HTML Writers Guild Guild Operations Events 980827 Meeting

Town Hall Meeting
27 August 1998

(What follows is a log of the meeting, automatically generated by the eShare software.)

Mary: Good evening all
Kynn: Hello, Mary! Welcome!
jim: Hello Mary.
Mary: Just happened upon the e-mail about tonight's meeting, looked at the clock, and figured I'd hop over
jim: Hi FL.
funkyllama: Hi Jim.. all!
Kynn: Hello, funkyllama
funkyllama: hi kynn
rowin: Hi Scott
funkyllama: hi rowin
funkyllama: Any specific agenda this evening?
jim: Nothing specific, generic Town Hall Q/A/Discuss.
funkyllama: gotcha. How was attendance at the last one?
jim: I got there about an hour late but there were 10-15 people IIRC.
jim: Hi Mike.
funkyllama: Productive? Or basically the live version of OPS?
memcghan: Hi Jim.
jim: It was pretty productive, easier to 'discuss' things in RT rather than email.
jim: Nothing even -remotely- like -ops.
funkyllama: That's great
Kynn: Hi Mike, bye Mike
Kynn: Anyone want to discuss anything in specific tonight? :)
jim: Email like -ops is a lot more 'anonymous' than live chat. People tend to be more polite the closer it gets to face2face.
funkyllama: Kynn: Robin Socha: New Guild President? Hehe
Mary: I'd like to make a suggestion regarding the online classes -
jim: Classes is a good topic.
Kynn: Yes, Mary?
Kynn: Hi Mike.
Kynn: Funky, I believe that Robin is Being Dealt With.
funkyllama: I know. Thankfully
Mary: While helping Ann troubleshoot students' problems,
Mary: I've noticed that most revolve around cookies and the acceptance of same
Mary: I thought perhaps something could be posted in either the online sign up area, or in the posting about the class,
Ann: already done :)
Mary: that states not necessarily requirements but general things
Kynn: Yes, that seems to be the case. Ann has posted something on ... oh. :)
Kynn: Oh, I see your point, Mary
Mary: Great!
Kynn: Such as: Required: Regular access, A web browser capable of handling HTML 4.0 and Cookies, etc etc?
Mary: Where is it? I'd like to point students to it
Mary: that'd be great
Mary: I'd say that about 80% of the e-mails I get revolve around the e-share software,
Mary: while the others are "I never got a password" - even though they did :)
Ann: some of that should be expected, it's a new experience for people.
Kynn: Good point, Mary, if they know where to log on -- then they got the password. :)
Mary: Oh, very much so
Mary: a new experience, at any rate
Kynn: New for all of us, in fact -- I think these first classes are learning experiences for everyone involved.
Mary: :nods:
Kynn: I'm very pleased, though, with the results of the first lesson in my class -- I've opened up a lot of peoples' eyes to the fact that blind people _do_ access the net. :)
jim: Difficulties, Mike?
Kynn: Well, Ann seems to have the problem with classes access under control. Anyone else have any comments or questions about classes?
Mary: :sigh: time for me to go - bedtime on the east coast :)
memcghan: yes, the java clients are crashing on me. Trying active X now :)
Kynn: Goodnight, Mary! Thanks for coming by and for helping with classes!
Mary: No problem - I'm enjoying it.
Kynn: Oh, by the way, for those of you who don't know us, the Governing Board members present are:
Kynn: Me, Kynn Bartlett, Vice President of Marketing and Outreach
Kynn: Ann Navarro (Ann), Vice President of Finance
Kynn: Jim Barchuk, Governing Board member
Kynn: Mike McGhan, Governing Board member, guy with an active X client, and Database Administrator
Kynn: So, what would you think about advertising banners on the website -- in limited numbers, and tastefully done -- and sponsor ads in the newsletters?
Mary: a parting comment - I personally don't care for them, but can understand the need
funkyllama: Sounds like a natural idea to me. The guild would not officially be sanctioning theire products though -- correct?
Kynn: Right, they're paid ads, not Guild endorsements.
