Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Audax => Topic started by: Fidgetbuzz on August 19, 2018, 10:58:47 pm

Title: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Fidgetbuzz on August 19, 2018, 10:58:47 pm
There is a post from the Chairman on the AUK forum.

It is an update on the projected costs of the new web site .

I would suggest that AUK members unaware of the position take  time to access this post and study the financial implications.

Inappropriate to provide any details here... but not happy reading.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Kim on August 19, 2018, 11:08:11 pm
Direct link: http://forum.audax.uk/index.php?topic=1564.0
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Fidgetbuzz on August 19, 2018, 11:10:42 pm
I think the preceding post should be removed .. the AUK forum is specifically for AUK members only.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Kim on August 19, 2018, 11:13:50 pm
I think the preceding post should be removed .. the AUK forum is specifically for AUK members only.

Non-members (well, anyone not already logged-in) will only get a login page.

<mod>Us mods without AUK logins get the same.

Nothing to see here. Move along please.</mod>
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mcshroom on August 19, 2018, 11:22:00 pm
I think the preceding post should be removed .. the AUK forum is specifically for AUK members only.

Non-members (well, anyone not already logged-in) will only get a login page.

That's what I got
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: D.A.L.E. on August 20, 2018, 12:00:26 am
Crying laughing emoji
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on August 20, 2018, 12:44:20 am
https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2000/04/06/things-you-should-never-do-part-i/
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 20, 2018, 08:29:32 am
Bloody hell.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on August 20, 2018, 08:38:47 am
Sorry if I've missed this, but what does folly phase one two and three actually consist of?

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 08:43:35 am
Are these money people or IT people?

Money people would never see value in spending that much money on an interface that does not generate revenue... IT people might get carried away and think of the infinite potential of an up to date software...  basically geeky wanking, if you ask me
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: The Bonk on August 20, 2018, 09:12:45 am
Sorry if I've missed this, but what does folly phase one two and three actually consist of?
(https://media.giphy.com/media/ZPFQVis9WAAcE/giphy-downsized.gif)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 09:13:42 am
A while back there was a strategy to modernise AUK and attract a new generation of riders. New website was mooted. Volunteerism is not professionalism. Stuff costs money.

And yet, in the face of increasing membership and NOT increasing offer, I don't see the point in attempting to attract more members.

The point is that a quarter of a million pounds (and counting) for an interface that is unlikely to generate significant extra revenue (and bear in mind there is no capacity to accomodate this extra revenue anyway) is nonsense.

I thought the bill for the all project was going to run in the thousands... not in the hundreds of thousands...

It would be nice to have a businessman opinion on the idea of spending 300K to count imaginary points and hand out imaginary awards
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 20, 2018, 09:14:02 am
I was at the April Board meeting and a cost escalation for the IT project was discussed and approved but nothing on this scale.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on August 20, 2018, 09:20:40 am
At the risk of sounding like Nicola Sturgeon, the circumstance s have changed with this new information, so it should be put to ballot. Continue, or not.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 09:41:40 am
So, the extra cost is due to interfacing with the old databases.

In essence 200 grand is being spent to make sure old results are compatible...

Always bear in mind we are talking about folks clocking miles on a bicycle for a hobby and counting points for a bit of extra fun... WTF gives a toss about old results? It's not that you can get an OBE by producing them... they are worthless pieces of information.
This AUK obsession for looking back at who got the highest number of SR over its history is surely not worth 200 k!  ::-)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: jiberjaber on August 20, 2018, 09:55:10 am
So, the extra cost is due to interfacing with the old databases.

In essence 200 grand is being spent to make sure old results are compatible...

Always bear in mind we are talking about folks clocking miles on a bicycle for a hobby and counting points for a bit of extra fun... WTF gives a toss about old results? It's not that you can get an OBE by producing them... they are worthless pieces of information.
This AUK obsession for looking back at who got the highest number of SR over its history is surely not worth 200 k!  ::-)

Not quite - but all the detail is in the board members pack linked to on the minutes of the meeting. 3 phases, Phase 1 = User Front End, Phase 2 = membership & shop, Phase 3 =  Potential Future DB stuff

Phase 1 is 90% complete, there appears to be a quote for Phase 2 and Phase 3 is still to be more formally scoped. 

This is all from reading the board papers, suggest any more detailed discussion is curtailed to AUK forum thread perhaps.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 20, 2018, 09:59:26 am
Can the phases stand alone? If Phase 1 is completed but Phases 2 and 3 scrapped, will it work – do what Phase 1 was meant to do?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: D.A.L.E. on August 20, 2018, 10:04:53 am
Any links to previous discussions/threads on this topic..?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on August 20, 2018, 10:10:27 am
Any links to previous discussions/threads on this topic..?

There are some on the AUK forum.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on August 20, 2018, 10:35:55 am
So, the extra cost is due to interfacing with the old databases.

In essence 200 grand is being spent to make sure old results are compatible...

Always bear in mind we are talking about folks clocking miles on a bicycle for a hobby and counting points for a bit of extra fun... WTF gives a toss about old results? It's not that you can get an OBE by producing them... they are worthless pieces of information.
This AUK obsession for looking back at who got the highest number of SR over its history is surely not worth 200 k!  ::-)

exactly - anybody that entered a ride on the old website by definition understands it and knows where it is, so they can look on there...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 20, 2018, 11:00:39 am
So, the extra cost is due to interfacing with the old databases.

In essence 200 grand is being spent to make sure old results are compatible...

Always bear in mind we are talking about folks clocking miles on a bicycle for a hobby and counting points for a bit of extra fun... WTF gives a toss about old results? It's not that you can get an OBE by producing them... they are worthless pieces of information.
This AUK obsession for looking back at who got the highest number of SR over its history is surely not worth 200 k!  ::-)

I think I might have cared about this at some point. Early IT was a continuation of the DIY ethos, and I'm grateful for the efforts of those who pioneered AUK's online presence.

But organisations mature, and at some point the DIYers recede into the background, let their memberships lapse, and get occasional glimpses into an opaque world that they're better off out of.

Good luck with sorting out this problem.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on August 20, 2018, 11:02:16 am
the AUK forum is specifically for AUK members only.

However, the Chairman's statement is public as it is linked on the AUK homepage under News & Notices, whether or not you are logged in.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 11:14:33 am
So, the extra cost is due to interfacing with the old databases.

In essence 200 grand is being spent to make sure old results are compatible...

Always bear in mind we are talking about folks clocking miles on a bicycle for a hobby and counting points for a bit of extra fun... WTF gives a toss about old results? It's not that you can get an OBE by producing them... they are worthless pieces of information.
This AUK obsession for looking back at who got the highest number of SR over its history is surely not worth 200 k!  ::-)

I think I might have cared about this at some point. Early IT was a continuation of the DIY ethos, and I'm grateful for the efforts of those who pioneered AUK's online presence.

But organisations mature, and at some point the DIYers recede into the background, let their memberships lapse, and get occasional glimpses into an opaque world that they're better off out of.

Good luck with sorting out this problem.

It's just going to spiral.
If AUK spends 340k on a website, it will become unrealistic to charge 15 quid for a membership or 5-10 quid to enter an event.
I don't see the need for such a spanky interface... I get the old one needs replacing, but 340k is the sort of money a multimillion pound business will consider... AUK is not a multi million pound business... end of the story.

BTW, if I look at the ACP interface for inspiration, I think we have at least another 10 years left in the current Aukweb...  ;D
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: D.A.L.E. on August 20, 2018, 11:44:57 am
I get the old one needs replacing
Whyyyyy though?

I'd search myself but I'm off to hunt down a cheque book to enter the BCM...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 20, 2018, 11:49:39 am
There seems to have been a lot of activity at the IT contractors recently.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07284437/filing-history
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on August 20, 2018, 11:51:30 am
I get the old one needs replacing

Does it, though?

Genuine question - I really don't know whether or not it does need replacing. All I know is that this fabled AUK IT update has been in the offing for about as long as I've been a member and yet the website has continued to function in the meantime - and largely seems to work, as far as I can tell.

The user interface probably could do with a facelift, but does that really require a whole new backend? I'm vaguely aware from past professional experience that anything involving large databases is liable to be extremely complicated but I'm not aware that the case has been adequately made for spending £340k of members' money. Perhaps this has been discussed at greater length on the AUK forum, but I suspect the majority of members will remain blissfully unaware of this situation until they suddenly see a big jump in their annual membership fees and entry fees for events.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 20, 2018, 11:56:04 am
This is really frightening, and could do real damage to the sport.

I would prefer that AUK borrow money to pay this off over instalments to a bank (or even an angel investor?) than double membership fees and hike up event costs, part of Audax's appeal is accessibility to the low-waged and it would be a tragedy if this affair were to tarnish the reputation to come.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 20, 2018, 12:06:02 pm

I'm pretty new to AUK and Audax in general, but I'm curious, how long have the price of rides been the price they are? Has a 4 quid DIY been 4 quid for a while? What about most Calendar events? how do the prices fair?

How long has membership been the price it has been?

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 12:06:34 pm
I don't think phase 2 and 3 will go ahead.
I can't see anyone pressing the button and surviving in the post to tell the tale.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 12:08:06 pm

I'm pretty new to AUK and Audax in general, but I'm curious, how long have the price of rides been the price they are? Has a 4 quid DIY been 4 quid for a while? What about most Calendar events? how do the prices fair?

How long has membership been the price it has been?

J

This is off topic... it might sound low, but it was enough to have a surplus, so not an issue.
The issue is whether an organisation should invest 4 times its annual turnover on IT
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: D.A.L.E. on August 20, 2018, 12:09:32 pm
but I suspect the majority of members will remain blissfully unaware of this situation until they suddenly see a big jump in their annual membership fees and entry fees for events.
And then stop paying membership fees and entering events. If those events are still running after the increase in organiser costs mind.

This is really frightening, and could do real damage to the sport.

I would prefer that AUK borrow money to pay this off over instalments to a bank (or even an angel investor?) than double membership fees and hike up event costs, part of Audax's appeal is accessibility to the low-waged and it would be a tragedy if this affair were to tarnish the reputation to come.

Indeed. But I'd rather they just fucked the idea off completely. Utterly bonkers.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 20, 2018, 12:10:55 pm

This is off topic... it might sound low, but it was enough to have a surplus, so not an issue.
The issue is whether an organisation should invest 4 times its annual turnover on IT

The two are intrinsically linked.

Even if we don't invest in the next phases of the project, that does leave the question of the organisations finances. If it's been 19 quid for a few years, I don't see why putting it up by a quid or 2 to help finances, or adding 50p to diy's or some such isn't an idea worth considering.

It does however make me cringe looking at Yet Another IT Project Disaster...

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on August 20, 2018, 12:14:07 pm

I'm pretty new to AUK and Audax in general, but I'm curious, how long have the price of rides been the price they are? Has a 4 quid DIY been 4 quid for a while? What about most Calendar events? how do the prices fair?

How long has membership been the price it has been?

J

The price of events is set by individual organisers, bearing in mind known and predicted expenses - card printing, validation, postage, venue hire, provisions, volunteers' expenses etc. Much volunteer time is used for minimal expenditure.

I have chosen commuted membership (5 years for the price of 4) since I joined AUK in 1993. It's been £14 for at least my last 3 renewals, I think.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 20, 2018, 12:15:59 pm
And then stop paying membership fees and entering events. If those events are still running after the increase in organiser costs mind.

If I understand correctly, if you are not an AUK member, and want to do an AUK ride, you can pay 2 quid to join for the duration of the ride. With 19 quid as the cost of membership, you need to do 10 rides a year before it's cost effective to join (assuming you are only interested in Calendar events).

Increasing the price makes this balance even harder.

For context, membership of the Dutch Randonneurs association is €45 per year, you get less than 30 rides a year, no glossy magazine, no perms, no diy, no ece... Interestingly there are a number of Randonneurs.nl members who are AUK members because it gets us the DIY/PERM/ECE stuff.

J




Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: fboab on August 20, 2018, 12:17:08 pm

I'm pretty new to AUK and Audax in general, but I'm curious, how long have the price of rides been the price they are? Has a 4 quid DIY been 4 quid for a while? What about most Calendar events? how do the prices fair?

How long has membership been the price it has been?

J

We'd been sitting on a massive capital for years, waiting for a rainy day. Cost of membership remained low as that pile was increasing year-on-year.

Price of membership shouldn't follow the same calculations as price of events- events are put on by individuals, not AUK.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 20, 2018, 12:20:01 pm
I would prefer that AUK borrow money to pay this off over instalments to a bank (or even an angel investor?) than double membership fees and hike up event costs, part of Audax's appeal is accessibility to the low-waged and it would be a tragedy if this affair were to tarnish the reputation to come.

Indeed. But I'd rather they just fucked the idea off completely. Utterly bonkers.
[/quote]

Yes but they need to pay the supplier - so I would motion to: write off the project and negotiate with lenders to secure a loan, using members and fee levies as collateral, and offering a down payment of a few ten k.

I'm just awed that this was able to happen. It'd probably have been cheaper to hire a professional IT project manager with a clear scope and budget to manage the upgrade, I hope I'm wrong but it seems to me that things have been done by volunteers who necessarily can't give the project full attention and scrutiny.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Martin on August 20, 2018, 12:20:06 pm

Inappropriate to provide any details here... but not happy reading.

+1, the thread should have been locked immediately and continued on the AUK forum, not appropriate to discuss here
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 20, 2018, 12:22:03 pm
I prefer to discuss here away from the official AUK forum, which should be reserved for quality and helpful contributions.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Martin on August 20, 2018, 12:25:42 pm
I prefer to discuss here away from the official AUK forum, which should be reserved for quality and helpful contributions.

not what I understood the AUK forum to be solely for, I thought all internal AUK matters were supposed to go there (which this is; the £2 day membership is for insurance, not a licence to get involved in the running of the organisation)

FYI I've joined the discussion over there and am equally unhappy about it.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: D.A.L.E. on August 20, 2018, 12:29:34 pm
I prefer to discuss here away from the official AUK forum, which should be reserved for quality and helpful contributions.

not what I understood the AUK forum to be solely for, I thought all internal AUK matters were supposed to go there (which this is; the £2 day membership is for insurance, not a licence to get involved in the running of the organisation)

FYI I've joined the discussion over there and am equally unhappy about it.

Probably, yeah, but this has been made public domain, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on August 20, 2018, 12:33:47 pm

Inappropriate to provide any details here... but not happy reading.

+1, the thread should have been locked immediately and continued on the AUK forum, not appropriate to discuss here

As mentioned  earlier, the statement is publicly available to non-members on the AUK website. No point shutting the stable door now.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 20, 2018, 12:38:25 pm

Inappropriate to provide any details here... but not happy reading.

+1, the thread should have been locked immediately and continued on the AUK forum, not appropriate to discuss here

As mentioned  earlier, the statement is publicly available to non-members on the AUK website. No point shutting the stable door now.

And by extension, so is the recent filing history of Control F1.
https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07284437/filing-history
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: farfetched on August 20, 2018, 12:47:56 pm

If I understand correctly, if you are not an AUK member, and want to do an AUK ride, you can pay 2 quid to join for the duration of the ride. With 19 quid as the cost of membership, you need to do 10 rides a year before it's cost effective to join (assuming you are only interested in Calendar events).

Increasing the price makes this balance even harder.

For context, membership of the Dutch Randonneurs association is €45 per year, you get less than 30 rides a year, no glossy magazine, no perms, no diy, no ece... Interestingly there are a number of Randonneurs.nl members who are AUK members because it gets us the DIY/PERM/ECE stuff.

J

Wouldnt want people to get the wrong idea... actually for 45€ you get full NTFU membership - thats including insurance and a nice magazine
(in Dutch) 6 times a year, so around half that money goes straight to the NTFU and not Randonneurs.nl
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on August 20, 2018, 12:53:12 pm
Phase 1 is 90% complete, there appears to be a quote for Phase 2 and Phase 3 is still to be more formally scoped.

There’s a saying in software - the first 90% is the easy bit; it’s the second 90% that’s really tough.

I haven’t had a chance to look at the board papers (no laptop handy)  but it sounds like the phasing means a lot of money is being spent interfacing the new shiney front end to the old back end, then a later phase to replace the back end...

It also sounds like the project has started with an open ended ambition to replace everything whatever the cost, rather than a fixed budget with small deliverables based on what can be afforded. 
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Pickled Onion on August 20, 2018, 01:04:35 pm
I haven’t had a chance to look at the board papers (no laptop handy)  but it sounds like the phasing means a lot of money is being spent interfacing the new shiney front end to the old back end, then a later phase to replace the back end...

This is mad. So Phase 1 is something shiny but non-functional, and Phase 2 is to spend ~100K on something that will be thrown away and replaced by Phase 3 (at a cost of a further ~100K).

I'm not surprised by the cost, these things are expensive, I'm surprised anyone thought this was sensible.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 20, 2018, 01:08:31 pm
I'd say that the balance sheet of the contractor is declining, and that the company is being restructured as directors jump ship. Whether those resigning directors are involved in the IT work in a hands-on sense isn't clear.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 01:11:02 pm
Which chairs are due for election at the AGM in February?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 20, 2018, 01:15:54 pm
Which chairs are due for election at the AGM in February?

Very few people want to do these jobs, especially when their hand is being forced to spend surpluses. An examination of how any contract was let is the main concern. There've been a lot of changes on the board, so whose idea this was is probably moot.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Samuel D on August 20, 2018, 01:33:40 pm
IT project in massive cost overrun shocker.

As an outsider, I think effort should be spent on making audax more approachable and less opaque, and that starts with the atrocious website. It’s worse than Masonry and seriously off-putting.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: telstarbox on August 20, 2018, 01:38:22 pm
Agreed, and anecdotally when I've tried to get non AUK people to try an event the website can seem a bit underwhelming to them. Some organisers are better than others at including a useful description, route map, online entry etc.

However, if the website is improved and this leads to an uptake in people riding events, will it just mean that the existing events fill up quicker Bryan Chapman style which could be counterproductive if the new people can't get a ride?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Paul H on August 20, 2018, 01:40:06 pm
If I understand correctly, if you are not an AUK member, and want to do an AUK ride, you can pay 2 quid to join for the duration of the ride. With 19 quid as the cost of membership, you need to do 10 rides a year before it's cost effective to join (assuming you are only interested in Calendar events).
Cycling UK members don't even have to pay the £2 as their insurance covers it.  Yet all the CUK members I know who do more than a couple of Audax a year are AUK members, I doubt a couple of quid a year is going to make any difference, though I'd rather see it go elsewhere than a flashy website.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: vorsprung on August 20, 2018, 01:43:04 pm
IT project in massive cost overrun shocker.

As an outsider, I think effort should be spent on making audax more approachable and less opaque, and that starts with the atrocious website. It’s worse than Masonry and seriously off-putting.

I think most people agree that the site could do with a reskinning and that the outward facing part of it could be a lot prettier
Also there are probably things in the backend that are less than ideal (think GDPR)

Doing any work on IT systems is always expensive.  Everyone knows someone whose teenage nephew wrote a complex high volume website in a few days and they seem to base their expectations of cost on that.  However, in the real world, the situation is several times worse than this because 1) the industry is full of chancers and idiots 2) a lot of people don't have a coherent way of expressing their business needs

I'll make some more specific comments on the AUK Forum
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 20, 2018, 01:48:05 pm
Disclaimers: I was, until recently, on the AUK Board as a non-exec. director. I was not on the group working to deliver the IT upgrade, so not intimately involved. I have had several disagreements with the Board over the years.

My understanding is that current system behind the visible website has been creaking for quite a while as AUK has grown and requires quite a bit of manual intervention just for AUK to operate, absorbing a lot of volunteer effort. That ongoing effort isn't visible to AUK members but the current arrangement is not sustainable ad infinitum, even if AUK never got any larger than it is today. AUK membership expands around 10% annually. An IT project costing the thick end of £400k is obviously out of line. I am interested in understanding what has happened over the past few months and how the problems (plural) can be resolved.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 20, 2018, 01:48:55 pm
Agreed, and anecdotally when I've tried to get non AUK people to try an event the website can seem a bit underwhelming to them. Some organisers are better than others at including a useful description, route map, online entry etc.

However, if the website is improved and this leads to an uptake in people riding events, will it just mean that the existing events fill up quicker Bryan Chapman style which could be counterproductive if the new people can't get a ride?
But that's to do with what the ride organisers put in, not the system itself. And if a new system did force organisers to include route maps, online entry and so on, there are numerous other threads which indicate many organisers would resist this.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 01:49:11 pm
I disagree.

The attractiveness of AUK is its quirkiness, if the word exists... in a world of instant gratification, it is an oasis of peace... a spanky interface will attract some and will put off others. Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

BCM is extremely popular, despite its archaic entry method and I can't help thinking that's part of the charm... you actually have to put some effrot to enter, effort to plan your own route... it makes it a bit special in a world of corporate organised entertainment.

A slightly nicer website could a good thing, a 340 k website seems an extravagant thing for an organisation that is largely based on frugality.

Moreover, as I said here and elsewhere, it's pointless trying to increase the customer base, if you don't increase the offer and I can't see the latter going up to be honest
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: vorsprung on August 20, 2018, 02:13:17 pm
I disagree.

