[Lab] AGM

Darcy Whyte darcy at inventorartist.com
Mon Oct 20 14:32:07 EDT 2014


Thanks for the note again... and thanks for the questions. I'll give you my
answers below but first I'll give my view on the situation I brought up
with Dave.

I think it's appalling that Dave didn't receive an invite to the meeting. I
was involved in the conversation where where was some discussion about open

He's has been nothing but a great citizen helping people. Am I right that
he spent a lot of time (days) involved with the assembly, deployment and
support of the 3d printers? He has provided tonnes of support for people
using the laser despite not using it (or the rest of the resources).

This whole trashing of his membership because he didn't do an open workshop
is completely unconstructive. He has good opinions and just because he
disagrees you quiet him with this open workshop thing. I still think it's

For me the open workshop thing was frustrating too. I had submitted my
proposal to Britta to do one or more Arduino related workshops which she
ignored. So I was a little surprised when she said "I've have such a
struggle with keeping instructor the past few weeks..." around April 30th.
There was no struggle, had she answered my email I'd have done several
workshops. I had also discussed wordpress even earlier than that (last year
my Wordpress workshops were very popular with more than 20 people in
attendance on one occasion). I had many requests for the Wordpress and I
ran it in a different venue since there was no time-slot that wasn't ages
in advance. And Britta wasn't open to running it on an off Thursday (open
workshops were every other Thursday).

I got tired of waiting and I started to organize workshops and support
sessions to welcome new Arduino people on my own. We've had 30 or 40
meetups to date as a matter of fact.

The Thursday workshops were a complete waste. The time was blocked off in
the schedule so of course nobody could book the lab on those evenings. What
a waste. But in practice what was happening was the lab was empty or a
couple of people were in there working on projects (I was one of them at
times). I started to book some of my Arduino activities in those wasted
spaces and of course Britta finally booked an event creating a conflict. I
chose a Thursday that she did not have blocked off as an open workshop
Thursday. The prior one was booked by Britta but there was no actual
workshop. So clearly the following is open since it's every other Thursday).

I got all this friction that I needed some sort of permission to be doing
the Arduino stuff. I was surprised that Britta didn't find the fact that I
was creating workshops convenient (given her stated frustration).

I just scrapped my Thursday Arduino activity to resolve the conflict (I
think Britta's was booked on fairly short notice and I heard the instructor
didn't show and there was like one or two people that came)...

After the smoke cleared Britta decided to bless the Arduino activity
instead of giving it friction. I can imagine had I left my Thursday
conflicting schedule I'd be in Dave's shoes.

By then I had run numerous Arduino activities and Britta said she would let
me use it as my Open Workshop Credit. I continued to facilitate the group
and we diversified our location and schedule.

I should mention that Dave was in the middle of this being the good citizen
that he is. .He not only helped and supported the endeavor he came with his
family (he often brings his family and children to Modlab too).

Dave made the flyer for our first Arduino contest. He donated the "mystery
component", provided a reference circuit and arduino sketch so people could
get started. We assembled the kits to be mailed and handed out at a ModLab.
Dave and others were there assembling the kits.

So Dave might be kicked out of Artengine but he's not kicked out of my
various circles. He's valuable.

And by the way, many people were very helpful with the Arduino activities.
Doug donated kits for people to learn soldering for instance. Many people
who were very strong in electronics spent lots of time helping newcomers.

When Britta rolled out "You are receiving this email because you have yet
to complete your *mandatory* Open Workshop." on April 30th the year of
membership for most people is about half used. This sort of policing effort
should have started right away and perhaps could have been more inviting
that a threat.

I knew that my Open Workshop was finally covered with the numerous Arduino
support activities... I never saw this as a mandatory thing
requiring policing. I wanted to share and help people. As does everybody
else. But I'm not sure a clumsy policing message and then cutting people
off without notifying them is all that enlightened.

Technically Dave hasn't met your kickout requirement until his membership
is expired. A more constructive approach would have been to invite him to
the ADM and discuss it face to face.

But anyway, that's how I feel about your selection of invites for the ADM.

Not very good.

[end rant]

Okay now about those questions...

You mentioned I've made a lot of suggestions on how to run things. I've
more had issues with tactical stuff. Not sure I've made any suggestions
on strategic things except that there should be some openness and
connectivity between the controlling group and the wider community.