Mary: Please don't let them flash or blink or anything annoying like that :)
Kynn: Good point. I personally would prefer to say 'no animated banners on the Guild site'
Kynn: But that may not fly with the advertisers.
funkyllama: Why no animation?
Mary: I agree, Kynn
Kynn: Because it's ugly and annoying and cheapens the rest of the Guild site.
Mary: ::emphatic nods::
Kynn: In my opinion, of course. :)
Mary: laugh
rowin: Are you thinking of a link exchange system or hiring out space on the homepage(s) for a fee/month.
Kynn: But _someone's_ opinion has to win out, and hey, maybe I can convince the rest of the board. :)
Kynn: Hiring out the homepage(s).
Mary: could they be associated with the Guild's ... what's the word I'm looking for..
funkyllama: I'd think software companies, ISps and the like would be dying to pay for space on the HWg site. Is there detailed stats on site traffic?
rowin: Surely we have the hits and Guild numbers to make it worthwhile economically
Kynn: Felan is also a Governing Board member -- Leanne Phillips, our Secretary and next month she takes over as Vice President of Member Education
Mary: intent? In other words, HTML, web design, etc. and not, say, long distance?
Kynn: Fred, too, is on the Board: Fred Barnett, Governing Board member and Logo Team Manager
Fred: But LTM only until tomorrow.
Kynn: Funky, we have some to analyze, and have been saving stats for years; I don't have them at my fingertips though.
Kynn: ! Fred
Kynn: Turning it over to Mountain dude?
rowin: got another meeting - catch you all later (I'll leave the chat session running so I can read it later)
Fred: After that I become Leanne's LGP flunky. smiley
Mary: I've gotta go - thanks for letting me voice my opinion all - g'night
Kynn: Mary, yes, I feel that at least initially we should limit it to relevant businesses related to web design.
Fred: Yes Kynn.
Kynn: Bye Mary, thanks again for coming!
funkyllama: Kynn... Oh I wasn't looking for them. i just know that is a big factor in how much you can charge for advertising.
Kynn: Bye rowin, thanks for coming! There will be a log available.
funkyllama: Bye rowin
Mary: nods
funkyllama: Bye Mary
jim: Mary, that makes most sense, should be 'topical' adverts.
Kynn: My concern about animated banners is that the Guild has a definite image to preserve -- an established "presence"
Kynn: We need to be careful to maintain that, and not just become 'yet another flashy blinking website full of ads'
Felan: Animated banners, yuck.
Kynn: We may be slightly stuffy, and less zap-bang than some places, but we're also rather 'serious', and 'reputable', I think.
Kynn: In fact, when I put the iServer logo on our homepage, I specifically chose their only non-animated button. I tried the animated ones, and frankly, they ruined the "look" of the site. (Old look and new look both.)
funkyllama: Then maybe you'd consider a sponsor's page... just a list of sponsors with links back to their sites
Kynn: Our image, as an organization, is at least as valuable as any money that can be made from selling banner ads.
jim: I'll bet it ruined it. All it takes is one anigif to grab 'attention', detracting from the rest of the page.
Kynn: Well, I think non-animated banners might work. I honestly don't see how sponsor link pages are a 'good idea' for the advertisers, in that nobody actually goes there. :)
Kynn: But an inobtrusive but visible banner on the homepage or another high-traffic site could be valuable to advertisers.
Ann: there's a difference in advertising (what we're considering) and donations, which is what a "sponsorship" would be.
Fred: But for Corporate level members, it would be a nice courtesy.
jim: Agreed Kynn. I thought of that a long time ago and the idea flew like a pickup truck.
Kynn: Actually we're planning a Corporate/Business member directory.
Fred: I thought we had talked about that before.
Kynn: Which is one of the benefits for a tiny company -- such as a one or two person company -- to become Business members.
funkyllama: hwg-critique.. brought to you by Corn Flakes (tm)... guess it wouldn't work.
Kynn: We talked about it, and it was part of the motion that passed. :)
Kynn: Heh funky.
Fred: who reads motions. winking
Kynn: -critique can be corny enough sometimes.
funkyllama: and flaky too!
Kynn: On the other hand, I don't think anyone is proposing sponsorship of the discussion lists.
