The results of the 2011 IGDA Board of Directors Election are up, I lost by 9 votes. Thanks for all the support everyone! And congrats to the new board members! http://bit.ly/eowvBN
Voting has ended, thanks everyone fr the support! I’ll know Wednesday if I was voted in or not, and I’ll be letting all of you know as soon as I know.
Lets finish this out, your voice is important! Vote in the IGDA elections before they close March 18th. Check your inbox for the ballot! Let everyone you know, know that his is important! http://ow.ly/4g8pO
Also check out this video that was made to help bring awareness to voting.
There has also been a lively discussion of the election going on over here.
Here is an extraction of questions and my answers.
Sally McNoodlecrumbs III
Ok, so here is one: Whats is your 2 year growth plan for the paying membership base as far as new or innovative benefits go for this changing industry – on a National level? On the Local level?
GS: As I mentioned in my statement I think growing the membership should be done as you say at both the local level and international level. Chapters and the org must provide value to the members so that they not only want to be a member but feel they NEED to be a member. There are already a lot of great benefits for members that most people aren’t aware of, as Corvus said we need to make these more visible to the members so that they can easily find out what is available. I feel that a lot of awesome benefits are in the works and I can’t wait to see what people think of them. I also think as Corvus said we should have more open channels for the members to voice what it is they want. To answer the question my two year plan is to continue to add value to the membership through partner sponsors and local chapters value as well as bring back the webinars that are members only.
I’d like to extend that to the international level, being on the north side of the 49th parallel.
GS: I think a lot of stuff that the other candidates have mentioned are very valid. This is a unique challenge for each country that will require local representatives to help us understand the challenges. Part of the solution that I have been talking to others about is similar to what Corvus mentioned where there are regional volunteers who will support an entire region/country’s chapters by helping solve unique challenges. I feel there is no reason that all of our members shouldn’t get the same benefits and we must work to make sure they are available to all.
I have a new question (please move to a new thread if appropriate). What are the candidates, and the IGDA in general, going to do to keep me from joining/starting a union instead? The elites in this industry (publishers and some ruling members on the developer side) have way too much power and the IGDA isn’t doing much to fix this (not an insult, just an observation). We need more transparent contracts, bonuses beyond termination, higher salary for devs + overtime pay etc, but none of this is going to come as long as those in power remain in power (which they will because they have all the money and aren’t as desperate as we are after layoffs). The power imbalance is _the_ _main_ _problem_.
tldr; What are you going to do to fix the power balance in this industry? Because whatever you don’t do I will, and I’m young and brash so I’ll do it sloppily 😛
GS: I don’t have all the answers to your questions but I know forming a union isn’t the correct one, especially at this stage. As Brian and others have mentioned the IGDA currently does a lot for the Quality of life issue and I know there are plans to do even more. Each studio is unique, and each member’s situation is also unique, I don’t believe there is a blanket solution for everyone, but I do believe that the IGDA has a responsibility to be an advocate for the developers in this industry. How we do that will be different for each situation that arises, but I believe that the current board has done a fantastic job dealing with some really tough issues and I think we will only mature as an organization and be better equipped to deal with new situations as they arise.
As far as the IGDA being sponsored by studios I don’t see this as a problem as long as those studios don’t have more of a say than any other member in how the organization is run.
If adding value to the membership is your goal, I suggest a complete overhaul of the organization’s website. As a member for only a few weeks, I’ve already lost confidence in the $48.00 I laid on the line simply because I’m refused access to most online areas. At first I was hoping for a way to connect with other developers in my area and abroad, but can’t even connect to the “Members Only” section.
GS: I know the site is currently being migrated so the problems you are having are unique to the migration. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any problems you are having. As far as the site, I agree 100% that we need to redo the site. That will be one of the tasks I would like to take on if elected to the board.
Please outline how each of you propose to get feedback and information from the IGDA membership in order to properly make decisions about the future direction of the organization? How granular can you get? Active/Passive? What do you see the membership doing for their part to bridge that gap?
GS: I feel like we should have one simple location to give feedback on the new version of the site, but until then any way that a member wants to get in touch with us they can and should. Be it facebook, twitter, email, snail mail or signal fire. How granular can we get? Well there are 12 people on the board, so I think we can filter through pretty much everyone who is interested in giving ideas/feedback. We should be active in our community seeking feedback and ideas, that is what will drive this organization to be great. The membership should come up with ideas, ACT on those ideas and volunteer when possible. Also just giving feedback is incredibly valuable.
The IGDA just released the 2011 Road Map!!! This is awesome stuff! http://www.igda.org/RoadMap2011
Well there haven’t been any questions come in today via Twitter, Facebook or email. I’m guessing everyone is getting ready for GDC (myself included). If you have any questions about my campaign or the IGDA let me know.
A much slower day in questions, hopefully they keep pouring in so people can learn even more about the candidates. Thanks again to everyone who asked questions.
In your mind (and in any of the others running) what’s the difference between a SIG and a Chapter?
GS: The chapters are where most members see value in the IGDA, these are great ways to educate and allow networking ops for our members, the chapters need to be strengthened to allow even more consistent meetings and great content. The SIGs are where we can make real change in the industry, by publishing great papers like the QoL paper. We need to encourage and strengthen the SIGs where they are producing more regular content. The SIGs are also valuable because of the conversations that happen within them, these should be more encouraged.
Board candidates: Discuss challenges IGDA has in terms of diversity & inclusivity & your ideas for meeting them.
