An addendum to the Aug 19/21 Minutes

A response to some received questions:

Two areas about which I have received questions relate to the versions of Zoom WAG uses and ensuring WAG adheres fully to hearing from all members whenever possible. These are very good questions about areas that should be considered in relation to WAG procedures. As important, it is very commendable that WAG members take such active roles to maintain equitable and effective management procedures of the WAG association. Such queries deserve attention and response.

Below are some comments I received (with some editing to maintain privacy) with my response following them:

One faction:
With respect to Zoom meetings, I agree with the point that restarting Zoom in the middle of a meeting is not ideal, disruptive and inefficient use of members’ time and if I were a guest speaker, I would not be impressed and probably would decline an opportunity to speak. If members support virtual meetings using Zoom then let us at least do them professionally and support the choice with financial assistance.

Another faction:
Most WAG members seem to agree that Zoom is the best platform for our meetings. Nobody wants to travel long distances for an in-person gathering something which would likely impact negatively our member numbers.

Membership fees seem to have equivocal support. However, most of us understand it is not fair one person carries the burden of the costs of Zoom alone. Alternatives have been suggested to use the free version of Zoom. Yes, each login is only 40 minutes, but there’s no limit to how many times you can log back in.

Let’s get more feedback from our members to see what other possibilities exist.

Finally, contentious issues should be decided in a democratic vote by the membership.

Richard’s comments

Regarding Zoom
The time limitation of the free version of Zoom is frustrating and disruptive. Agreed, no fee is favourable. I lobbied Zoom intensely for a discount for seniors, for non-profit organizations, for non-commercialized ventures such as the book club in which I was involved. Also, I used the free version for many months. The discount requests fell on deaf ears. The free version became increasingly frustrating with more use.

The 40-minute limit impacted too severely on meetings. A variation of Murphy’s law occurred repeatedly: just as discussions would intensify, Zoom would terminate. When this happened during a meeting with popular Canadian humorist, Terry Fallis, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. As a consequence, Fallis never guested again.

Terminating meetings at 40 minutes is not only frustrating but is embarrassing and unprofessional. A speaker may be cut off in a crucial mid-stream moment. The paid version is the more professional, consistent and dependable choice. WAG deserves such.

Even experienced and skilled Zoom users experienced frustration and disruption with repeated log-ins. WAG members deserve better.

My position is such: if a group wishes to meet to discuss a topic of importance to them, I will do my best to ensure their meeting runs smoothly and that every group member has the fullest opportunity of undisrupted participation. The paid version of Zoom is the better choice.

Even the idea of piggybacking on someone else’s commercial or professional version raises questions. The paid version offers more uniformity and consistency of service. Experience has shown that people and companies have their own agendas and priorities and as such, even though ‘many hands may make light of the work,’ sometimes the broader management of the free version may have undesirable results. The paid version of Zoom is my preferred choice as “paid ownership” reduces the risk of unexpected disruptions.

On the matter of contentious issues, the democratic process
With many years of experience as a teacher, a member of the central library and municipal council associations, in short, involvement with many associations where listening to the majority was very important, respecting and appreciating from the entire group is very crucial.

Therefore, broad notification with long lead times has always been behind WAG meeting notices. The goal has been to indicate the importance of upcoming meetings with appropriately long lead times. Early and clear invitations to these meetings indicate the importance of the meetings and ensure that everyone is given equal and full opportunity of being heard. Attendance, participation and taking the opportunity of being heard are personal decisions.

In short, everyone has been offered the fullest opportunity of participating and voicing their views and opinions at WAG meetings and this principle should continue.

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