Future of the SubCommittee Report

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  • tom dougherty
    Senior Member
    • Jul 2005
    • 1354

    Future of the SubCommittee Report

    I note (somewhat belatedly, as I have been under the weather) that one of the items mentioned in Matt's announcement was incentives for individuals to write for the SCR. That's a great idea, as the magazine lately struggles to meet page count. Having been a long time contributor to the SCR, my question is this: I don't mind putting in the time to write for the magazine, but are we reaching 100 members? 300 members? 500 members? How many members of the SubCommittee currently read the SCR?

  • #2
    I count 200 members, but I may be out +/- by a bit. I got that figure by going through 45 pages of forum members and picking out the bold type.

    So we're running at about 15% paid membership.

    We really do need a proper database of members, so that chapter leaders and members know who is who, and where they are located.

    My personal opinion is that offering 'cash for content' may not bring the results perhaps hoped for. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    Comment

    • JWLaRue
      Managing Editor, SubCommittee Report
      • Aug 1994
      • 4281

      #3
      Tom,

      There really isn't a way to accurately gauge how many people read the SCR. This was true even back when the SCR was a printed magazine. What I can determine is that is looks like just about every paid member downloads the SCR.

      It’s also pretty clear that the PDF SCR gets passed around to others who participate in the SubCommittee. Anecdotal information tells me that this adds a good number of additional folks who read the SCR.

      -Jeff

      p.s. Andy - since we no longer mail the SCR via the post, there is no database of actual addresses. Folks who wish to associate with a Local Chapter can post their interest in the appropriate forum for their chapter. If you have a suggestion around this area, please share!
      Rohr 1.....Los!

      Comment

      • thor
        SubCommittee Member
        • Feb 2009
        • 1441

        #4
        The forum has, in great part, taken the place of what used to be regularly published in the magazine. This seems to be a trend across all publications and industry/hobby sectors. It is not necessarily a bad thing. It is simply reality.

        I can tell you, Andy, that the report is being read by many more than the 200 number you state above. The reports are being passed around and is still our greatest recruiting tool.
        Regards,

        Matt

        Comment


        • #5
          Well I think when you sign up to be a member or renew your subscription there should be a page where you fill in your details, giving at least real name, Country of origin, preferably City, County, State etc. Optional but preferential could be telephone numbers and full home address.

          There could also be a section where you could put in special skills that may be of interest. These perhaps could be in the format of radio buttons e.g. CAD, Turning/fitting, CNC, paint expert etc. etc.

          Clearly this information needs to be kept secure from hackers etc.

          Whether a society communicates by electronic methods or by printed word, I think it's essential that members are aware of who is out there and how to get in touch and that they engage on a regular basis.

          Comment


          • #6
            Tom asked how many members read the SCR, not how many people cadge a free read. Also that is the most accurate assessment of who you are likely to have contribute, and in fact it's likely to be much less than 200 contributors. If so shortage of copy wouldn't be a issue.

            Comment

            • JWLaRue
              Managing Editor, SubCommittee Report
              • Aug 1994
              • 4281

              #7
              Not true, Andy. Not every article published in the SCR comes from a paid member. True most material comes from paid members, however there are folks who contribute without being a paid member.

              -Jeff
              Rohr 1.....Los!

              Comment


              • #8
                I never said every single article.

                Comment

                • tom dougherty
                  Senior Member
                  • Jul 2005
                  • 1354

                  #9
                  Okay, just to be clear. I enjoy writing for the SCR, but I'd like to think the time that I (and many others who regularly contribute) spent on researching and writing these articles means that the articles get read by a decent number of people.

                  I find it remarkable that the SubCommittee Report has made it for more than 25 years of publication, and certainly would like to see it continue. I am happy to see incentives being put in place to encourage wider authorship of articles. Since we seem to be on firm financial footing, I personally have no problem with multiple people reading the articles by getting passed around electronically. I would welcome a "guestimate" of total readership, paid or otherwise.

                  Comment

                  • Ralph --- SSBN 598
                    Junior Member
                    • Oct 2012
                    • 1417

                    #10
                    Just my opinion.

                    Trying to count the number of times an article is read is not a very easy thing to do.
                    A paper article purchased can be counted by the number of copies paid for and mailed.
                    How ever counting how many times a paper article is handed to others to read can not.

                    Electronic articles are the same.
                    You can count the number of people who have paid to access the electronic article but you get a count by the number of times it is accessed due to many who will open the file multiple times.
                    You can count the number of times an electronic article is downloaded but once it is downloaded you can not count the number of times it is shared.