GS: I think the @igda has the same challenge that any org with a large group of people faces, making everyone feel welcome. I know @CorvusE has been doing a lot of work on diversity for the @igda and there is also the diversity SIG. Their initiatives, papers and works MUST be supported by the org and the board now more than ever.
So I plan on posting all of the questions I’m asked during the campaign on this blog, I will also be posting my answers from twitter. Below are the questions asked on the first day.
But first some awesome quotes from twitter about the election.
“Attn #igda members: the Board is not high school Student Council. Please vote for the best candidates, not the most popular names.”
“Don’t just trust us to be transparent. Google the candidates & determine for yourself where we stand on the issues you care about! #igdavote”
“I think it’s great that #IGDAvote -ing goes through March 18th. Hopefully most candidates will be at #GDC so we meet them. Annual meeting?”
GS: Hey Casey, I’m not sure about the other candidates but I will be at GDC and will be at the annual meeting for sure.
“Question for candidates: your plans to support members/chapters, grow membership, raise funds?”
GS: Two of my main points in my statement are on helping Chapters. I hope to do this in several ways outlined there. But a little detail, I hope to teach chapters how to raise sponsorships locally, and help by connecting leaders. Membership should be grown by increasing engagement and excitement in the community. And making the IGDA have value. We need to make people more aware of the current benefits and add even more benefits that people want and need. For the org, increasing the value of membership will increase the number of members which will help a little. But we must also partner with corporations and studios. This will increase both our money and possible benefits. For the Chapters, we must help local chapters find local sponsors. By helping them establish a sponsorship deck and helping them reach out to local sponsors. This is a challenge for all chapters and one we are currently taking on in @IGDAPhilly
“Candidates, how would you enrich the IGDA for members who live in areas that cannot sustain a full chapter?”
GS: One initiative I would like to bring back is the webinars, these were awesome and provide value to ALL members.
“I want to get involved with the IGDA, but as a student in game design outside of the US there aren’t many ways for me to be helpful; besides, my school doesn’t seem to care about the association and its initiatives. If you’re elected, what will you do to clarify how individuals can be useful to the IGDA and benefit from the membership, how will you improve the IGDA’s presence internationally and how will you encourage schools around the globe to take part in the events?”
GS: First off you can be helpful by joining the Student SIG and exposing to them the problems you are having internationally hopefully we can figure out how to help. I want to increase the benefits to members by partnering with companies that give the benefits that our members need, as well as expose the value that currently exists for our members. Individual members are the heart of the IGDA, this is a volunteer organization so members can be as useful as they want to be by volunteering and helping to make the organization an even better place! I will help international chapters formalize and charter, as well as helping to remove obstacles for other benefits that they don’t currently receive. We must encourage schools around the globe to take part in the Global Game Jam, this helps raise awareness for the org and the industry.
“Quick question to the candidates for the IGDA-board: what are your policy towards the non-US chapters?”
GS: I know that one conversation I’ve had with several leaders of international chapters is that isn’t currently possible to charter/formalize. I want to help remove all of the obstacles for international chapters to formalize. I know there is a lot of political red tape to cut through and it is different for every country, but if we work WITH the leaders we can figure out how to make this possible. Also I love the international chapters, what IGDA Japan is doing is really inspiring and I hope to see all of our chapters and leaders be that excited and active.
If you have any questions for me about the campaign, my candidate statement, me, or anything to do with the IGDA or Board of Directors. Ask away!! I’ll be answering them here on the blog as well as on the facebook page.
Below is the candidate statement that I have submitted to IGDA National, thanks to everyone who helped me refine and edit this down to a strong and pointed statement.
I believe the IGDA can be a catalyst for change in the way our industry is viewed and the way we, as game developers, view our passion and our livelihood; but our biggest problem is lack of excitement and engagement in our members. We, the members, are the heart of the organization and the best way to help and engage members is by empowering our SIGs and Chapters. As Chair of the Chapter in Philadelphia, I was able to help raise the excitement in the community by engaging with developers and discovering their needs. This excitement resulted in industry-relevant meetings and grew the Chapter by more than 50% in less than one year. If elected to the IGDA Board of Directors, I have seven main tasks that I would like to work on.
- East Coast IGDA Conference: the West coast has its own IGDA conference and it is time one on the East coast is organized by the Chapters in the region.
- Webinars: they were incredibly valuable; I would love to bring these back.
- Increase value to members: I want to make the current benefits more visible to members. There are a lot of great benefits that most members don’t take advantage of. I want to increase the value of membership so people feel they NEED to be a member. We can accomplish this by finding out what members need and providing it by partnering with organizations that will fulfill those needs and more.
- Fix the website: I will help elevate the website to the same standards the rest of world holds their industry organizations to.
- Regional Super Volunteer: Chapter leaders currently only have Gordon and each other to go to for advice and solutions; there should be a volunteer whose sole purpose is to support Chapter leaders. These volunteers would be assigned to 3-6 Chapters and would support the leaders in any way needed, as well as escalating problems to the board.
- Empower the Chapters: By helping Chapter leaders find sponsorships, connecting leaders with other Chapter leaders, helping Chapters formalize, removing obstacles for international Chapters formalization, and helping Chapters develop and present powerful and useful content to their members.
- Empower the SIGs: By increasing the visibility of the SIGs and their work, encouraging the SIGs to publish periodic white papers and articles; finding space for SIG meetings at conferences, and helping SIG leaders wherever else needed.