*What participation in Artengine means to me.*

Participation in Artengine activities has meant a great deal to me. Modlab
has been awesome. I have connected to many supportive people and have
helped a lot of people as well. It has given me inspiration and ideas for
projects. Workspace and social space.

Making things and the communities that surround this has become very
central for me so modlab has become a frequent hangout.

I have brought many people from other groups and social circles to modlab.
Many have joined over the years.

I have brought many friends who have much to offer.

I had hoped that this would be a conduit into the organization and members.
It wasn't but was a conduit into the wider community.

I participate in the listserv. I help people and get lots of ideas and
support from the listserv.

I took a couple of short breaks from the listserv when there
was clumsy noisy policing in the list. At one point I was going to
encourage an organization I was volunteering for (who makes masks) to add
lighting or other more technical things to their repertoire. I started to
plan to find people that might be interested and also to eventually invite
them to modlab to connect them. When I sent my initial ping to the list
asking if anybody knew about the organization (to see if anybody
was already engaging them or had already tried), I got policed for bringing
up something that's off topic and irrelevant. I'd have explained but I
decided that this sort of idiotic policing made the list less interesting
and I took a break.

Participation in the makerfaires has also been a light in my life. This to
me is bigger than Christmas. I traveled to NYC and other cities for their
makerfaires and of course was thrilled that this came to Ottawa.

I was devastated that a space was not kept for me at one of the Artengine
organized makerfairs. I had been talking it up with Britta (and my
community) but was profoundly hurt and disappointed that I could not be in
a makerfaire in my own community. I knew there was extra space at the
faire (don't forget all my friends had spaces and were there). I felt I
should have my own identity in the fair (my own table) especially since I
was so active in my own community. This was such a turnoff and so saddening
for me that I have not attended any other makerfairs until the first local
one at the Science Museum. I had a sense that Britta wasn't batting for me
on this. I was right. The outcome was that I was not given a table at the
fair like most of my friends.

*Is there responsibility that should come with formal membership to the

Whatever they are it should be clear at signup. Whatever bylaws should be
automatically disclosed.

*Is there responsibility that should come with being a participant in the
community of Artengine? **How are these different?*

If you mean the community outside of membership, no. That's the Modlab
community as far as I know. It's an open house.

*What efforts did you make as a member of the organization to understand
the governing or operational structure of Artengine? How did you
participate in that process?*

I attended AGMs.

I read the entire Web and the Wiki site numerous times.
http://www.artengine.ca/modlab/index.php/Structure There isn't much in the
wiki. The Web site has all sorts of claims of what the organization does
and how it works (democratic stuff, mission, vision etc.)...

I attended Modlab regularly (didn't learn about community or connect to the
controlling group).

I participated in the Wiki where people said what machines and tools they
think would benefit the community. I heard of things that were being
purchased since then but there's a disconnect between what came forward on
the wiki and what was happening.

I had numerous conversations face to face and email. Much of email is just
unanswered or badly handled.

For instance when I was apparently a villain for organizing unsanctioned
arduino activities that would have been a great time to send documents (if
they exist) about the bylaws. I know some of this stuff is made up on the
spot so there may not be documents. But I could have been given what there

For instance when I asked Remco where the money went from the 3D
print-a-thon fund raiser, he didn't answer. But he could have send me the
ledgers and latest of financial statements.

When having dialogue about recent sudden changes to membership
policy/scope/liability it was enforced that there's "owner-operators on one
side and user-members on the other". Dave and I were asked to explain why
more involvement in process by members would be better. This was a great
chance to give out documentation of how the organization is currently run.

I've still never seen previous bylaws. Why not make it easy and just put it
at your Web site?

Wouldn't giving out this information be a real invitation to be involved?
What about inviting members to an actual meeting?

I did request some documents (from the funding). I'm supposing that's still
in progress?

A point worth mentioning (that I could have added to my previous messages)
is that I'm not calling for change anymore.

I'm interested in sharing my opinion for the benefit of people and the
organization. But I don't have the confidence that the integrity and
genuine interest exists to make this whole thing more fair. I'm taking a
break worry about the organization integrity. I'm not sure if I'm a member
anyways. Am I?

