Yesterday, as PASS ballots went out via email, people started asking why they weren’t getting ballots:
@sqlpass There's something broken here – I never got any emails about updating my profile. I'm a PASS member, I should get to vote.
— Paul Randal (@PaulRandal) September 24, 2014
@wendy_dance I'm not elligible? I've been volunteering, helping run the Denver group, and pulling of SQL Sats… #sqlpass #passvotes
— Mike Fal (@Mike_Fal) September 24, 2014
@sqlpass this is not cool – @KimberlyLTripp doesn't have a vote either. Can you fix this please?
— Paul Randal (@PaulRandal) September 24, 2014
So how did this happen? Well, back in January, PASS changed the way people could vote. Bill Graziano explained on the PASS blog:
“All members who complete their profiles – including the new fields – by June 1, 2014, will receive a ballot to vote in the PASS elections…”
I actually thought this was a brilliant idea – but the key was communicating the change to members, and that’s where it fell down. PASS sent emails to members, but the emails didn’t arrive.
The key was revealed in a comment on that very blog post back in January:
PASS emails had been going to members’ spam/junk mail folders because PASS hadn’t configured something called an SPF record. (I’m sadly familiar with this problem because I’ve struggled with the same mailing list problems over the years.)
No one from PASS responded to the comments, and the SPF records still aren’t correct, so many members will never see PASS’s email communications.
People often say to me, “Brent, why do you get so fired up and post these rant-y blog posts? Why can’t you go through normal channels?” Now you start to understand why: PASS simply doesn’t respond on official channels. Anybody who runs a blog will tell you that you have to read your comments and respond to them – comments are massively important.
This isn’t an isolated incident, either:
- January 2014: 2014 is Here, Let’s Get to Work – no response to comment questions
- July 2014: PASS Summit Session Selection – no responses
- And of course, yesterday’s Building a Bigger Umbrella – no responses
And that’s why I changed my approach this year. Yep, I’m calling out issues publicly, and getting more aggressive. No, I’m certainly not happy about it – I don’t enjoy writing things like this, and I am fully aware that I am taking risks and burning bridges while I do it. Nobody wants to see their work criticized in public, whether they’re a paid employee or a volunteer, but at the end of the day, community work means serving the community.
Mike Fal sums it up well:
Interesting that we have a blog post about having a bigger umbrella, yet long standing #sqlpass members are not being allowed to #passvotes.
— Mike Fal (@Mike_Fal) September 24, 2014
Rather than trying to win over a new fashionable crowd, PASS needs to realize that they have an incredible growth opportunity in their own local user groups.
Walk into any local user group and ask for a show of hands of how many people have attended the PASS Summit. I know, because I do it – I evangelize PASS when I volunteer at local user groups all over America and Europe. The raised hand count is pretty darned low – and that seems like a great opportunity for growth.
But instead of raising memberships, PASS actually decreased membership by letting their emails drift into spam folders and letting less people to vote.
And these are exactly the kind of SQL Server people we can’t afford to lose:
Never used 'disenfranchise' in an email before now. RT @wendy_dance: Any issues with #passvotes Please email email@example.com #sqlpass
— Paul Randal (@PaulRandal) September 24, 2014
Wondered why I didn’t get a ballot. How nice that I still get all the other PASS related emails, including their vendor sponsored ones. Well, now I have a solution… I’m sending all PASS related emails to my spam folder. Done with them.
Noel – it’s really sad to hear that, man, and I hope PASS wins you – and people like you – back over at some point.
Noel – I can understand feeling that way, hope things change enough that we can get you to revisit that decision. Change does happen.
Email is always hard, no doubt. It seems like a small leap of logic to also let sqlsaturday/summit speakers/attendees vote, chapter leaders, etc.
The real problem is that PASS has YET to build a solution to identify members. That’s the reason for the profile requirement, to weed out dupes. If we figured out voter registration this would all work just fine.
I also agree that PASS responds to public comments a lot better than private ones. I recently spent months on a private email chain to get something done that should have taken a week, and would have gone faster had I made it public. Frustrating.
