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Jason Griffey's picture

Vote on MOTION: Reopening the LITA Board Listserv Archive (http://connect.ala.org/node/182682)

This poll has closed.
Yes (Archive will be reopened)
11% (1 vote)
No (Archive will remain closed)
89% (8 votes)
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 9
Aaron Dobbs's picture

Remember, this Poll is a Board Vote -- only LITA Board members should cast a vote.


"Always remember everyone is working to make the organization better in their own way."
-Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian

David King's picture

I'm all for opening the listserv... but I'm voting no for now. Why? I REALLY think we need to discuss the role of the listserv vs Connect first - there's no good reason to have both anymore, and so far, I haven't heard anyone else discuss this (maybe I'm the only one interested?).

Lauren Pressley's picture

I think this would be a very useful discussion to have as well. Perhaps a new thread?


Jason Griffey's picture

My goal with the motion was simply to prevent the institutional knowledge provided by the Archive from disappearing out of LITA members hands. I used this, and the fact that others aren't going to be able to bothers me.

There is a separate discussion needed re: list or Connect, but this is not that. I think we should totally have that talk. But here I just wanted to (futilely, it appears) maintain an open history of board discussions. Forward facing anything was not my goal.

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/griffey

John Blyberg's picture

I voted No because I don't think that the fact that the archive was previously public sets a precidence for it to remain open.  It was only public because of an oversight on the part of LITA administration and was corrected once it was discovered.  The fact that it was open and languishing in obscurity is different from making it publicly open and calling attention to it.  I do believe we need to respect the fact that the authors of those emails were operating under the assumption that the list was private.  And even if we can identify the threads that we think *should* be private, that doesn't cover all the other threads whose participants *want* to be private.

However. Should a motion come before the board that states that we will discontinue the previous litaboar list and adopt a new, open, publicly archived list, I would not hesitate to vote yes.  But, I would like to have a discussion along the lines of what David is suggesting about the role of Connect and whether we even need a board mailing list.


David King's picture

Just started the new thread…

David King
Digital Services Director
Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, tscpl.org
785.580.4601 | dking@tscpl.org | Twitter: @davidleeking

Aaron Dobbs's picture

Respectfully, I have a big problem with closing off access to a previously open resource due to its misuse by its (mostly-former) users.
 (every governance list I found on Sympa was Open *except LITA Board*) 

"I didn't know it wasn't public" is not a valid excuse to close the list archives.

Expunging the improper uses and providing training on how to use an email list (to LITA Board?! omgbbq) to its current users is an acceptable (and appropriate) action plan...

Hiding all the content from view because less than 10% of the content should not have been there in the first place is inappropriate and far outside my personal-member expectations of LITA as "the center of expertise about information technology."
( word for word from our current vision http://www.ala.org/lita/about )


"Always remember everyone is working to make the organization better in their own way."
-Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian

Cody Hanson's picture

We are not foreclosing the option of scrubbing and reopening the archive. I, for one, would support it, though I expect it would take a great deal of work.

Keep in mind that past board members are not the only ones who could be affected by private discussions being made public, and the consequences of their "misuse" of the list could impact award recipients and appointees, and perhaps more importantly, nominees for awards or appointments. I am very uncomfortable with the prospect of making public (this time on purpose) discussions that lead to individuals not getting awards or appointments. That's not the type of thing that I think LITA should be serving up when someone Googles one of our members. This potential for collateral damage is, in my opinion, ample reason for keeping the archives closed unless/until they're cleaned up.

Jason Griffey's picture

And yet somehow we have survived for 14 years without it being an issue, accident or no. To claim the what-if seems to me to be disaster planning of the worst sort, given that we have years of data showing that clearly it hasn't been a problem. 

Clearly I am in the minority in this thinking. But given the history of the list, plus the open nature of every other ALA Board list...well, I think this is a bad decision. For lots of reasons that I feel like I've explained. 

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/griffey

John Blyberg's picture

I agree with the sentiment, Jason, but I don't agree with the process you're proposing.  I think that we'll be more effective if we focus on what we want LITA to be in the future, rather than what happened in the past and we can do that now and everyone seems to be on the same page as far as that's concerned.

I'm with Cody in that I have a serious problem with making decisions for other people, and about other people's content.  Yes, that archive was public for many years, but the operating assumption was that it was not.  I would like to see the archive made public but a) I don't like the process you're proposing (throw open the door without consideration to the dozens of people it will effect) and b) I don't think this issue is very important to the health of LITA as an organization and I would wager that most members don't care about the archive and would rather see us direct our efforts toward reforming LITA's future rather than its past.  