The attractiveness of AUK is its quirkiness, if the word exists... in a world of instant gratification, it is an oasis of peace... a spanky interface will attract some and will put off others. Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.
I quite like the AUK interface but it is like an old shoe.  Horrible to look at, leaks slightly but is comfortable if you are used to it
Strikes me that the spankiness of the UI isn't the main objective, it's the back office stuff and making that work.  But the back office stuff drives the user facing bit so if one is changed, so will the other

Quote
BCM is extremely popular, despite its archaic entry method and I can't help thinking that's part of the charm... you actually have to put some effort to enter, effort to plan your own route... it makes it a bit special in a world of corporate organised entertainment.

A lot of people have complained about the 50 quid entry fee for BCM despite the fact that this is what it costs to put on an event like that
Personally, I don't think that the work of dealing with paper forms, cheques and SAEs is "charming".  If there is easy path that is with an online process that just gets it done then happy days.

Quote
A slightly nicer website could a good thing, a 340 k website seems an extravagant thing for an organisation that is largely based on frugality.
Must agree there but apparently this is not what the project is about
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on August 20, 2018, 02:19:56 pm
Do prices of IT projects ever get influenced by sizes of unallocated reserves?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 20, 2018, 02:22:43 pm
The attractiveness of AUK is its quirkiness, if the word exists... in a world of instant gratification, it is an oasis of peace... a spanky interface will attract some and will put off others. Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

This is exactly the problem - the byzantine and old hat appearance is "just fine" for 50 year old white men, but the audiences who are disproportionately absent from the community (the young, ethnic minorities, women, new cyclists), are the people who the systems should be geared towards. Else AUK will wither out as the years pass by.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 20, 2018, 02:25:03 pm
AUK would appear to have net assets of £58,548, according to the last set of accounts.

The aim of reducing the surplus would seem to have been achieved.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: zakalwe on August 20, 2018, 02:30:31 pm
The attractiveness of AUK is its quirkiness, if the word exists... in a world of instant gratification, it is an oasis of peace... a spanky interface will attract some and will put off others.

This is exactly the problem - the byzantine and old hat appearance is "just fine" for 50 year old white men, but the audiences who are disproportionately absent from the community (the young, ethnic minorities, women, new cyclists), are the people who the systems should be geared towards. Else AUK will wither out as the years pass by.

Yes.  It's fine for those who are used to it (I actually quite like it as it is), but then those people will continue to take part regardless.

For newcomers, particularly those who don't already know someone in the fold, it's another barrier to entry.  When I see an arcane and confusing website, my immediate reaction is to move on.

Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

I don't really understand this.  Do you mean that it's better to avoid attracting new members, and instead cater to an established but aging membership, in case... something?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Phil W on August 20, 2018, 02:40:33 pm
The pre production website address is in the report documents on aukweb.  A sneak of some of what they have build so far.  Looks nice and clean as you would expect from any CMS out there today. But costs need to be controlled.

(https://www.dropbox.com/s/v7kl43l6adwgndk/Home.PNG?raw=1)
(https://www.dropbox.com/s/21rvuqz6un5lwhi/shop.PNG?raw=1)
(https://www.dropbox.com/s/l0d0r6khj7y1nd6/DIY.PNG?raw=1)
(https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlg1czbgjks6911/Arrows.PNG?raw=1)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 20, 2018, 02:41:28 pm
A lot of people have complained about the 50 quid entry fee for BCM despite the fact that this is what it costs to put on an event like that
Personally, I don't think that the work of dealing with paper forms, cheques and SAEs is "charming".  If there is easy path that is with an online process that just gets it done then happy days.

The cheques, paper forms and SAE's thing makes it hard for non UK based riders to take part, even tho AUK allows for non UK residents to be members. I know the organiser of the BCM does take some measures to help non UKians to ride, but even so, I think it can be off putting. I've yet to do an AUK calendar event so I can't fully judge these things, but based on Dutch, Belgian, and Danish experience I have so far, what I've seen of the AUK entry process is... quirky...

Should we ping out a separate thread on how we may increase the numbers of people taking part in Audax/Randonneur rides?

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: vorsprung on August 20, 2018, 02:51:22 pm
Do prices of IT projects ever get influenced by sizes of unallocated reserves?

hell yeah  :)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 20, 2018, 02:53:06 pm
Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

I don't really understand this.  Do you mean that it's better to avoid attracting new members, and instead cater to an established but aging membership, in case... something?
I think it means that it could end up alienating current members, who are comfortable with the "old shoe," while not attracting new ones, who are put off by the fact of a group of slightly quirky old white men. Maybe that's not what whoastthewheel meant by it, but it's what it seems to mean to me.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Phil W on August 20, 2018, 03:11:18 pm
Do prices of IT projects ever get influenced by sizes of unallocated reserves?

hell yeah  :)

Not only that but you get the "If we don't spend our allocated  budget this year,  then we may get allocated less budget next year.". That is not just specific to IT though.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on August 20, 2018, 03:52:47 pm
The attractiveness of AUK is its quirkiness, if the word exists... in a world of instant gratification, it is an oasis of peace... a spanky interface will attract some and will put off others. Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

This is exactly the problem - the byzantine and old hat appearance is "just fine" for 50 year old white men, but the audiences who are disproportionately absent from the community (the young, ethnic minorities, women, new cyclists), are the people who the systems should be geared towards. Else AUK will wither out as the years pass by.

I fit 2/4 of those criteria.

Its not just the 50year old white man that sees the current system as just fine.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 04:00:02 pm
What I mean is that this organisation has always attracted a slightly older crowd. As a matter of fact, younger trendier riders are already joining in, mainly due to the "Rapha Brevet" range of clothes, film and so on and they are attracted specifically by the slightly quirky nature of the sport.... the beans of toast, the sweaty card AND the crappy website.

If you think that the sleek, tanned looking folks who follow the antics of the Tour de France superstars will flock in once the website looks 21st century, you might be in for a surprise.
Besides, I have said it and I repeat it...there is no capacity for new members... popular events are already running at capacity and the non popular ones will not gain popularity.... in other words if not even the current slightly mad members want to ride "the late season Border raid" (to name one) I don't think the trendy tanned, carbon faired lot will...

understood my point? IF you want more members, you need bigger events... and with no money around (all being spent on the interweb) who is going to support an organiser to step up from a 100 riders event all the way to 400-500?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 20, 2018, 04:06:15 pm
I am one of the "younger" (26) riders - there were probably 2/3 others my age on Sunday at the grimpeurs ride - I only found out about Audax from my dad and was very lucky to have done so. I certainly wasn't attracted by a crap website. If anything it was off putting. The only reason I stuck it out was video and social media from actual randonneurs off youtube and instagram (and I'm glad I did). Many riders who there were seem to have been pulled in by other media e.g. https://www.cyclinguk.org/event/tour-hills-challenge-ride-series-2018

Quote
there is no capacity for new members...

Rubbish. This is just a completely bizarre post.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 04:16:23 pm

Quote
there is no capacity for new members...

Rubbish. This is just a completely bizarre post.

It's not. There are two types of events... those that are undersubscribed and those that are oversubscribed... typically the former are X rated or in remote areas and the latter are TLC.

Last year LWL sold out in 2 days and looks like WCW is going to sell out by the end of August, 9 months ahead of the event.

If you think that the younger crowds will fill up the undersubscribed events... well you are wrong... they all will try to do the BCM, the LWL and LEL every 4 years...
The only way is to increase capacity... but, as you can see, even organising the National 400 has become problematic... I don't see potential for growth. The number of events has shrunk in the face of an increasing membership
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on August 20, 2018, 04:18:17 pm
Bear in mind the average age of AUk is well over 50, trying the rejuvinate the organisation could backfire.

It has been for over 10 years, so it can't just be the same people just getting older.

AUK needs a stream of younger members coming in. Many won't stick it out (which is expected) but enough seem to such that the average rider age is slowly decreasing and number of members riding is increasing.

AUK also needs a stream of members turning into organisers. Some of the organisers from 10 years ago are still going but many of the organisers now weren't organisers 10 years ago, they were "just" riders.

One question was whether the required stream of new younger members would continue without a flashier website (whether the backend needed a complete rewrite too is a separate question).
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on August 20, 2018, 04:21:29 pm
I am one of the "younger" (26) riders - there were probably 2/3 others my age on Sunday at the grimpeurs ride - I only found out about Audax from my dad and was very lucky to have done so. I certainly wasn't attracted by a crap website. If anything it was off putting. The only reason I stuck it out was video and social media from actual randonneurs off youtube and instagram (and I'm glad I did). Many riders who there were seem to have been pulled in by other media e.g. https://www.cyclinguk.org/event/tour-hills-challenge-ride-series-2018

Quote
there is no capacity for new members...

Rubbish. This is just a completely bizarre post.

I was one of those maybe. (32).
I certainly wasn't unattracted by a crap website. And certainly wasn't put off by it. I am a massive luddite though I suppose, not using Facebook et al and thinking the YouTube was at the back of the toilet.

Really, am I that out of touch? 😳
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 20, 2018, 04:22:41 pm
If your city is crowded, you build more houses. You don't put up a concrete barrier and tell everyone else to jog on because this one's full.

The priority of the steering leadership should be to make expanding the membership and organising brevets easier. Not try and keep out this menacing mass of TDF fans (???).

Most people I know in cycling have never heard of Audax - this includes seasoned cycle tourists, Warmshowers hosts, and road racers. People don't do the undersubscribed events because they don't know they exist.

As for organising I intend to be organising brevets in the near future, but I will require a "mentor" and some other peculiar sounding rules which will make things difficult. I'll figure it out because I'm committed and love randonneuring.

I was "put off" in the sense that the website gives a lot of information overload. For example when you click on "calendar events" it gives a drop down of 14 options. This is functionality geared towards people familiar with the system - but for the casual checker-inner, this is an overwhelming interface.

Compare with BC's sportives page https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/sportives which is very well laid out and easy to navigate.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: D.A.L.E. on August 20, 2018, 04:24:34 pm
I am one of the "younger" (26) riders - there were probably 2/3 others my age on Sunday at the grimpeurs ride - I only found out about Audax from my dad and was very lucky to have done so. I certainly wasn't attracted by a crap website. If anything it was off putting. The only reason I stuck it out was video and social media from actual randonneurs off youtube and instagram (and I'm glad I did). Many riders who there were seem to have been pulled in by other media e.g. https://www.cyclinguk.org/event/tour-hills-challenge-ride-series-2018

Quote
there is no capacity for new members...

Rubbish. This is just a completely bizarre post.

Another younger rider here. Ish.

In what way is the website crap? And how is it off putting? It could be improved upon yes, but it's perfectly functional*.

*front end anyway.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 04:25:42 pm


One question was whether the required stream of new younger members would continue without a flashier website (whether the backend needed a complete rewrite too is a separate question).

Role models, Strava.

Rapha helped a lot... characters like Teethgrinder who have a big following on Strava help a lot. Strava itself helps immensely... when you see the rides unfolding, it is quite inspiring, certainly more so than seeing a list of names with some brevet numbers.

But then again, it's pointless to have 20,000 members and no spaces in the rides.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on August 20, 2018, 04:27:25 pm
In what way is the website crap?

Too many words, not enough pictures, innit. How the heck am I supposed to Instagram it?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 04:27:38 pm
If your city is crowded, you build more houses. You don't put up a concrete barrier and tell everyone else to jog on because this one's full.

Sure, I look forward to coming to your first TLC event (if it's not too far)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 20, 2018, 04:28:51 pm
I don't think it's the website that brings in or puts off new (younger) members, it's the events. The popular events don't gain a reputation through AUK, they advertise themselves in other ways, which brings in people from outside AUK. If they like it, which it seems they often do precisely because it's something different from a sportive or roadie club ride, they might or might not join AUK but they do go on to ride other events.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 20, 2018, 04:30:11 pm
I don't think it's the website that brings in or puts off new (younger) members, it's the events. The popular events don't gain a reputation through AUK, they advertise themselves in other ways, which brings in people from outside AUK. If they like it, which it seems they often do precisely because it's something different from a sportive or roadie club ride, they might or might not join AUK but they do go on to ride other events.

At the Tramping the Two Loop there were many riders from the Evesham Wheelers who had no idea what audax is, they just came along because the organiser was a club member. I don't think many of them even bothered handing in brevets at the arrivée.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 20, 2018, 04:38:02 pm
And that's similar to many of the popular 200s and 100s. But they're unlikely, most of them, to go on and search for the next event on the auk website no matter what it looks like; they'll wait for the next one to come up on Facebook or by word of mouth. There can be more riders on events without there being more members, and more members without there being more riders.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 20, 2018, 04:39:25 pm
However, if the purpose of the website redevelopment is primarily back-end stuff, that's all fairly irrelevant.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: toontra on August 20, 2018, 04:44:06 pm

Inappropriate to provide any details here... but not happy reading.

+1, the thread should have been locked immediately and continued on the AUK forum, not appropriate to discuss here

As a non AUK member at the moment (pay-per-ride) I would still like to know what's going on.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on August 20, 2018, 05:03:17 pm
Do prices of IT projects ever get influenced by sizes of unallocated reserves?

I used to make websites for small companies (coding only, I had no involvement in sales or billing) and for at least some of them the budgeting seemed to work by them keeping asking for changes until they ran out of money.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 05:06:36 pm


At the Tramping the Two Loop there were many riders from the Evesham Wheelers who had no idea what audax is, they just came along because the organiser was a club member. I don't think many of them even bothered handing in brevets at the arrivée.

Exactly,
Club backed event... club riders treat it as a sunday ride... they won't even visit the AUK website... maybe even sign up on the day... ignore the brevet card and discard it at the end...
With a flashier website... it would be exactly the same
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: vorsprung on August 20, 2018, 05:18:57 pm

In what way is the website crap? And how is it off putting? It could be improved upon yes, but it's perfectly functional*.

*front end anyway.


The default page doesn't have a "new to long distance cycling?  Start here!" link or section.
 
The default page has 3 sections.  The middle is events that are about to happen.  The right is admin stuff for the organisation and the left are links to other AUK information of interest

The RH column shouldn't be on the front page unless the announcements are genuinely of massive interest to many many members.  The listing of events is unattractive.  The LH column has *16* menu items which typically expand to 4 more when you hit them- too complicated

There is no sitemap or "find on this site" box on the default page.  There are no pictures at all unless you count the AUK eagle logo

In terms of function, if you know that you want a 200 starting from near you in the next few weeks, it's easy, alter the search parameters a little bit and then scroll through the list.  If you *dont* know then you'll be scrolling through a lot of tiny text- it's not so easy


Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Charlie Polecat on August 20, 2018, 05:32:16 pm
Much is being made of Audax needing to grow, to have more members, being 'more inclusive' (ie, non-white), to have a flashier web site. But why?

People who want to ride Audax will, those who don't won't. Why the imperative? As an Audax member - this year anyway - it matters little to me who else joins as long as I can ride my perms whenever I want. I don't feel the need to mass with the masses.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on August 20, 2018, 05:42:41 pm
If your city is crowded, you build more houses. You don't put up a concrete barrier and tell everyone else to jog on because this one's full.

And once the new houses are full, what next?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 20, 2018, 05:43:33 pm
Much is being made of Audax needing to grow, to have more members, being 'more inclusive' (ie, non-white), to have a flashier web site. But why?

People who want to ride Audax will, those who don't won't. Why the imperative? As an Audax member - this year anyway - it matters little to me who else joins as long as I can ride my perms whenever I want. I don't feel the need to mass with the masses.

More to the point... the organisation is growing... hence the need for better IT... whether better IT will mean even more growth... we will see... I am dubious a flashy website will turn more people into the hobby of collecting points.

It might well be that the inevitable increase in annual fee to pay for the project might result in members giving up their membership
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 20, 2018, 05:50:10 pm
Regardless of the front end appearance, I want the back end gubbins to be reliable and to not consume too much volunteer time to keep running. It would be nice if they could ride their bikes occasionally. That is actually a critical problem, not just because of bouncing against scaling limitations as the organisation expands but because the back end relies on labour-intensive work-arounds and obsolete systems.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on August 20, 2018, 05:52:47 pm
Much is being made of Audax needing to grow, to have more members, being 'more inclusive' (ie, non-white), to have a flashier web site. But why?

I believe the main driver behind a new website was that the existing one is creaking and could fall over at any point. See FC's post on the AUK forum.

Once a 'new website' was deemed necessary then the expectations began to build and the scope crept. Not only should it do what the current website does but it should/could also do X, Y and Z, etc.

Going down a commercial route was always going to be expensive (compared to volunteers), but I'm surprised at the suggested costs.

I'd also hazard a guess that the existing website would have 'cost' 6 figures had FC's (and everyone else's time who has worked on it) been paid for. (The IT aspect of AUK isn't unique in this respect, I can't begin to imagine the 'cost' of the time that all of the organisers and other volunteers would total each year.)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: lastant on August 20, 2018, 06:00:27 pm
Regardless of the front end appearance, I want the back end gubbins to be reliable and to not consume too much volunteer time to keep running. That is actually a critical problem, not just because of bouncing against scaling limitations as the organisation expands but because the back end relies on labour-intensive work-arounds and obsolete systems.

This is the angle I'd be looking at too. A 'self-sufficient' website that has things like route maps showing where rides pass near my area and that makes logging/recording/validating rides as simply as possible to free up the hundreds/thousands of hours of volunteer time that is currently taken up would perhaps open up an opportunity to focus on providing a more TLC focussed National SR series (or two, to cover both ends of the country) which of course I appreciate would require a lot of resource in both time and manpower.

These things obviously come at a cost - having worked in a DDaT function for a while now I know there's many, many ways of spending money to solve a problem...!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Pickled Onion on August 20, 2018, 06:05:58 pm
Regardless of the front end appearance, I want the back end gubbins to be reliable and to not consume too much volunteer time to keep running.

Apparently the support and maintenance is going to cost around £26,000 a year.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mattc on August 20, 2018, 06:15:40 pm
I'm just awed that this was able to happen. It'd probably have been cheaper to hire a professional IT project manager with a clear scope and budget to manage the upgrade, I hope I'm wrong but it seems to me that things have been done by volunteers who necessarily can't give the project full attention and scrutiny.
As someone upthread said: "IT Project Overspend Shocker" ;)

The 21stC has seen many many disasterous IT Projects - big and small. Almost all of them were overseen by "professional IT project manager"s.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on August 20, 2018, 06:24:40 pm
I believe the main driver behind a new website was that the existing one is creaking and could fall over at any point. See FC's post on the AUK forum.

I’ve read that post and I’d love to know more about what those technical problems are and why they’re unsolvable without starting again from scratch. Sure, code can become a mess over time, and sometimes components need replacing, but the solution to those is to tidy up and replace those bits.

Every programmer dreams of binning their messy code and starting again, but it’s almost never the sensible business choice.

(It’s not clear to me whether “Phase 1” includes any independent database or backend, or if it’s just some prettied up versions of the public facing events browser and a few other pages)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Blazer on August 20, 2018, 07:03:17 pm
I don't understand the full reasons for an upgrade but they must be pretty critical to risk the financial safety of the entire organisation.

All I know is I didn't renew my membership in Dec 2017.  Seems a questionable decision to risk the future of the organisation in the hope existing members continue to renew and/or sufficient new members join.

What's the plan B?

FWIW I rarely visited the AUK website when I was a member and the website played very little part in my cycling or joining AUK.  Perhaps I'm just fortunate to live in an active audax area.

Pip pip
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Karla on August 20, 2018, 07:31:09 pm
I don't think it's the website that brings in or puts off new (younger) members, it's the events. The popular events don't gain a reputation through AUK, they advertise themselves in other ways, which brings in people from outside AUK. If they like it, which it seems they often do precisely because it's something different from a sportive or roadie club ride, they might or might not join AUK but they do go on to ride other events.

When I joined AUK aged 24 it was so I could ride some per
ms which were advertised very well by Mike Wigley on the Peak Audax website, the main AUK site being even more clunky back then.  I then decided I wanted to complete an SR so went looking for longer rides ... on the AUK site.  So sorry but you're wrong, people do get attracted over the internet as opposed to local reputation.  Particularly for the longer rides where events are fewer and the fields is more widely geographically spread, advertising to people outside your local circle is important.

If you think AUK is bad though, look at the CTT.  If you then think they're bad, take a look at the RRA.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: alter-ego on August 20, 2018, 07:37:12 pm
Whether it brings in more members, or more riders to existing events is largely irrelevant.
The existing website, like it or loath it, is the front-end to a system that is critical to the entire running of the organisation.

As FC says "It uses tired old code on tired old software and the last time we had a major forced migration (Jan 2016) we had the dickens of a job sourcing and commissioning old enough server software to run our code.  Frankly, it really could fall of a cliff at any time"

It's not just messy code, it's code that simply will not run on modern software (and as LWaB points out, takes a vast amount of volunteer time to keep it running.) 

AIUI, after going through an initial analysis phase and a tendering process, there were then two options: a "Big Bang" approach, involving a whole new database structure, and a more phased approach involving a contractor not only 're-skinning' the website, but also working with the existing DB, and bringing blocks of functionality in as they were developed/could be afforded.

Arguments about whether the tendering process chose the right contractor are fair enough (we've all got 20:20 hindsight after all) but the organization faces a very stark choice:   
Spend it's reserves, and more besides, to replace the IT infrastructure.
or
Run the daily risk that aukweb.net just "stops", no more new events, no brevet card printing, no events validated except by "paper" processes, nothing.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on August 20, 2018, 07:46:32 pm
I believe the main driver behind a new website was that the existing one is creaking and could fall over at any point. See FC's post on the AUK forum.

You'd think so, but as I understood it at the time, it was very much a desire for a shiny outward-looking new website with lots of pictures.  Somewhat driven by several threads of criticism of the existing site, on this forum.  The prime movers at that time (they are no longer involved) didn't seeem to have much concern about the back-end implications of aukweb, which is truly like an iceberg, 90% unseen.