Darcy Whyte

Art+ inventorArtist.com <http://inventorartist.com/> | Aviation
Contact: darcy at inventorArtist.com | 613-563-3634 by appointment (no text)

On Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM, Ryan Stec <ryanstec at artengine.ca> wrote:

> Hello Darcy,
> I'll continue to answer your questions here as that is partially what we
> are here to do as staff. We welcome the opportunity to discuss these
> matters as they are as important as the technological and creative
> discussions.
> I believe these to be your original questions and the answers will be
> below.
> ---Dave wasn't invited to the AGM. If people don't know about stuff then
> it's
> not a good tool. Was the AGM announced outside of sending invites out to a
> private list?
> *The AGM was announced to members in good standing.*
> ---That's good to know that there's a 5 percent rule. Has that been in play
> for the past years?
> *Yes, it has been part of the By-Laws since they where set up initially.*
> ----How may members are there? Nobody really knows who is a member. The
> member
> list at http://artengine.ca/community/members-en.php  doesn't seem to be a
> good reflection of membership. Or is it?
> *We make the online member list public because it is something people
> wanted and paid for. We have not kept a Producing Member list public. There
> are about 75 members of all kinds at Artengine. This fluctuates of course. *
> If I can, I have some questions for you, you can answer them here or
> offline. I ask them because you have made alot of suggestions about how we
> should operate, and below are some questions we have been asking at
> Artengine about our membership and community. It is an opportunity for you
> to provide input in a transparent and constructive way:
> What does participation in Artengine mean to you?
> Is there responsibility that should come with formal membership to the
> organization?
> Is there responsibility that should come with being a participant in the
> community of Artengine?
> How are these different?
> What efforts did you make as a member of the organization to understand
> the governing or operational structure of Artengine?
> How did you participate in that process?
> I have many more questions, but I think that is a good place to start.
> Regards,
> Ryan
> ___________________________
> Ryan Stec
> Artistic Director
> Artengine
> 2 Daly Ave.        Ottawa, ON
> K1N 6E2          613.686.1941
> Ottawa Mini-Maker Faire
> Co-presented with The CMST and Artengine
> August 16th and 17th
> http://makerfaireottawa.ca
> ------
> Read the Driving Creativity Blog at artengine.ca/blog
> Follow us on Twitter @artengine
> On Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 2:05 AM, Darcy Whyte <darcy at inventorartist.com>
> wrote:
>> Ryan,
>> I am quite aware of the distinction of Artengine and Modlab. My comments
>> are about artengine.
>> My issue is there has not been genuine and significant engagement of the
>> inner artengine group with the member community.
>> Whatever bylaw structure Artengine has had is all news to me. The first
>> document I ever received was just before the recent AGM. Well there is the
>> attached waiver but frankly I saw that as just sudden-new rules/terms for
>> members vs. information about the organization, bylaws and so forth.
>> Especially since it was served with a warning of loss of use of the member
>> resources if it were not sighed before the sudden due date...
>> I'm not convinced the AGM is a genuine opportunity to contribute aside
>> from signing up (which didn't apply this year). It hasn't been in the past.
>> I'm just noticing another email you sent to me to address the unanswered
>> questions I referred to around 10:40p. I've just skimmed it so far but
>> you've not addressed the unanswered questions I was referring to. Just
>> comments on my additional questions I posed after my comment of answered
>> questions.
>> I'd love to see the planning documents that were used to obtain
>> government funding. Please send those.
>> --
>> Darcy Whyte
>> Art+ inventorArtist.com <http://inventorartist.com/> | Aviation
>> rubber-power.com
>> Contact: darcy at inventorArtist.com | 613-563-3634 by appointment (no text)
>> On Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 12:24 AM, Ryan Stec <ryanstec at artengine.ca>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi Darcy,
>>> To follow up on a few points that may help clarify things for yourself
>>> and others on the list. This is a brief overview of the system of
>>> governance of the organization. As I stated in the previous response there
>>> are other ways to interact, but below is the formal framework.
>>> Artengine is a non-profit member-based organization. Membership (up
>>> until now) has been based on who pays their member dues, a very simple and
>>> open concept. Members have a primary say in the operations of the
>>> organization. The Annual General Meeting is for Members (you cannot attend