Cody Hanson's picture

"b) I don't think this issue is very important to the health of LITA as an organization"

I'd been hoping that once my term on the board began I'd get let in on the history of dark and devious behind-closed-doors scandals that prompted the current mania for openness. The dozens of members who'd declined to re-up because of our secrecy, the boycotts of our paid events. No such luck.

I'm glad we're having these conversations and are getting some stakes in the ground, but the issue of openness is hardly the most important facing the association at present, right?

Jason Griffey's picture

Clearly this may be my particular windmill at which to tilt. But transparency of communications are a hallmark (IMNSHO) of a modern organization. My goal, throughout my time with LITA (even preceeding my board stint) has been to model new ways of doing things that will (again, IMNSHO) move the organization forward in important ways. From BIGWIG to my time as Chair of PPC, creating and innovating on existing processes are what I do.

I'm pushing this because I think that it's the right way for an organization to do things. It's totally possible that I'm pushing too far, too fast, in the wrong way. But it's a part of what LITA needs to be. 

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/griffey

John Blyberg's picture

I am totally comfortable with radical transparancy and I will support any well-reasoned motion that moves LITA in that direction.  But I just don't think it's appropriate (or ethical, as Adriene mentioned) to apply it retroactively.

Cody Hanson's picture

I hope it's clear that I kid because I care.

Cindi Blyberg's picture

but devious and dark scandal debriefing we save for Year 2. :D

Cody Hanson's picture

Just because I can't resist a stupid analogy: I've got old-as-hell wiring in my house that's working just fine, but if a licensed electrician ran into it, he'd be obligated to update it.

Elizabeth Stewart-Marshall's picture

Unless sympa is very different from every other list software I have administered, there is a setting for not displaying a list on the public listing of all lists. This is a separate setting from the one that indicates if the archives are public or private or it there is an archive at all.

In scanning the lists that *are* showing up, I'm not finding governance lists for several of the divisions and other ALA units.  I find it difficult to believe that Boards of other divisions don't have lists.  It is more likely that they were properly set up (*from a list administrative sense*) and both the listing of the list AND the archives were made private.

Again, the context of the time and the expectations of the people involved in those conversations are relevant and important.

Zoe Stewart-Marshall

LITA Past President (2013-2014)

Adriene Lim's picture

I was just going to ask about this same point, but Zoe beat me to it.  Still, I'd like to chime in with the following question:  Do other ALA boards have archives that are accessible in this way?  Even if they did, I'm betting that they would have advised new and current board members about this as a deliberate decision to have the archives treated in this way.  To me, that is the ethical approach and to do otherwise is not appropriate.  If we make the archives open from now on, make sure all participants know that.   

I started looking for the ACRL's board archives and couldn't find it.  Maybe I'm missing it?  Many Boards of membership associations accommodate the need for the Board members to have some level of private space.  I don't find this to be at all disturbing, as long as I have some modicum of trust in the Board members that the organization elected.  As a long-time LITA member, I have never had an inkling of doubt in the past as to the best intentions of my fellow LITA members who happen to be also Board members.  After all, we are a relatively small, and otherwise (formerly?) very fun/enjoyable library membership association and a lot of great things were accomplished!


Cindi Blyberg's picture

I think that there is a setting that means a list shows up on the List of Lists--or not.  I seem to remember having to construct URLs for LITAEXCO and LITABOAR based on the list name, as neither was in the List-of-lists.  FWIW.

Cindi Blyberg's picture

I have waffled back and forth on this.  I wonder if what is at the heart of Jason's self-proclaimed windmill-tilting and my initial agreement with him is the arbitrary nature of the decision to close the archive.  The discussion unearthing the reasons that it should be open or closed should have happened *before* the archive was closed, and we were not given that chance.  Instead, an arbitrary decision was made, and we are effectively deliberating that decision though it was clearly not ours to make (or we would have been asked, yes?).   Mary maintains the list; Mary saw a need to protect the privacy of past participants; Mary closed the list. 

The decisions that ARE ours to make are whether to be deliberately transparent moving forward, and whether to conduct those open conversations via email (with a public yet arcane archive) or to conduct those conversations on Connect, which (one hopes and assumes) will ensure institutional memory for items that are private as well as public.