I’ve read that post and I’d love to know more about what those technical problems are and why they’re unsolvable without starting again from scratch. Sure, code can become a mess over time, and sometimes components need replacing, but the solution to those is to tidy up and replace those bits.
Every programmer dreams of binning their messy code and starting again, but it’s almost never the sensible business choice.
(It’s not clear to me whether “Phase 1” includes any independent database or backend, or if it’s just some prettied up versions of the public facing events browser and a few other pages)

They mostly relate to the PHP language which is subject to frequent updates and not very good at backwards compatibility.  Unfortunately it's not just a case of search-and-replacing old code functions with new, that would be easy enough.  The new functions often have a different syntax.   It's a bit like trying to access a spreadsheet with macros, that was last saved on Excel v4, on a modern W10 PC.
We're in the situation now that no-ones cares about aukweb.  I wrote the code up to 2008, and much of it is still in use mostly in admin areas that members don't see. (If you're an organiser and use the Planner - that's the sort of stuff.) The person who was responsible for what you see today (the yellow sidebar and red bird) stopped development in 2013 and is no longer an AUK member.  His replacement walked away mid-term, having assessed the magnitude of the tidy-up job.  I am recalled as the 'caretaker' but I see that as a strictly passive role, the more so when I see what others earn from doing this stuff..

AFAIK, Phase 1 will be front-ending the existing data without any modifications.  I could be wrong about that.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Paul H on August 20, 2018, 08:30:41 pm
If I understand correctly, if you are not an AUK member, and want to do an AUK ride, you can pay 2 quid to join for the duration of the ride. With 19 quid as the cost of membership, you need to do 10 rides a year before it's cost effective to join (assuming you are only interested in Calendar events).

Increasing the price makes this balance even harder.
Could always work the other way round - increase the non member fee to encourage people to join.
I don't really care, I'd hate to see money spent that didn't need to be, but if it does and that raises the cost by a couple of quid a ride it's hardly going to bankrupt anyone.  The entry is never the major cost of any ride I've done and for all the reasons I remember rides (Or try and forget them) the entry fee isn't one.
I've ridden seven calendar events this year, that's quite an active year for me, two have been local and I'd have heard about them anyway, the other five I've travelled for and have been attracted to by their publicity - in the magazine, on facebook, here... organisers are not obliged to publicise  their events but there seems to be plenty of scope for those that wish to.
Hats off to those who've kept the old site running, it's always functioned fine for me, I'm not sure what more I'd want.  The BC site linked above as a shining example I thought awful, took me 5 mins to find the list of rides amongst the clutter and then I can't see any detail without logging in.  If we spend the money can we please have something better than that.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 20, 2018, 08:34:08 pm
At the Tramping the Two Loop there were many riders from the Evesham Wheelers who had no idea what audax is, they just came along because the organiser was a club member. I don't think many of them even bothered handing in brevets at the arrivée.

At one of the Dutch rides we had a group of Sportiv riders turn up, not realising what a BRM involved, they got lost very quickly, and then gave up...

Much is being made of Audax needing to grow, to have more members, being 'more inclusive' (ie, non-white), to have a flashier web site. But why?

People who want to ride Audax will, those who don't won't. Why the imperative? As an Audax member - this year anyway - it matters little to me who else joins as long as I can ride my perms whenever I want. I don't feel the need to mass with the masses.

So basically what you're saying is you're happy for AUK to be just a place for old white men, while the rest of us should either have to fight up hill, or just bugger off?

Every ride I do seems to have approximately 10% women on the ride, and in one case less than 5%. I work in IT, I'm used to being surrounded by men, but I can see it would be really off putting for many, I wonder how many women turn up to one event, realise it's just old white men, and then go ride elsewhere. I'm getting really tired of it, but I'm too damn stubborn to be put off by such thing.

I don't think a new website is the solution to this problem, it needs a wholesale attitude reset, but I think there's a lot a new website could do to help make things more accessible:

- Maps of routes on all ride pages
- GPX of all events
- None of this A, B, C, D, G, X, H, K code thingy, but maybe nice simple icons...
- Easy way to search based on a map.
- Ability to sign up without needing SAE's, a cheque book, telegrams, or carrier pigeons.

I don't care how the site looks, I actually like the retro appearance of the current site, but I can see features that are worth adding, and knowing that there is spaghetti under the hood, then it becomes a point where you have to build a new site.

This all said, as someone who works in IT, and have done projects like this in the past, my first reaction is "I never charged enough for the work I did" followed by "what on earth are we paying that much for? what the hell are they providing us, and who thought this lot were the right choice to hire?"

Remember that for many younger than 30, they don't drive, they can't afford a car, and so they need to get to rides by public transport or by riding. This limits what events they can do. Events where you can crash the night before, or start at a youth hostel, are much more accessible to younger riders. Even rides with sensible public transport access, they often start before the 1st train...

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Bairn Again on August 20, 2018, 09:20:39 pm
With all these IT experts, its going to be easy to resolve.   :D 
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Charlie Polecat on August 20, 2018, 10:00:52 pm
Quote
So basically what you're saying is you're happy for AUK to be just a place for old white men, while the rest of us should either have to fight up hill, or just bugger off?

No, not at all, I just believe there is no need to legislate such, if it happens, it happens.

Personally, I am happy to be white and male and wouldn't want to be anything different. I refuse to apologise for being so. Attempting to eliminate white men is faddish trend driven by the exigency of a trumped up outrage.

Reading the Telegraph today and seeing 'white, male' Oxford professors being asked to quit at age 67 to 'allow for diversity', is an abhorrent, objectionable and downright immoral move.

But I love you anyway in spite of your comment, that is assuming you are a girl, if you are a bloke then all bets and offers are rescinded.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on August 20, 2018, 11:17:57 pm
With all these IT experts, its going to be easy to resolve.   :D

 :thumbsup:

I wonder if some people might be missing the point about the purpose of the AUK website. It's rather more than a means of attracting new members or an archive of historical rides. A lot of the comments seem to focus on matters related to presentation rather than function.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 20, 2018, 11:18:41 pm
How telling that an old white man regards lobbying for the sport to be more inclusive to people outside of his narrow demographic as an odious threat "to eliminate white men". It isn't that far removed from American neo Nazis and their "white genocide" bollocks. The self-victimisation of the gammon, in the face of his own dominance of the sport and society in general, is just the most irritating thing.

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DY_3uIXW4AAI4ri.jpg)

You fit in with this lot and their pub bore braying.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: zakalwe on August 20, 2018, 11:44:01 pm
I think this is veering off-topic.

Weren't we talking about AUK's unenviable IT predicament?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on August 20, 2018, 11:44:57 pm
I’d be interested in seeing research that shows that minorities will take up activities if websites are better.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 20, 2018, 11:47:16 pm
I think this is veering off-topic.

Weren't we talking about AUK's unenviable IT predicament?

Yes. That veered in "well why does anything need to change I like it how it is", and now just a few posts ago we reached "diversity and inclusion is code for anti white."

You can't let rancid trash like that go in 2018. It is vile.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: barakta on August 20, 2018, 11:58:30 pm
Yes. That veered in "well why does anything need to change I like it how it is", and now just a few posts ago we reached "diversity and inclusion is code for anti white."

You can't let rancid trash like that go in 2018. It is vile.

*applause* Thank you for your take-down of that nonsense, it often doesn't feel safe for people like me (who tick too many diversity boxes) to do so.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on August 21, 2018, 12:04:50 am
With all these IT experts, its going to be easy to resolve.   :D

I'd love to help but I don't have enough free time to do anything meaningful.

(And AUK wouldn't be able to afford me if they really wanted to buy my time...)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Karla on August 21, 2018, 12:13:36 am
Well said QG. 

It's amazing how many voluntary organisations expect people to just know stuff, either through some psychic power or else by being a member of the old boys club.  It can be incredibly frustrating trying to get some people to make their public portal self-explanatory, consistent and providing sufficient verifiable information for a newcomer with no other prior knowledge to get to the start line. 

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: FifeingEejit on August 21, 2018, 01:25:59 am

I don't think a new website is the solution to this problem, it needs a wholesale attitude reset, but I think there's a lot a new website could do to help make things more accessible:

- Maps of routes on all ride pages
- GPX of all events
- None of this A, B, C, D, G, X, H, K code thingy, but maybe nice simple icons...
- Easy way to search based on a map.
- Ability to sign up without needing SAE's, a cheque book, telegrams, or carrier pigeons.

I don't care how the site looks, I actually like the retro appearance of the current site, but I can see features that are worth adding, and knowing that there is spaghetti under the hood, then it becomes a point where you have to build a new site.

What's often forgotten is that an IT system is there to support the business process;
If you can't fall back to paper then you've got a problem

The website is outdated, but it sounds like the real problem is supporting the business process is becoming increasingly time consuming.

But you've hit the nail on the head for attractiveness; appropriate advertising and keeping things simple for people to understand is the crux of it really.

On the point of GPX and the routesheet codes;
I don't really care about a GPX or not, but I'm more than happy to spend the time working out a route in RWGPS and Street View based on control information.

and you live in the land that gave motorsport "Tulip" diagrams as a simple for of navigation instruction.
(http://www.historicroadrally.co.uk/hrcr/navigation/tulips.gif)

A bit easier to carry 100 miles worth of them in a clip board than a back pocket though.


As someone who works in IT this situation seems all too familiar; I could tell about the patient safety critical systems I work on and what's happened because of their failures in the past, and the one that's creaking so badly that my warnings about it 4 years ago means we're on the edge of it being switched off for security reasons along with the work flow in every ward in the boards hospitals but but...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: joy of essex on August 21, 2018, 05:56:08 am
Has anyone mentioned the CTT  site?

It's improved dramatically over the last few years. It has maps, courses and so forth. Most organising happens online. It was an analogue culture up until  3-4 years ago. I can't imagine  TT's being organised any other way now, indeed the sport would have quietly declined without it.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 21, 2018, 06:52:06 am


Yes. That veered in "well why does anything need to change I like it how it is", and now just a few posts ago we reached "diversity and inclusion is code for anti white."

You can't let rancid trash like that go in 2018. It is vile.

I think you are mounting your own crusade out of nothing.
The reality is that cycling is not a very diverse sport, at any level. I can name one black French track cyclist and there was one black PRO rider in the peloton last year.
You go at the start of any sportive in the country and you see a demographic of white men in their 30-40s.

AUK stands out for a higher average age, but I don't think female participation is lower than any other branch of cycling and ethnic minorities are under represented, just as they are in any other branch of the sport.

Filling a website with selected images, showing a diversity that simply isn't there would be misleading at best.
I don't think AUK is the body that should lead the way to change things... British Cycling and the various cycling campaigns have a bigger role to play.
Audax is very niche, you get into it from other branches... in other words you need to be a rather accomplished bicycle rider before you start considering long distance, which probably explains the higher average age. If the diverse base isn't there, I don't think there is a diverse hidden market for AUK to tap into or pretending to champion
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 21, 2018, 07:48:12 am
Rubbish I only bought a bike in April and cracked my first 300 a few weeks ago. This is just bizarre. You're the one with the crusade here, a completely misplaced rant against inclusion.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on August 21, 2018, 07:56:18 am
Rubbish I only bought a bike in April and cracked my first 300 a few weeks ago. This is just bizarre. You're the one with the crusade here, a completely misplaced rant against inclusion.

With your attitude you won't get much of a conversation going... you are the one ranting and your attitude is incredibly arrogant
You could at the very least show a bit of respect for folks who have been in the organisation for many years and maybe have a more balanced perspective of how things work and why things are the way they are.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: zakalwe on August 21, 2018, 08:02:27 am
I think this is veering off-topic.

Weren't we talking about AUK's unenviable IT predicament?

Yes. That veered in "well why does anything need to change I like it how it is", and now just a few posts ago we reached "diversity and inclusion is code for anti white."

You can't let rancid trash like that go in 2018. It is vile.

Reading the preceding posts more carefully... you're right.

Has anyone mentioned the CTT  site?

It's improved dramatically over the last few years. It has maps, courses and so forth. Most organising happens online. It was an analogue culture up until  3-4 years ago. I can't imagine  TT's being organised any other way now, indeed the sport would have quietly declined without it.

That's exactly what I was just thinking.  They had much the same mentality as some people in AUK: if you know how it works, there's no problem; if you don't know how it works, then you should.

Thankfully that seems to be changing with CTT, but it's slow.  When I last did a TT, I had to send off a cheque in an envelope, to some address that wasn't available to me because I hadn't paid for the hard-copy annual handbook.  I'm sure to some people this was "quirky", but to me it's just unthinkable, and literally stopped me from doing events.  It sends the message that newcomers aren't welcome, and that way lies stagnation.

Someone earlier mentioned that it's not just important to have a stream of new members, but also a stream of new organisers.  Without these people, AUK will die, and it's precarious and arrogant to assume that things will continue the way they have for the last four decades just because.  We need to eliminate as many barriers to this stream as possible.

Things change, and an accessible and welcoming web presence is much more important now than it was in, err, 1976.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: pangolin on August 21, 2018, 08:38:02 am
I'll start showing respect when you stop ranting about "diversity is a plot to eliminate white men", which is racist white supremacist garbage. Respect is something you earn.

He hasn't said that so to put it in quotes is rather disingenuous.

Back on topic...

Does anyone know what the scope of stage 1 was? If it was, for example:


Then all this arguing about whether people prefer the old UI, or the new one that's been posted, or a different new one, is almost entirely irrelevant. It's already been established that the UI wasn't where most of the cost was anyway, people are just using this as an excuse to grind their particular axe.

As an aside - if membership were to go up in the order that would be required to fund stages 2 & 3 safely (£10-£15 more?) I don't think I'd renew, I'd just buy temp membership.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on August 21, 2018, 09:01:43 am
  • making the site https & the db secure and encypted so we're GDPR compliant
  • removing the need for regular maintenance work by various volunteers just to keep it running
  • an improved ui just as a symptom of it being on a new architecture

It appears to be item 3 only, and then only for a subset of public pages. Item 2 requires the full the £340,000 (at least) with the approach that’s been chosen.

(The most recent board pack doesn’t include a definition of what exactly was meant to be in phase 1 - so I’m extrapolating from what isn’t)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bludger on August 21, 2018, 09:07:00 am
I think you are confusing my posts with someone else's... go back, read carefully what I said and what others said and then maybe you should do the decent thing and apologise

You started braying on about "eliminating white men" on this exact page. Don't try and gaslight me with your garbage. I have nothing to apologise for.

That was Charlie Polecat - a different poster right at the top of the page. Suggest you apologise as whosatthewheel calmly tried to explain that to you.

Yes I have this wrong. Sorry. I apologise.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: jiberjaber on August 21, 2018, 09:07:57 am
  • making the site https & the db secure and encypted so we're GDPR compliant
  • removing the need for regular maintenance work by various volunteers just to keep it running
  • an improved ui just as a symptom of it being on a new architecture

It appears to be item 3 only, and then only for a subset of public pages. Item 2 requires the full the £340,000 (at least) with the approach that’s been chosen.

(The most recent board pack doesn’t include a definition of what exactly was meant to be in phase 1 - so I’m extrapolating from what isn’t)

It's probably in a previous board pack I would suspect - though which one might be a manual inspection job to find out.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: BeMoreMike on August 21, 2018, 09:22:11 am
Good grief this thread has lost the plot...can the person who has the biggest issue with apparent lack of diversity & inclusion please start a new thread on that subject, where those that have the most to say about it can feel free to rage and others add their own thoughts and views ?


Anyway, back on the subject of AUK's apparent crisis; when I first joined I hated the website, but soon learnt how it worked, and now see it as functional, it does what it needs to do, but obviously needs to be improved (backend more than front).
Shiny pictures and easy to use links might be nice, but shouldn't be the priority.

Many people have mentioned a member ballot trying to find a way through this crisis. I'm guessing if it was a binary question of "Stop the project now?" or "Continue with extra budget funded by increase subscription / event fees ?", then I honestly don't now how i'd vote.

I do know I definitely wouldn't support any increase in membership without seeing a substantial, almost punitive increase in the temporary membership charge. I'd suggest increasing it to £6.00 immediately, then continue to raise it every year.
I could only see this bringing benefits to the organization, it would increase fulltime membership, but still allow people to try an Audax before committing. It might also reduce the amount of riders who see Audax as a cheap sportive and block places on the more popular events with no interest in completing brevet cards or gaining points.

What other revenue streams could be open to AUK ?. If we do get a flashy new web site then what about selling advertising on there. I realise it's a small targeted audience, but it could at least offset some of the running costs.

I've only been a member for a  couple of years, but wish i'd found Audax a decade ago. If I was now reading reports of possible insolvency and was seeing all the funds AUK have built up and i'd contributed to over many years being squandered on a project that might fail then i'd be mightily upset and p1ssed off and want to know who was responsible for this apparent shambles.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on August 21, 2018, 09:35:31 am
What does AUK do?
What does it need to do that to a reasonable standard?
Can it afford it on the current membership and fee structure?

Pretty pictures are only essential on the front page. Further in the website you just end up with more stuff that someone has to remember to do.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on August 21, 2018, 09:48:26 am
very much like gears, pretty pictures are superfluous to most endeavours.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on August 21, 2018, 10:33:49 am
Personally whever I land on a front page with shiny pictures, I click quickly away.  :sick:

I do know I definitely wouldn't support any increase in membership without seeing a substantial, almost punitive increase in the temporary membership charge. I'd suggest increasing it to £6.00 immediately, then continue to raise it every year.c

That would be totally wrong - AUK does not want to discourage non-member riders, does not really need to convert non-members into members.  Non-member temp fees are an incredibly important source of income for AUK, for that reason alone we wouldn't want to turn them away.  A 50% rise to £3 might be reasonable.

  • making the site https & the db secure and encypted so we're GDPR compliant
  • removing the need for regular maintenance work by various volunteers just to keep it running
  • an improved ui just as a symptom of it being on a new architecture
It appears to be item 3 only, and then only for a subset of public pages. Item 2 requires the full the £340,000 (at least) with the approach that’s been chosen.

Unfortunately item 3 is incorrect though - the 'improved' UI will just constitute a lick of paint, at this stage.

Item 2 is a total myth - aukweb is very mature and therefore very low-maintenance, and increasing throughput makes next to no difference to that.  The various volunteers who access the admin parts of the site are accessing features that are enormously time-saving and labour-saving to them - compared with, say, them doing the same work on the desktop. 
What does take time is facilitating new features when they are requested - for example, if the AGM in its wisdom decides on a new annual award, the Brevet 12345.  That would be work.  Or if the membership fees change - that would be work.

Item 1 the public site is fully https and has been for a while - its just that for reasons I can't explain, the http version hasn't yet been disabled.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: pangolin on August 21, 2018, 10:42:29 am
Personally whever I land on a front page with shiny pictures, I click quickly away.  :sick:

I do know I definitely wouldn't support any increase in membership without seeing a substantial, almost punitive increase in the temporary membership charge. I'd suggest increasing it to £6.00 immediately, then continue to raise it every year.c

That would be totally wrong - AUK does not want to discourage non-member riders, does not really need to convert non-members into members.  Non-member temp fees are an incredibly important source of income for AUK, for that reason alone we wouldn't want to turn them away.  A 50% rise to £3 might be reasonable.

  • making the site https & the db secure and encypted so we're GDPR compliant
  • removing the need for regular maintenance work by various volunteers just to keep it running
  • an improved ui just as a symptom of it being on a new architecture
It appears to be item 3 only, and then only for a subset of public pages. Item 2 requires the full the £340,000 (at least) with the approach that’s been chosen.

Unfortunately item 3 is incorrect though - the 'improved' UI will just constitute a lick of paint, at this stage.

Item 2 is a total myth - aukweb is very mature and therefore very low-maintenance, and increasing throughput makes next to no difference to that.  The various volunteers who access the admin parts of the site are accessing features that are enormously time-saving and labour-saving to them - compared with, say, them doing the same work on the desktop. 
What does take time is facilitating new features when they are requested - for example, if the AGM in its wisdom decides on a new annual award, the Brevet 12345.  That would be work.  Or if the membership fees change - that would be work.

Item 1 the public site is fully https and has been for a while - its just that for reasons I can't explain, the http version hasn't yet been disabled.

Interesting, from what I read on this thread and the one over on the AUK forum, there was some significant admin going on behind the scenes that we were trying to mitigate.

Anyway, don't take my points as me saying 'this is phase 1' - my point was we (or at least most people posting here) don't know what was meant to be in phase 1 really.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 21, 2018, 11:09:20 am
I've been a member of a number of organisations which have succumbed to 'folies de grandeur'. Some have been in the conservation field.

An activity becomes fashionable, and a national body, with regional roots, feels it should reflect that growth. The membership contains ambitious young professionals, who identify inertia in the governance, focusing on surpluses. The younger members take control, and initiate a prestige project. The prestige project drains the coffers, and there's a financial crisis. The young Turks retire with their fingers burnt, and someone from the old guard is left carrying the can.

Where the organisation has regional roots, largely autonomous groups local groups continue the work. Those groups often mirror the political problems at the centre, but not all at the same time, so the whole system is relatively stable.

The central group seeks to address its financial problems by applying for lottery grants or the like. Those grants tend to carry duties to promote diversity, or address disadvantage. That tends to give rise to a demand for images of unlikely participants, to indicate progress towards those goals.