                    Newspapers and print magazines are failing because of electronic media.
                    Print media depended mostly on money paid by advertisers and not the subscribers which paid a minimal price which mostly covered direct delivery.

                    Again once the item is delivered to the paid subscriber, there is no control on if or how many times it is passed on.
                    Any attempt to give a number to the secondary distribution is nothing more than a guess and has no tangible benefit to the publisher
                    other than the there might be new subscribers from the secondary readers that like what they read.

                    I just went through this with an organization that has over 30,000 current paid members.
                    The office wanted to go to electronic newsletter and did.
                    The backlash was so great, that after just 3 months the office announced it would again publish it's paper newsletter.
                    The new publication came and it was more like a magazine than the original newspaper format.
                    There were pros and cons but almost all were happy to have a printed newsletter than an electronic newsletter.

                    The difference is this organization is bases in the 1880's where submarines are based mostly a modern group and electronic is part of what we do.

                    Any newsletter format should be designed for the current paid membership and not for unknown secondary readers.

                    I am happy with the electronic format.
                    Hell, I was happy when I got my first newsletters and they were pages copied and stapled together.
                    ===============
                    As for a member's data base, a simple spreadsheet that can be sorted by various requests would do.
                    Using key items, First name, last name, city, state, nearest SC regional club.
                    I agree with keeping it safe from hacking.
                    I have for years keep my business books on floppies, external hard drives and now flash drives.
                    I started with 11" floppies and moved data to next generation devises as they came along.
                    Tape drives where the worst!
                    I keep all my data files on flash drives.
                    I work with the date, save it and then pull the flash drive out of the computer.
                    I have several computers and they all have no data saved on them.
                    Just programs.
                    I even keep a copy of the programs I use most on the flash drives.
                    I maintain several web sites and each site has it's own flash drive with the associated programs.

                    I have never lost an data because of back ups and I have never lost data to hackers.
                    I have lost a couple of computers that had been taken over that needed to be completely cleaned up and reloaded.
                    ========
                    To help with getting people to join as paid members, from each newsletter published, extract one or two small "how to" articles and put them in a public area so any one can read them.
                    Make sure to let everyone know that these are just small samples of what came in that issues newsletter.
                    If the article has photos included in the paid members newsletter, use only 1 or 2 from the article and mention there are more photos in the newsletter.
                    Getting more members...bait...bait...bait...hookem'.

                    That's enough out of me.
                    The air is getting thin up here.
                    Getting down now. ;^)

                    Comment

                    • thor
                      SubCommittee Member
                      • Feb 2009
                      • 1441

                      #11
                      Who is going to gather, tabulate, sort, and protect all of that information? We barely have enough support to do what we are doing now. Lots of good ideas. Volunteers?

                      There is currently no way to easily extract that information from the support software that we use, and PayPal does not provide that information sorted directly through the pay system without having to manually extract the information on a one by one basis. That's a lot of work to build then to maintain it.....

                      With the privacy issues and work involved along with all of the work required to build the list, is the value gained worth all of the effort? Volunteers?

                      Maybe there is value here that I am under estimating. If so, I have no problem with the concept, but we really need some help here, guys. Our regular staff really has their hands full as is.
                      Last edited by thor; 02-16-2016, 01:32 AM.
                      Regards,

                      Matt

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't have a clue how to build webpages, and all the other paraphernalia that goes with it.

                        However there are plenty of people out there that do, and will provide their expertise for a fee. It was my understanding that the significant funds the SC now have were being directed towards improving this sort of thing, or have I been misinformed?

                        Under the original set-up I could read a members list, and find out to some degree who we had in our area. Currently I don't have a clue, and I'm having to guess.

                        Is there value in this, will it improve things? Simple answer- I don't know. I think if we continue as we are, then we will be working with a pool of ever decreasing options.

                        Comment

                        • Ralph --- SSBN 598
                          Junior Member
                          • Oct 2012
                          • 1417

                          #13
                          As I see it, trying to use PayPal records to maintain a list of paid members with other information is something that would be difficult to do.

                          However, if people who sign up here on the forum would at least include their location which would be displaied on the left side of their post would help.

                          Example. Sub Culture is located in North London, UK.
                          If he is looking for parts or kits, someone near him may have answers. Some one in the USA is too far to be of any help but would suggest items in the USA if he did not see that Sub Culture is half way around the world.

                          A city, state or country would be a big help.
                          -------------------
                          I have been around for some time.
                          Just yesterday I learned about the membership list on the forum and how Bold text means a paid SC member.
                          Now where is that information pointed out.

