STF Yearbook Discussion

Posted Jan. 6, 2019, 2:45 a.m. by Russell Watt

Posted by Fleet Captain Adam W. (Current Ruler of the Club) in STF Yearbook Discussion

Posted by Vice Admiral Thomas (Vice President) in STF Yearbook Discussion

Posted by Rear Admiral Krystelle McLean (FComm, Infinite Fleet) in STF Yearbook Discussion

Posted by Fleet Captain Adam W. (Current Ruler of the Club) in STF Yearbook Discussion

Posted by Mike Bourdaa in STF Yearbook Discussion

Posted by Fleet Captain Cale Reilly (STF Surgeon General) in STF Yearbook Discussion

Posted by Rear Admiral Steve Johnson (EGO) in STF Yearbook Discussion

Posted by Rear Admiral Daniel Lerner (Personnel Director) in STF Yearbook Discussion
Well, now that my unexpectedly extended LOA is now over, I can start the much-delayed discussion regarding the STF Yearbook. Yay! (I think…)

Important Links
Bylaw provision (from PDICT): https://www.star-fleet.com/library/bookshelf/charters/charter-pd.html#idp140293028252000
STF Yearbook: https://www.star-fleet.com/pd/yearbook/main.php

There are two issues I am raising in this discussion:
1) Should STF - and the Personnel Department in particular - continue to actively maintain the STF Yearbook?
2) If not, what, if anything, should be done with the current yearbook content?

Issue #1: Should STF - and the Personnel Department in particular - continue to actively maintain the STF Yearbook?

Problem

To some extent, this issue is more about policy catching up to current practice…

The STF Yearbook was started as a way for members to share a photo of themselves with the rest of the club, and to be a repository of photos from various STF in-person events. At the time of the yearbook’s creation, there was no easy way for individuals to share photos on the web. You either needed your own web space, or join one of the few websites in existence at the time that allowed you to share post certain photos (which wasn’t easy or straightforward to do). The STF community, wanting to share photos with each other, created the yearbook as a means to do that.

Since then, the need for the yearbook has decreased, and related to that, the popularity of the yearbook has waned. Social media has revolutionized the internet, making it straightforward - and common - for people to share photos, etc. on the internet. Facebook in particular (which wasn’t available to non-university students when the yearbook started) has since become mainstream, and STF has embraced that by creating it’s own Facebook page under the administration of the Community & Marketing Manager (formerly the Marketing & Advertising Coordinator). Members who want to share photos with like-minded members can easily do so, in a way that is much easier than the yearbook, and was never contemplated when the yearbook was created.

The decline of the yearbook became very obvious after we moved from effWeBB to Drupal/Webbspace in 2008. One of the new features added our site at the time was the ability for members to post a photo of themselves directly to their profile page. While initially a popular feature on our website, interest died off, and those few that used the upload feature primarily did so to upload an avatar image rather than a photo. There was little interest in including a similar feature in Exodus in 2018, and the club has been quite content to not have photos of ourselves in our new profile pages.

Interest in the Yearbook has so significantly declined that a number of years ago the Personnel Department started taking no active steps to replace the Yearbook Coordinator after that person stepped down. When a new MOTD was required for the PDept in Exodus, an intentional decision was made to not include a link to the Yearbook, and the for the years leading up to that decision there were no requests to add photos to the yearbook.

I am also advised by TECH that the yearbook software is extermely out of date, and a major overhaul would be required if we chose to keep it.

However, the yearbook is still in our bylaws, and therefore it does need to be addressed.

Proposal

I am proposing that that the PDict Bylaw be amended to remove the section titled “Yearbook” (as linked to at the top of this post).

Discussion

Pros:
1) Removing the yearbook would match the current practice given the lack of interest in it.
2) This would remove a web feature that is not popular with TECH and would remove any need for TECH to have to address the issues with the yearbook.
3) This would confirm that that the PDept does not have to spend the resources advertising such a feature, updating/maintaining such a feature, or finding volunteers for that work. Instead, the PDept can continue to put its resources or the real priorities and objectives of the department.

Cons:
1) I guess there might still be some sentimental reason to allow people to still add to the yearbook??

Unless I’m mistaken, there’s zero possibility of this.

2) What would we do with the current yearbook content (see Issue #2)?

Overall, I think there is an overall gain for the club - the PDept and TECH in particular - by removing any policy reason to keep a yearbook, and the cost in minimal to negligent given the lack of interest in the yearbook.

Issue #2: If the yearbook is removed, what should be done with the current content?

