The following is what was read through during the Facebook Live announcement (seen here).
Greetings and salutations members, friends, and fellow community members of The Hidden Parlor,
First of, I’d like to apologize for jumping the gun in the announcement of the outcome of the vote on whether or not to suspend the bi-annual chronicle reset that is outlined in our National Charter. Given the high participation rate on the vote, I wanted to get the results out. At the same time, I was dealing with crunch time as I also needed to be out the door super early to attend a rather intensive tech conference. In doing so I did not double check the provisions that were outlined in the member-adopted National Charter – which stated that to suspend the chronicle reset there needed to be a majority based on the total number of eligible votes, not the actual votes tallied. Again – I was in a rush on a Saturday morning and did not have my coffee. This also goes to show that sometimes even the President of the Club makes mistakes.
We have had several individuals reach out to the Board of Directors regarding concerns and legalities, some of whom seemed to try to sway the Board to making one decision or another. Therefore, prior to sharing the course of action that the Board of Directors has decided upon, I wanted to share with you the path that led us to making that decision.
First, we reviewed the verbiage of the National Charter, which states:
“This vote will be open for two weeks and will require a majority of all active members of Hidden Parlor to vote against the reset, as the default action will be to reset. Majority will be defined by any Hidden Parlor member who has attended any Hidden Parlor game within the last two months and has an active full membership in good standing.”
We recognized that several of our Chapters have had staff turnover and challenges with bookkeeping. Other Chapters have struggled with game site issues. Thus to expedite the initial process, we focused on paid members only rather than narrowing the eligible voters down to paid members who attended game within the last two months.
The verbiage in the National Charter – which was voted in by the membership last August – set the requirement at more than half of the eligible voters needing to vote to in favor of suspending the chronicle reset in order for that to happen. If we look at paid club members as of July 1st – of which there were 295, that means 148 would need to vote in favor of suspending the reset for that to happen.
Given that we’ve averaged 30-45% voter turnout on past member-based votes, setting the threshold at 50% + 1 of the eligible voters means that extending the chronicle would be extremely difficult.
Second, we examined whether those who did not vote didn’t understand that “not voting” equaled voting against the suspension.
While the initial Google Group and Facebook Group announcements included the specific verbiage from the National Charter regarding the requirements to suspend the chronicle reset, we have no way to determine whether those who did not vote on this issue were aware of the consequences of such.
Thus, the Board of Directors dug into the data.
The Hidden Parlor uses an email distribution tool that tracks opens and link clicks for our mass mailings, like member votes, to ensure receipt. Of the 152 members who had not voted on this ballot, 86 of them had opened either the initial announcement email or the reminder. This means that they were aware of the vote in process. While the announcement email went through the various options, it did not explicitly state the “majority vote” conditions set in the National Charter. At most, we can assume that they were aware of the vote, not that they knew that not voting equaled a “no” vote.
We then cross-checked the list of those who did not vote on the current initiative against those who did vote on the adoption of the National Charter that included the provision. Of the 152 members who had not voted on suspending the chronicle reset, only 20 of them had voted on the National Charter that created said procedure. That is a small percentage, and it is also likely that of those individuals, some may have voted without reading the full document, or may have forgotten the verbiage between last August and now.
Thus, we could not find conclusive data that the members who did not vote on the suspension of the chronicle reset did so with the understanding that by not voting, they were acting in support of the reset.
Third, we examined to what extent the Board of Directors could intervene and override the verbiage in the National Charter.
This is a catch-22 for us. While the Board of Directors is empowered to intervene in situations that are in the best interest of the organization, we must exercise caution extreme caution in doing so. We do not want to violate the trust of our members and create the image of “the Board will change the rules to whatever they want”.
Our club documents are living documents, and should be adjusted in order to reflect our experiences of what works and what doesn’t. As previously announced, the Board is reviewing each of our club-level documents to determine what needs to be clarified and how. At the same we must go with whatever policies are in place, rather than make decisions on the policies that we want to be in place.
Thus, The Board of Directors approved the following course of action:
We will extend the vote for one more week, ending end of day on Sunday July 23rd. The next Board of Directors meeting is on the evening of the 24th, which means that we will review the results one last time before making a formal announcement.
Second, we are going with the verbiage as listed in the member-ratified National Charter, majority based on eligible voters rather than actual votes.
Third, we are sending out a reminder email to each member who had not voted, specifically outlining the National Charter provision so that they are aware of the importance of participating if they are among those who wanted to suspend the chronicle reset, but were not aware of the necessity to vote. This will be done shortly after I am done with this announcement.
Fourth, we are emailing the Administrator and Storyteller of each chapter with a list of members in their chapter who were eligible to vote but did not do so. While we sent out reminders to our Chapter Storytellers & Administrators several times through the past 2 weeks, the information they received was a consolidated list of all eligible members, with a column indicating chapter. It is our hope that by giving them a list specific to their chapter, that they will proactively reach out to those members in the upcoming week. This will be done shortly after this announcement, as I have the files saved on my hard drive, and the list of Chapter Admins and Storytellers as indicated on our membership portal.
We, the Board of Directors, thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we navigate through this issue. Our club is going through growing pains – we have adopted policies that appeared good on paper, where there have been hiccups when those policies were implemented. We thank you for your patience as we took times out of our busy schedules to deliberate on this issue and determined a fair solution.