I’m with you on risks and bridges, I feel the same. It’s awfully hard to do good without setting the house on fire, or looking like you want to at least. I read your earlier post about speaker selection for BAC and wonder, again, why don’t they shop these ideas for feedback? Or just hire you to write some ad copy?
I hope you’ll continue to engage on these issues.
Andy – thanks for the kind words.
I even understand that it’s seriously hard – SERIOUSLY hard – to build solutions to identify and manage group members. I don’t expect PASS to instantly solve a problem that has befuddled national governments for decades. I understand that we’ll always struggle with that, and sometimes it’ll get worse, and sometimes it’ll get better.
But during that struggle, leadership has to communicate, and communicate has to mean more than broadcasting. It has to involve listening too, and that’s what’s so frustrating as a community member. (sigh)
Thanks for the encouragement. I really don’t know what I’m going to do after this year – I’m going to keep at it through 2014, and then do my annual self-evaluations when I’m on vacation in December and figure out what makes sense going forward.
In an interesting twist of fate, I may not be able to vote this year; if you recall, it was my admission of voting thrice for Allen Kinsel that led to the “sweeping” reform of new eligibility requirements. I think I updated my profile before the deadline, but when I logged in after the ballots went out, I noticed that several fields didn’t have correct information.
I’ve requested a copy of my profile change history; it IS possible that I may not have submitted the changes, but surely a data organization like the Professional Association for SQL Server (I refuse to use the acronym and will instead use the legal name) retains an audit trail for a key characteristic such as this. Waiting on a reply now; thankfully I emailed them instead of leaving a comment on their blog.
Stuart – sorry to hear about that, and good luck with the email. Fingers crossed – your vote should count.
Apparently it was a waste of time learning about @sqlpass candidates since I don’t get to vote apparently. Silly me thinking I had a say.
I am frustrated by many of the recent decisions from the PASS board. I love participating in SQL Saturday events and look forward to the PASS Summit this year, but the board itself (as an organizing group) has lost my confidence.
Tim – I hear you. I do firmly believe the Board’s hearts are in the right place. I salute people who can devote so much time of their lives to volunteering, especially dealing with the red tape necessary to run an organization of this size. I know it’s really hard work, and that it’s never going to be perfect, and we can always do better.
But yeah, this year has been really rough to watch.
Communication, it’s the real thing.
Steve – have a communication and a smile.
I thought Coke was The Real Thing. I’m confused.
Coca-Cola Classic is the real thing. Coke (the new one) was seen as an imposter and scourged out of existence.
Strangely it seems that a profile can be sufficient to be used to pay for the PASS conference and to be associated with recordings of previous years (which again cost money) without requiring some irrelevant update but not sufficient for being allowed to vote. Any simple basic data matching should have fixed the majority of these issues.
Patrick – I agree, it does seem odd that PASS can take your money for you to attend the Summit, and not let you vote, but I do know it’s gotta be hard to manage the data from so many systems. I struggle with that too during my day job – at the company, we’ve got several different systems that have their own user lists, and we have to sync it together into a database to make sure everybody’s taken care of. I know it’s hard work – but we just have to *do* it. That’s our job as a company, and that’s PASS’s job as an organization – especially as a data organization with a full time management staff. It’s disappointing.
Maybe this is why PASS wants to get more BA professionals on board? *rimshot*
It’s truly disappointing when an organization that represents data professionals cannot seem to handle the data themselves without fumbling the ball. And, as someone rather new to the SQL community (2 yrs.) it could easily make a bad first impression on even newer members or prospective members.
Chris – agreed, well said.
I don’t get a vote either. 🙁
Wow. How to ruin an organization… change the name without polling the members, spend on attracting new markets over growing the one you’re in, and disenfranchise members by arbitrarily prohibiting them from voting.
Kim and Paul don’t have votes?! That’s when you know something has gone terribly horribly wrong.
Anne – yep, you got it. I don’t think PASS is ruined permanently by any means – I think it’s resilient, and all things will pass (no pun intended, ha ha ho ho), but it’s going to take hard, focused work for PASS. They’ve gotta focus on the basics of running an organization.