The current fashion in this type of social outreach through community groups is 'Men in Sheds'. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/in-your-area/men-in-sheds/ Such initiatives have identified retired and unemployed older men as a group in need of activities which provide companionship and exercise.

The current Cycle magazine from the rebranded CTC features a group of this type in the Glasgow area. It may have occurred to Cycling UK that they've got a membership which conforms to the criteria for funding, without needing to recruit from a more diverse base.

AUK is in a position to deliver a kind of outreach work for older men, as that's what it does already. It would require bit of creative work on a lottery bid, probably promoting phase 2 and 3 of the IT contract as needed to enhance social functions. Cycling UK are probably going down that route already though.

The alternative is to rely on the regional roots of long distance cycling, and to coordinate central functions through another platform. Sites such as YACF might do that, as an extension of current activity.

Another possibility is being subsumed by Cycling UK, as OCD was by AUK. Audax could be marketed as the home of cussed hardriders.

AUK's membership profile is an advantage in the current climate, not a disadvantage. I'd see the main problem being that funding opportunities might create more 'folies de grandeur'.

In the 1980s I was unemployed, and found salvation in the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. That organisation had a local grassroots function, but the centre advertised more adventurous 'working holidays' in remote areas. The feel of long Audaxes recalled the rigours and camaraderie of those 'Tasks' as they were called. BTCV rebranded itself as TCV, and now the National Trust is the group providing residential working holidays in remote areas. The activity continues, but not where it originally did. There are also expensive quasi-commercial equivalents.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 21, 2018, 11:13:15 am
Perhaps I have misunderstood the situation but the labour-intensive aspect I've been talking about does not relate to maintenance of the AUK website, coding, etc but actually relates to what the events team needs to do to input, modify and transfer data. I don't argue that the website is a hell of a lot more efficient than individuals working solely at desktops but the events team seem to have a lot of drudgery that could be further automated. Perhaps someone from the events team could expand on this point?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: fboab on August 21, 2018, 12:02:24 pm
What does AUK do?
What does it need to do that to a reasonable standard?
Can it afford it on the current membership and fee structure?

Pretty pictures are only essential on the front page. Further in the website you just end up with more stuff that someone has to remember to do.
When the website re-vamp was first raised, it was as part of a rethink of What AUK was for. We never had a coherent answer.

Throwing money at a non-problem was only one aspect of what we did.

I'm saying 'we' as someone who didn't vote for any of the current board (I'd need to check exactly, but I don't think so) because lots of us seem to have forgotten they the board are our elected representatives.

We chose this. We wanted to move away from our initial raison d'etre of qualifying for PBP to something closer to our woolly goal of encouraging long distance cycling.
Whingeing now that it's really expensive is a bit locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.
We should have voted in people who wanted the same things we wanted for the future of the club.

You don't even need to be an AUK member any more to qualify for PBP.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 21, 2018, 12:21:36 pm
I do know I definitely wouldn't support any increase in membership without seeing a substantial, almost punitive increase in the temporary membership charge. I'd suggest increasing it to £6.00 immediately, then continue to raise it every year.
I could only see this bringing benefits to the organization, it would increase fulltime membership, but still allow people to try an Audax before committing. It might also reduce the amount of riders who see Audax as a cheap sportive and block places on the more popular events with no interest in completing brevet cards or gaining points.

If you're going to have such a big chunk for non members, you might want to then have a mechanism whereby if you pay for a ride like that, you can then get the 6 quid off your membership when you join.

Quote
What other revenue streams could be open to AUK ?. If we do get a flashy new web site then what about selling advertising on there. I realise it's a small targeted audience, but it could at least offset some of the running costs.

I'm sure the likes of Alpkit would be happy to advertise on a site with a niche audience like ours. But I'd say it would be nice if we didn't need to resort to it.

That would be totally wrong - AUK does not want to discourage non-member riders, does not really need to convert non-members into members.  Non-member temp fees are an incredibly important source of income for AUK, for that reason alone we wouldn't want to turn them away.  A 50% rise to £3 might be reasonable.

That idea I like.

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Wycombewheeler on August 21, 2018, 12:34:05 pm
I had a quick look at the points table, the number of riders there is less than a third of the quoted membership, and the majority of riders are on 10 points or less, so if you hike membership but not temporary membership you incentivise being a non member, however much a UK gets from temporary memberships it must be less than from members.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 21, 2018, 01:25:44 pm
I had a quick look at the points table, the number of riders there is less than a third of the quoted membership, and the majority of riders are on 10 points or less, so if you hike membership but not temporary membership you incentivise being a non member, however much a UK gets from temporary memberships it must be less than from members.

Most AUK validations are for rides under 200km, which don't attract points.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on August 21, 2018, 04:37:25 pm
[OT] QG, sexism is rife both in and out of cycling and women's cycling clothes are molished for midgets but we ought to return to the AUK computer revamp.

Some folk would appear incorrigible.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 21, 2018, 04:47:48 pm
What an absolute fucking shambles.

And yet, every IT geek in AUK is looking at it and thinking . o O (It's not hte worst IT project screw up we've seen)

At risk of asking something I will later regret. Who would be the best person for me to email to ask what the current system is built upon?

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 21, 2018, 04:49:04 pm
frankly frankie
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: D.A.L.E. on August 21, 2018, 04:49:17 pm
What an absolute fucking shambles.

And yet, every IT geek in AUK is looking at it and thinking . o O (It's not hte worst IT project screw up we've seen)

At risk of asking something I will later regret. Who would be the best person for me to email to ask what the current system is built upon?

J
Not talking about the website, I'm talking about this thread. Give your head a shake.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on August 21, 2018, 10:50:21 pm
Perhaps I have misunderstood the situation but the labour-intensive aspect I've been talking about does not relate to maintenance of the AUK website, coding, etc but actually relates to what the events team needs to do to input, modify and transfer data. I don't argue that the website is a hell of a lot more efficient than individuals working solely at desktops but the events team seem to have a lot of drudgery that could be further automated. Perhaps someone from the events team could expand on this point?

Not addressing Events Secs specifically, but across the whole gamut of Events, Membership, Results, Permanents, DIYs, ECEs, AAAs admin and down to Organiser access, with the greatest respect to the many people involved I would suggest a few them may be bigging it up a bit.
Events admin and Membership admin - all the data is pre-entered by Organiser or Members, there is no 'input' in theory the admins have little to do except sit and watch.  Of course this itself can be seen as a chore, involving frequent logins and checks for updated data, with the rolling Calendar it is a bit of a treadmill, but the alternative to that is no admin at all, and consequent anarchy among organisers.  Prior to aukweb the Events Sec had to enter all the events information himself, including all controls/distances/times, in a yearly push from up to 500 handwritten paper forms received per year. How is having everything pre-entered on aukweb not an improvement for the admins?  Just the same for Membership, if anything even more so for Results.  The other admin categories mentioned above, yes, are open to a bit of improvement.  DIYs are a particular concern because they are an unanticipated huge growth area but also both the pre- and post-ride processes are too labour-intensive for the DIY organisers.

If new organisers struggle with the online Planner - they are supposed to be mentored.  And the Planner is dotted with 'help' popups.
There is the issue that after a certain point some of the event data gets locked and cannot be changed by the organiser (for example, a change of date) but that is a matter of "don't take the  p**ss" policy and if the Event Sec would prefer a more relaxed regulation he only has to say so.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: ian_oli on August 22, 2018, 01:07:36 am
As an organiser since 2010, I find AUKWeb does most of what I need it to do and has had improvements added over the years that make my life steadily more easy. The interface is a little quirky and even now I sometimes need to refer to the Organiser's Guide but it gets me there. If it is running on a platform that is unsupported then at some point it will need replacement, but if it aint broke don't fix it.

Let's put to bed the stale old myth about cheques. When I started a few rides like mine offered PayPal, but accepting cheques was de Rigueur. I think I was the first organiser to offer a discount for Paypal and found as a result that cheques diminished to less than 5% of entries. I also decided not to accept paper entries (other than on the lines) for my events - I got fed up having to deal with excess postage and unreadable writing and a couple of wrongly filled cheques - when the option was made available. PayPal has been offered by most rides for several years now and looking at the current Calendar for September and October 122 events offer PayPal or other online entry, 6 events from 4  organisers are pen and paper. On that basis I see no reason why offering online entry should not be mandated with paper optional. This would not need a policy change.

I also use another events system, Rider HQ, for my club's reliability ride. The admin effort imposed is about the same as on Aukweb, reconciliation is a bit harder though. Where it does score over Aukweb is good marketing reports. This would have been a useful expansion of the site and could have been achieved with cheap off the shelf products. I guess it won't ever happen now.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Bianchi Boy on August 22, 2018, 07:11:11 am
I cannot get onto the AUK forum. Can some please help?

I have asked for the password to be mailed and I have not received the mail to the web address I have registered with AUK.

On the computer front they need some work, but jazzing up the front end is not the answer. I work in IT and have seen on many occasions when problems are thought to be IT problems and they are not. If people want to enter they will. I do not think the web site is a real problem. One real problem is that the organisation looks (and is) fragmented and no more than a front page for a great and very helpful bunch of organisers. People want real consistency and not a glossy web site. AUK should look at collecting fees in a single portal and distributing the monies to the organisers. That way you can run events that require AUK membership and help organisers by managing the money for them.

Also we are a special interest organisation and like it or not it is the long events that people either ride or aspire to. You cannot make this easier or more helpful or gentler. A 600 in the rain is just hard. We must resist the temptation of thinking that there is something wrong with running an event that attracts 30 riders when the Wiggle sportive had banners 500 riders and signs. AUK has a special character and that is part of the pleasure. What other organisation would run an event that had one person giving out cards in front of a railway station and and expecting you to mail the card back? By the way I really enjoyed 'Back to the Smoke'.

I always worry when an organisation thinks IT will fix our problems. Normally hides the real issue.

BB
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Bianchi Boy on August 22, 2018, 07:15:57 am
https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/find-events (https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/find-events)

Shares many things with AUK. Cover for individual organisers who do not get paid and has a lot of data that needs organising. They have added some glossy pages, but the content is still the same.

BB
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: zakalwe on August 22, 2018, 08:04:06 am
https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/find-events (https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/find-events)

Shares many things with AUK. Cover for individual organisers who do not get paid and has a lot of data that needs organising. They have added some glossy pages, but the content is still the same.

BB

Gotta say, it's a lot better than it was 5 years ago.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Wycombewheeler on August 22, 2018, 09:04:57 am
I cannot get onto the AUK forum. Can some please help?

I have asked for the password to be mailed and I have not received the mail to the web address I have registered with AUK.

On the computer front they need some work, but jazzing up the front end is not the answer. I work in IT and have seen on many occasions when problems are thought to be IT problems and they are not. If people want to enter they will. I do not think the web site is a real problem. One real problem is that the organisation looks (and is) fragmented and no more than a front page for a great and very helpful bunch of organisers. People want real consistency and not a glossy web site. AUK should look at collecting fees in a single portal and distributing the monies to the organisers. That way you can run events that require AUK membership and help organisers by managing the money for them.

Also we are a special interest organisation and like it or not it is the long events that people either ride or aspire to. You cannot make this easier or more helpful or gentler. A 600 in the rain is just hard. We must resist the temptation of thinking that there is something wrong with running an event that attracts 30 riders when the Wiggle sportive had banners 500 riders and signs. AUK has a special character and that is part of the pleasure. What other organisation would run an event that had one person giving out cards in front of a railway station and and expecting you to mail the card back? By the way I really enjoyed 'Back to the Smoke'.

I always worry when an organisation thinks IT will fix our problems. Normally hides the real issue.

BB
I get in with the same details I use to LG in to the a UK website. Don't know if this is default, or if I was organised and changed the password when I first set up on the auk  forum.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 22, 2018, 09:58:57 am
FF's comments have caught my attention. They are noticeably different to what I was hearing when I was on the Board. That difference seems to be central to understanding what solutions are necessary or merely desirable.

The other point that may have been buried was raised by ESL a while ago. Have there been any significant personnel changes at the IT firm that have resulted in the recent dramatic cost estimate escalation?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 22, 2018, 11:06:31 am
I've worked as a contractor for a very long time, but always to a bid price. There have been occasions when I've put in a high bid to remain on lists, but got the work anyway, which is a bonus.

Being able to name my price for continuing, part way through a contract, is the stuff of dreams.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 22, 2018, 11:28:18 am
ESL posted this in the AUK and Diversity thread but it's at least as relevant here:
'Diverse' does paradoxically mean 'mainstream' in the context of Audax expansion. Articles wondering if Audax is finally becoming 'cool' are primarily to reassure 'ordinary' cyclists that they aren't going to be ridiculed for hanging out with a bunch of weirdos. https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/latest-news/london-edinburgh-london-rise-audax-343755

But people are inherently paradoxical. Expansion is most obvious in metropolitan areas, perhaps because that's where there's the most appetite for 'community'. Some find their way to Audax through conventional clubs, and that's an instance where reassurance that Audax can be a 'normal' activity is useful. Once inside Audax, newcomers identify 'quirkiness' with community.

In the same way that RAAM interested cyclists in extreme distance riding in the USA in the 1980s, TCR and the like legitimise Audax riding. The media which features Transcontinental racing has a house style, be it Rapha/Rouleur or Cycling Weekly. So the gateway to Audax will be friendlier to 'normal' cyclists if it provides a seamless entry into the activity.

Likewise, if participants then experience the type of feedback from Audax, which they might get from the mainstream media, that acts as a reinforcement.

The problem is that Audax has never been a 'consumer' activity. It's a mixed 'producer/consumer' environment. That means that it has had a certain ecology, a balance between organisers and participants.

'Going Mainstream' has created a need to have a mainstream portal, and that's been addressed by the IT upgrade. That seems to be in danger of bankrupting the organisation, unless fees and levies are sharply increased. 'Mainstream' participants can't see any downside, as they come from an environment where they pay more, so they are sanguine about higher costs, as they hope to see better facilities in return.

In the past it was obvious that organisers and volunteers were the reason that the costs were low, so riders progressed to organising and volunteering to repay what they had received. Without volunteers the costs rise towards commercial levels. Once the elastic between consuming and producing is broken, it becomes more important to adopt more commercial methods in order to pay for previously 'free' services.

At some point, those organising the more commercial events might ask themselves how they've ended up doing a job for nothing, that others are paid to do. There might be no logical boundary between events with a realistic cost, and avowedly commercial offers. At that point, why not award points for Sportives, in return for a fee?

So I'm not convinced that expansion will create more diversity. It might make Audax less 'nerdy', and reduce the percentage of sandal wearers. Meanwhile I expect to see a rise in 'group perms' and 'group DIYs', as those who might otherwise have organised, ride their bikes instead. They might spend a little of the money they've saved on a nice Gammon steak, instead of Beans on Toast.
I'd infer from this that AUK has become too big to be volunteer based but is not yet big enough to be commercial; and that if it could function commercially, it would (pretty much by definition) not have the same ethos and atmosphere, even if it had the same events and the same people.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on August 22, 2018, 11:58:38 am
Being able to name my price for continuing, part way through a contract, is the stuff of dreams.

Operationally at least AUK is fundamentally an IS company; the administration of cycling events is simply the service delivered through it's IT platform.

With this project AUK has outsourced the IT platform and, by virtue of the proprietary/non-mainstream technologies employed, de-facto locked into the supplier.

Experience suggests that once the initial system has been delivered it will effectively be frozen, as any development outside essential maintenance will be perceived as - and in practice, be - crushingly expensive.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 22, 2018, 02:11:18 pm

I'm sorting my finances out at the moment, and that entails some background research on IFAs. So I've been looking at company records. Lots of changes of directors, and changes of 'persons with significant control', don't give a good impression. This is the current status of the company doing the IT work for AUK.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07284437/filing-history
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Fidgetbuzz on August 22, 2018, 03:36:41 pm
AUK BOARD ..

 I think Damon has highlighted something here that needs  exploration.

19th June .. Carl Howarth becomes a person with significant control .
10th August Carl howarth no longer has significant control .. but Intercept IP ltd does.

Has Intercept bought Control F1 ?

Carl Howarth on linked in says
 
 Leading Control F1, where we develop meaningful digital products and creative software solutions that make a genuine difference to your business.

I think you need to identify that Carl Howarth / Intercept are one and the same .. and that continuity of the company you are contracted with is secure with the personnel you are used to dealing with. Company accounts for Control f1 .. are not so strong that full comfort is obvious.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Peter on August 22, 2018, 03:43:25 pm
Certainly seems to be making a "genuine difference".......
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on August 22, 2018, 03:49:13 pm
Intercept IP, what does IP stand for , is it intellectual property, or something else?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Phil W on August 22, 2018, 04:40:15 pm
Intercept IP, what does IP stand for , is it intellectual property, or something else?

Inflated prices... :facepalm:
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 22, 2018, 04:43:00 pm
Intercept IP seems to be Mark James Johnson, who lives in Bristol, and was appointed as a director of Control F1 in 2017.

Intercept IP became Intercept IP (MEA) in July 2018.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: CrinklyUncle on August 22, 2018, 04:47:22 pm
Huddersfield-based Intercept IP has acquired software company Control F1

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/intercept-acquire-control-f1-in-deal-to-take-technology-global-1-9310430 (https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/intercept-acquire-control-f1-in-deal-to-take-technology-global-1-9310430)

https://www.interceptip.com/ (https://www.interceptip.com/)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 22, 2018, 05:04:59 pm
Huddersfield-based Intercept IP has acquired software company Control F1

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/intercept-acquire-control-f1-in-deal-to-take-technology-global-1-9310430 (https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/intercept-acquire-control-f1-in-deal-to-take-technology-global-1-9310430)

https://www.interceptip.com/ (https://www.interceptip.com/)

That sounds much more high-powered than the accounts.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on August 23, 2018, 02:16:39 pm
its occurred to me that AUK IT refresh is a little bit like Brexit. In the sense that (some/most of) the populace wants to do one thing, but the powers that be/elected representatives know that they need to do something else for reasons that the populace don't fully appreciate.
Similar in the respect that, the powers that be have spent a lot of time dealing with the detail and intricacies and have their own ideas as to how problems need to be solved, but the public weigh in with their 'concern' over 'where "our" money is going'.
Also similar in the respect that the IT contractor/the EU is perceived as 'the bad guy' and that they, and the deal with them, isn't without its problems, but that they are needed.

I'm not sure the membership should be given the vote on whether to can the project or not/what to do, since they (we) don't know the detail and the intricacies of the whys and wherefores.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on August 23, 2018, 02:27:24 pm
its occurred to me that AUK IT refresh is a little bit like Brexit.

Er, no. Pretty much everyone who has contact with the AUK IT backend feels it urgently needs some updating.

There was never ever any need for Brexit.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: vorsprung on August 23, 2018, 02:33:55 pm
its occurred to me that AUK IT refresh is a little bit like Brexit. In the sense that (some/most of) the populace wants to do one thing, but the powers that be/elected representatives know that they need to do something else for reasons that the populace don't fully appreciate.
Similar in the respect that, the powers that be have spent a lot of time dealing with the detail and intricacies and have their own ideas as to how problems need to be solved, but the public weigh in with their 'concern' over 'where "our" money is going'.
Also similar in the respect that the IT contractor/the EU is perceived as 'the bad guy' and that they, and the deal with them, isn't without its problems, but that they are needed.

I'm not sure the membership should be given the vote on whether to can the project or not/what to do, since they (we) don't know the detail and the intricacies of the whys and wherefores.

You can't compare Chris Crossland with Teresa May
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: CrinklyLion on August 23, 2018, 02:51:34 pm
Er, no. Pretty much everyone who has contact with the AUK IT backend feels it urgently needs some updating.

There was never ever any need for Brexit.
You can't compare Chris Crossland with Teresa May

*applause*
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: urban_biker on August 23, 2018, 03:00:41 pm
its occurred to me that AUK IT refresh is a little bit like Brexit.

Er, no. Pretty much everyone who has contact with the AUK IT backend feels it urgently needs some updating.

There was never ever any need for Brexit.

Brexit is definitely not in the spirit of Long Distance Cycling!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on August 23, 2018, 03:11:39 pm
its occurred to me that AUK IT refresh is a little bit like Brexit.

Er, no. Pretty much everyone who has contact with the AUK IT backend feels it urgently needs some updating.


... which most members  haven't  :-\



You can't compare Chris Crossland with Teresa May

don't think the analogy stretches that far  ;D
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on August 23, 2018, 03:13:19 pm
It's as well to emphasise that this sort of story is pretty widespread in the world of clubs and societies.

The one component that's missing is external funding. That usually brings with it a whole raft of diversity commitments that are being rehearsed on the other thread. That means that the organisation becomes answerable to external bodies.

AUK hasn't gone down that routes, so sorting the situation out is entirely within its own grasp.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Charlie Polecat on August 23, 2018, 04:42:37 pm
Quote
I'm not sure the membership should be given the vote on whether to can the project or not/what to do, since they (we) don't know the detail and the intricacies of the whys and wherefores.

Gulp, an end to the democratic process as we knew it? Chairman Mao would be pleased.

Quote
There was never ever any need for Brexit.

Yet another arcane example of giving the people the vote.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Somnolent on August 23, 2018, 08:05:33 pm
The Brexit vote seems to provide a fine model....

That was a choice between continue as we are in the frying pan, hoping our politicians don't let things get too hot, or jump into a fire of completely unknown severity, with absolutely no agreement as to how we might protect ourselves from the flames. 

