LLG Meeting Summary 2010
This is a summary of the 2010 Annual Meeting of the members of the Logical Language Group, as conducted on the llg-members mailing list from August 21, 2010 to October 12, 2010.
The 2010 Annual Meeting was announced on the llg-members mailing list by the president on August 7, 2010, to commence on August 21, 2010.
Call to order
The meeting began on August 21, 2010 with a call to order by president Robert LeChevalier.
18 of 19 members participated in the meeting, achieving quorum.
- Pierre Abbat
- Matt Arnold
- Dave Barton
- John Cowan
- Craig Daniel
- Jay F. Kominek
- Jorge Llambías
- Nora LeChevalier
- Robert J. LeChevalier
- Timo Paulssen
- Robin Lee Powell
- Theodore Reed
- And Rosta
- Mark Shoulson
- Paul Swift
- Veijo Vilva
- Tommy Whitlock
Didn't respond to roll call, but later participated in meeting:
- Arnt Richard Johansen
Non-participatory members (1):
- Stephen Weeks
Reading of minutes
Minutes for the 2009 Meeting of the LLG, as submitted by Timo, were approved with modifications to the record of attendance. The 2007 minutes, which were still marked as "provisional", were also accepted as final.
I had hoped to do something much more thorough than this, and more well-informed, but my personal life is again managing to keep me from focusing on Lojban.
I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and for the last few weeks have been in a medically supervised program to try to get things "under control". This has required a regimen of intermittent scheduled meals and exercise all day long, and the necessity to stop whatever I am doing every couple of hours has been a real challenge to my ability to focus on anything (and the stress-induced insomnia isn't helping either). But I need to do it, and to do it NOW, so I'll still be around to do Lojban in 10 years or even 20.
I was neither expecting nor planning to resume active leadership of LLG, in part because I continue to have a lot of such personal distractions, and for me Lojban work seems to be something I need to be able to focus on for hours at a time in order to get done any of the things that I am really interested in.
But last April, Matt Arnold resigned as President and Director. I will not speak for him as to his reasons, but Matt had repeatedly expressed disinterest in the legal and business aspects of the project which are the main reasons for those offices.
I continue to admire Matt's creativity and his ability to motivate and organize people to get things done, and I REALLY appreciate that he has taken over book-order fulfillment, a job that I had done too long and never very well, and elevated our service to the professional level that it needed to be at in order for us to make use of Amazon.com for marketing.
Hat's off to Matt, and may he continue a long while in leadership of the community in the form and style that he wants, and is good at.
His resignation left us in a bind, with only 3 directors left, and 3 officer positions - President, VP, and Secretary (as well as my legal role as the Virginia resident representative required by our incorporation here). We decided that Robin and Arnt would keep their offices, and I would take up the presidency, at least until after this annual meeting.
I'm willing to continue as president, but we need to recognize my demonstrated limitations in actually doing the job. As President, I wanted to again be an ACTIVE leader, in touch with what was going along, helping to encourage people to work on projects that need more support, and maybe doing a little more myself. It hasn't happened, and I had to rely on other people to identify what has been going on in the last year, which Timo arranged to be assembled on the following page:
I don't see a lot of point in going through the list in this report, especially since I know no more about most of those efforts than what is already on the page.
(Two that I do know something about are Arika Okrent's book, which I served as a major source for, and the efforts at maintaining a history of the language and culture, a role I have naturally led as "Archivist" for many years. But I haven't been actively monitoring the online world where most of the community now "lives".)
So take a look, and maybe find one or two efforts that interest you, and get involved personally (if you aren't already). You are the formal membership of LLG, and if you aren't involved, it is harder to keep others motivated because of the apparent lack of formal support.
Indeed, it might be a useful idea for people to formally attach their names to items on that page as "cognizant formal members", and otherwise to make sure that there is at least one specific point of contact listed for each item so that new people who are interested have someone they can talk to if they want to get involved. To a certain extent this could supplant the presently moribund "Official Projects Page" (which badly needs bringing up to date).