(At the risk of sounding too dramatic or corny)
The rants are a good thing. I’m reminded of something the late Randy Pausch said:
“when you’re screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up. And that’s a lesson that stuck with me my whole life. Is that when you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are your ones telling you they still love you and care.”
So I guess the silver lining is that anger is better than apathy. But PASS is at risk of losing the angry people to apathy.
Thanks sir. That reminds me of a story – one of my former coworkers used to give me sharp, blunt criticisms. After a few months of it, I got frustrated and complained to my manager. Come to find out, he was being sharp and blunt because he believed I was a big boy, and I could take it.
After hearing that, it changed the way I think about criticism, and how I felt about that coworker. I instantly felt totally loyal and would have taken a bullet for the guy. Stunning how that point of view can change so fast.
To be fair, I searched my mail and did find two notices sent by PASS Headquarters on May 1 and May 15, 2014 to update my profile to be eligible to vote. They did not land in my Spam folder. I just missed it.
As of this weekend, I will have spoken at three SQL Saturdays,two PASS virtual chapters, two user group meetings and submitted an abstract to PASS Summit this year. You would think that kind of activity would keep your profile current.
Ron – agreed. I do understand that it’s really hard to keep multiple databases in sync, and I know it would be expensive to migrate all of those databases into a single tool. I’m not being sarcastic here – this is a real pain that I feel as a small business too. However, as PASS is a database professional group, it’s a pain they have to take care of so their volunteers don’t end up excluded from the process.
I wonder how many people are going to end up just voting to Grant due to this. I know I decided that it wasn’t worth looking into which of the three other candidates I should vote for and that I should just make sure I could get my vote in.
Chris – agreed. I think if there would have been more candidates, it would have been an even tougher decision, too.
The only dismay I have with this blog posts is my tweets contain glaring misspellings! Carp!
Thanks for blogging this Brent. This is definitely an issue that needs visibility, considering how badly it continues to be handled. We all understand the problem: The PASS.org registration records contain bad data and they want to clean it up. They went with an approach that they thought would address this, and I applaud them for the effort.
Where it falls down is the aftermath. With the level of uproar, the current Board has an opportunity to make it right. To work with the HQ staff to apply a fix. As a DBA who has worked in corporate enterprises for most of my career, there have been many times I’ve had to pull long shifts and late hours to make a similar sort of fix for our customers.
The current line, as far as I can tell, is that PASS is not willing to do this. This frustrates me, because at the end of the day I’m their customer. PASS exists to serve the community and the Board should be champions of that community. As Tom said in his post, we need to be reaching out to people and bringing them in. Not shutting them out, especially if those people we shut out have been working on behalf of PASS already.
The more galling thing for me is that I’ve had Board members reach out to me about how we can make this better for “the next time”. The only concern seems to be damage control for the current mess, to oil the squeaky wheel juuuuuust enough so that they have time to wipe the egg off their collective face. Sure, I can buy that there’s an interest in trying to make it better for the next round, but because there is so little open interest in addressing the immediate issues, I don’t have any confidence that something else won’t happen the next time around. And if there’s another issue, will it be the same response of “to bad, so sad”?
At this point, I’m trying to decide how I feel about the future of PASS, my participation in it, and my views of the Board members. Many of them are good acquaintances, if not out right friends. I like them. But some extremely poor decisions are being made and I have to wonder about whether or not the current Board is fit to drive this bus.
Mike – HAHAHA, no worries about the misspellings, heh. It’s Twitter. It’s all we can do to keep our pants on.
I’m stunned that PASS isn’t budging on voting eligibility when it’s been clearly proven that they knew about the issue ahead of time and chose to ignore it.
Your last paragraph sums things up for me well too. I know and value a lot of the people involved, but the end results have been simply not acceptable over and over. The results speak for themselves.
Very good summation. Sadly, I’m not surprised by any of this. I was thoroughly excited to start running the Professional Development virtual chapter. That excitement turned to doubt pretty quick.