                          I under stand concerns of privacy issues.
                          A good member list would have a lot of information included.
                          Most of that information should be protected and not available on the forum.
                          It should be a list keep off the net and secure.
                          Who every handles membership would need to update it to keep it current.
                          If PayPal is the only way membership is keep, then how do you know who is and isn't current?
                          I am one who will not use PayPal or credit cards for membership payment.
                          I made arrangements to send in a personal check.
                          I will not be notified by PayPal when it comes due again.
                          If there is no membership list, how will I be notified?

                          The issue of privacy is eliminated by having a membership list that is not sent out or on the net.
                          Much like a business customer list. (which members are customer)
                          But the list should be searchable and be able to sort by search items.
                          List should be able to be printed by sort.

                          If a local chapter head should want a list those in his area, the list should have names and contact info but should have limited information.
                          Maybe Name and e-mail or phone number for contact. Maybe even a city name but no street address.

                          At a minimum a member list should keep track of paid, expiration dates and contact info.

                          The Forum list is not a Paid Member list.
                          Two very different things.

                          Just putting out ideas to think about and discuss among those in charge.
                          ========================
                          Notice...I updated my profile to include my location and which local SC group I am part of. It shows up under my name on the left.

                          Comment

                          • thor
                            SubCommittee Member
                            • Feb 2009
                            • 1441

                            #14
                            Ralph,

                            Part of my point is that this is an additional burden on our existing staff, which is already over burdened. Unless someone is willing to step forward and volunteer to take on the work, this is not going to happen. Again, Volunteers?

                            Here is the basic problem we have; we have a VERY small handful of folks that do nearly 100% of the work keeping the SC and the SCR afloat. Most of the work is not seen openly, but regardless it is being done. There are lots of folks with good ideas to help promote and advance the mission of the SC. But, practically no one is willing to step up and offer a hand beyond throwing out ideas. This is not inherent to the SubCommittee. This situation is rampant across the entire hobby publication spectrum.

                            As far as you being notified, that was one of the reasons we went with the forum software we have and tied it into Paypal, which most every internet subscription based forum utilizes. It takes the burden of sorting through all of the join dates and sending out renewal notices off the back of the membership chairman. Paypal subscription services takes care of the "who is and who is not current" issues for us. It manages the notifications automatically.

                            We are trying to figure out ways to streamline the work process to make life easier for the folks that do the work, not complicate it further. We cannot continue to pile work on our staff. Getting already very busy folks to freely give their time up to help is a tough sell as it is. I really fear that after this staff is gone, there is a VERY real possibility that no one will step up to help or run for office, which means no more SC or SCR. That is why we are trying to make the maintenance and upkeep of all of the SC business as easy and automated as possible.

                            As far as I am concerned, if we do a membership list the included information would be at an absolute minimum to prevent any sort of identity theft regardless of who has the information and how it is stored. Maybe a Name, State, and an email address? Keep it to a minimum, but keep enough to assist the folks who would like eek out the local members and include them in local activities, postings, etc.

                            The next step in the development of the SCR would be to convert the current publication to a fully 'Blog' type magazine that gets updated as the authors have time. The magazine would be forum based. This removes the burden of regular publication schedules and all of the very involved layout work currently being performed by our editor and layout staff. This will be driven by lack of available staff time/staff content for each issue, and lack of contributed content by the readership. Nearly all of the SCR type publications out there have gone to this format for the very same reasons. At this point, the SCR staff and the EC are very hesitant to move to that format, but if the current lack of help and contributors continues then we will have no choice. When I am talking about moving that direction, I do not mean in the distant future. I mean VERY soon if positive changes do not occur.

                            As the participation in the forum has picked up dramatically over the last 3 years, the drop in open contributions to the SCR has declined. This makes sense and is a natural progression. However, the SCR staff believes that reprinting forum threads is really not value added.

                            The SubCommittee is all about community. That is the very reason this group was founded.

                            This is your SubCommittee. It will be what we all choose to make of it. If no one is willing to pitch in and help, then all of these great ideas put forth go absolutely no where. I am hoping you will choose to step up and help.
                            Regards,

                            Matt

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If the SC goes down the route of blog style content then I think that will be the end of the organization with a paying membership, because it's unlikely we will be offering anything significantly different to what can be found elsewhere for free.

                              Regarding a call for volunteers, I think it would be helpful if it's more specifically stated where the help is required. So really we need to see a strategy, with an outline of what needs to be done and what skill set is required. Without that I don't think anyone will step forward.

                              Comment

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