>>> if you have not paid) to come together check the financials, meet the board
>>> members and all the staff, give feedback and have the opportunity to
>>> provide direct input to any major changes in high level policy.
>>> This is different from a community. We have a Mod Lab community. There
>>> are artists outside of that. There are audiences. There are Artlist
>>> subscribers. All different over-lapping communities.
>>> You can characterize membership as exclusive, but all membership is
>>> exclusive by definition. All organizations need functional boundaries
>>> otherwise they risk stretching themselves into meaninglessness. This is the
>>> same with communities. We can say that everyone is welcome, and this may be
>>> true, but a community does not include everyone. They have functional
>>> limits, geographic ones, ones defined by interest or otherwise.
>>> This membership structure (like the one we have) is very wide spread in
>>> cultural organizations and non-profits of all kind in Canada. It is,
>>> however, in need of updating, much like everyone else, and through the new
>>> Canada Corporations Act, and so all non-profits in the country have been
>>> looking at their By-Law structure.
>>> Keeping in mind that this is the formal structure at the heart of
>>> Artengine, to which you where mostly aware of, I hope I can make the
>>> following point very clear:
>>> By choosing not to attend the Annual General Meeting (never mind the
>>> active encouragement of others not to attend) you forfeited your principal
>>> avenue for participation in the operations of Artengine. As a member you
>>> received all of the documents that where to be reviewed at the AGM and were
>>> aware of the important discussion of the meeting, but choose not to
>>> participate in the formal opportunity available to you. We invited you to
>>> the discussion, and you decided not to join us. This kind of communal
>>> project is not only about voicing an opinion. It is also about
>>> participation and responsibility.
>>> Finally, we will, of course, take your criticism into consideration.
>>> Communication can be improved. Transparency can also be improved. We are
>>> working on this.
>>> On a personal note Darcy, I have been involved with Artengine for a long
>>> time and have put alot of myself into this organization, largely because I
>>> think both its community and its output are important. It is unfortunate to
>>> be categorized as a faceless controller. I am happy to continue talking
>>> about all of this, Artengine and more, in this public forum, but only if it
>>> is given the kind of care that face-to-face interaction is given. We
>>> provide this forum for constructive communication and we hope that extends
>>> from working and helping each other on projects to how you approach and
>>> interact with the organization itself.
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Ryan Stec
>>> Artistic Director
>>> Artengine
>>> ___________________________
>>> Ryan Stec
>>> Artistic Director
>>> Artengine
>>> 2 Daly Ave.        Ottawa, ON
>>> K1N 6E2          613.686.1941
>>> Ottawa Mini-Maker Faire
>>> Co-presented with The CMST and Artengine
>>> August 16th and 17th
>>> http://makerfaireottawa.ca
>>> ------
>>> Read the Driving Creativity Blog at artengine.ca/blog
>>> Follow us on Twitter @artengine
>>> On Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 10:43 PM, Darcy Whyte <darcy at siteware.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Your note is appreciated. My questions aren't answered though.
>>>> Yes, it was awkward (but necessary) to meet with people on the AGM
>>>> night. There were people who are not in the invited group and other
>>>> outsiders. People that didn't want to attend and kicked out people. It's
>>>> the law (in terms of retaining legal status) known to some but not to most.
>>>> And it's not the law for non members, the general public and people that
>>>> were just attending modlab. I knew my meeting would receive poop though.
>>>> I'm interested in the wide community not just an inner group that controls
>>>> a specific resource.
>>>> I realize there are possible improvements to the *official *way to be
>>>> a member of the community that is artengine (and mattering). Needing
>>>> improvement is never a fault in itself.
>>>> Does the controlling group want "members" to know what's going on and
>>>> have their input?
>>>> If so it's easy (regardless of legal structure). If there's some
>>>> activity that includes both members and controlling group then it might be
>>>> natural (activity among members is good, ways of members discovering each
>>>> other). AGM might not be a good example since it represents a small amount
>>>> of time each year and not a real time for dialogue (outside of telling
>>>> what's up). If it was called the MGM that'd be different. But nobody's
>>>> invited to that.