This is the first I’m saying this publicly, but it has been highly unorganized and pretty much “fly by the seat of your pants.” I did get one brief training session on hosting a webinar. Other than that, it’s “here’s your passwords, have at it.” I had to do my own promotions on twitter and work to find speakers. I will say that help was offered but response to emails when I did ask questions was spotty at best. I don’t blame the people, they’re doing their best with what they are working with. But to have ONE board member in charge of EVERY SINGLE VC?! That’s just plain ridiculous.
I’m bowing out of Summit this year due to other reasons, but all of this did not help sway me to work around Summit with my personal plans!
Anyway, best of luck to all those within PASS, but I had enough. I’m just happy I made great contacts and will keep in touch with the dozens of brilliant minds I met along the way.
Dave, I think the shame of it is the Summit is still (IMHO) one of the best training opportunities a SQL Server professional can attend. With the variety of training, access to Microsoft employees, and networking with like minded professionals, it’s so hard to beat. I would stress that folks should still attend this year because of that value. I know I still plan to go.
What this does for me is cast doubt on the future. Will it still be the same amazing conference in 2-3 years? The purpose of the BoD elections is to have a voice in how PASS is steered and who is driving the bus for us. With all the events of the last 6 months, I have a lot of concern about this future. And now I can’t voice my opinion on it.
This is the true shame for me: BoD members are making changes I don’t really agree with and are now excluding me from my part of the decision making process.
I can understand the disappointment on the VC, but I don’t know it that’s the whole picture. I dont want Board members or HQ managing Chapters to the point of speakers, sponsors, and marketing. I want systems, including systems train the VC and chapter leaders on what PASS will do (or not), and what to do to be successful, and even mentor them for some months to get it going.
PASS hasn’t been very good at it. Most chapters succeed because the leader figures it out. I think it’s gotten easier with better tools and a much bigger speaker network, but it’s not EASY.
I hope PASS engages with you to help you be successful.
I’m not without fault here. I don’t want it to seem like it’s all on PASS to do everything for me and I just moderate. What I’m disappointed in is the lack of on-boarding training systems, as you pointed out. I absolutely agree that a successful chapter has a leader who figures it out and does what is needed to grow it. But I think if they want successful chapters, they need to do a consistent job of managing expectations and communicating the community message, whatever that may be.
Anyway, I chose to stay in Professional Development because I’m in management and no longer a true “SQL Professional”. In addition to me not having the time to commit that it’s obviously going to take to grow this chapter, I also do not share the vision or lack-thereof currently being carried out.
Thanks for the reply!
Mike: Great summary of the current situation. I’ve had nagging doubts building over the last year or so but have had trouble translating my concern into word. You’ve captured it all perfectly. I hope members of the PASS board are paying attention.
On 9th September, I wrote to all of the VC leaders to announce a ‘Virtual Chapter Leaders Pathway’, which would involve five separate training sessions, held by myself. The email was below.
I have been collating feedback. @Dave – I’m sorry you didn’t reach out to me in response to the email, and I have not seen any complaints or issues from you.
I had identified that people needed help, hence I am devising the 360 degree Pathway. There was a slight delay from 9th September because I have collated feedback, and I need to priories which queries and issues to tackle and in which order. This isn’t a small task to arrange all of this training, and deliver it myself – however I believed it was the right thing to do, and I was happy to devote my time to it, and invest my effort to do it well. You can see from the email below that I also offered to work with people in-person. Remember I will have travelled thousands of miles to attend Summit, and I’m spending time helping VC leads at the CZ rather than socialising, or simply wandering around in Seattle in the US as a tourist or a visitor to your country. People have taken up the offer of help and I am really glad to deliver it, because my primary reason for being there is to help you guys in the community, and I work hard at it. If there were an issues, I would have been happy to hear from you or anyone else about VCs.
@Dave if you would like to contact me directly, you are welcome to do so – as is anyone else on the list. I hadn’t seen anything from you to say that you were stepping down from the VC Lead role or that you were having any problems at all – but your comments indicate that is your preference so I am really confused. How would you like to proceed?