We desperately need some new people to serve on the Board of Directors. Ideally, these should be people who have demonstrated an interest in the formal organization, and who are willing to fulfill the responsibilities listed in the Bylaws. Ideally, they will be people who are making some effort to keep informed of what is going on, and especially taking more of the load of Robin who has shouldered much of the operational burden of the organization for several years now.
Perhaps one of the people who serves as backup on managing the lojban.org site should be considered. And at least one person should be relatively "new blood", someone who has joined the project in the last 10 years or so.
(Yes, I am looking at you, Timo. Your efforts on the topics page and the minutes are precisely the sorts of things that we need Directors doing. My personal thanks.)
Only if we get a few more members, will we gain the flexibility we need for others to lead the community when Robin or I hit our personal limits. We have three; I'd like to see us with six directors.
The highest priority, in my mind, remains completing the byfy work. A few months ago, Robin expressed his frustration with what wasn't happening. I made some suggestions, and for a few days people got moving. And then everyone stopped, though every once in a while someone gets back to it.
We need members to set an example here. The more you do, the more that others will do, and the less likely will come the day when Robin decides to burn himself out finishing what everyone else won't help him with.
Regardless of how well you know the language, you are probably capable of looking through the corpus for individual words and picking out examples. Others may feel competent to write definitions, given some examples to work from. Even an hour every week, with our membership of 20-odd people, would get a lot of work done.
(I need to set more of an example myself. The limited amount that I've done is to collect numerous examples of the variety of usages of the word "pu". A couple of hours and I should be able to produce a good set of definitions for that range of usages. It's only one word, but we need to get moving, even if it is one word at a time.)
Once the byfy work is done, publishing some sort of dictionary becomes practical. And then, we can finally start ***actively*** promoting the language, rather than simply relying on word-of-mouth.
Our bank account has been slowly growing, and our finances are thus stable. We are close to where we need to be, except for the ability to say that the language is "done".
So let's get it done!
I'll quit here. Robin always chews me out for being long-winded, and I've done it again.
(Robin reported as chair of BPFK)
There have been various bursts of activity. Getting people to actually do the hard work (constructing definitions and searching for past controversy) remains somewhere between difficult and impossible. The easy work (finding examples and grunt-work reformatting) is progressing decently well.
At this point I'm feeling some urges to work on it myself, so if we can get the new CLL squared away as a starting point, I'll probably
just grab a couple of local people and sit down for concentrated work on it, perhaps with xorxes via skype or something.
On a personal level, I've been pretty disappointed with the community response. It falls far short of what people enthusiastically declared they would do. This is hardly surprising, though, and is in fact exactly what I expected. I would rather have been wrong, though.
Election of new members
No new members were nominated. The president noted that this was unusual.
Removal of old members
There was some confusion over the status of members who were included in an outdated list. No members were removed.
Election of the board
Timo and Veijo volunteered themselves as candidate. They were elected with no objections, with all other members of the Board returning for another term:
- Arnt Richard Johansen
- Robert LeChevalier (also serving ex officio as Virginia rep)
- Timo Paulssen
- Robin Powell
- Veijo Vilva
Pierre reported some progress on a database schema and web page, and projected he would return to work on the project in January. Matt stepped down from the committee.
lojbab noted that this was a major topic at the previous annual meeting and asked if LLG is still interested in this project, and if so, what are the objectives, what's the timeline, and who will lead it?
Arj and Veijo reaffirmed the importance of the project, and xorxes highlighted the need for a person to lead the implementation.
Veijo suggested first collecting test material, including questions and task definitions: This would not have to wait for Pierre's software implementation.
Matt reported that Lojbanfest at Penguicon had more than half a dozen attendees. Robin reported that some BPFK work was done at the conference.