Kynn: Just of hwg-news, probably.
Fred: And I doubt the membership would stand for it.
Kynn: So hwg-news might contain, before the articles, something saying 'a word from our sponsor: iServer offers high-quality web hosting blah blah blah'
Kynn: And maybe 4 lines from a sponsor.
Kynn: What do you think about that idea? Since we reach 70,000 web designers, we could probably get -someone- to pay for it.
funkyllama: Advertising just seems to make sense to me. It doesn't take away from the credibility of Time magazine or CNN after all.
funkyllama: Could you charge enough to make it worthwhile?
jim: The 'purpose' of Time/CNN is to 'make money'. For HWG it is required but not the purpose.
Kynn: Well, let's say we charge a penny per subscriber, that's $700 right there. And as I understand it, one cent per impression is very low.
Ann: *extremely* low.
Ann: comparable costs for comparable numbers of "eyeball sets" run 3 and 4 times that.
Kynn: Right, I'm not suggesting one penny :), but pointing out that even at unreasonably low rates, we still make a decent amount.
Ann: right
Kynn: The trick is figuring out if there are companies willing to pay that amount to advertise -- which I think there probably are -- and also making sure it doesn't tick off the membership.
Kynn: Because if they get angry, they'll go complain on hwg-o...oh wait
Kynn: smiley
Fred: THAT's whay we got rid of -ops. smiley
Kynn: Heh. Yes and no, we really got rid of it because it outlived its usefulness.
Kynn: If the members seriously are ticked about something, we _do_ want to know, of course.
Ann: which is part of the reason behind these meetings and the suggestion box, right Kynn?
Fred: Most wouldn't (or at least "shouldn't") get ticked about small adverts in -news. It's only once or twice per month.
Kynn: Well, you'd hope so, Fred. :)
Kynn: Exactly, Ann.
funkyllama: Many can be so sensitive about unsolicited advertsing. You may want to warn the masses ahead of time
funkyllama: That way you can say "You were warned and you had the chance to unsubscribe"
funkyllama: IF anyone should complain
jim: Well, in this case 'unsubbing' means 'resign from the guild'. But of the dozen or so 'newsletters' I've seen -none- had 'no advertising'.
Kynn: Right, this would be 4 (or 8, if we ran 2 ads) lines in the monthly newsletter, which is usually about 15K of text.
Kynn: In fact, our "pleeeeease pay dues and support the guild" ads are longer than any paid ads we'd run :)
jim: If we had high enough paid membership we'd hardly need paid adverts/banners/whatever.
Kynn: Good point. If we had 50,000 members paying $40 each... :)
Kynn: ...Yes I think we could run the Guild on $2M a year :)
Kynn: In the future, if our database gets more sophisticated, we may even be able to do something snazzy.
funkyllama: Snazzy?
Kynn: Such as: two version of the newsletter, one for paid members, no ads; one for free members, with ads.
Kynn: Although the paid members are really a better demographic for the advertisers.
Kynn: So that idea may not be a good one. :) The dangers of brainstorming out loud at a town hall meeting -- someone may hold me to this in the future! Aie!
Kynn: Paid members are better for advertisers because (a) they're more serious about their web design, since they're willing to spend money on it, and (b) they're willing to spend money online.
Kynn: So they're a better demographic than a free member.
Kynn: From an advertiser's point of view.
funkyllama: People may complain at first but I think they would accept it eventually. They don't stop watching TV because of ads.
Fred: Oh I don't know about that...
jim: If I were an advertiser I'd want to reach more 'serious' people, such as those who have invested more in the net than their PC.
funkyllama: Fred -- really?
Kynn: I think most Guild members are actually open to the idea that supporting the Guild is a good and reasonable thing.
Fred: I don't watch movies on commercial TV anymore myself.
Kynn: As long as it's not in their face.
Kynn: I could never watch a -movie- (as opposed to a tv show) on commercial tv.
Kynn: They butcher them so badly anyway, I'll just rent the video.
Kynn: Hi Mountain!
Fred: Hi Steve.
Fred: That's my other reason too Kynn.
Mountain: Hey = better late than never. Just came in from my brother's baby shower.