So with the idea of a ballot on the IT project.
What are the choices?

a) Allow the board to continue with the project, taking whatever steps are necessary to control future expenditure and bring forward proposals to fund it.

and what?

so far the suggestions seem to have been along the lines of:
b) i)   Abandon the project and do nothing, until aukweb and those who maintain it, "go under a bus" 
b) ii)  Abandon the project and have AUK volunteers redevelop aukweb
b) iii)  Ditch Control F1 and find another vendor to continue the project as envisaged
b) iv)  Ditch Control F1 and start with a completely different project, different vendor and different project managers
b) v)  Replace the Board and Project team with people who know what they are doing.
b) vi)  Fill in your own suggestion here

Although I suppose it doesn't have to a binary vote....

Of course, choosing anything other than a) or b) i) presupposes a whole new crop of volunteers to manage the project - who didn't step forward the first time around.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 23, 2018, 08:10:23 pm
<snip>

So with the idea of a ballot on the IT project.
What are the choices?

a) Allow the board to continue with the project, taking whatever steps are necessary to control future expenditure and bring forward proposals to fund it.

and what?

so far the suggestions seem to have been along the lines of:
b) i)   Abandon the project and do nothing, until aukweb and those who maintain it, "go under a bus" 
b) ii)  Abandon the project and have AUK volunteers redevelop aukweb
b) iii)  Ditch Control F1 and find another vendor to continue the project as envisaged
b) iv)  Ditch Control F1 and start with a completely different project, different vendor and different project managers
b) v)  Replace the Board and Project team with people who know what they are doing.
b) vi)  Fill in your own suggestion here

Although I suppose it doesn't have to a binary vote....

Of course, choosing anything other than a) or b) i) presupposes a whole new crop of volunteers to manage the project - who didn't step forward the first time around.

And here my inner voting system geek twitches. If you were to have a vote based on those 6 options, you would need to make sure you use a preferential voting system, else you can get a win, with 1/6th of votes + 1, meaning that 5/6ths-1, didn't want that option.

Having a vote we would either need to use a preferential voting system, or have a series of run off elections...

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: toontra on August 23, 2018, 08:16:40 pm
I really don't think Brexit analogies are relevant in any meaningful way to this thread.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Tull924 on August 23, 2018, 09:22:47 pm

b) i)   Abandon the project and do nothing, until aukweb and those who maintain it, "go under a bus"....

.......
b) v)  Replace the Board and Project team with people who know what they are doing.


I find this quite offensive especially as they are all volunteers offering their time to the organisation for free (just remind me of your contribution if you please?). As I understand the overspend is due to unforeseen circumstances, which by definition where not know at the time. I don't remember you foreseeing any of this when the project started.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 23, 2018, 09:27:12 pm
I really don't think Brexit analogies are relevant in any meaningful way to this thread.

It's the new godwin...

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: toontra on August 23, 2018, 09:29:23 pm
I really don't think Brexit analogies are relevant in any meaningful way to this thread.

It's the new godwin...

J

My thoughts exactly  ;D
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 23, 2018, 09:37:28 pm
Some might not know that Somnolent is AUK's Event Services Director and Recorder.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Tull924 on August 23, 2018, 09:41:01 pm
the beauty of forums....
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Somnolent on August 23, 2018, 09:43:37 pm
Some might not know that Somnolent is AUK's Event Services Director and Recorder.
Damn - outed!
 ;D
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 23, 2018, 09:44:32 pm
I'm known for having a big mouth...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: CrinklyLion on August 23, 2018, 10:09:57 pm
You?  No, the very model of discretion, restraint and reserve, surely!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Somnolent on August 23, 2018, 10:14:12 pm
Don't call him Shirley....
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: CrinklyLion on August 23, 2018, 10:23:06 pm
Don't call him Shirley....
(https://media1.tenor.com/images/879f071a2694806839196592ef733711/tenor.gif?itemid=5645548)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on August 23, 2018, 10:47:50 pm
b) vi)  Fill in your own suggestion here

My suggestion:-

Ditch F1. No more money to them if it can be helped. Ensure IP of what has been developed is handed over. Thanks but no more. (IMHO I don't think it will work out well to continue the relationship as is.)

Use AUK volunteers to get the existing code in to a more supportable state (i.e. to be able to run on the latest versions of php, whatever DB is in use, everything else). FF/FC needs not to be so critical (and I'm sure he doesn't want to be.)

Volunteers (and I will chuck my hat into the ring) continue to deal with the backend.
Transition the backend to an API style interface that the front end can use to get the data it needs to display. PHP can easily be used to return json/xml/etc, I'm not saying ditch PHP (it's not my preferred option but it works and it is there already).

Once a chunk of backend work has been done find a company to help with the front end of the site (user side first) as volunteers IME to do front end stuff rarely works well. It should be easier to create a stronger RFP once the backend is in a better state.
Various aspects of the backend need to be redesigned to cope with the way that AUK is evolving (DIYs, more GPX, ECEs, etc), this needs to be done in situ and as transparently as possible to the people dealing with the front end. API endpoints don't change as the code/DB behind them does unless necessary.
Redesign of backend needs to cope with the incomplete legacy data. It's relatively simple but I can see why a contracted company is going to claim this is harder than it is, that's where their profit margin and leverage often lies.

Any UI work requires a clear vision of what the user is expecting to see. I've no idea if that exists already. Plans for improvements (better visualisation of rides/routes/elevation, etc) needs to be considered from early on in the back end for ezample.

The backend UI (organisers/Admins) is just as important for the efficient operation of AUK, but can often be done without paid UI professionals.

I guess my main point is that there is a whole load of volunteer work that could be done on the back end (and a bit on the existing front end) that can be done before any more paid work needs to be done.

It'll probably take a load more of FF's time, but at least he knows that the person at the other end of the conversation isn't making a chunk of money each time.

To put it simply, I think the backend should be kept in house, and it needs to be rationalised by a group of volunteers (to spread the risk) before the front end is improved.

Anyway, that's my half arsed interpretation of it all. Happy to be told I'm wrong on any of it.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 23, 2018, 10:54:26 pm
b) vi)  Fill in your own suggestion here

My suggestion:-

Ditch F1. No more money to them if it can be helped. Ensure IP of what has been developed is handed over. Thanks but no more. (IMHO I don't think it will work out well to continue the relationship as is.)

<snip the sensible stuff>


Gets my vote, I'll even volunteer to help with overview, design stuff, I'm not a PHP programmer, and my embedded C programming background won't be much use, but I can problem be useful with integration/api stuff.

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on August 23, 2018, 11:15:50 pm
Ensure IP of what has been developed is handed over.
This is possibly important, especially when a company that has the term IP in its name is involved!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: jiberjaber on August 24, 2018, 01:01:29 am
Just a note from reading through the board reports (trying to find the procurement contract for phase 1 but unable to)....  there are some GDPR items that the new website is expected to resolve - so I would urge some caution about citing that the current phase be halted - especially whilst I don't think we are in possession of all the facts. 

There is an option for any volunteers to offer their services on the actual thread on AUK forums - if you've got a good idea or skills to contribute, might be worth looking through that thread for the information to do so.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on August 24, 2018, 10:59:50 am
What are the choices?

a) Allow the board to continue with the project, taking whatever steps are necessary to control future expenditure and bring forward proposals to fund it.

and what?
so far the suggestions seem to have been along the lines of:
b) i)   Abandon the project and do nothing, until aukweb and those who maintain it, "go under a bus" 
b) ii)  Abandon the project and have AUK volunteers redevelop aukweb
b) iii)  Ditch Control F1 and find another vendor to continue the project as envisaged
b) iv)  Ditch Control F1 and start with a completely different project, different vendor and different project managers
b) v)  Replace the Board and Project ...

I think there is an (a) ii) - take Phase 1 to completion and then take stock - or was that the assumed starting point?

My personal strong preference would be (b) ii), but with the emphasis on the s in volunteers and with the proviso that any such people would be paid - but at AUK rates not industry rates.  I have already had two offers of help (3 including Greenbank's hat upthread - thanks GB) but I don't intend to move on it until the future clarifies a lot - I don't have any mandate to do anything anyway.  Let's face it I could have done the necessary work myself, and years ago, but for years there has been this promise of a replacement web project and there's no incentive to work on aukweb as long as this exists.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: oggy on August 24, 2018, 11:33:50 am
What are the choices?

a) Allow the board to continue with the project, taking whatever steps are necessary to control future expenditure and bring forward proposals to fund it.

and what?
so far the suggestions seem to have been along the lines of:
b) i)   Abandon the project and do nothing, until aukweb and those who maintain it, "go under a bus" 
b) ii)  Abandon the project and have AUK volunteers redevelop aukweb
b) iii)  Ditch Control F1 and find another vendor to continue the project as envisaged
b) iv)  Ditch Control F1 and start with a completely different project, different vendor and different project managers
b) v)  Replace the Board and Project ...

I think there is an (a) ii) - take Phase 1 to completion and then take stock - or was that the assumed starting point?

My personal strong preference would be (b) ii), but with the emphasis on the s in volunteers and with the proviso that any such people would be paid - but at AUK rates not industry rates.  I have already had two offers of help (3 including Greenbank's hat upthread - thanks GB) but I don't intend to move on it until the future clarifies a lot - I don't have any mandate to do anything anyway.  Let's face it I could have done the necessary work myself, and years ago, but for years there has been this promise of a replacement web project and there's no incentive to work on aukweb as long as this exists.

+1
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on August 24, 2018, 11:39:54 am
I have already had two offers of help (3 including Greenbank's hat upthread - thanks GB)

I just emailed Chris so that should be a bit more of a formal offer than a hat.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on August 24, 2018, 12:47:23 pm
I’d hope a good chunk of the front end work Control F1 have done could be grafted onto AUKWeb (maybe via a PHP CMS) without much fuss  - content, design, CSS, templates etc.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ivan on August 24, 2018, 02:52:54 pm
Ok, time to put my head over the parapet, now it seems a bit calmer. As some of you might know, I'm one of the IT delegates, seconded at the 2016 reunion to look mainly at the GIS (mapping) area of the IT refresh, specifically tools for calculating climbing/AAA and minimum distance values that would improve transparency and remove our dependence on external sources. My background is Linux system admin and some coding though I'm not really a full software developer.

My understanding was that the board wanted to move away from a reliance on volunteers and put in place a professionally written and maintained solution, and I can understand why as I'm a case in point - with the sudden retirement of the old AAASec my AAA prototype was pressed into service for use by the new AAA man but due to competing demands on my time (and my general crappiness at finishing projects), after a year I still haven't managed to deliver a full production-spec version that could be made available to DIY orgs and members, plus documented and published to github for peer review, etc.

I was peripherally involved in the selection of Control F1, primarily scoring their GIS credentials (about as bad as the rest basically), don't think it's worth dwelling too much on this now, suffice to say I would have much preferred a solution completely based on FOSS tools but wasn't really prepared to fight that corner, there was a fairly exhaustive selection procedure and at the time their bid seemed pretty reasonable, though the escalation in projected costs means that I can no longer see this being feasible for us as an organisation.

I'm a hands-on kind of person (as anyone who's ridden my events should know), I'm not that good at delegating, project managing, budgeting, (or debating in online forums) etc. which is why I decided against going for the IT Director position when it came up, despite so many volunteers working really hard on this project none of us have been prepared to put our neck on the line for that role, and having seen some of the reactions here and in the AUK forum, I can understand why, however it pains me to see this unfilled and would be great if we could see this addressed.

However, at least the Chairman's statement has helped focus our minds and galvanised members to come forward to offer services, so I would add my support to a new approach, looking at what can be taken from phase one, and tackling further phases ourselves, via an open API, etc, as discussed above. I'm not a development methodology expert but would propose ideally doing this in the form of sprints - interested parties meeting somewhere for a weekend, defining and delivering particular milestones on a fairly regular basis.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mattc on August 24, 2018, 03:02:10 pm
I'm not a development methodology expert but would propose ideally doing this in the form of sprints - interested parties meeting somewhere for a weekend, defining and delivering particular milestones on a fairly regular basis.
I trust there will be a new badge for those that ride there.

(Not sure a Long Distance blah-blah club should be promoting sprints, but a badge would keep me happy with the idea ... )
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on August 24, 2018, 03:48:49 pm
O is that what a sprint is. Penny drops.
Title: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Phil W on August 24, 2018, 04:18:18 pm
O is that what a sprint is. Penny drops.

Think of a sprint as a small project where the horizon is at most one month away.  At the end of the sprint you should have produced something ready for release.

A positive is that as the end user you see new features and improvements arriving regularly rather waiting years for the delivery of a large project scoped years ago when your requirements were different. A downside, well just look at how damn often Windows 10 is doing updates
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on August 24, 2018, 04:28:27 pm
... A downside, well just look at how damn often Windows 10 is doing updates

Also - Sprint leads can often view testing as "Something the client does after the update".
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: damerell on August 26, 2018, 10:37:27 pm
My personal strong preference would be (b) ii), but with the emphasis on the s in volunteers and with the proviso that any such people would be paid - but at AUK rates not industry rates.

This seems like the only viable option. Most of the others amount to buying another pig in another poke, which will presumably also turn out to be colossally expensive. I could not agree more with Joel Spolsky's often-quoted assertion that you are never better off rewriting a complex system from scratch rather than sticking with the devil you know.

I think the AUK Chairman's statement is optimistic in that it supposes that piling on another quarter of a million quid will bring success. One has to consider the possibility that it will just lose another quarter of a million quid and that recovery of the money from the contractor will prove impractical.

It also seems optimistic to assume, as the AUK Chairman's Statement seems to, that the existing membership can simply be hit up for more cash as needed. As I understand it, many members ride relatively few rides each, and a non-trivial number ride none. I ride the London Sightseer once or twice a year; while I enjoy Arrivee, a sudden whopping increase in the membership fee to pay for a possibly-doomed-and-unnecessary [1] IT project isn't going to extract the cash from me; it'll reduce my contribution to one or two non-member entry fees a year.

[1] I appreciate from what Frankie says that _something_ must be done, but "something must be done; this is something; therefore this must be done" is, of course, a fallacy.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: FifeingEejit on August 26, 2018, 10:49:35 pm
... A downside, well just look at how damn often Windows 10 is doing updates

Also - Sprint leads can often view testing as "Something the client does after the update".

What's that, fail fast, fail often and do it in public... aye I'd kill people doing that...
Thought wasn't working that way when I had to investigate a bug that was a possible cause of death...  ::-)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hillbilly on August 27, 2018, 11:51:38 am
. Removed . (Was more appropriate for forum.audax.uk)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: jiberjaber on August 27, 2018, 12:43:46 pm
. Removed . (Was more appropriate for forum.audax.uk)

Quote
The forum is off the air for a while - but we'll be back!
   :facepalm:
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Feline on August 29, 2018, 03:07:47 pm
I've been a member of AUK for 8 years, but am unable to even register on the stupid auk forum because of this:
An Error Has Occurred!
Sorry, registration is currently disabled.

So perhaps we can discuss this issue here where ALL the members can actually read it ....
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: CrinklyLion on August 29, 2018, 03:25:26 pm
You don't need to register, iirc.  Your auk number is your username and the password you can get reset by clicking the 'i forgot' link and they'll send you an email to the address they have on record for you.

I _think_ the initial password is whatever your initial password for the auk site was.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on August 29, 2018, 03:33:27 pm
Yes, you log into the AUK forum using the uid & pw you use for the AUK website, either the original pw assigned by AUK when you joined or your current one with letters in lower case (the latter is a function of the AUK website, not the forum...).
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Feline on August 29, 2018, 03:33:57 pm
You don't need to register, iirc.  Your auk number is your username and the password you can get reset by clicking the 'i forgot' link and they'll send you an email to the address they have on record for you.

I _think_ the initial password is whatever your initial password for the auk site was.

Site does not recognise my AUK number or email address, so nope unfortunately.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: CrinklyLion on August 29, 2018, 03:43:41 pm
Can you log in OK to the auk website, but not the forum, or can you not log in to either?

I had to do a search on my inboxes to figure out which email address I'd used and that they'd therefore have on record and ask for a pwd reset, but it worked OK....
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on August 29, 2018, 03:45:16 pm
I've been a member of AUK for 8 years, but am unable to even register on the stupid auk forum because of this:
An Error Has Occurred!
Sorry, registration is currently disabled.

So perhaps we can discuss this issue here where ALL the members can actually read it ....

It's an issue with the mobile site. I get it as well.
On Android you can go menu, and tick "desktop site".
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Feline on August 29, 2018, 03:47:55 pm
Can you log in OK to the auk website, but not the forum, or can you not log in to either?

I had to do a search on my inboxes to figure out which email address I'd used and that they'd therefore have on record and ask for a pwd reset, but it worked OK....

Yeah I can get onto the AUK site.
The password reset button errors as well so it's difficult to know whether it knows my email address or not really ....
I personally don't know my login or password to anything as keychain does it all for me  ;D
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Feline on August 29, 2018, 03:48:26 pm
I've been a member of AUK for 8 years, but am unable to even register on the stupid auk forum because of this:
An Error Has Occurred!
Sorry, registration is currently disabled.

So perhaps we can discuss this issue here where ALL the members can actually read it ....

It's an issue with the mobile site. I get it as well.
On Android you can go menu, and tick "desktop site".

I'm on Safari on my Mac at the moment though.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on August 29, 2018, 03:56:30 pm
I've been a member of AUK for 8 years, but am unable to even register on the stupid auk forum because of this:
An Error Has Occurred!
Sorry, registration is currently disabled.

So perhaps we can discuss this issue here where ALL the members can actually read it ....

It's an issue with the mobile site. I get it as well.
On Android you can go menu, and tick "desktop site".

I'm on Safari on my Mac at the moment though.

Oh right, possibly a different issue then, sorry
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ian H on August 29, 2018, 04:16:44 pm

Site does not recognise my AUK number or email address, so nope unfortunately.

I think they just don't want your sort on the forum.  ;)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Feline on August 29, 2018, 04:25:51 pm

Site does not recognise my AUK number or email address, so nope unfortunately.

I think they just don't want your sort on the forum.  ;)

I'm sure you're right Ian  ;D
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on August 29, 2018, 04:43:03 pm

Site does not recognise my AUK number or email address, so nope unfortunately.

I think they just don't want your sort on the forum.  ;)

You didn't tell them you are a girl?  :o
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ian H on August 29, 2018, 04:44:13 pm

Site does not recognise my AUK number or email address, so nope unfortunately.

I think they just don't want your sort on the forum.  ;)

I'm sure you're right Ian  ;D

A shout to Caroline, the Memsec, should get you the keys to it:  membership @ audax.uk
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 29, 2018, 05:27:56 pm
HK has always had the same problem. She can log onto the AUK website but not the AUK forum, regardless of laptop or mobile.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ian H on August 29, 2018, 05:32:43 pm
HK has always had the same problem. She can log onto the AUK website but not the AUK forum, regardless of laptop or mobile.

Hmm.  Perhaps Jaded has something.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Phil W on August 29, 2018, 05:42:53 pm
HK has always had the same problem. She can log onto the AUK website but not the AUK forum, regardless of laptop or mobile.

I had the same problem yesterday.  Appears logging in to the mobile version of forum site is buggered. But logging into desktop version works.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bhoot on August 29, 2018, 05:47:08 pm
Sorry to hear about all the issues with the forum. This week we did learn that it wasn't working for new members due to some incompatibility issue (thought to be caused by changes to settings made by the hosting company that the forum administrator Martin Foley was not aware of).

I had assumed it only affected new joiners, but perhaps it affects anyone who is using it for the first time regardless of how long they have been a member.  It is still working OK for me.

LWAB - looks like we need to ask Martin (forum@audax.uk will find him) to check for HK as that seems to be a long standing issue and so probably not related to the current problem.

Feline - mail me on membership@audax.uk and I can help you out with password and checking what e-mail address you have registered.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: The Bonk on August 29, 2018, 06:05:22 pm

I have a similar issue on the mobile site. Whenever I try to log in from the page after clicking ‘forum’ I always get the error message. But if instead I click ‘full site’ on the same page my log in details are accepted.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Whitedown Man on September 12, 2018, 04:55:00 pm
I see from Arrivee that the Board has decided that it can increase Subs without member approval. Any white / black / grey smoke emerging after the 29 / 8 telecon? Nothing on either Aukweb or the Forum as far as I can see.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Redlight on September 12, 2018, 06:08:16 pm
I see from Arrivee that the Board has decided that it can increase Subs without member approval. Any white / black / grey smoke emerging after the 29 / 8 telecon? Nothing on either Aukweb or the Forum as far as I can see.

There was some more number crunching commissioned after the telecon. Expect more info soon.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on September 12, 2018, 06:36:59 pm
The Chair referenced the Boards powers under the Companies Articles.

They Company Articles used to read
Quote
3.10   The Board shall have the power to make, vary and repeal the Audax United Kingdom Rules concerning subscriptions for membership provided that any such change shall not be effective until approved by the majority of the Members in a General Meeting.

10.2   For the avoidance of doubt, the Board may not amend the Audax United Kingdom Rules except with the approval of a simple majority of the Members present and entitled to vote at a General Meeting in accordance with article 8.5.2.

i.e., the Articles deferred to the AUK Rules and Regulations which in turn ceded some operational flexibility to the Board, as per the following extract from AUK Rules and Regulations.
Quote
1 Application of Regulations
1.1 The Regulations govern the administration of AUK and the system of AUK events.
1.2 The Regulations can only be changed at a general meeting of the Company.
1.3 The Appendices to the Regulations detail additional policy regarding the application of the regulations.
1.4 The Appendices to the Regulations may be changed by the board during the course of the year, subject to ratification at the next general meeting.

