SOTCW Future Offer

Discuss the society, wargaming, and other topics of interest
Phil_Gray_260
Posts: 54
Joined: 30 Dec 2014, 12:30

Re: SOTCW Future Offer

Post by Phil_Gray_260 » 04 May 2019, 18:42

magnification wrote:
04 May 2019, 17:18
Hello Phil,

[SNIP]

At any rate, at this juncture (the end of a subscription) it would seem a good time to reboot the Society by broadening the offering you have summarised above, if that is what the greater membership base would like. So, I don't really need any more 'this is where we are' input from the current team, but support and advice would be nice. I just need some views (like Grants) on what the paying membership would like. Depending on this input, I will either carry on, or cease and desist.

More input please chaps, I don't mind whether good or bad, but please say something.

Thanks all,

Mark
Hi Mark

I'm sure you're very aware of the Society's situation, but I was hoping that, by setting this out so clearly for you, you would be more specific in your allusions to broadening the scope of our current activities, especially ones that would merit a membership fee.

If you have content that you wish to share and our existing channels are inadequate, what do you have in mind and what support do you think would be needed to deliver it?

Phil_Gray_260
Posts: 54
Joined: 30 Dec 2014, 12:30

Re: SOTCW Future Offer

Post by Phil_Gray_260 » 04 May 2019, 19:50

magnification wrote:
04 May 2019, 17:18
[SNIP] Perhaps it's the direction that has been taken by the team unilaterally without membership agreement ? [SNIP]
Mark
For those who do not know (Mark you can skip this post)

The Society has NEVER had any constitution or process for establishing officers, beyond "that's a good idea, why don't you do it".

As such everything the Society has ever done, from its inception to date, has been the result of decisions "taken by the team unilaterally without membership agreement".

Some things we have tried have endured - the Journal and our web presence for example.

Some were initially successful but were ended when they resulted in diminishing returns - Society attendance at trade shows with demo/ participation games to promote both the Society and new ranges gave a significant kick to membership numbers around 1994-95, but by 1999 or so subscriptions at shows had tailed off dramatically, Society exclusive models from some manufacturers and discounts to members in exchange for advertising in the Journal were also an initial draw.

Some just did not work - for example a joint SoTCW/ SFSFW trade show (which we supported twice).

We could broaden the range of what we offer, beyond the textual (this from a chap with 30 metres of books in my home) - if we have the content to offer then we could, for example, be offering podcasts or video content, either publicly or (if we're looking to retain a subscription model) privately.

The crucial element though is content.

We can have as fancy a unicorn petting zoo as we are capable of imagining, but without the unicorn who will pay to enter?

Phil

magnification
Posts: 25
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 07:18

Re: SOTCW Future Offer

Post by magnification » 04 May 2019, 21:16

Phil,

I would like to put a pin in your last two posts please. I would like to get input from others which will then help me dimension proposals in line with members wishes. We can always return to your posts if needed once we have a broader range of opinions and views to work with.

Thanks,

Mark

Phil_Gray_260
Posts: 54
Joined: 30 Dec 2014, 12:30

Re: SOTCW Future Offer

Post by Phil_Gray_260 » 04 May 2019, 22:24

Mark

I'd like to know what you want to do to broaden the Society's offering.

Regards

Phil

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Russell Phillips
Posts: 149
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 06:58
Location: Stoke on Trent, UK
Contact:

Re: SOTCW Future Offer

Post by Russell Phillips » 05 May 2019, 06:21

To be clear, the following is on my behalf only. I didn't discuss what I'm about to write with Phil or Andrew.

We knew when we took over that membership was declining, and we tried to reverse that. We created a PDF version of the Journal because people have been asking for it for years. We made it available on Wargame Vault, in the hope of reaching new people. We created a better quality Journal, with colour covers and some colour interior pages. We created PDF back issues. Paper back issues were made available on eBay. I put an advert for the SOTCW in the back of one of my books. Phil and I went to Partizan with Carl. New Journals were announced on the TWW home page as news, because I pay to be a trader member. We created an SOTCW presence on Facebook in an attempt to reach new people.

Membership still declined, though the rate of decline slowed. Submissions decreased, and we could see that we were approaching a point where it would be unethical to ask people to pay for another subscription. We pointed that out, here and in the pages of the Journal, several times. We have now come to that point.

If people want Mark to take over running the society, very well. I will do my best to make the transition as easy as possible, and I wish him the very best of luck. But, due to past experience, I will not serve on the team with him, in any capacity. The website and forum are currently hosted on my server. I'm happy to continue hosting them, as I do for other clients. I'll take backups and install software upgrades. But someone else will have to be the forum admin and update the website.
Russell Phillips
Shilka Publishing

bannockburn bhoy
Posts: 444
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 07:07
Location: Glasgow

Re: SOTCW Future Offer

Post by bannockburn bhoy » 05 May 2019, 10:19

Kalinovsky wrote:
04 May 2019, 17:29
Well this enlightening discussion is sure to result in hundreds of people joining the society. Perhaps you could go back to welcoming any new people to the forum by tagging them as “fuc*ing new guy” as that seemed to work so well before.
:D :D :D Agreed this will be a real draw FOG

bannockburn bhoy
Posts: 444
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 07:07
Location: Glasgow