Kynn: Welcome! I hope the baby shower was fun.
Mountain: Oj, a real blast ... with three of my own crying and whining.
funkyllama: Well.. I'd prefer a stronger Guild with advertising than a bankrupt Guild without.
Mountain: crybaby
funkyllama: Surely most would agree!?
Mountain: oh - we're discussing real topics :)
Kynn: I'd prefer a stronger Guild without advertising, but if we have to have it, I intend to make it as tasteful and painless to the members as possible.
Kynn: The kind of ads which actually can sometimes be a 'service' by letting you know what's out there.
Mountain: I'll lurk until I get the gist...
funkyllama: What.. no sex ads???
funkyllama: hehe
Kynn: NO SEX ADS. :)
jim: Right, Kynn, as Mary mentioned earlier, we probably don't want to advertise cars. 'Topical.'
Kynn: Yep.
funkyllama: And I am sure it would be related companies that would be the most interested anyway.
Kynn: You'd think so, yeah.
Mountain: Sorry if this has been mentioned earlier, but is there a big clamoring for Web-related businesses to advertise with the HWG?
Kynn: Well, the discussion is about banner ads and newsletter blurbs, Mountain. And there -have- been some interested parties already.
funkyllama: If I were ULEAD or JASC for example I'd pay top doallr for an HWG spot
Kynn: I think we get over 50,000 (unique visitor) hits to the homepage per month, so it could be a viable source of income.
funkyllama: dollar
Kynn: long as we keep it tasteful, and in keeping with the Gulid's public image.
Mountain: Indeed. Microsoft seems to advertise everywhere, and HTML and graphics editors houses might be quite interested.
Fred: JASC gets free advertising with there "Get Paint Shop Pro" button program. I have one on my B.R.A.S. site, since I use PSP.
funkyllama: I wonder if a disclaimer would be in order though.. something like "The HWG is not endorsing products.. yadda yadda yadda"
Fred: there=their
Kynn: Here's a question for you guys: Do you think members would be interested in filling out demographics surveys, such as what profession they work in, how much money they make, etc?
Kynn: Yeah, we'll probably make up an advertising FAQ about that, funky.
Kynn: If we have demographics -- we can do better on selling ad space.
funkyllama: Could make it a requirement for new members
Kynn: E.g., "the average Guild member is male, 33 years of age, has been working in the web design field for 2.5 years, and has an income of $55,250 per year"
Fred: I doubt it, because people will believe their signing up for spam. even if we state they're not.
Kynn: That's the kind of demographics that advertisers want to hear.
funkyllama: I don't know.. and you could always make some fields optional.
Fred: I need to go. Take care everybody.
jim: There would be very clear notice that it is not for spam purposes. We have already been approached to sell out member list and declined. Our -ass- would be on the line if we sold out for that.
funkyllama: Bye Fred
jim: By Fred.
Kynn: Bye Fred!
jim: ...approached to sell 'our' member list...
Kynn: True. We have a firm policy of not selling our member list; it's possible it needs to be posted somewhere prominent, though, so our members are aware of it.
Kynn: "Sell out" was close enough, though. :)
jim: [G]
funkyllama: WHy not have a demographics form as part of the enrollment for new members and post the same form soemwhere else on the site with a prominent link to it from the index page
funkyllama: And mention it in news and any other forums.. such as this
jim: Very prominent. I get a lot of very personal info at, have a whole page about privacy issues, go as far as posting the CGI that drives the site (at risk of showing security holes [sigh]) and users seem to have no problem offering info.
Kynn: Hi Joe! Everyone, this is Joe Cline, President of the HTML Writers Guild
funkyllama: Hi Joe.
Joe: Hi gang
Joe: sorry i'm late
jim: Hi Joe.
funkyllama: Then again.. I am not sure how important demopgraphics information will be. Just knowing that the website and newsletter is read by 50,000 web designers oughtta be enough for advertisers (especially of products like we talked about before.. JASC..ULEAD..MACROMEDIA etc)
Mountain: Knowing our member's demos can't hurt - we could make it a requirement of the Basic membership
funkyllama: I agree.. it can't hurt.. but I don't see it as a major stumbling block if members are unwilling to volunteer info
funkyllama: 50,000 web designers is pretty good stat on its own
Mountain: Indeed.