The Company Articles now read
Quote
12.4 the Board shall have the power to make, vary and revoke rules, regulations, mechanisms and standing orders for the better administration of AUK and the furtherance of its objects including (but without limitation):
12.4.1 technical regulations;
12.4.2 rules to combat doping in cycle sport to ensure compliance with national and international rules relating to doping control;
12.4.3 appeals procedure;
12.4.4 rules for the promotion and organisation of championships;
12.4.5 mechanisms for co-ordinating the arrangement of and the date of fixtures of cycling events organised under Audax UK rules and guidelines; and
12.4.6 mechanisms for co-ordinating commercial activities of Audax UK.

So the Board's role has changed from delivering AUK operations subject to the rules and regulations approved by the membership to having full control over AUK operations and regulations without any need to consult the membership or otherwise obtain approval for their actions.

TLDR: the Board can do what it likes without any reference to the membership, including set fees and amend/revise AUK regulations.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hillbilly on September 12, 2018, 07:25:42 pm
Is that your interpretation Mr O’tea or the incontrovertible  truth? 

Like a character in a Jack Nicholson film, I can’t handle the truth.... I can’t quite believe members would have been relaxed about granting such sweeping powers to the Directors.  In my disbelief, I’m reading it as the board has the power subject to ratification (there being a provision later in that refers to the ratification of changes at AGMs).  So article 12 is simply giving someone the power to implement such decisions.  Not a lawyer though so may (indeed am likely to) be wrong..
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on September 12, 2018, 08:05:18 pm
Who has time to review and question large technical documents when any feedback is unlikely to have much impact?

But this is not my interpretation but the Board's; their position has already been made clear.

Welcome to Audax Cycling UK :)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Whitedown Man on September 12, 2018, 10:26:31 pm
I make no claim to match Manotea’s constitutional expertise, but the Chairman’s article in Arrivee says exactly that, i.e. the Board has reviewed ‘the rules’ and concluded that it has all the authority it needs to amend and set Subs levels, hence my original post.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Feline on September 12, 2018, 11:00:05 pm
Increasing membership fees might only work to a point- i.e. the point at which all the current 5 year renewals are not due. After that point all bets are off. I am certainly not going to fund this project whilst the current board attitude prevails. Totally disgusted TBH.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Redlight on September 12, 2018, 11:20:29 pm
the current board attitude .

By which you mean?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on September 12, 2018, 11:30:52 pm
I’m curious if the letter in Awoowoo was written before or after the membership provided feedback.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Whitedown Man on September 13, 2018, 06:41:44 am
the current board attitude .

By which you mean?

I can’t speak for Feline and don’t pretend to - these are my opinions only - but it’s now two weeks since the emergency telecon and the Board still haven’t posted any message of any kind on either Aukweb or the AUK Forum to inform the members of the outcome - not even a brief message in lieu of official minutes. That’s not an ‘attitude’ to be celebrated.

More broadly, the supplier is still in place and is still filling its boots with our money, the Board that failed to oversee the project is still in place, that same Board has decided (unless on 29/8 it decided to the contrary, but they haven’t deigned to tell us) to throw a massive amount of good money after bad, and that same Board has declared in the pages of the club magazine that it has the right to write massive cheques at our expense without consulting us. Again, not an ‘attitude’ to be celebrated.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on September 13, 2018, 11:45:48 am
As well as subs, there's also the matter of the proposed increase in brevet card and validation fees. Many rides are already published in the calendar for 2019 and open for entries, and will have been budgeted for based on current fees, with entry fees set accordingly.

What happens if organisers are left out of pocket by these fee increases?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on September 13, 2018, 12:11:59 pm
As well as subs, there's also the matter of the proposed increase in brevet card and validation fees. Many rides are already published in the calendar for 2019 and open for entries, and will have been budgeted for based on current fees, with entry fees set accordingly.

What happens if organisers are left out of pocket by these fee increases?

Annoying... although I suspect if the validation fee goes from 20 to 30 p it probably won't make much difference to the overall budget.
Or you can increase the price, if anyone complains, tell them the previous was an "early bird fee"
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on September 13, 2018, 12:35:29 pm
It's going too be interesting... AIUI according to the current schedule AUK will need to generate an "extra" £50k - £100k over the next 12-18 months to cover cashflow shortfalls and provide some contingency/reserves.

Increasing validation fees by 10p or even a quid isn't going to cover it.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on September 13, 2018, 12:52:23 pm
As well as subs, there's also the matter of the proposed increase in brevet card and validation fees. Many rides are already published in the calendar for 2019 and open for entries, and will have been budgeted for based on current fees, with entry fees set accordingly.

What happens if organisers are left out of pocket by these fee increases?

Annoying... although I suspect if the validation fee goes from 20 to 30 p it probably won't make much difference to the overall budget.
Or you can increase the price, if anyone complains, tell them the previous was an "early bird fee"

The Arrivée piece mentions 20p each on both the card and validation fees. If you have 100 riders, that's an extra £40, which might not break the bank but could mean you can't afford to pay for beers for the winners.

I didn't think it was allowed to adjust entry fees after the event is published, but I might be wrong on that.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on September 13, 2018, 12:56:53 pm


The Arrivée piece mentions 20p each on both the card and validation fees. If you have 100 riders, that's an extra £40, which might not break the bank but could mean you can't afford to pay for beers for the winners.

I didn't think it was allowed to adjust entry fees after the event is published, but I might be wrong on that.

Double that and charge them a pound more... you don't want your event full of cheapskates who question your choice of baked beans from the middle shelf!  ;D
That way you can afford beer for those who meet the "gold standard"  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 13, 2018, 01:08:45 pm

Or you can increase the price, if anyone complains, tell them the previous was an "early bird fee"

Or you could tell the truth - that the board has lifted prices to try and generate more revenue for a massively overbudget website.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on September 13, 2018, 01:10:23 pm
I think petty adjustments would be bound to do more harm than good, by alienating people.  Membership fees are well overdue for a rise of course - they've been static for about 10 years - but Board could have anticipated that years ago, appearing to rush it through is not good.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 13, 2018, 06:56:42 pm
This may ruffle a few feathers, and I know its only £50 increase, but when prices are hiked for the membership to avoid insolvency, its nice to see the board getting a pay rise.

Like when MPs got a pay rise as they froze public sector wages. That was an independent body though wasn't it?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on September 13, 2018, 08:01:54 pm
I don't begrudge the Board's honoraria.

If I'm eligible for FREE Life Membership at 65, AUK will only get a year's increased subs from me when I'm 64, as my commuted membership runs till 2022. I think there are many AUKs of a similar vintage to mine who will not help improve the cashflow.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Peter on September 13, 2018, 08:17:35 pm
What is this FREE life membership?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ian H on September 13, 2018, 08:33:09 pm
Ah.  That reminds me...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Peter on September 13, 2018, 08:34:19 pm
Of what?!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on September 13, 2018, 08:40:06 pm
I think AUKs over 65 with 20 years' membership get free Life Membership but have to pay for Arrivée but might be mistook.

Things may change.

I am 60. I have been a member of AUK for 25 years.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Aunt Maud on September 13, 2018, 08:47:11 pm
I think AUKs over 65 with 20 years' membership get free Life Membership but have to pay for Arrivée but might be mistook.

Things may change.

I am 60. I have been a member of AUK for 25 years.

Your Arrivée yearly subscription will be £19, but if you pay for 5 years in advance you can get it for £65.00*

* Only applies for members  aged 65 years or older. In 5 years time we will be increasing the minimum age for this bargain subscription rate to  aged 70 years or over.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Peter on September 13, 2018, 08:48:23 pm
I think AUKs over 65 with 20 years' membership get free Life Membership but have to pay for Arrivée but might be mistook.

Things may change.

I am 60. I have been a member of AUK for 25 years.

Ah, thanks Helen!

Peter
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ian H on September 13, 2018, 09:11:39 pm
I think AUKs over 65 with 20 years' membership get free Life Membership but have to pay for Arrivée but might be mistook.

Things may change.

I am 60. I have been a member of AUK for 25 years.

10 years continuous.  Scroll to 4. (http://www.aukweb.net/_resources/files/official/AUK_Regulations_050418.pdf)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on September 13, 2018, 09:24:44 pm
Arrivée is currently £9 per year if you get a hard copy by post.

I might not bother if I'm Old and Poor.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Feline on September 13, 2018, 10:29:13 pm
the current board attitude .

By which you mean?

I can’t speak for Feline and don’t pretend to - these are my opinions only - but it’s now two weeks since the emergency telecon and the Board still haven’t posted any message of any kind on either Aukweb or the AUK Forum to inform the members of the outcome - not even a brief message in lieu of official minutes. That’s not an ‘attitude’ to be celebrated.

More broadly, the supplier is still in place and is still filling its boots with our money, the Board that failed to oversee the project is still in place, that same Board has decided (unless on 29/8 it decided to the contrary, but they haven’t deigned to tell us) to throw a massive amount of good money after bad, and that same Board has declared in the pages of the club magazine that it has the right to write massive cheques at our expense without consulting us. Again, not an ‘attitude’ to be celebrated.

Yeah I think you have summarised my point fairly well there.
But post 96 on here is the last official response, then nothing. Pathetic really. http://forum.audax.uk/index.php?topic=1564.165
I personally voted against many of the current committee because I though they were totally out of touch with the membership. Seems I was absolutely right to be worried.

All I read is people justifying signing a contract that AUK cannot afford now or ever (and seemingly limitless at the whim of some fly-by-night IT company)- if any of us did this in our day job we would be out on our ear, and rightly so.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Rupert on September 14, 2018, 11:56:15 am
I will be 65 next Autumn, so assuming membership remains the same for the end of this year (for 2019) I should be entitled to free life membership at the end of next year (for 2020 and beyond) so basically AUK wont be getting much extra income out of me.  I can only imagine others that are not quite as lucky as me might choose to end their membership for which AUK would make even less income than what they had originally expected.

I would have thought an EGM would have been called for by now by the membership.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hillbilly on September 14, 2018, 01:14:48 pm
The Board seem to be auditioning for roles in a reboot of a British comedy series. "Carry On Regardless".

Sid James: "Babs, what a juicy figure."
Babs Windsor: "Heee heee. do you mean the fees needed for my bust projections?"
Sid James: "Wawawa, yes hopefully the subscription increase will stop us going bust."
Charles Hawtrey: "Ooo, hello, does somebody need me to fill a hole?"
Babs Windsor: "Heee heee I don't think you've got it in you"
Charles Hawtrey: "Oooo, do let me finish. A hole in the budget."
Sid James: "Wawawa".

etc.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 14, 2018, 02:00:59 pm
What happened to the 'reformers', who pushed for online voting, and initiated the IT project?

If we're going to start rebooting film genres, we need to assemble a full cast. Those who pushed to reduce the bank balance should have their moment in the spotlight.

I don't think that candidates with big ideas are suddenly going to revitalise the board. Caretakers with a sense of duty perhaps.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Whitedown Man on September 14, 2018, 02:06:18 pm
What’s so frustratingly dysfunctional about the current situation compared to the corporate environment is that the Board is acting both as the Executive and and as the Governance / Oversight body.

So, the Board has presided over an almighty IT project cock-up but that same Board is also in authority over both the short term (throw good money after bad vs. cancel - probably after completing phase one - and re-plan) and long term (new financial model) remedies.

In a properly-functioning corporate environment after an IT cock-up threatening the organisation’s financial viability, the expectation would be that the Governance / Oversight body would step-in, prevent the Executive from marking it’s own homework and from falling so glaringly for the sunk cost fallacy.

If the Board was acting honourably the right thing to do would be to collectively resign, then stand again (if willing) which would give members the option of re-electing them if members have confidence in them, or elect others - if others step forward - if they don’t.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Aunt Maud on September 14, 2018, 06:41:34 pm
Oh well, never mind.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mattc on September 14, 2018, 07:24:40 pm
If the Board was acting honourably the right thing to do would be to collectively resign, then stand again (if willing) which would give members the option of re-electing them if members have confidence in them, or elect others - if others step forward - if they don’t.
AUK has annual elections (I think): so I'm not sure what difference your suggestion would make.  ???
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on September 14, 2018, 07:29:18 pm
* rubs hands *

Reunion should be a blast! There'll be booze. Should I bring weapons?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 14, 2018, 07:33:33 pm
The Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary have three year terms. Everybody else is annual elections.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mattc on September 14, 2018, 07:35:10 pm
The Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary have three year terms. Everybody else is annual elections.
Ah! thanks for the correction.

(when are the current 3 up? )
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on September 14, 2018, 07:35:18 pm
* rubs hands *

Reunion should be a blast! There'll be booze. Should I bring weapons?

AGM is separate from Reunion now though...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 14, 2018, 07:49:40 pm
The intent was that there would be an election for one of either Chairman, Treasurer or Secretary each year. The Chairman got re-elected at the last AGM but there has been some turnover in the other positions, so I am unsure which position is up this year. It may an election to confirm an appointment by the Board this year.

I'd expect the Board to answer some tough questions at the Reunion (can't really escape it) but I'm quite disappointed how little information has been forthcoming in the past fortnight.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on September 14, 2018, 07:56:25 pm
* rubs hands *

Reunion should be a blast! There'll be booze. Should I bring weapons?

AGM is separate from Reunion now though...

So?  ;D
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Aunt Maud on September 14, 2018, 08:09:21 pm
When is the reunion ? I may rejoin now there has been a shakeup of certain positions....I fancy a ride anyway.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on September 14, 2018, 08:13:12 pm
When is the reunion ? I may rejoin now there has been a shakeup of certain positions....I fancy a ride anyway.

Well, as Helly says, the reunion is different to the AGM, so if you want to be all official and Do it with Voting, then you need the AGM.

If you want to drink your own weight in Ale, then back some poor hapless board-member into a corner brandishing a bar mat shouting "WHY? Why did you DO IT?" then the reunion is probably for you.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Aunt Maud on September 14, 2018, 08:15:11 pm
I can't be arsed for all that official bollocks, but beer and a meeting with missed friends sounds right up my street......Is there camping?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on September 14, 2018, 08:18:34 pm
I can't be arsed for all that official bollocks, but beer and a meeting with missed friends sounds right up my street......Is there camping?

Recent tradition has been to hold it in an hotel next to a bypass, and set off the fire alarms at 3am just to annoy Helly.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Aunt Maud on September 14, 2018, 08:20:02 pm
Sounds glamorous.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on September 14, 2018, 08:26:10 pm
I can't be arsed for all that official bollocks, but beer and a meeting with missed friends sounds right up my street......Is there camping?

Recent tradition has been to hold it in an hotel next to a bypass, and set off the fire alarms at 3am just to annoy Helly.

It didn't annoy me as much as worrying the others who were worried about my welfare.

Anyway, that episode wasn't that recent!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on September 14, 2018, 08:27:32 pm
I can't be arsed for all that official bollocks, but beer and a meeting with missed friends sounds right up my street......Is there camping?

Recent tradition has been to hold it in an hotel next to a bypass, and set off the fire alarms at 3am just to annoy Helly.

It didn't annoy me as much as worrying the others who were worried about my welfare.

Anyway, that episode wasn't that recent!

My audax brain switched off around that time. I'm trying to find the ON switch again before next year.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on September 14, 2018, 08:27:47 pm
Reunion is middle of November in Stirling.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Aunt Maud on September 14, 2018, 08:29:59 pm
Stirling...Where's that?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Aunt Maud on September 14, 2018, 08:30:59 pm
Bloody hell, it's in Scotland.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on September 14, 2018, 08:32:22 pm
Stirling...Where's that?

Near Dollar.

Happy to help!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 14, 2018, 08:34:38 pm
I can't be arsed for all that official bollocks, but beer and a meeting with missed friends sounds right up my street......Is there camping?

Recent tradition has been to hold it in an hotel next to a bypass, and set off the fire alarms at 3am just to annoy Helly.

Do you get to see surprising AUKs emerging from bedrooms which are not actually theirs?

I hear it is rife.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on September 14, 2018, 08:39:59 pm
I can't be arsed for all that official bollocks, but beer and a meeting with missed friends sounds right up my street......Is there camping?

Recent tradition has been to hold it in an hotel next to a bypass, and set off the fire alarms at 3am just to annoy Helly.

Do you get to see surprising AUKs emerging from bedrooms which are not actually theirs?

I hear it is rife.

I've heard that. Somewhere I have a picture of [NAME REDACTED] exiting the Ladies, at some hotel next to a bypass.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bairn again on September 14, 2018, 08:42:07 pm
Remember that in Stirling the rule is shirts out and jerseys tucked in. 

Good luck. 
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: telstarbox on September 20, 2018, 05:02:25 pm
Any news from the board?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: FifeingEejit on September 20, 2018, 05:10:52 pm
Stirling...Where's that?

Near Dollar.

Happy to help!

Sterling, near Dollar eh?
I've heard it can be a bit of a Yaun...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on September 20, 2018, 05:48:06 pm
Sterling, near Dollar eh?
I've heard it can be a bit of a Yaun...

Not when I was there with Franc and Mark
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on September 20, 2018, 08:00:15 pm
Any news from the board?

Can't even get a response from the current website at the moment!

Any of my DIYers watching - I've been working my way through August rides so you can put your RRTY demons to bed, but I'm unable to validate anything with the main site offline. Bear with me!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 21, 2018, 04:25:07 pm
New statement from the Chair just came through by email.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Kim on September 21, 2018, 04:31:23 pm
New statement from the Chair just came through by email.

Without so much as a {salutation~Salutation insert 1}
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: k_green on September 21, 2018, 04:37:55 pm
New statement from the Chair just came through by email.

Without so much as a {salutation~Salutation insert 1}

Well we already know that IT is not the board's forte.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on September 21, 2018, 04:40:03 pm
Not even so much as a Reader's Digest special salutation:

Dear MR SMITH
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 21, 2018, 04:42:37 pm
Well, something didn't work quite right for me. I got:-

"
Dear
 
As you may have seen in the statement that ...
"

Looks like they missed the "Oh" from the start of the line.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 21, 2018, 04:45:27 pm
Minutes of the conf call also added in the last few minutes (it wasn't there when I checked 10 minutes ago): http://www.aukweb.net/official/minutes/
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: willpom gwraudax on September 21, 2018, 04:45:45 pm
This IT company must be rubbing their hands with glee right now.....
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 21, 2018, 04:50:26 pm
Nah.

What's a 1/3 of a million quid? It's peanuts.

 :P


https://youtu.be/DvswW6M7bMo
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on September 21, 2018, 04:51:40 pm
tl;dr: They're plowing ahead with Phase 2 with the same contractor and putting up prices, mostly with immediate effect.

The minutes suggest the only alternative that was considered is appointing a different contractor to do the same work (i.e. build a brand new bespoke system from scratch at full market rates), which is... not something anyone suggested?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: pangolin on September 21, 2018, 04:54:07 pm
Seems like very little discussion about whether phase 2 is a good idea, and more discussion about how to pay for it.

I will be thinking hard about whether to renew membership.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hillbilly on September 21, 2018, 05:30:47 pm
Seems like very little discussion about whether phase 2 is a good idea, and more discussion about how to pay for it.

This.  Although I'm more concerned about the lack of debate on whether Phase 3 is needed.  I get DIYs and GPS are the future, but maybe the future is just beyond reach for AUK.  There is no shame in admitting that and pausing on Phase 3 (possibly accompanied by limiting demand for DIYs, for example by only allowing one DIY to be validated a month for each member).

Quote
I will be thinking hard about whether to renew membership.

I won't.  I'll be renewing.  Audax is great and AUK is still a fine organisation with a good community and volunteers.   I also think it was about time we increased the subscription fee and validation fees.

I will, however, be considering my voting options at the next AGM very carefully if someone stands on a platform of revisiting the scope of the IT project.  Partly because I don't agree with the Board's decision.  Partly because I'm uncomfortable with how the Board has exercised their powers.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: pangolin on September 21, 2018, 06:07:13 pm
I will be thinking hard about whether to renew membership.

I won't.  I'll be renewing.  Audax is great and AUK is still a fine organisation with a good community and volunteers.   I also think it was about time we increased the subscription fee and validation fees.

Very true. Increase them for what though? If what needs paying for hasn't been touched by inflation then they shouldn't increase just for the sake of it. If they were increasing to fund a new initiative we all agreed with then fair enough. But they're being increased just to cover this project.

I suppose the additional income will remain once the project is finished though. Hopefully!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LiamFitz on September 21, 2018, 06:09:11 pm
Audax is great and AUK is still a fine organisation with a good community and volunteers.   I also think it was about time we increased the subscription fee and validation fees.


This - AUK provides the infrastructure for what we do. It is bigger than the legal entity and is a wider community of enthusiasts and volunteers.

I think membership is stunningly good value even increased - it funds the framework that enables rides to happen, means organisers don't have to invent the wheel around so many aspects of the task and provides formats for us to enjoy our hobby.

Separately - I know nothing about IT projects and am glad that I am not on the board having to work this one out.

And one more thing, on the AUK forum, the Club Sec has provided an interesting reply to a post from Manotea about the board's powers.  Might be worth a read - I don't know the truth of it but it must help focus debate.

Liam
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: stefan on September 21, 2018, 06:20:43 pm
Audax is great and AUK is still a fine organisation with a good community and volunteers.   I also think it was about time we increased the subscription fee and validation fees.


This - AUK provides the infrastructure for what we do. It is bigger than the legal entity and is a wider community of enthusiasts and volunteers.