Problem

The yearbook has three categories of content:
1) Photos of current members
2) Photos of former members
3) Photos from STF in-person events

STF has had a very good track record of keeping a record of our history, and arguably at least some of the yearbook content would fall into that.

In addition, for sentimental reasons, we may want to keep photos of some of our former members - especially those who have since passed on who were instrumental in making the club what it is today.

But… from what I understand, there’s no great place for that. My first thought was the Library, but the Library isn’t really set up to store/archive images. We could arguably put them on our Facebook page, maybe.

And if it’s not the Library, we need to know who is responsible for going through the photos and storing them. The PDept? The CMM?

Proposal

I am proposing that we find a way to archive in a way accessible to the membership the yearbook photos for our former members who have passed away and for our STF events.

I am not proposing we keep photos of current members - that’s what Facebook, etc. is for.

I am not proposing we keep photos of members who decided to leave the club for one reason or another. I’m not entirely sure what the benefit of that would be.

I am currently drawing a blank of the means this should be carried out though, and am interested to hear what others think.

Discussion

Am I right that we should be trying to keep some of the yearbook’s content? Should we instead keep none of it? Or keep more of it?

What do we do with that stored content, and who should be responsible?

-Daniel

Until there’s a clear reason for the responsibility to fall elsewhere, the PDept should continue to be responsible for the content of the yearbook and should be the ones looking through it if that is needed.

I agree with your proposal. There is some historical content that would be nice to have around for the future, but in the end the Yearbook has caused more problems over the last decade then good. Not to mention the fact that it hasn’t been updated in years.

For context, when I was PDir a long time ago, I think it was like 8 years ago now, I had a former member reach out as they wanted their picture removed. We had to go through a lot of hoops to do so, because no one had the login information for the software that runs the current Yearbook.

I think that the best place to archive the event images would be to Facebook. People can control their own tags there, and remove any tags if they are concerned about “outsiders” finding the picture. As for any images of former members who have passed away, I think those should remain archived until we can finish the discussion on if/where a memorial will be.

Steve

I think that’s a good idea to incorporate it into the memorial page if that fits with the format of that page. I’m satisfied that we don’t need any more discussion about whether or not the memorial page will be as all were for it.

Adam W.

I’m inclined to agree with the proposal and what Steve said. I don’t think the yearbook was updated since I was last Yearbook coordinator forever ago, at least the yearbook still lists me as YBC. And I think that was over a decade ago now. Maybe it’s time it was officially retired. As long as those images we want kept can go to Facebook or somewhere else I’m not sure it’s fit for purpose anymore.

Cale

Ye gods, the Yearbook. I forgot that thing even existed. (I also don’t even remember if I wrote the software to run it or not. If I did, I’ll be kicking myself for not trying to turn it into Nerdfacebook and becoming a kajillionaire).

Library seems to be the best of bad options for storing essentially static content. But just two cents with inflation there.

-Mike

I agree with everything said here and glad to see we will find a way to keep the pictures of those who have passed. It would have been my only argument for the yearbook.

Krys

My practical advice here is that the Yearbook section be completely removed, and the Yearbook be completely removed from the site. It is very old, likely very broken, software. It has not been updated in many years, and per Steve’s post, we only intermittently seem to have access to it.

On Issue 2 - I am strongly against us posting pictures to Facebook. Users made informed decisions to upload their images to our site when they placed them on the yearbook. Those who are and are not here now may or may not be able to make this informed decision. There are also numerous privacy concerns relating to pictures on Facebook. If we do post any, it must be with the consent of those pictured.

My suggestion is that we (“we” being PDept) access the Yearbook and utilize the software’s export function. The yearbook is a php Gallery that I am familiar with through other sites - I know that there must be an export function. Alternatively, the same could be achieved by manually archiving the photos by accessing the yearbook via FTP.

After export, a compressed file of the photos should be created. We can host this archived file on the library for download by those who would like to download it. This retains the pictures on the star-fleet.com website (in line with the original informed decision of the person posting it), and makes them historically available. I strongly protest the postings of pictures to Facebook or any other social media without explicitly getting the permission of those photographed.

-Thomas

That’s an excellent point Thomas. Some people strongly object to having their photos on social media, so we won’t put any photos of people on there without their permission.

Adam

I am grateful to hear that Adam and Thomas. I specifically echo Thomas’ final sentence: I strongly protest the postings of pictures to Facebook or any other social media without explicitly getting the permission of those photographed.

-Russell

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