Joe: actually, isn't it closer to 70k now?
memcghan: somewhat over that, in fact.
Joe: man, amazing how that number has grown over the last 2 years.
memcghan: we still pick up (net) about 5K/month, I think. Haven't done the detailed analysis recently, but that is close.
jim: Well, ther're '50k "Web Designers"', and there are '50k '"Geocities Homesteaders"', and I think advertisers might recognise the difference. Not to disparige anyone at Geo or Tripod, that's where I started.
Kynn: Sorry for idling, I had to set my dad straight about virus hoaxes via email.
Kynn: When I joined the GB, we had 11,000 members.
Kynn: I'm responsible for those 60,000 new people. smiley Just kidding!
funkyllama: HAd nothing to do with the growth of the Net in that period... it was all Kynn!
funkyllama: hehe
funkyllama: beer cheers!
jim: I just heard a stat today that 70M anericans are 'nettified'.
jim: ping?
funkyllama: That is amazing.. what is that as a percentage? 70M is more nettified americans than there are citizens in Canada.
jim: USA is around 260/270M
funkyllama: more than 1/4? Wow.
memcghan: yeah, the number I heard was that 1/3 of americans are on the net.
memcghan: The thing that I find interesting in that is that it leaves 2/3 as 'growth'
Kynn: Doesn't surprise me -- most Americans have computers, and most people with computers are getting net access.
funkyllama: I would have thought the under classes would skew the figures to be way lower than that
Kynn: There aren't that many underclass types, tho :)
funkyllama: That's good news. Wish I could say the same for Canada.
Kynn: I actually wonder how it's distributed geographically
Kynn: I.e., if most of the people in big cities have access and most people in small towns don't.
Kynn: But anyway, anyone else want to talk about Guild stuff?
Kynn: If not, I can gavel this town hall meeting, and we can sit around and chat informally about the web. :)
jim: Anyone have an opinion on the new home page design?
funkyllama: I just came to sponge it in anyway.... so nope,
Kynn: I think it rules, jim
Kynn: Errr
funkyllama: Jim... I like it... though at 640x480 I am getting some pretty ugly scroll bars
jim: 'Errr' he says. :)
funkyllama: Other than that it is clean and easy to use
jim: Scroll bars at what font/point size?
funkyllama: Default for NN 4.x
jim: Which is probably 11 or 12. I'll try it.
funkyllama: 12 variable and 10 for fixed to be precise
Mountain: I like the design - what is the schedule for the rest of the site?
funkyllama: Allowing for user specifies fonts
funkyllama: specified
jim: What would you like to see WRT 'rest of site' design?
Mountain: Sorry -- not up on all my shorthand -- WRT?
jim: I use Win16 'large fonts', and don't get scrolling at14 pt.
jim: WRT with regards to
Kynn: The rest of the site is being converted piecemeal to the same general look.
Mountain: Oh, like just the pages are old design. Mostly third- and fourth-level pages, too.
funkyllama: jim... sorry. not the main page. Just some pages. Try: and
Kynn: I may in the future clean up the homepage -- make it three columns instead of four
Mountain: .... piecemeal is good enough for me :)
Kynn: Yeah, actually, is going to be phased out.
funkyllama: Ii can't recall others but Iknow they are in there
Kynn: We'll be shutting down this eshare server, and start using the new one soon.
Kynn: It's currently being used for classes right now.
Mountain: Good -- this Java client crashed on me once already...
jim: Oh, OK, understood about 'ther pages'.
Kynn: Well, the client will still be the same. :)
funkyllama: Great. Because other than that it is sharp design. hen again. I liked the old design too.
Kynn: I liked the old design too.
Kynn: Unfortunately there were aspects of it which made it real hard to design around.
Kynn: The graphics were nice -- but they ate up a LOT of the screen real estate
Kynn: And the homepage itself was a terrible showcase of what the Guild has to offer.
jim: Gee, Linux J has never crashed for me under eshare. [G]
funkyllama: Lots of info there now
Mountain: I typed too much into the typing box, I think...