The email to the VC leads went out on 9th Sept, and the text follows here:
Hello Virtual Chapter leaders and co-leaders,
I can see everyone’s enthusiasm and pride in the Virtual Chapter program that you provide to the SQL Server community, and I wanted to say ‘thank you’ from me for all that you do. I love looking at the PASS website and seeing all of the sessions on the front page, and every time I do, I’m grateful and awed for all that you do for the ‘sqlfamily’.
To help everyone, I’m going to put a ‘VC Leadership Training Pathway’ in place to help people out. I am going to try to address your issues and queries in a live webinar series, which you’ll be invited to, and I will also record for sharing and future reference. I’d also like to share ideas on promoting your VC through social media such as Facebook pages, YouTube and so on.
So, if you have niggles about GTW, or the website, then please let me know and I will try to make sure that they are covered. I’d also like to share ideas on promoting your VC through social media such as Facebook pages, YouTube and so on.
To help me to help you, could you please let me have any ‘pain points’, issues or queries that you have with GoToWebinar, the websites and so on? I will compile a list, and we will try and go through them.
I will also arrange some time for going through any issues individually at the Community Zone at PASS Summit. Karla will be getting in touch with you regarding slots at the Community Zone, and I will also be there at defined times so I can help you out in-person.
This is the first time I saw a BoD respond to a comment. I’m glad to see this and I hope board frequently responds to the community (which is the whole point)!
Jen – thanks so much for posting here! I know it’s a huuuuuge amount of work to follow up with blog posts all over the place trying to keep track of what people are saying. I see you here, on Twitter, on Facebook, going wherever you need to go to meet the PASS community where they are, and help get their questions answered.
You are not the example of what I want as a Board of Directors member – you’re even better than that. Thanks so much for what you’re doing.
There are way too many comments here to address specifically. However, I will try and say a few things and cover as many points as I can.
1) No one was maliciously prevented from voting in this election. No one. I think our first time out with this new modified election process was always going to be a bit “bumpy”. It is new. However, it is fair to say that we didn’t anticipate this level of reaction. I certainly didn’t. Signups / voting etc. for volunteer organisations are typically low and we did get a reasonably large number of people sign up. We really did try to get the message out there but clearly that was not sufficient. The message I have here is simple. You can help us for the future. Help us by returning to your profiles, filling them out and tell us what we can do to improve. Brent has started that process by identifying an issue we can go look at. Rest assured we will do our own retrospective. To those of you who aren’t able to vote, for whatever reason, I personally am sorry.
2) Once the electorate has been locked there is really not a lot that can be done. We can’t let people in just because we know them. I liken this to net neutrality or even animal farm. We don’t want a two speed community do we? Well I don’t. So whilst I am sorry to see those tweets that say “I can’t vote” I stand by the decision to not make any exceptions. So often that is the road to ruin in my experience. Before you know it you are dealing with all sorts of nuanced exceptions.
3) One of the key themes to come out of this election has been communication. You have been heard. We need to improve our dialogue with the community. I use the word dialogue deliberately – this is not a one way street. Speaking personally, this is an issue that has come up in my nom com interview and subsequently Brent and Andy have taken me to task on that point. It is a point well made and I accept it. I have done many things during my term but in this regard I have not met the bar. For those of you with votes you should consider that when casting yours. The conversation needs to be open and frank. Those of you that know me will know that if you ask me a question I’ll give you a straight answer. I need to find a better way for you to engage me and for me to engage with you.
I would like to close by saying that I do understand your frustration. I understand that it is born from a long affiliation with PASS based on camaraderie and sharing. You feel like a friend has let you down. It is precisely because you care about PASS that you are angry and I just want you to know that the whole board understands that feeling. We are part of the community and so we recognise your sadness. I would ask you to stick with us; help us over the hurdles and help to make PASS a better place for everyone.
You know what would have reached me? An email with a subject of “Anne: You’re not allowed to vote this year” and a message body saying “…. unless you stop what you’re doing right now and answer some ridiculous profile questions that will assist us to eliminate voter fraud. Thanks!”
You should not make exceptions for this election – you should simply allow every email address with a membership to vote. Done. I would think it tremendously better to maybe have someone allowed to vote twice (or thrice in Stuart’s case) instead of disenfranchising so many, especially speakers, community leaders and volunteers.
