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Towards a global cyber institute – Part 2.
By Allan J. Sayle, President Allan Sayle Associates

Governing rules

Though the new Institute may set “Rules” for membership, maybe as described above, the emphasis should be on as much informality as possible and an absence of “bureaucracy”.

Beyond requiring proper courtesy and respect for others and prompt payment of dues, there really does not need to be much else apart from a willingness to contribute to the profession, help others (when possible). Naturally expressions of racism, foul language and bigotry would be impermissible as would libelous remarks, copyright theft and similar. Personal promotion and advertising in posts and threads, other than those known to be reserved for advertisements and hyperlinks, would not be permitted.

Discipline and control

The moderators would be empowered and required to apply the rules, remove offensive posts or, in extreme cases, recommend loss of membership.

Side Bar: A free-for-all does not occur on the Cove or Saferpak. Marc and Simon both intervene when things start to go to far, or unprofessional conduct occurs. Those disgraced can be and have been “banned” from the Cove. The Cove also has its moderators who also intervene and ensure orderly conduct and debate. Censorship? Yes, when obscenities are posted, the site software automatically scrubs-out the offending text, but that is consistent with professional behavior and the dignity of the site. One needs to participate for only a few days to realize there is a good degree of fairness, tolerance and courtesy in the way the posters (contributors) behave.

Naturally, if one accepts the presence of moderators acting as coordinators, they could easily ensure discussion heads towards an objective and resolution. They could bring matters to a head with a free vote poll on issues, on approvals and so forth.

And they can ensure the various threads are carefully organized into categories and topics because at the heart of the system would a database management system.

Members’ voices will be heard and will count. The moderators and other members will ensure that. So, any contribution will not be suppressed or edited, provided it meets the test of courtesy etc. already mentioned.

Membership dues

In reading this Part 2, this is probably the section to which some people scroll first. Did you?

Not everyone can afford the high level of dues currently expected by the BAMs. Fees extending into three figures especially disadvantage emerging nations’ citizens. And, since the new Institute does not need a white elephant temple to bureaucracy (i.e. a HQ building), it would seem the annual dues could be far lower. Moreover, by using modern IT, members could pay by the quarter or month using credit card and direct debit if they wish.

So, for an institute having truly global reach, not a national priority, affording the kind of communication speed for the dissemination of knowledge and solutions etc. described in this article would $25 p.a. be too steep? In most cases that is unlikely. Would not employers be more inclined to reimburse fees of a more modest level than exist at present in the BAMs? And, if so, would not this encourage more people to be members, thus tapping a greater body of experience and knowledge than is presently the case? But, others must decide this matter.

And, considering the current advertising rates demanded by the BAMs for their paper-based house magazines, which reach well into 4 figures per month, corporate members would probably be willing to provide, say, $500/ year. In return they would receive global reach for people working in the quality field, a hyperlink to their site and the right to briefly describe (up to, say, 200 words) their products and services in a searchable database kept on the Institute site. Moreover, the pure value of the downloadable material is well in excess of that figure for, if it was necessary to hire in people to provide or create it, the associated bill would be far higher.

Thus, one suggests the following dues, which reasonable people should admit represent exceptional value for money in comparison to those currently levied by the larger BAMs:

• Founding members Voluntary contribution first year; $25/ year thereafter.

• Forum moderators $0/ year in which they serve, unless already paid

• Participating Members and Global Contributors, $25/ year.

• Corporate Members $500/ year

There should be no additional dues for “registering” one’s membership.

The current practice of the BAMs of charging more for fellows, senior members and so forth is without merit as the holder of such title receives little if anything more than the ordinary members.

Forum moderators should not be required to pay annual dues, in recognition of the constant effort and contribution they make to the smooth running of the Institute. If they wish to make a contribution while they serve as moderator that is a matter for their own discretion.

Similar remarks apply to Founding Members, for the first year of the new Institute during which they will be probably spending a considerable amount of time and effort coordinating activities, organizing national or special interest groups and getting things going. They are, of course, at liberty to make whatever contribution they wish to help fund the Institute.

Payment of dues

Dues could be paid on-line by credit card or by phone call + credit card. Checks should also be welcome. The Institute must ensure its software gives the highest level of security to prevent members suffering identity theft or other forms of loss.

Why are dues necessary?

An institute of the type under consideration does need computers, servers and various kinds of support. If either or both of the Cove and Saferpak become the platform, one cannot expect Marc and Simon to provide the accommodation and expensive equipment, running costs, heating, lighting, air conditioning, maintenance, software licenses, upgrading and replacement, installation, technical support and troubleshooting etc. for free. Though much on their sites is free, an Institute is about sharing not freeloading. In the fullness of time, some downloadable materials obtained later by the Institute and which are useful in quality management may be available but only at a cost required by licensing agreements. It is not possible to predict how the internet may develop.

It is hoped that revenue surplus to requirements would be used to provide grants or scholarships for students wishing to study quality management at bona fide further educational facilities, recognized by the Institute as offering a curriculum acceptable to the Institute.

What do I get for my money?

From existing quality bodies, not much: posts on existing internet sites claim as much. The new cyber Institute could be run for, say, $25/ year membership (whatever the figure, but far less than at present). It is worth repeating, at that price, what exceptional value for money for the practicing professional! It may attract those many able people in the quality field who cannot afford the present high levels of dues.
Membership (Participating or Global Contributor) would entitle one to read the posted papers and articles, download useful materials from a central library. Corporate Membership could be provided allowing downloading of materials and access to knowledgeable people. Non-subscribers could use the cyber site as a blog as at present in the case of Elsmar Cove and Saferpak: they would not enjoy the benefits of the subscribing members.



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