan> For those with a statistics bent, that's 80-85 new members a day, with 4 to 5 of them being Full members.
[21:28] <felan> And that's the sum of my report, back to you, Kynn.
[21:28] <Kynn> So a 50% growth in full membership, and, what, 200% in paid memberships?
[21:28] <FredB> Do you have any numbers on our renewal rate?
[21:28] <felan> No, 50% in Full, 200% in total members.
[21:29] <Kynn> Oops, no, 50% in all members, 200% in paid (Full) members.
[21:29] <Kynn> Gosh, those terms can be confusing. :)
[21:29] <felan> Not as yet, Fred. Renewals have only just begun, due to the 1997 Board decision to extend Full memberships to the end of December of 1998.
[21:29] <felan> Right. That.
[21:29] <FredB> I ask cause I just renewed myself today. :-)
[21:29] <felan> By total members, I mean Full and Trial.
[21:30] <felan> I also renewed just today! Anyone who's a full member up for renewal, it's pretty easy, so I encourage anyone to do it.
[21:31] <Kynn> Okay, anything else, Leanne?
[21:31] <felan> No, that's the full report from the Secretary.
[21:32] <Kynn> Next issue is the following.
[21:32] <Kynn> As you know, last year the Guild tried popular elections for the first time. Previously, all Board members had been elected by the GB. (A "self-perpetuating board".)
[21:34] <Kynn> Despite a very strong attempt by the volunteers who were on the 1998 Nomination/Election Committee, not enough Full members were interested enough to vote, and the election failed to attain a quorum.
[21:34] <Kynn> A quorum in this case consisting not of a majority or 2/3 of the voters, but 10% of the eligible voters, who could vote via proxy on the web.
[21:35] <Kynn> To gauge interest in future elections, we held a "referendum vote" in fall of last year, and that too, failed to gain a quorum -- failed by an even larger amount this time.
[21:35] <Kynn> Therefore, the Board has passed the following resolution, upon consultation with our legal counsel:
[21:35] <felan> Eligible voters were those who were Plus members, in the membership categories of that time; 883 eligible voters.
[21:36] <Kynn> That the Governing Board of the HTML Writers Guild, in consultation
[21:36] <Kynn> with legal counsel, concludes that member-based elections of
[21:36] <Kynn> Board members are not a viable option for HWG Inc. at this time or
[21:36] <Kynn> the immediate future. This conclusion is based on:
[21:36] <Kynn> 1. The February 1998 election, which failed to meet quorum after
[21:36] <Kynn> considerable effort to enlist participation.
[21:36] <Kynn> 2. The further inability to generate a pool of qualified candidates
[21:36] <Kynn> large enough to provide a meaningful election.
[21:36] <Kynn> 3. The referendum vote to continue elections also failing to meet
[21:36] <Kynn> quorum, by an even larger percenta
[21:36] <Kynn> percentage.
[21:36] <Kynn> 4. The board must be able to continue to function and place new board
[21:36] <Kynn> members. Since the prescribed methods have failed, it is agreed
[21:36] <Kynn> that the best course of action was to change the bylaws to reflect
[21:36] <Kynn> current practice of appointment by majority vote of the existing
[21:36] <Kynn> Board.
[21:36] <Kynn> We are therefore resolved, as the Governing Board of the HTML Writers
[21:36] <Kynn> Guild, to instruct the Guild's legal counsel to draft a revision of
[21:36] <Kynn> the bylaws implementing this decision, subject to final Board vote
[21:36] <Kynn> and approval of the revised bylaws.
[21:37] <Kynn> For this reason, and with a considerable amount of regret among many Board members, there are no member elections scheduled for this meeting, and the terms expiring in 1999 will be filled by GB vote as in the past.
[21:38] <Kynn> In other bylaws changes, the Board voted in Spring of 1998 to change our membership structure from 3 tiers (Basic, Value, Plus) to two (Trial, Full). All Value and Plus members became Full members.
[21:39] <Kynn> Some services that were open to certain levels of membership, such as the Vendor Discount Program, have been reclassified so that all members (Trial or Full) can take advantage of them.
[21:40] <Kynn> Others privileges -- such as the right to be appointed to the Governing Board -- are reserved for Full members only. The details of the two membership levels are listed on the Guild's website; see that for more information.
[21:41] <Kynn> Okay, final agenda item is the 1999-2000 governing board.
[21:42] <Kynn> Mike McGhan, our dedicated and very skilled database administrator, has decided to step down from the Governing Board with the expiration of his term.
[21:43] <Kynn> The Governing Board thanks Mike on behalf of the Guild for his service on the Board and dedication. His clear, analytical thinking on issues has been very much appreciated since he was appointed in 1997.
[21:43] <felan> Which is to say, today, as his expires this month, at this general meeting (which is the end-date for the term-years).
[21:44] <Kynn> The Board has voted to appoint Frank Boumphrey, our resident XML and DOM expert, to fill Mike's position on the Governing Board.
[21:44] <Kynn> Thanks Leanne. :)
[21:44] <Kynn> Frank is an author, doctor, programmer, and a host of many other things, and his enthusiasm, wisdom, and expertise are already proving a benefit to the Guild. Frank's term is for three years.
[21:45] <Kynn> Also, my own term expires this year, and the Governing Board has graciously allowed me to continue to serve the Guild for (gulp!) another three years.
[21:46] <felan> You can't escape!
[21:46] <FredB> We had to chain him to the computer, but it was worth it.
[21:46] <FredB> :-)
[21:47] <Kynn> Heh.
[21:47] <Kynn> Okay, that would seem to be the end of this meeting's agenda.
[21:48] <felan> No other terms having expired this year, all the rest of the Board members remain.
[21:48] <felan> Motion to adjourn?
<Joe> second
[21:48] <Kynn> I therefore open the floor to questions or comments addressed to the board. If you would like to say something, please send me a private /msg and I will grant you +v privs.
[21:48] <Kynn> Oh, yes, adjourn the official meeting first. :)
[21:48] <Kynn> We have a motion to adjourn, all opposed?
[21:48] <Kynn> Adjourned.

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