Thanks for your comments; I did have one different interpretation to your second point:
“2) Once the electorate has been locked there is really not a lot that can be done. We can’t let people in just because we know them. I liken this to net neutrality or even animal farm. We don’t want a two speed community do we? Well I don’t. So whilst I am sorry to see those tweets that say “I can’t vote” I stand by the decision to not make any exceptions. So often that is the road to ruin in my experience. Before you know it you are dealing with all sorts of nuanced exceptions.”
I understand the need to not have exceptions, but at this point, there’s no proof that I didn’t update my profile ahead of time. I’ve asked governance for a change log for the last few times I’ve updated my profile. As of yet, they’ve been unable to provide one. My question is if the profile date was key to voting eligibility, are there safeguards in place to ensure that an update AFTER the profile change date didn’t invalidate that profile?
As I understand it the Governance team take the member list at June 1 and that is “locked” which you should read as a snapshot. That determines eligible voters. This is then processed and uploaded into the election system. This is how they manage consistency as at June 1.
I hope that helps and gives you confidence in the process.
Thanks for taking the time to come back to me Stuart.
Kind Regards, JRJ
Well, it gives me confidence in PART of the process 🙂 Basically, it now comes down to a “he says, they say” debate, which I’m going to lose. I think I completed my profile ahead of the date; I have nothing to show that I did, nor any warning that anything was out of sync. Governance has no record of me updating my profile, so in their mind I was not eligible. Without checks and balances, it comes down to whatever’s in the database which may not reflect my actual activity (perhaps I didn’t hit save, perhaps there was an outage, perhaps IT did a restore and lost my information). I did update my profile yesterday and did not receive any sort of acknowledgement for doing so.
I realize that my opportunity to vote this year is probably gone, but add my comments to the growing list of what to fix for next year.
I understand that the board feels like their hands are tied. But I can’t see how that is the case. No one is asking for preferential treatment. I’m making noise not just for my vote, for all those folks who aren’t on Twitter or don’t have a blog. I don’t know them, but they deserve the same rights that I do.
This is worse than a friend letting me down. I’ve put a lot of years and money out of my pocket in to PASS. I’ve invested in this community because I believe in it and the people who come together to grow from it. And now a systemic cock up has disenfranchised me from exercising my right to guide the direction of PASS, a direction that is becoming more and more suspect with each new event. This is the third significant event in the last 6 months that makes me question who’s driving this bus.
No, I don’t think there’s a grand conspiracy to take away my rights or drastically change PASS. What I do see is a board that is more or less unconcerned with this problem and unwilling to make an effort to fix it. Beyond that, the additional events show to me that the Board doesn’t care what the members of PASS think, they will charge ahead with a different direction regardless.
Let’s set that aside for the immediate issue. Anne is right, enable all the accounts to vote if you have to. Don’t show favoritism. But don’t lock out those of us who have put so much caring into buiding PASS into a better organization. Be a friend instead of a callous collection of individuals who care more for process than the constituency.
I am here and I am listening to what you have to say. You may not be able to vote on this occasion but you are still influencing this community by contributing so passionately to this thread.
Where we stand at the moment is that we have an election process that has integrity but our efforts to secure that for our members has resulted in the exclusion of some member profiles that are incomplete. That does not invalidate them from the community but it does render those profiles ineligible to vote on this occasion. That is extremely unfortunate and I am sorry that you find yourself in this position.
You have to remember why we did this. The previous model had serious voting integrity flaws. The board was challenged to address this and we have. We couldn’t have run this election with the old model. We had to change and to effect that we needed a hard stop. There was always going to be a cut off. Unfortunately that means there is no way back. To run with the old model with the flaws as known would cast even greater doubt on integrity of the result. You might say that this is the lesser of two evils.
You mentioned in your reply that you have some serious concerns about recent decisions taken by the PASS board. You are welcome to contact me at any time to express those concerns. I may not be able to satisfy you but I will answer your questions. Please note I won’t be answering on behalf of PASS (beyond my pay grade) but I will give you my honest opinion and assessment as your peer in the community. You can reach me at JRJ@SQLPASS.org anytime.