Matt asked if it would help for people to physically meet and work together on BPFK tasks. Robin replied that it would be helpful, but two major contributors (Arnt and xorxes) are out-of-country.
lojbab asked what can be done organizationally to help move the BPFK effort forward. He noted Lindar's offer (quoted by Paul, and also separately considered by the Board) to do BPFK work for hire.
xorxes suggested that the BPFK abandon the "all or nothing, once and for all" approach, and commit to "partial" and "provisional" progress. Craig noted that there is a mechanism for this in the "interim baseline" (zygy) policy adopted at the 2007 Annual Meeting which enables the BPFK to submit work which has been unanimously approved within that committee to the membership for ratification by a supermajority.
Robin noted that he had rejected the "once and for all" approach with the publication of his essay, "Lojban: You're Doing It Wrong", and that his goal for BPFK work was "good enough to publish".
Lindar's offer was accepted without objection. Robin was asked to report back to the membership on the outcome.
Annual meeting format
lojbab questioned whether the email format gave members the sense they are participating in a meeting, and asked the membership to consider returning to IRC-based annual meetings, which encouraged more active participation and also made it easier for the non-voting community to participate.
Arj discouraged the IRC format for meetings on the basis that they are inefficient and inconvenient for some participants due to time zone differences. He suggested one way to improve participation, both by voting members and the non-voting community is to limit the role of the LLG itself and delegate more to committees.
Jorge questioned whether LLG committees have a history of getting things done, noting that LLG's accomplishments have traditionally been the work of individuals. He cited lojbab's work on word lists and conversion from Loglan, John Cowan's work on CLL, and Robin's work on the web site. John Cowan noted that Nora and Tommy also contributed to lojbab's early efforts.
Veijo suggested that reports and proposals be circulated a couple of weeks before the Annual Meeting starts, giving people a chance to bet better prepared to participate.
No motion was presented to change the format. lojbab suggeste a pre-meeting IRC session to discuss the agend of the next meeting.
(Paul reported on an informal project to produce a lojban video for children)
I'd like to report on the informal Lojban Kids' Show project that Lindar Greenwood thought up and has been driving. As far as I know, it could be the most child-friendly learning material we have as a community, though the size and scope of the project is daunting. We may need volunteer syllabus creators/reviewers, tween animators, translators, voice actors, cartographers, fashion designers, architects, folklore enthusiasts and probably more besides. The work on the Lobgugde scenario is intended to be a standalone body of fictional material that other projects can draw on and embellish.
In brief the show is intended to be a little bit like the popular Dora the Explorer, and will be an animated series that teaches Lojban and is set in space. Distribution is most likely to be online through YouTube and/or similar free access sites. The spoken English parts in it will be subtitled in Lojban, and the timings will be intended to allow for the show to be translated into other target languages in place of English.
I'm the plot writer (to date) and I've volunteered to be a tween animator. The plot outline for the first episode is now complete except the temporary character names, see https://docs1.google.com/document/edit?id=1Figgelppx0xep5HC7GRConr445BHq3Oycb6uAB8tL2Y
The root document is at https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=18hS5G3Qn7i4uqqZHMwZSk87B79jOxHeX_Yt-0u5wBaE
The project does not require formal support at this stage. Volunteers to bolster the small team and fill in the gaps are always welcome.
(Paul quoted lindar)
As of this e-mail, it's still very much in production and will not be done for a while. Pierre Abbat is working on mapping out the O'Neil Cylinder where this takes place, and then we'll be mapping out what buildings are what. We have people working on scripts, background, social structure, and fashion. I am also looking to have people develop an architectural style, accents, folklore, and music. It seems like many people have been very excited about the idea. The script and various documentation is available on Google Docs. With the LLG meeting coming up, apparently this is the hot topic to mention. So, yeah, I'm the producer and sound engineer to this lovely bit of work.
lojbab asked if there is anyone, ideally in the San Francisco Bay Area, who could assist the Secretary/Treasurer with an hour or two a moth of bookkeeping work. Robin clarified that what is needed is about four hours of work each quarter of the year.
The meeting was adjourned by the chair on October 12, 2010.
- Previous meeting: 2009 annual meeting
- Following meeting: 2011 annual meeting