I think membership is stunningly good value even increased - it funds the framework that enables rides to happen, means organisers don't have to invent the wheel around so many aspects of the task and provides formats for us to enjoy our hobby.

Separately - I know nothing about IT projects and am glad that I am not on the board having to work this one out.


Well said. I couldn't agree more.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Delph Cyclist on September 21, 2018, 06:21:25 pm
Not even so much as a Reader's Digest special salutation:

Dear MR SMITH

Ah yes, that's down to me.  That salutation should have included your firstname but something went astray.   I'm afraid that MailChimp is a bit of a dark art for me, and there is probably a delegate position for someone who has a better grasp on the technology than me.  On the plus side, I don't think there were speling mixtakes.  I do hope I got those numbers right.

I'm so ancient that I indeed once used to work for a mail order company, and fitting variables into a pre-printed form was at the cutting edge then.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on September 21, 2018, 07:12:13 pm
Not even so much as a Reader's Digest special salutation:

Dear MR SMITH

Ah yes, that's down to me.  That salutation should have included your firstname but something went astray.   I'm afraid that MailChimp is a bit of a dark art for me, and there is probably a delegate position for someone who has a better grasp on the technology than me.  On the plus side, I don't think there were speling mixtakes.  I do hope I got those numbers right.

I'm so ancient that I indeed once used to work for a mail order company, and fitting variables into a pre-printed form was at the cutting edge then.

Mine just started:

Dear

No title, no names. Thought everyone's email was equally lacking.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: postie on September 21, 2018, 07:28:36 pm
Seems to me the Chairman doesn't give a f**k about the members and will just continue to do what he wants , this seems to include changing the rules to allow him to do what ever he wants

I am seriously considering canceling my events for 2019.  As this is no longer a club but a dictatorship! !!!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 21, 2018, 07:38:33 pm
Not even so much as a Reader's Digest special salutation:

Dear MR SMITH

Ah yes, that's down to me.  That salutation should have included your firstname but something went astray.   I'm afraid that MailChimp is a bit of a dark art for me, and there is probably a delegate position for someone who has a better grasp on the technology than me.  On the plus side, I don't think there were speling mixtakes.  I do hope I got those numbers right.

I'm so ancient that I indeed once used to work for a mail order company, and fitting variables into a pre-printed form was at the cutting edge then.

Mine just started:

Dear

No title, no names. Thought everyone's email was equally lacking.

Strikes me as indicative of the contempt thats been shown to the membership. Anonymous donors to the board's folly.

In  nutshell - the board knows best, board will do what they decide to do, and the board will increase their take for their hard efforts.



Cheers.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 21, 2018, 07:39:59 pm
Seems to me the Chairman doesn't give a f**k about the members and will just continue to do what he wants , this seems to include changing the rules to allow him to do what ever he wants

I am seriously considering canceling my events for 2019.  As this is no longer a club but a dictatorship! !!!

Hear, hear!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Philip Whiteman on September 21, 2018, 07:55:27 pm
Audax is great and AUK is still a fine organisation with a good community and volunteers.   I also think it was about time we increased the subscription fee and validation fees.


This - AUK provides the infrastructure for what we do. It is bigger than the legal entity and is a wider community of enthusiasts and volunteers.

I think membership is stunningly good value even increased - it funds the framework that enables rides to happen, means organisers don't have to invent the wheel around so many aspects of the task and provides formats for us to enjoy our hobby.  As a moderniser who wants to see audaxing become more attractive to the cycling massives along with AUK hauled into the 21st century, the implementation of the new website will be an important milestone.



Separately - I know nothing about IT projects and am glad that I am not on the board having to work this one out.

And one more thing, on the AUK forum, the Club Sec has provided an interesting reply to a post from Manotea about the board's powers.  Might be worth a read - I don't know the truth of it but it must help focus debate.

Liam

I'm with you on this one.  Certainly I shall not be casting any stones .  Yes the IT project has gone less than smoothly but I would like to thank the board for their honesty and hardwork.  I am content to see my membership and validation fees increased to cover the cost, as AUK still offer extremely good value for money. 

Audax needs to be hauled into the 21st century to ensure that it capitalizes on the increase of cycling as a pastime and sport.  The new website will be an important element in the modernisation process.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 21, 2018, 08:02:52 pm
Strikes me as indicative of the contempt thats been shown to the membership. Anonymous donors to the board's folly.

Hardly. One volunteer was unable to make the mailing software do the right thing.

In  nutshell - the board knows best, board will do what they decide to do, and the board will increase their take for their hard efforts.

The board are volunteers and don't really get anything (the honoraria don't stretch to much!)

I'll continue to pay my membership even though I rarely ride any Audaxes at the moment (temporary membership would be considerably cheaper for me) and I rarely read Awoowoo (and would prefer to read it online anyway).
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 21, 2018, 08:58:38 pm
Not even so much as a Reader's Digest special salutation:

Dear MR SMITH

Ah yes, that's down to me.  That salutation should have included your firstname but something went astray.   I'm afraid that MailChimp is a bit of a dark art for me, and there is probably a delegate position for someone who has a better grasp on the technology than me.  On the plus side, I don't think there were speling mixtakes.  I do hope I got those numbers right.

I'm so ancient that I indeed once used to work for a mail order company, and fitting variables into a pre-printed form was at the cutting edge then.

Mine just started:

Dear

No title, no names. Thought everyone's email was equally lacking.
At least you've both got emails. I'm still waiting for mine. Apparently not the only one.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Neil C on September 21, 2018, 09:05:34 pm
If you can't wait there is a link to it on the homepage of the AUK website.

http://www.aukweb.net/_resources/files/MESSAGE_FROM_THE_CHAIR_OF_AUDAX_UK.pdf
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: postie on September 21, 2018, 09:09:09 pm
Me too, many be soon.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: jiberjaber on September 21, 2018, 09:10:43 pm
Not even so much as a Reader's Digest special salutation:

Dear MR SMITH

Ah yes, that's down to me.  That salutation should have included your firstname but something went astray.   I'm afraid that MailChimp is a bit of a dark art for me, and there is probably a delegate position for someone who has a better grasp on the technology than me.  On the plus side, I don't think there were speling mixtakes.  I do hope I got those numbers right.

I'm so ancient that I indeed once used to work for a mail order company, and fitting variables into a pre-printed form was at the cutting edge then.

Mine just started:

Dear

No title, no names. Thought everyone's email was equally lacking.

Strikes me as indicative of the contempt thats been shown to the membership. Anonymous donors to the board's folly.

In  nutshell - the board knows best, board will do what they decide to do, and the board will increase their take for their hard efforts.



Cheers.
Hmmm. How much do you think they are paid?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: postie on September 21, 2018, 09:11:28 pm
I think the point is why have only some of the members got the e.mail and not all.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: jiberjaber on September 21, 2018, 09:19:11 pm
Yes definitely the basis for a conspiracy theory... Perhaps there's a list .....
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 21, 2018, 09:23:16 pm
...or maybe it's simply because the IT system isn't up to sending that many emails simultaneously.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ian H on September 21, 2018, 09:28:15 pm
I rescued mine from the SPAM box.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: jiberjaber on September 21, 2018, 09:28:50 pm
https://www.quirkbooks.com/post/worst-case-wednesday-how-make-effective-tinfoil-hat
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: postie on September 21, 2018, 09:29:27 pm
Is our I.T System not up to the job :demon:
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 21, 2018, 10:01:12 pm
It's an external service called MailChimp. They send tens of millions of emails a day.

1. Spam filters may have moved it to the junk folder.
2. It's delayed due to a technical problem between Mailchimp and your email provider and the systems will try again periodically so there may be a temporary delay.
3. They don't have your correct email address.
4. It's a conspiracy and they purposely didn't email you.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on September 21, 2018, 10:12:27 pm
I’ve used MailChimp a few times for one of the organisations I’m on the board of. You can send test mailings out, and you can send lovely designed emails, with GDPR compliant stuff ‘n everything. It’s not particularly intuitive though. Until you know how to use it.

They’ll get a list of the rejected emails, and those that Unsubscribe. They’ll know how many maembers don’t have email addresses in their records.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: alwyn on September 21, 2018, 10:52:30 pm
Dictatorship? LOL!

Get a grip.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Tull924 on September 21, 2018, 11:59:08 pm

Very true. Increase them for what though? If what needs paying for hasn't been touched by inflation then they shouldn't increase just for the sake of it. If they were increasing to fund a new initiative we all agreed with then fair enough. But they're being increased just to cover this project.

The subs are being increased to fund what was a new initiative several years ago, namely an IT upgrade with new website, this was brought forward by the membership and processed in line with the clubs constitution (i.e. democratically, along previous agreed lines etc where the agreement of the majority carries for all).

Therefore they are increasing it to fund a new initiative we all agree with.

Fair enough for you?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Karla on September 22, 2018, 05:49:52 am
Seems to me the Chairman doesn't give a f**k about the members and will just continue to do what he wants , this seems to include changing the rules to allow him to do what ever he wants

I am seriously considering canceling my events for 2019.  As this is no longer a club but a dictatorship! !!!

Hear, hear!

The current chair is great and AUK has been making leaps and bounds since he started; it's much better-run than any of the other cycling organisations I've had the dubious pleasure to be involved with.  Like Greenback I haven't ridden much recently and like him I'd rather get the magazine online, bit like him I'll most certainly keep my membership running.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 22, 2018, 07:46:08 am
Not even so much as a Reader's Digest special salutation:

Dear MR SMITH

Ah yes, that's down to me.  That salutation should have included your firstname but something went astray.   I'm afraid that MailChimp is a bit of a dark art for me, and there is probably a delegate position for someone who has a better grasp on the technology than me.  On the plus side, I don't think there were speling mixtakes.  I do hope I got those numbers right.

I'm so ancient that I indeed once used to work for a mail order company, and fitting variables into a pre-printed form was at the cutting edge then.

Mine just started:

Dear

No title, no names. Thought everyone's email was equally lacking.

Strikes me as indicative of the contempt thats been shown to the membership. Anonymous donors to the board's folly.

In  nutshell - the board knows best, board will do what they decide to do, and the board will increase their take for their hard efforts.



Cheers.
Hmmm. How much do you think they are paid?

Its the principle of it. At a time when fees have to be raised because there isn't enough to fund the project that is now, quite simply put, a financial disaster, at a time when rules are being reinterpreted to suit the desires of the board, they are taking more. Be it 50p or £50, when more is being asked to be given, its a little tasteless don't you think? Clearly they don't.

When the project was conceived and then given the go ahead was the whole scenario different to what it is now? I wasn't there then, but certainly in the last couple of years I think it has. The membership has not been consulted since, just given delayed reports of what the board has done and what the board will be doing.





Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: pangolin on September 22, 2018, 07:47:16 am

Very true. Increase them for what though? If what needs paying for hasn't been touched by inflation then they shouldn't increase just for the sake of it. If they were increasing to fund a new initiative we all agreed with then fair enough. But they're being increased just to cover this project.

The subs are being increased to fund what was a new initiative several years ago, namely an IT upgrade with new website, this was brought forward by the membership and processed in line with the clubs constitution (i.e. democratically, along previous agreed lines etc where the agreement of the majority carries for all).

Therefore they are increasing it to fund a new initiative we all agree with.

Fair enough for you?

Fair enough  :)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Whitedown Man on September 22, 2018, 08:39:50 am

Very true. Increase them for what though? If what needs paying for hasn't been touched by inflation then they shouldn't increase just for the sake of it. If they were increasing to fund a new initiative we all agreed with then fair enough. But they're being increased just to cover this project.

The subs are being increased to fund what was a new initiative several years ago, namely an IT upgrade with new website, this was brought forward by the membership and processed in line with the clubs constitution (i.e. democratically, along previous agreed lines etc where the agreement of the majority carries for all).

Therefore they are increasing it to fund a new initiative we all agree with.

Fair enough for you?

Had the members been told that the IT project would bring the club to the point of bankruptcy, would they still have agreed to it?

No, it’s not ‘fair enough’.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 22, 2018, 11:56:05 am
Audaxes do still represent better value than other similar cycling events, and charges have remained static for a long time. But there's a tension between those who see Audax as club runs with added validation and those who see them as better value versions of more commercially-minded events.

Someone from a club or CTC background would be doing 100 km weekend rides, and wouldn't be paying anything beyond membership fees. They might be paying for events open to members of other clubs; the club 10 or 25 mile TT, or a touring competition/ treasure hunt, or a reliability trial. An Audax is an extension of that, a long ride, which is timed, and has a navigation element.

In time trialling there's a ladder of participation and achievement, from club 10 to National Championship. The national championships are most keenly contested at shorter distances, and the participants are an elite. The 24 always has spare places, so the field is more mixed. It's possible to hear of the 24, be inspired, and enter at the first opportunity. 'Rival' 24 hour events are much more costly, as they are commercial events, which aren't the top of a pyramid of club events.

PBP has a similar function to the 24 within cyclotouring. It has the capacity to inspire, and to draw participants to the activity. It's the top of the French cyclotouring pyramid, and it's supported by the lower tiers of cyclotouring clubs. LEL is much the same, but with a lack of qualification rides.

Those drawn straight to PBP or LEL from a background of commercial rides won't appreciate the pyramid structure. They're buying straight into the peak of the pursuit. Those events are good value to them, at perhaps a half or a third of what could be done commercially. PBP has stayed pretty stable in terms of price, although the weakness of the £ has impacted on costs for UK participants. LEL has had marked increases in price at every running.

AUK is good at retaining those who are attracted to it through flagship events. People find the combination of comradeship and adventure compelling, and it gives them stories to tell themselves and others. The magazine provides a forum for storytelling, as do the various social media outlets, such as here.

The various critiques of the IT project have a validity deriving from the pathway that led to AUK. If Audax is a stage of evolution from club run to PBP, then it's not obvious that it should cost much, or that it should need much in the way of supporting facilities. Charges for rides will be levied at varying rates according to membership status, and at the AGM the treasurer will hopefully announce a positive balance, meaning no increase in subs.

Those who come to Audax from commercial events will find Audax more sociable, as the fields are smaller, and the rides are more frequent. Once they get used to the Spartan ethic, those converts start to evangelise. Their mates put up the usual objections; Audaxers wear sandals and are weird; there's no signposting; bus stops and garage forecourts are seen as a luxury; the participants are too white, too old and too male; and so on. That leads to demands for change, at least in altering those perceptions.

There's also a geographical tension. Demand is highest in metropolitan areas, and the supply of Audaxes is easiest in rural areas. Organising is done by those at the edge of conurbations, or in towns with easy access to good riding areas. The combination of these various factors spike in the provision of costlier rides with better facilities from the London fringe. These garner more media attention, and give a heightened impression of a trend. There's then an interest in where that trend might lead.

I suppose the two extreme outcomes would be AUK being absorbed into Cycling UK, as OCD has been absorbed into AUK, or AUK including 'commercial' and charity events into its validation structure. I think that the situation will become clearer after PBP 2019.

PBP had been on a steady development path since it became based in St Quentin, but the coming of the velodrome seems to have disturbed the equilibrium. There were creaks in the structure in 2015, as the organisation reached its limits. I'll be interested to see how 2019 works out.

Many 'communitarian' organisations face the same problems as AUK, an erosion of the base of the pyramid, coupled with an influx of evangelical converts seeking solace from a sense of community. There are plenty of committees divided between the old-timers who want to concentrate on maintaining the roof of the meeting hall, and evangelists who want to recruit new members through novel means.

 
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on September 22, 2018, 12:26:05 pm
It's an external service called MailChimp. They send tens of millions of emails a day.

1. Spam filters may have moved it to the junk folder.
2. It's delayed due to a technical problem between Mailchimp and your email provider and the systems will try again periodically so there may be a temporary delay.
3. They don't have your correct email address.
4. It's a conspiracy and they purposely didn't email you.

I’ve still not had the email. It’s definitely not 1 or 3, so it must be either 2 or 4...

Hmmm!

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Paul H on September 22, 2018, 12:34:03 pm
It's an external service called MailChimp. They send tens of millions of emails a day.

1. Spam filters may have moved it to the junk folder.
2. It's delayed due to a technical problem between Mailchimp and your email provider and the systems will try again periodically so there may be a temporary delay.
3. They don't have your correct email address.
4. It's a conspiracy and they purposely didn't email you.
5. There is no email, it's a joke and you're not in on it.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 22, 2018, 01:59:33 pm
It's an external service called MailChimp. They send tens of millions of emails a day.

1. Spam filters may have moved it to the junk folder.
2. It's delayed due to a technical problem between Mailchimp and your email provider and the systems will try again periodically so there may be a temporary delay.
3. They don't have your correct email address.
4. It's a conspiracy and they purposely didn't email you.
5. There is no email, it's a joke and you're not in on it.

6. Something else I hadn't thought of.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mattc on September 22, 2018, 03:27:55 pm
60 people have just approved a Motion of Confidence in the price hikes - including two who want to make voluntary donations thru a crowdfunding arrangement  :o

(over on Facebook)

(and they weren't all called Christine Crossland)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 22, 2018, 04:46:42 pm
Has this means of vote been written into the AUK constitution now?

Can I start a poll here with a vote of no confidence, and would it hold the same weight?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 22, 2018, 04:55:50 pm
I hadn't considered the impact of Facebook as a rival power-base. It all adds to the interest.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: pangolin on September 22, 2018, 04:59:46 pm
Has this means of vote been written into the AUK constitution now?

Can I start a poll here with a vote of no confidence, and would it hold the same weight?

It would hold the same weight yes. Doubt you'd get the same number of respondents though.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 22, 2018, 05:09:20 pm
Its all bollocks really.

What the board has done is set a precedent for them doing whatever the hell they want to do in the name of "it's what we need to do to safeguard the future", and nothing that me or anybody else can do is gonna change that. Even if the board all step down, or got ousted, could this even be retracted?

Don't get me wrong, precedents can achieve many good things. I fear though that in this instance, it has sprung open a door which can never be shut.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mattc on September 22, 2018, 06:28:23 pm
Has this means of vote been written into the AUK constitution now?

Can I start a poll here with a vote of no confidence, and would it hold the same weight?

It would hold the same weight yes. Doubt you'd get the same number of respondents though.
Yes & yes.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: alter-ego on September 22, 2018, 06:44:44 pm
What the board has done is set a precedent for them doing whatever the hell they want to do in the name of "it's what we need to do to safeguard the future",
It hardly needs a precedent. Doesn't the Board have a legal duty to take whatever steps it believes are necessary and prudent (and allowed under the constitution) to "safeguard the future"?   Even if the Board are mistaken in that belief I don't think it alters their legal obligation (but IANAL)

Even if the board all step down, or got ousted, could this even be retracted?
..... I fear though that in this instance, it has sprung open a door which can never be shut.
I don't buy that.  The constitution of the club (or Articles of the company if you prefer) can always be changed by the membership, subject to the necessary majority.

Is it too far-fetched to imagine a future board looking back at this and saying "rather than pissing folks off with a substantial increase to catch up with 10 years of no increases" we should write into the constitution "that membership fees will go up every year by a %age equal to the RPI (or CPI or whatever)"
 

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bairn again on September 22, 2018, 06:51:10 pm
I met yesterday with the Chairman of an organisation which has 17,000 members who subs are £30 pa and who have over £400k in the bank.  They plan to close down in 2019 as they have so few volunteers. 

The outcome here looks to me like the least worst option in difficult circumstances. Only time will tell of course. 
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on September 22, 2018, 06:56:02 pm
60 people have just approved a Motion of Confidence in the price hikes - including two who want to make voluntary donations thru a crowdfunding arrangement  :o

(over on Facebook)

I wonder how much of the membership think the price rise will cover a complete IT refresh rather than a fraction of one that still leaves us entirely dependent on the (allegedly) “could fail at any time” aukweb for almost everything*.

It’s that part that I find most depressing.  Even with a quarter of a million quid spent  it won’t even have achieved the most fundamental goal it was set out for.

(* AIUI Phase 1 is just a pretty website that depends on old site for all event data and for event entry. Phase 2 just adds some membership admin tools)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 22, 2018, 07:44:49 pm
I met yesterday with the Chairman of an organisation which has 17,000 members who subs are £30 pa and who have over £400k in the bank.  They plan to close down in 2019 as they have so few volunteers. 

The outcome here looks to me like the least worst option in difficult circumstances. Only time will tell of course.

I think we're at the end of a period when many people retired early, and looked to volunteer. The retirement age is going up, and large organisations with final salary pensions have shed workers, and replaced them with contractors.

That transitional period was a bit exceptional, and we may be seeing the end of a golden age for volunteering. I do the odd day for the local wildlife trust, and there are many volunteers who are still actively seeking work, and are keeping their CVs topped up, and their references current.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hellymedic on September 22, 2018, 08:01:28 pm
I met yesterday with the Chairman of an organisation which has 17,000 members who subs are £30 pa and who have over £400k in the bank.  They plan to close down in 2019 as they have so few volunteers. 

The outcome here looks to me like the least worst option in difficult circumstances. Only time will tell of course.

I think we're at the end of a period when many people retired early, and looked to volunteer. The retirement age is going up, and large organisations with final salary pensions have shed workers, and replaced them with contractors.

That transitional period was a bit exceptional, and we may be seeing the end of a golden age for volunteering. I do the odd day for the local wildlife trust, and there are many volunteers who are still actively seeking work, and are keeping their CV topped up, and their references current.

I think you're right about this. My WASPI contemporaries will be working till they're knackered.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LiamFitz on September 22, 2018, 08:30:44 pm
I met yesterday with the Chairman of an organisation which has 17,000 members who subs are £30 pa and who have over £400k in the bank.  They plan to close down in 2019 as they have so few volunteers. 

