I've been wrestling with this post. Obviously anyone whose read this blog knows that I've been involved in AUGI for many years. I served on the Board of Directors from 2006-2008 and little bit more when the election process hit a snag. None of the nominated members were approved. My term was extended until I was replaced by a new election six months later.
This past Wednesday night members found a new website for AUGI. They then noticed that the forums weren't online and then were stunned to find that the forums were not only offline but that when they resurfaced they were completely revamped and none of the legacy data is there. There is a seven year long back story that I won't get into since most people are just concerned with the forum data.
A very good friend asked me if I approved of what the AUGI Board of Directors chose to do: My answer was/is YES and NO. How typically political you might react? It's completely honest though.
My yes is tied to the legacy of the past seven years, my ten years as a member and volunteer, my 2.5 years on the Board of Directors and tons of minutiae. I've longed for the day that AUGI was truly free again to manage its own affairs and able to do what the members actually wanted to do. That is actually true today. AUGI is fully funded and it has complete control over its assets again. Except one unfortunate "loose end", the forum data.
My no is tied to how the Board chose to deal with this last item. I wish that it chose to put the gory details of the last seven years on the table so that members could decide how aggressively it wanted to deal with its forum data. It is the Board's responsibility to make decisions for the organization and having served in that role I do respect the burden. I do also think that the Board needs to put its trust in the members with really big decisions too.
Trust is a two-way-street and no Board in the last decade truly has fully deserved its members trust. I think that this one deserves recognition for facing very difficult decisions head-on, more so than any other board since 2003. AUGI was facing insolvency just a couple years ago and it is doing well today, that took dedication and some gutsy work. The members ought to consider extending a bit of trust their way too, even if they don't get to see all the details they've been wrestling with.
I believe the real value of AUGI is the members and their willingness to help each other, not just on past conversations (not just their posts). Sure they are great to search and find but more often than not people just ask the question all over again. Because that interaction is the value, that's what brings people back again and again. It is the quality of the members, their passion for the software, for sharing. It isn't just posts from 2003, 2006 or 2009... it's nice that they are/were there but not the sole value of the organization. If I go to a bar I don't go there to have the conversation I had last year again, I go to see people and have new conversations.
I'm hoping that AUGI can negotiate successfully for its forum data and that it can get migrated into the new web site as soon as possible. I hope that the members help reshape the new site since it IS a chance to start fresh in many ways. If we are honest there are many things about the old site that could stand a bit of rework. I'm prepared to get the heck out of the way too. I've been the Revit Community Forum manager for a long time. It's time (long overdue) for a new leader to step in and see things with fresh eyes.
For those of you who are feeling betrayed, I'm truly sorry...I can relate on many levels and not just because the forum data isn't there. On a deeper level, betrayed by people many of you don't even know. We can either keep moving forward or take the opportunity to do something else. There IS MORE to life than AUGI though I'm hard pressed to know what that is at times. Start something new, stick with AUGI, be the top poster at AUGI...you've got a great shot at beating me now, I've got zero posts now.
What will you decide?
Don't be a stranger...