Re: SOTCW Future Offer

Post by bannockburn bhoy » 05 May 2019, 10:33

Russell is you could ,would you elaborate on "past experience" I asked Mark why he left in the first place ,to no avail. There is obviously background to all this , perhaps it would help if some light was shed on it, for the benefit of all drawing their own conclusions. If you don't want to do this I understand Russell.
I personally think the onus is on Mark to answer , especially as he is proposing to effectively take over , Given that , I don't think its a big ask for the membership ,such as it is , to be afforded an explanation. For myself I think its a prerequisite to ANY kind of consideration of change. If I was being totally honest with myself ,I cant really be arsed with this its only out of affection for the Society and respect for the current incumbents that im commenting at all. BTW I don't flatter myself that my two bobs worth is worth anything in real terms , its just my opinion ,such as it is.
Again out of respect I feel compelled to contribute ,that's all.

bannockburn bhoy
Posts: 444
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 07:07
Location: Glasgow

Re: SOTCW Future Offer

Post by bannockburn bhoy » 05 May 2019, 10:37

As this overall topic is now spread over various threads it might be an idea (if its possible) to consolidate it all under one thread. cheers John

magnification
Posts: 25
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 07:18

Re: SOTCW Future Offer

Post by magnification » 05 May 2019, 11:22

John,

I don't think problems in the past are that relevant to now but I will answer from my perspective. At the time of the handover the Society membership was already in decline, so this began on my watch. I was frustrated with this, as the team have become, not convinced that the new teams plan would combat this decline, but I did not know. This period coincided with a period of personal illness and problems at work and I lacked the energy or inclination to stay on in the SOTCW and try to affect direction. This was a mistake and I am quite sure that during this time my attitude, particularly in emails to the new team, was not helpful. For this I apologise. I will also say this. The new team has taken the Society to a new level of professionalism - I'm thinking here of the online presence and the appearance of The Journal - and this I could not do at that time. The fact it seems to have made no difference is unfortunate, but these things had to be tried then, which is another reason I stood down. In my view at least, this is all history and of no relevance to where we are now. So, perhaps we can move on ?

Mark

magnification
Posts: 25
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 07:18

Re: SOTCW Future Offer

Post by magnification » 05 May 2019, 12:22

Russell,

Thank you for your magnanimous position statement above.

All,

I feel now that, armed with Russ's input, I can now lay out high level what a new proposal would look like. Hopefully this may answer some of Phils recent questions, but only so far as it only really addresses the offer 'what is it, not the offer 'how and who'. So here goes:

The Society will comprise of two entities - the online presence (so Forum and Web Site) and three publications. I would propose to keep both entities under separate and clear control so that should one fail, the other can continue. The web site can function exactly as now but I cannot do it. I think Russ has offered to carry on with the background work but we will need a front of office administrator etc.

The magazine offer is as follows:

1) A regular PDF and hard copy newsletter (The Runner) bringing reviews, adverts, letters, product announcements. This may come at the rate of one a month or one a week – it may be sixteen pages or six. It will depend on the rate of news and how time sensitive it is. The Runner will include a second hand model, figures, book and all things wargaming for sale and wanted column section called The Quartermaster Stores, news of clubs and hobby groups open to new members near you. If needs be I can write this on my own but of course all input would be welcome and lead to speedier publication. This is a Firm/Definite proposal.
2) An occasional (objective is quarterly) pdf and hard copy magazine of 60 pages or there abouts (The Range Finder) primarily with all scales modelling content. It will be in full colour with background information on ranges of figures and models, rules and terrain, and may well back up other Society activities prominent at the time. It will aim to inform the reader of whats available and where and how to adapt it to your wargaming needs. If needs be I can write this on my own but of course all input would be welcome and lead to speedier publication. This is a Firm/Definite proposal.
3) An occasional pdf and hard copy magazine of 60 pages or there abouts (The Journal) bringing wargaming rules and historical summaries only. All other content goes in the two publications outlined above. I cannot write this on my own and need help/input. Because of this I cannot and will not commit to a publication schedule.This is a Firm/Definite proposal.

The following is almost just a wish list but proposed anyway, with no plan to deliver:

4 (a) Primer booklets addressing specific periods or campaigns within them, e.g. North Africa in WW2, or the French Indochine War. The word primer means they will be aimed at new entrants to the hobby and may well be composed of past Journal material and content from The Runner and The Range Finder. They will be of nominal cost and maybe free to the membership. More work needed. This is a Firm/Desired proposal.
4 (b) More Society presence at shows. More work needed.This is a Soft/Desired proposal.
4 (c) Group meetings. More work needed.This is a Soft/Desired proposal.

So, some other things.

5 (a) Finance. There will be no subscription. I am proposing a flat membership fee of £10 to £15 every two years for the above and other things that maybe done. I don't know how far this amount per head will go - the lions share will go on hard copy publications and web site maintenance ?
5 (b) Magazines. I am proposing to edit The Runner and The Range Finder. If needs be I'll do The Journal but would much prefer another person took this on. This might change but members will only get pdf's unless hard copies are specifically requested.
5 (c) Administration. I will handle membership and distribution and be the treasurer. We need more oversight on the Finance as the Society does now so help is needed with this.
5 (d) Timing. If the proposal is accepted then the first thing will be to re-establish a membership base and call in fees. This will all happen this year and you will see two or three Runners and at least one Range Finder,

I think that's it for now. I am hoping and believe that the above will help re-establish the SOTCW as an active community that people want to be involved with on many level,s and so much more than just another online presence (there are so many of these already) that people dive in and have a quick look at occasionally.

I will try and answer specific questions but all of this is evolving and is, of course, completely dependent on support from you, so answers may subtlety change over time. If you reply with comments or questions can you please reference the number code, e.g. 5 (a) so my answer can be focused. Many thanks for your time and attention and sticking with us,

Mark

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