>>>> Some members (I'm assuming they are members since they say or think
>>>> they are) tell me they would not recognize numerous of the people in the
>>>> controlling group. This worth thinking about.
>>>> On that note, at the moment it's hard to know if your a member. I
>>>> personally think I might be. On one hand my membership has expired. On the
>>>> other hand, I heard a rumor that the membership was status quo till the end
>>>> of the year. Will there be communication on this? Surely I'm not the only
>>>> member (or expired member) that missed the meeting. Or am I?
>>>> A disconnect. Is this a fail of genuine interest (by the controlling
>>>> group) or just some logistical, complicated business oogabooga?
>>>> I understand private clubs and business and family businesses. I had
>>>> some hope this was more of a communal project. That's more the issue here.
>>>> But don't trivialize this as an expectation thing. Funds are given with
>>>> some communal expectation right?
>>>> By they way, don't think for a moment I think artengine doesn't do
>>>> good. It clearly does. But I feel let down on wanting to be a member of
>>>> your community and not just being a subscriber to service that comes and
>>>> goes based on someone else's interest/convenience.
>>>> Also don't think for a moment that I have not used obvious channels
>>>> like talking to people in the organization to be involved in the usual way
>>>> one would. Most of encounters were "resolved' by
>>>> -not answering my questions,
>>>> -some assertion that there are two sides, "members" and the
>>>> organization (one makes decisions the other hears about them)
>>>> -or asking for a some softness based on profound incompetence (
>>>> Hanlon's Razor).
>>>> Darcy
>>>> subscriber
>>>> --
>>>> Darcy Whyte
>>>> Software Since '88 siteware.com | Contact: darcy at siteware.com |
>>>> 613-563-3634 by appointment
>>>> Canada N 45° 25'03.1" W 75° 42'21.4"
>>>> Art+ inventorArtist.com <http://inventorartist.com/> | Aviation
>>>> rubber-power.com
>>>> On Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 3:53 PM, Ryan Stec <ryanstec at artengine.ca>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Hi Darcy,
>>>>> In response to your questions.
>>>>> All paid members where invited to the AGM, if you where a member in
>>>>> good standing you where invited.
>>>>> In our old system paying for service is tied to membership. This was
>>>>> one of the reasons we offered reduced memberships at the AGM to encourage
>>>>> members to participate in governance. Membership is also one of the key
>>>>> legal structures of the organization. You must be a member to exercise your
>>>>> vote in matters of legal importance to the organization, principally the
>>>>> election of the board but other major changes to the bylaws.
>>>>> Your point that if people don't know about stuff it's not a good tool
>>>>> is inductive also of how the membership structure as it stood was not a
>>>>> good tool for development of the organization. We are working to make tools
>>>>> for Artengine that work.
>>>>> The reality that as an active member you choose to suggest another
>>>>> meeting, while the AGM was occurring, rather than encouraging participation
>>>>> in the process seems also telling of a need for change.
>>>>> One of the important points we raised at the meeting last night is
>>>>> that this is only one small aspect of how people participate in the
>>>>> direction and operation of the organization. There are a number of other
>>>>> ways including volunteering, casual conversation, discussions on this list,
>>>>>  and even just plain use of the space.
>>>>> We hope the new membership will offer deeper engagement with the
>>>>> organization and with each other. Thanks for those who participated in the
>>>>> process and we look forward to speaking with everyone about how to continue
>>>>> to improve Artengine.
>>>>> Cheers
>>>>> Ryan Stec
>>>>> Artistic Director
>>>>> Artengine
>>>>> ---------
>>>>> Sent from a mobile device.
>>>>> I'm glad the meeting was a success.
>>>>> Dave wasn't invited to the AGM. If people don't know about stuff then
>>>>> it's
>>>>> not a good tool. Was the AGM announced outside of sending invites out
>>>>> to a
>>>>> private list?
>>>>> That's good to know that there's a 5 percent rule. Has that been in
>>>>> play
>>>>> for the past years?
>>>>> How may members are there? Nobody really knows who is a member. The
>>>>> member
>>>>> list athttp://artengine.ca/community/members-en.php doesn't seem to
>>>>> be a
>>>>> good reflection of membership. Or is it?
>>>>> To know if there are 5% of members interested in something the members
>>>>> need
>>>>> to be able to find each other.
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> Lab mailing list
>>>>> 1. subscribe http://artengine.ca/mailman/listinfo/lab
>>>>> 2. then email Lab at artengine.ca to send your message to the list
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