Thanks again for reaching out. I am sorry it wasn’t under happier circumstances.
Kind Regards, JRJ
@JRJ I think the ‘sorry, but no’ responses on twitter and elsewhere haven’t ended the outcry because it hasn’t been made clear why this isn’t possible to implement tomorrow:
INSERT INTO members_allowed_to_vote (member_id)
FROM members_all as a
WHERE a.profile_is_complete = 1
AND NOT EXISTS
FROM members_allowed_to_vote as v
WHERE v.member_id = a.member_id
If we heard why the data couldn’t be updated and additional ballot emails blasted, the disappointment wouldn’t be over, but the frustration with this issue not being resolved immediately would be. (Just thinking, if this were my problem…)
One of the lessons learned here is that yes perhaps we could have been more direct. This is an example of what we said (based on an email I received and no I am no different to anyone else in that regard)
Title of Email:
PASS Elections: Update Your Membership Profile to Vote!
Body of Email:
PASS elections season is almost here!
We wanted to remind you that the PASS Board of Directors has established new eligibility requirements for voting in PASS elections. To receive a ballot for this year’s upcoming Nomination Committee and Board elections, you need to update your PASS membership profile by June 1.
Updating your profile is quick and easy:
Log in to your myPASS account
Navigate to myProfile
Review and update all fields
Have more than one profile? Just log in to the profile(s) you no longer use, and click
Deactivate My Profile beside the Save button.
Need more information or have questions? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now I personally received at least two of these in May and one in January. Neither one is as direct as you have stated but I do think the call to action was clear. I also understand and take on board Brent’s point. You have to have received the email for it to have been actioned. That’s fair and valid.
I don’t personally believe that opening the floodgates is the right answer. I wouldn’t vote for that. Why? We did this for a reason. We can discuss the relative merits of the execution but we did this to enhance the integrity of the election. As things stand the election would be valid. If we opened the floodgates then all those questions would come home to roost.
That said I have noted your suggestion and will forward it to the board for consideration. I just wanted to give you my perspective before doing so.
Thank you for taking the time to respond.
Kind Regards, JRJ
@JRJ Thank you for the reply. I certainly do not recall such an email or expect I and so many others would have ignored it…. perhaps spam folder victims.
I look forward to a noticeable improvement in communication outreach from the Professional Association for SQL Server.
I honestly don’t know if yours was one of those that bounced or if you were victim to the spam folder scenario. I am truly sorry that for whatever reason you have not had a chance to express yourself through the vote. I hope you can gain some comfort from knowing that your voice has been heard.
I will say that these are perennial problems with email based communication and that is something that we can reflect on moving forward.
Thank you for your understanding,
Without negating any of the points above we are a community and we all have a part to play. I can’t find any blog posts (after a quick search) about the need to update our profile. No criticism here, as a community we are AMAZING at sharing things. The volume and quality and variety of posts online in blogs and forums is phenomenal. We can also do more and PASS can do more.
The website is unappealing, it does not encourage return visitors. Nor does it scream “Here is great content for you” so no one is going to see the important “You must do this”
Expand the way you communicate and do it better absolutely and ask the community to help when you listen to their concerns
A suggesting in that vein is to make the website more attractive and interactive and ask the community to contribute to it which will improve the response to important messages from the BoD and increase the dialogue opportunities in addition to email.
I really, really like you, brother, but there is no way you should be representing PASS here. First, you have a stake in the election, and while I’d like to see you serve again (you got my vote), this isn’t appropriate.
Second, if this is what it is, put it on the PASS Blog and explain it there. Own up to the statements as an official of the organization.
I do need to be very clear on this one point. It was not my intention to speak on behalf of PASS. I would be in breach of the bylaws if I did as I am not an officer of PASS.
I decided to reach out to the community to try and give some perspective. As an incumbent board member I certainly didn’t think this would give me any advantage in this election – quite the opposite – but I believed that it was more important to get out there and try to help people through this whilst the rest of the team get on with the business of responding officially.
