Ideas for FAN Public Transparency and Accessibility

In another thread here on the FAN forum, the public was invited to view a document which was to be used at an upcoming FAN Board Meeting. There was no link given to the document. The description implied the existence of a public documents folder, however, there is no mention of it elsewhere in the forum or on the website.

I asked about the document, and observed an indirect response. A day later, a Board Member reached out to me and provided an actual link, but I found that the document was locked, and could be viewed only by those given explicit permission. I find this contradictory to the spirit of the initial public post inviting everyone to take a look and say what they thought.

The Board Member spontaneously asked if I thought the public should enjoy full edit access to the document, and I clarified ‘no’, but that read access was desirable. 12 days later, the day after the meeting which the document was used at, the document was still locked, and I pointed this out. - The document was immediately unlocked by an unidentified party.

To be clear, I am not accusing anyone of anything. I only say that this represented a lost opportunity for the public to lend their resources to FAN. I do remain baffled as to why my request to make the document accessible was not comprehended by those able to make it so. I’m also baffled as to why another Board Member characterized my request as a “crusade” to make FAN more transparent.

I think everyone agrees that FAN should function with reasonable transparency to the public. I think everyone is very grateful for the time and effort the volunteers put into making FAN the success it is today, and wants to help make the best of their limited resources. It quenches the public’s enthusiasm to encounter pointless obstacles to participating. It will not do to impose upon Board Members to cough up documents on an individual basis.

Therefore, I respectfully submit the following, common-sense process to address this snafu:

I move that FAN share a Google Drive folder as “Public on the Web”, “Access: … Can View” and place FAN collaborative documents within it, including those referenced in the forum … It appears Roger owns the calendar currently embedded in the FAN website [meaning a google email account is already being used for FAN].

Once established, a link to the folder itself should then be posted prominently on the website (such as the menu bar) and in this forum. This will make any documents within viewable to the public so they can see what those with edit access are working on. I know Pete can edit the website, so he would be a good candidate for that addition.

That should address the problems of undocumented resources, missing links, restricted links, and indefinite wait periods. It won’t take much time to set up, and it will save time from then on. @rcauvin @Pete_Gilcrease ? Will you set this up?

Frankly, I think this matter is as trivial as fixing a typo on the website. So let’s discuss this, bring it up for a vote if necessary (doubt it), and/or just plain do it.


I don’t think there was a lack of comprehension about making the document public.

I defer to the person who initiated the project. Maybe it’s ready for public input, maybe it’s not. Maybe you disagree with that. Based on the brief conversation at the board meeting, my hunch is that it may not be to the point to have a bunch of cooks in the kitchen.

And that doesn’t mean it’s not transparent, it just means that it’s a large project.

@tcb, you overlook that the person who initiated the project openly offered the document to the public to look at, and provide feedback on. So, no need to speculate on whether it was ready for public input. You’re not suggesting that I was being pushy about getting my hands on a private document!?

I don’t know the full scope of that particular project, but the focus here is on one 4-page document which was not made available for 12 critical days, after being brought to everyone’s attention, so that suggests our revered volunteer team is very busy indeed.

So, are you FOR a public folder for FAN’s documents, or AGAINST it?

What harm has been incurred by FAN membership over those “12 crucial days”?

And I’m not suggesting you are being pushy. I’m saying it. Comments like “sheesh” and “I could do that in 10 seconds” are clear to me.

@tcb I appreciate your questions and observations. Volumes have been written about mispercieving the tone of voice of conversations on the Internet. It is my observation that making open accusations has no positive effects. :slight_smile:

  • You overlook that everyone who was not on the access list was harmed by being unable to see and contribute to the document until after the meeting which the document was being prepared for.

  • Board Members were potentially harmed by having to spend some of their time to individually add people to the access list. They demonstrably were unable to get to everyone who was interested.

  • FAN’s good reputation was harmed by behaving in a contradictory manner “come and see the document” “well, you have to get permission for the document” “sorry we forgot to give you access to the document”.

Furthermore, establishing actual harm is not a condition of the proposal. It’s a common-sense feature to have a public document repository, a need has been demonstrated for one, and a member has asked for one. It doesn’t seem controversial to me.

I don’t overlook those items; I find the description “harmed” to be hyperbole.

You overlook (or conveniently ignore) that this project is fully meant to be a public document, there were attempts to share it publicly. Maybe it’s not happening in the manner you prefer or as quickly as you would like. I don’t really know what to tell you…try yoga maybe?

At the very least, I urge you to assume that the people involved with this project are operating with good intentions and trying to do their best work given the information & resources at hand.

I think it’s the snarky comments like “try yoga maybe” that really put people off. Making such comments doesn’t help advance the narrative.


@tcb It’s kind of disappointing, after your cautions to me about being nice, that you would write in such an insensitive way.

I only want to discuss the merits of having the public document folder, NOT to exchange personal jabs. We do NOT want others to feel apprehensive about joining the discussion!