Mountain: Something I found odd was it listed "defunct" pages in the index, but the page just says it is defunct.
Mountain: The new site design's map page, I mean...
funkyllama: Appropriately labelled I guess!
Kynn: Ah, yeah, I need to make sure those are updated.
Kynn: Hi Mike.
memcghan: Hi again.
jim: There is no J at, but we have been discussing CSS incompatibilities lately.
memcghan: other than the advanced technologies in eShare, of course :)
jim: That's true. But I swear it has been rock solid stable for me.
Mountain: Probably too many windows open at once... So what is our position on CSS?
Mountain: We are the HTML Writer's Guild...
Kynn: Actually we're the HTML Writers Guild :)
Kynn: No apostrophe
Kynn: The Guild supports (and uses) CSS, assuming that the pages can degrade gracefully.
Kynn: Support for styles and stylesheets are part of the HTML 4.0 standard, which we have officially adopted for Guild use.
Mountain: OK, good (now if the browsers can catch up...)
Kynn: Oh, speaking of browsers and stylesheets...
Kynn: Have you seen the WebTV simulator, for Windows 95/98/NT and Mac?
funkyllama: nope...
Kynn: It functions as a browser app on your computer, but displays stuff how WebTV sees things.
funkyllama: what is the URL?
Kynn: It's pretty neat. Did you know that WebTV has support for stylesheets? :)
Kynn: It also supports some javascript, too.
Kynn: I was pretty amazed to discover that.
funkyllama: Just how popular is web tv?
funkyllama: If anyone knows offhand
Mountain: I've used it to check my pages -- they look pretty good, even on WebTV
Kynn: I don't have the figures, sorry. Maybe it says on or the developer page.
Mountain: Though I'd used WebTV in a local electronic store and browsed my pages a few times before
Mountain: The app seems pretty stable
Kynn: WebTV is scary since it's NARROW, and it uses a HUGE font. Most web developers don't realize those facts. :)
Joe: It (web tv) hasn't caught on out in the Twin Cities. I thought for sure it would.
Kynn: webtv actually seems to work on the Guild site, although it's reeeeeal narrow little columns.
Kynn: It does, however, make the site the right color.
memcghan: do you know if it can accept cookies? that kind of thing is important for using eShare, as I understand it.
Kynn: If you haven't seen the Guild homepage in MSIE 4, you're missing out on some nice (degrading gracefully) CSS stuff.
Mountain: I seem to recall it used my cookies... but I'd have to try it again to be sure.
Kynn: I don't recall, Mike, it probably says at developer. etc
Mountain: Course, I was using the emulator...
memcghan: be worth finding out what the exact limitations are.
Kynn: Any other Guild-related issues?
funkyllama: Geez... big difference viewing in IE over NN.. nice!
Kynn: Thanks, funky! :)
Kynn: I love the look of the buttons, myself.
funkyllama: Yep.. makes all the difference
funkyllama: first
Kynn: I hope someday Netscape will catch up with CSS implementation.
Joe: yeah, you did do an awesome job on that Kynn.
Kynn: Thanks, Joe.
Kynn: It's always scaring mucking with the Guild's pages.
Kynn: Knowing that 70,000 know-it-all web designers will be looking at it. :)
funkyllama: Lots of scrutiny!
Kynn: And god forbid that we don't validate! Oh, we'd never hear the end of it. ;)
Mountain: Gotta go catch up on Logo Team mail... later.
Kynn: Bye Mountain! Thanks for coming by!
funkyllama: Bye Mountain
Kynn: Well, funky, it's you and four board members. :)
Kynn: Anything on your mind?
funkyllama: Nothing here. I guess it is gavel time.
jim: Motion to bang da gavel.
funkyllama: I second da motion (if I can)
jim: Sure, you're a 'chat member in good standing.' [G]
Joe: You can. and did.
funkyllama: Splendid!
Joe: good night gang.
jim: Bye Joe.
funkyllama: g'night all.
Kynn: gavel
jim: Bye, thanks for being here.
funkyllama: See you on the lists

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