That said, you have raised this as a potential red flag and I will take your advice and withdraw from this conversation. I will also notify PASS Governance as well just in case I have overstepped the line.
Thanks for taking the time to comment and for your support. I do really appreciate your considered advice.
Steve thanks for bringing this to our attention. I just want to let you and the community know that this will be discussed at the next Board meeting on October 8.
On the other hand, I did receive my ballot email.
It even has a link to vote.
I happily clicked it only to find out it leads to my pass dashboard, but no voting option in sight:-(
Ami, if you have not already done so please email email@example.com so they can figure out the problem.
I have white listed the pass email account, got the email to update my profile and did so. I got my email last night to vote and have cast my ballot. I am one of the lucky few it seems.
As much as I enjoy the local users groups and the SQL Saturdays, I find the national PASS organization dysfunctional enough that I don’t care to vote even if I could.
Chris – I’ve been trying to come up with a response for the last ten minutes, and I’ve got nothin’. So there it is.
and anyone else… if you have tangible issues with the PASS organization, please contact members of the Board of Directors with your concerns. Let them hear what you have to say.
I would clarify, though, that given what we’ve seen out of PASS’s responses, it’s fair to post the concerns both privately and publicly. (Just don’t want people to shuffle off emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and then not get responses, and think nobody cares.)
Brent, perhaps I’m still the optimist, but I’d much rather see people try the private route first. The Board already tends to get defensive about being called out in public, doing more of isn’t likely to make that better, and it then goes downhill. Better to use the carrot and stick. Send the private email, allow a reasonable amount of time, and if no reply/sufficient reply, then post it publicly. I think it’s fair to all, and perhaps keeps it from tuning into permanent Board bashing.
Andy – totally understand where you’re coming from. I would suggest that folks do it in both places because there’s lots of us who want to help, and who have other ways of helping. I’ve seen people send private requests to PASS and then get frustrated because they don’t get answers – but the answers are easily available from other sources. (Classic example – PowerPoint template questions.)
After reflection, I don’t have any issues with PASS, since I really don’t consider them a big part of my SQL Server experience and I don’t attend the annual conference.
The local user group and the SQL Saturdays I’ve attended were pretty much due to the effort of local organizers and volunteers. While my online mentors are members, their knowledge and sharing are reflections of their values.
If PASS actual had any leverage to force Microsoft to make fixes to their products instead of adding features that many of us little DBAs and developers won’t use, I might be proactive.
Chris – yeah, that’s fairly normal. The attendees don’t have a lot of reasons to be disappointed with PASS at the national/international level.
As a relatively new-ish PASS member, I’m simply astounded by this turn of events–first the confusing name change (I joined BECAUSE it was a SQL Server organization & now you’re taking that out??), and now the voting debacle.
To see so many of the top SQL professionals I follow online denied the ability to vote simply because they didn’t update their profile as was communicated via an email that either bounced or ended up in a spam folder? Seriously?! Unbelievable.
Meanwhile I was sent TWO email notifications to vote because I have a profile that I haven’t touched for over a year or more that’s likely outdated and yet somehow meets the magic qualifications…
At this point I don’t know that I’ll even bother to vote because I’ll feel guilty about voting to perpetuate this mess. PASS feels like it’s doing a slow spiral out of control and there’s no one stopping it.
I like to say there’s a difference between being stubborn and being stupid. Alienating your members just because you’re sticking to the “Because I said so.” type of reasoning after such a seriously bad decision… I expected better but again, I’m a noob so perhaps that’s naieve of me.
I used to brag to friends who work on other database platforms about PASS and the great SQL Server community we have.
You all have given so much your time & talent to again & again and continually evangalize SQL Server, as well as being the kindest & most helpful group of professionals period.
As of now, I’m only bragging about the SQL server community.
Sue – WOW, that’s a heck of a comment. I’m sorry to hear about how your experience has gone, but take heart. PASS is a big organization with thousands of volunteer members. The last year or two has been pretty rocky for PASS – lots of growing pains and not much listening – but I have high hopes that given enough time, they can turn this ship around. Don’t give up hope just yet.
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