The outcome here looks to me like the least worst option in difficult circumstances. Only time will tell of course.

I think we're at the end of a period when many people retired early, and looked to volunteer. The retirement age is going up, and large organisations with final salary pensions have shed workers, and replaced them with contractors.

That transitional period was a bit exceptional, and we may be seeing the end of a golden age for volunteering. I do the odd day for the local wildlife trust, and there are many volunteers who are still actively seeking work, and are keeping their CVs topped up, and their references current.

Not sure of your analysis.

I'm 56 and expect I'll be working until I'm 137. I organise an event and have quite a few people offering up their time who seem to be in work.

Maybe it's different down South where we still have jobs.

However, why do people volunteer to run organisations where every decision they take is second guessed by armchair experts?


Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ian H on September 22, 2018, 08:57:30 pm
I met yesterday with the Chairman of an organisation which has 17,000 members who subs are £30 pa and who have over £400k in the bank.  They plan to close down in 2019 as they have so few volunteers. 

The outcome here looks to me like the least worst option in difficult circumstances. Only time will tell of course.

I think we're at the end of a period when many people retired early, and looked to volunteer. The retirement age is going up, and large organisations with final salary pensions have shed workers, and replaced them with contractors.

That transitional period was a bit exceptional, and we may be seeing the end of a golden age for volunteering. I do the odd day for the local wildlife trust, and there are many volunteers who are still actively seeking work, and are keeping their CVs topped up, and their references current.

Not sure of your analysis.

I'm 56 and expect I'll be working until I'm 137. I organise an event and have quite a few people offering up their time who seem to be in work.

Maybe it's different down South where we still have jobs.

However, why do people volunteer to run organisations where every decision they take is second guessed by armchair experts?

I still volunteer (I am retired).  But, to be fair, very few of the board's decisions have attracted any scrutiny at all. Just this one, involving a few hundred thousand squid.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 22, 2018, 09:16:44 pm
Precisely - its the eye watering sums that have suddenly become necessary. (Cue the clever dick explaining that actually, in corporate terms £1/4m is chump change)

And despite all assurances that Phases 2 and 3 are not expected to incur such problems, the IT contractor will at that point have the Alt- F4s so far up our Ctrl-Alt-Del's that if they do incur problems, the board will have no choice but to invoke their powers of omnipotence once again.

And to boot, if what grahamparks suggests is true - phase 1 has been nought but an overpriced vanity exercise. A flash facade wholly reliant on the crumbling infrastructure that is on a precipice of catastrophe.  Pat Butcher in a tutu and all the slap in Paris, is still Pat Butcher.

This should have gone to ballot.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 22, 2018, 09:33:54 pm

Not sure of your analysis.

I'm 56 and expect I'll be working until I'm 137. I organise an event and have quite a few people offering up their time who seem to be in work.

Maybe it's different down South where we still have jobs.

However, why do people volunteer to run organisations where every decision they take is second guessed by armchair experts?




It's a mystery. I'm mercurial and unreliable, so most unsuited to administration. However, I do have some social science training, and it's never completely worn off.

I've been most struck by the contrast between the UK and France.

My partner Heather was involved with LEL from 2001 to 2017, so I've been to a lot of the meetings, and seen the evolution of that. I also became quite interested in the organisation of PBP and of the Semaine Federale, which count volunteers in the thousands. There seems to be a lot more status in committee work in France, and more tolerance of the gap between intention and result.

My analysis of the relationship between retirement and volunteering is partly influenced by what's happening in France, where they're going down the same road as we are, but rather later. I've been seeing the same key volunteers at PBP for the last three editions at least, and concern was raised in the brochure we got after 2015 about that. Where will the new generation come from?

From 2001 to 2009 Heather was able to recruit enough volunteers for LEL from family and friends of participants, but 2013 and 2017 saw the recruitment of volunteers from abroad. That's one of the factors which force the entry fees up. I don't really see any way around that. A shoestring event is completely scalable, each additional entrant cost the same. 'TLC' events aren't, as they require step-changes in provision.

The really interesting events are those which straddle 'shoestring' and 'TLC'. It's fascinating to read the reports which don't want to criticise the organiser, but want to convey the misery the writer feels they have been through. That demonstrates the problem of being British.

But once the 'authorities' are sufficiently distant, they're fair game.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 22, 2018, 09:50:20 pm

But once the 'authorities' are sufficiently distant, they're fair game.

The same could be said for the spending of monetary reserves.....
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 22, 2018, 10:27:42 pm

But once the 'authorities' are sufficiently distant, they're fair game.

The same could be said for the spending of monetary reserves.....

Chris Crossland once gave me a discount on the Three Coasts for supplying some of the surplus food from LEL 2009, which we'd accounted for. These aren't people who waste money. The usual complaint has been that they're too parsimonious, and lack vision.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 23, 2018, 08:37:12 am

But once the 'authorities' are sufficiently distant, they're fair game.

The same could be said for the spending of monetary reserves.....

Chris Crossland once gave me a discount on the Three Coasts for supplying some of the surplus food from LEL 2009, which we'd accounted for. These aren't people who waste money. The usual complaint has been that they're too parsimonious, and lack vision.

Hmm, perhaps my previous comment was wrong. I apologise for implying they were lavishly spending the memberships dues. I'm not implying that they were frittering it away on coffe and cigars purposely. What I meant was in the same way it is easy to criticise from afar, it is easier to make decisions when it is not solely your liability. Again, I'm not implying it was an easy decision either.

As people, I have no doubt that all involved are wonderful, decent people who share a love of cycling an who's intentions have never been anything other than for what is in the best interest of AUK. I question whether or not they have, or indeed still are the right decisions.

No amount of debate, persuasion, argument or hindsight will move me on this one.
The situation, the terms of the situation and the fact that what was voted on some time ago has ended being many times more expensive, so much so that it could have brought the organisation to its knees, a situation that we still don't, and still won't know for some time if we now have a paddlle to navigate us out of Shit Creek. And even if all works out fine it still should not have been decided behind closed doors. It should have been a decision that the membership, collectively, made.


I cannot be standing alone from this viewpoint.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mattc on September 23, 2018, 08:57:35 am

The situation, the terms of the situation and the fact that what was voted on some time ago has ended being many times more expensive, so much so that it could have brought the organisation to its knees, a situation that we still don't, and still won't know for some time if we now have a paddlle to navigate us out of Shit Creek.
Where is the primary verb in this sentence?  :-\
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 23, 2018, 09:08:10 am

The situation, the terms of the situation and the fact that what was voted on some time ago has ended being many times more expensive (so much so that it could have brought the organisation to its knees) This is a situation that we still don't, and still won't know for some time if we now have the necessary paddle to navigate us out of Shit Creek.
Where is the primary verb in this sentence?  :-\

I am but a shoe repairer, not a paragon of grammatical virtue.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 23, 2018, 09:28:52 am
You probably arent the sole person to think this, but you are the last. I think you should hold your tongue rather than try to take the upper moral ground. You are coming across as a bit of a heel. Everyone needs to march instep with one another on this, rather than trying to stick the boot in. There are some nasty welts that can only be cured if we all work together.

 It has not been a good year for AUK but perhaps this will spur some of the loafers into helping rather than whining.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 23, 2018, 09:38:23 am
You probably arent the sole person to think this, but you are the last. I think you should hold your tongue rather than try to take the upper moral ground. You are coming across as a bit of a heel. Everyone needs to march instep with one another on this, rather than trying to stick the boot in. There are some nasty welts that can only be cured if we all work together, rather. It has not been a good year for AUK but perhaps this will spur some of the loafers into helping rather than whining.

Chortle chortle.

How very British.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mattc on September 23, 2018, 09:39:08 am
<snip> ...

However, why do people volunteer to run organisations where every decision they take is second guessed by armchair experts?

"Decisions are made by those who show up." President Jed Bartlett, The West Wing Benjamin Franklin. Possibly.

"Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame."
Laurence J Peter (1919 - 1988)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 23, 2018, 09:39:42 am
You probably arent the sole person to think this, but you are the last. I think you should hold your tongue rather than try to take the upper moral ground. You are coming across as a bit of a heel. Everyone needs to march instep with one another on this, rather than trying to stick the boot in. There are some nasty welts exposed by this.

Chortle chortle.

I didn't expect you to be swayed.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 23, 2018, 10:25:57 am
You probably arent the sole person to think this, but you are the last. I think you should hold your tongue rather than try to take the upper moral ground. You are coming across as a bit of a heel. Everyone needs to march instep with one another on this, rather than trying to stick the boot in. There are some nasty welts that can only be cured if we all work together.

 It has not been a good year for AUK but perhaps this will spur some of the loafers into helping rather than whining.

That response was rather hastily cobbled together I think.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on September 23, 2018, 10:38:46 am
This thread is now clogged up in a spat.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: The Bonk on September 23, 2018, 10:39:09 am
Indeed. I can't see the reason for pussyfooting around. Why not get straight to the pointe?

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: The Bonk on September 23, 2018, 10:51:50 am

I suppose there's always going to be a brogue element.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 23, 2018, 11:45:50 am
I can see everybody's tea was laced with funny juice this morning, if this is the breast we can come up with vamping up old jokes, corkers or not. You won't per suede me otherwise.
Get a heel grip of yourselves and stop trying to shoe horn more funny quips into the thread, leather or not they are funny. I personally think that Hot Flatus' was the most polished, but we could beeswax lyrical about that all day.



Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: jiberjaber on September 23, 2018, 12:27:01 pm
hahaha at last normality is resumed!  :thumbsup:

(folds away tinfoil...)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on September 23, 2018, 04:46:12 pm
I can see everybody's tea was laced with funny juice this morning, if this is the breast we can come up with vamping up old jokes, corkers or not. You won't per suede me otherwise.
Get a heel grip of yourselves and stop trying to shoe horn more funny quips into the thread, leather or not they are funny. I personally think that Hot Flatus' was the most polished, but we could beeswax lyrical about that all day.

Flatus might be right but sounds like an Echo of what Theresa May is saying about brexit - so don't be such a berk, 'n stock up on tinned food 'cos the apocalypse is nigh.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Chris S on September 23, 2018, 05:47:01 pm
I can see everybody's tea was laced with funny juice this morning, if this is the breast we can come up with vamping up old jokes, corkers or not. You won't per suede me otherwise.
Get a heel grip of yourselves and stop trying to shoe horn more funny quips into the thread, leather or not they are funny. I personally think that Hot Flatus' was the most polished, but we could beeswax lyrical about that all day.

Flatus might be right but sounds like an Echo of what Theresa May is saying about brexit - so don't be such a berk, 'n stock up on tinned food 'cos the apocalypse is nigh.

I think you'll find this has all be sorted with a good old footwear-based pun war.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: vorsprung on September 23, 2018, 08:32:58 pm
This should have gone to ballot.

No

Those of us that know shit about IT should have got more involved
But we didn't
So if there is any blame it's ours
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jonah on September 23, 2018, 09:07:26 pm
I can see everybody's tea was laced with funny juice this morning, if this is the breast we can come up with vamping up old jokes, corkers or not. You won't per suede me otherwise.
Get a heel grip of yourselves and stop trying to shoe horn more funny quips into the thread, leather or not they are funny. I personally think that Hot Flatus' was the most polished, but we could beeswax lyrical about that all day.

It's all cobblers to me
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 23, 2018, 10:00:31 pm
This should have gone to ballot.

No

Those of us that know shit about IT should have got more involved
But we didn't
So if there is any blame it's ours

I only ever encountered the 'governance' of AUK at the AGM/ Reunion. After the 2014 AGM, when it became obvious that attendance was pointless, it became a separate event, and I took not one blind bit of notice of 'governance'.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Pingu on September 23, 2018, 11:25:53 pm
You're a bunch of weallies.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Bianchi Boy on September 25, 2018, 07:01:55 am
We all appear to be missing a point here. In all IT projects you have to ask the questions "What if we did not have an IT system for this?" and "What is the minimum set of functions we can survive with?" AUK board should look at these questions first before looking at extending time lines for projects. Also if some of the functions were farmed out to paid admin there would be a flat cost for functions rather than an a spiralling IT cost. I work in IT and many projects change through their duration because of cost and time.

My recommendation, look at the smallest set of IT functions possible and implement that. Then each year (period) look at enhancing the functions and base this on time and materials (not function as the complexity can be more than you thought at the start). If it does not work in the time hold back and implement the following year. This way the organisation will have a sold base and moving forward. The current strategy looks like it risks bankrupting AUK and not leaving it with a viable minimum function organisation.

BB 
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on September 25, 2018, 09:45:05 am
Everybody's "minimum" would be different though.  I would suggest that, since cheques as a means of payment are on borrowed time, the absolute minimum requirement is an online listing of events, with the facility for anyone to enter an event online. 
At the crudest level the listing itself could be maintained by an admin offline on a desktop, with periodic uploads to refresh the list. 
The entry process would simply send a notification to the organiser - though to be safe there would need to be some logging and once you have that you effectively have your online Start Sheet for each event.
And once you have a Start Sheet it's not much of a step to a Finish List, and from there to a Results service.

The rest - membership admin, validation, Arrivee, and background tasks like finances, can be done offline on desktops, admins scattered around the 3 nations.  That's how it was in the last century.  Is that "minimum" enough?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: WCTD on September 25, 2018, 09:47:01 am
It seems others wish to upgrade their IT Structure too- https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-45633212
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on September 25, 2018, 09:53:31 am
From that it would seem that it's not that costs are too high, it's that - and I have been banging on about this for over 20 years - AUK's income is too low.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on September 25, 2018, 10:19:14 am
Everybody's "minimum" would be different though.  I would suggest that, since cheques as a means of payment are on borrowed time, the absolute minimum requirement is an online listing of events, with the facility for anyone to enter an event online. 
At the crudest level the listing itself could be maintained by an admin offline on a desktop, with periodic uploads to refresh the list. 
The entry process would simply send a notification to the organiser - though to be safe there would need to be some logging and once you have that you effectively have your online Start Sheet for each event.
And once you have a Start Sheet it's not much of a step to a Finish List, and from there to a Results service.

The rest - membership admin, validation, Arrivee, and background tasks like finances, can be done offline on desktops, admins scattered around the 3 nations.  That's how it was in the last century.  Is that "minimum" enough?

You don't technically even need the ability to enter through the website.
You can logon to paypal directly and gift the organiser the entry fee, even if the listing is in the magazine - with the instruction 'send me £xxx to yyy@zzz.com in order enter'.

You don't actually even need a website at all to organise and ride audaxes.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on September 25, 2018, 10:58:59 am
You don't actually even need a website at all to organise and ride audaxes.

Of course not, there was no website before 1995 and no data-driven service before 1999, and online centralised admin (membership, events, records) was incrementally introduced up to 2005.  Online entries started around 2007 I think.

However AUK has grown a lot since then, more members, more events, more rides ridden - and it would be very hard to go back to distributed desktop admins now.  It's not just pressure of work, with a lot of volunteers at the coal face you get a lot of different abilities - some are not very PC-savvy at all - and problems of communication between PCs and Macs - the current system with its central database and tailored browser-based 'control panels' for the different tasks - levels all those problems out.  (We don't need a new system to do any of that - the new project is all about Teh Shiny - but it has to take the other stuff on board as well.)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Delph Cyclist on September 25, 2018, 11:11:57 am
It's an external service called MailChimp. They send tens of millions of emails a day.

1. Spam filters may have moved it to the junk folder.
2. It's delayed due to a technical problem between Mailchimp and your email provider and the systems will try again periodically so there may be a temporary delay.
3. They don't have your correct email address.
4. It's a conspiracy and they purposely didn't email you.

I’ve still not had the email. It’s definitely not 1 or 3, so it must be either 2 or 4...

Hmmm!

It must be 3.  I've checked the emailing list and citoyen isn't on there.  Nor postie either come to think of it.  But everyone who had registered a valid email on their aukweb > My Details screen was included. 

There are some obviously invalid email addresses, such as those who were formerly with fsnet or orange, so they won't have got anything.

There wasn't anyone in option 4, but then I would say that wouldn't I.

It would appear that some spam filters don't like bulk communications from the likes of MailChimp.  But what else can we do?  At least it's better than sending out emails from my personal email account.  I am restricted to sending 250 emails in any 24 hour period, and I'll leave it as an exercise for the class how long it would take to sent out 7114 emails.  Some of you would still waiting for your email now - as indeed you are!  There's also no guarantee that this would be any more successful.

Anyway, I'll offer my apologies to the Board, and particularly the Chair, for embarrassing them by sending out the email without the recipients' names.  It just shows how easy it is to offend people.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on September 25, 2018, 11:32:48 am
It must be 3. I've checked the emailing list and citoyen isn't on there.  Nor postie either come to think of it.  But everyone who had registered a valid email on their aukweb > My Details screen was included.

No, it's definitely not 3. I know this because I have previously received communications to my listed email address (eg relating to my recent calendar event, sent via the link on the event page) and it hasn't changed.

I've searched my spam folder and can't see it there either, and I have recently received other Mailchimp-generated mailings to the same address. I imagine that's no guarantee that it's going to work every time though.

Quote
There wasn't anyone in option 4, but then I would say that wouldn't I.

;)

Quote
Anyway, I'll offer my apologies to the Board, and particularly the Chair, for embarrassing them by sending out the email without the recipients' names.  It just shows how easy it is to offend people.

Well, thank you for your efforts anyway. They are very much appreciated, even if you only hear the complaints most of the time.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Bianchi Boy on September 25, 2018, 12:36:56 pm
Everybody's "minimum" would be different though.
I think the point I was trying to get across was that the people in charge need to decide what a minimum functionality is. There appears to be quite a list of complex and exotic functionality in the pipeline and there needs to be way forward that does not have AUK going bankrupt.

AUK would not be the first organisation to go under because of a great idea that was either poorly executed or not adequately understood. Because of the nature if IT projects (better described as R&D since no one has done it before) they are hard to predict and almost impossible to cost. You are better off allocating funds and making sure you get value for the spend rather than planning the implementation of a large set of complex functionalities that are poorly understood.

BB
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on September 25, 2018, 12:44:40 pm
I've asked for a breakdown of the marginal amounts the different increases are expected to achieve.*

I know FF is  keen on increasing temp membership fee as he sees it as 'free money', but there is a real cost to this approach.

Whilst its not the whole of the story, it's noticeable that in recent years some of the largest events in terms of numbers of riders have been lost from the AUK Calendar, and those events had  a high proportion of temp membership riders.

Increasing temp membership fees will only increase that trend. If an event entry fee is, say, £10 and organisers are expected to hand over 30% of that to AUK, they will take a long hard look at what they are getting for their money.

This is actually a double loss, not only is AUK losing revenue but also and potentially more significantly, a shop window, as large groups of riders who previously might not have ridden an Audax event before or only one or two will no longer do so. It's in the nature of things that those events were relatively easy for those riders to sign up for and take part in, an easy lead in to riding more audax events.

---
*FWIW I'm relaxed about increases to membership charges, but rather doubtful about increases to temp fees. Changes to other fees are as yet unknown. It would be helpful to understand how much the changes are expected to raise, their impact on AUKs cashflow projections, and the analysis/justification behind the approach taken.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on September 25, 2018, 01:04:21 pm
We don't need a new system to do any of that - the new project is all about Teh Shiny - but it has to take the other stuff on board as well.)

I think the board’s decison is being driven by statements like this:

Quote
What is very much the case however, is that the existing aukweb badly needs to be decommisioned, and somewhat urgently.  It uses tired old code on tired old software and the last time we had a major forced migration (Jan 2016) we had the dickens of a job sourcing and commisioning old enough server software to run our code.  Frankly, it really could fall of a cliff at any time, and comes to that so could I.

If you think there are other options then you badly need to put it to the board.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: arkle on September 25, 2018, 02:13:44 pm
We all appear to be missing a point here. In all IT projects you have to ask the questions "What if we did not have an IT system for this?" and "What is the minimum set of functions we can survive with?" AUK board should look at these questions first before looking at extending time lines for projects. Also if some of the functions were farmed out to paid admin there would be a flat cost for functions rather than an a spiralling IT cost. I work in IT and many projects change through their duration because of cost and time.

My recommendation, look at the smallest set of IT functions possible and implement that. Then each year (period) look at enhancing the functions and base this on time and materials (not function as the complexity can be more than you thought at the start). If it does not work in the time hold back and implement the following year. This way the organisation will have a sold base and moving forward. The current strategy looks like it risks bankrupting AUK and not leaving it with a viable minimum function organisation.

BB 

Everybody's "minimum" would be different though.
I think the point I was trying to get across was that the people in charge need to decide what a minimum functionality is. There appears to be quite a list of complex and exotic functionality in the pipeline and there needs to be way forward that does not have AUK going bankrupt.

AUK would not be the first organisation to go under because of a great idea that was either poorly executed or not adequately understood. Because of the nature if IT projects (better described as R&D since no one has done it before) they are hard to predict and almost impossible to cost. You are better off allocating funds and making sure you get value for the spend rather than planning the implementation of a large set of complex functionalities that are poorly understood.

BB

BB's comments are essentially correct. Whilst there has been huge debate about eg diversity, the completeness of e-mail lists and what level fees need to be set at, the priority should be mitigate risks now and that means stabilising the project by removing the unknowns as far as possible. I agree there needs to be a hard look at what essential functionality is needed to keep the organisation going and the current project scope should be limited to just that. That functionality should be clearly documented as a clear and stable definition of exactly what is to be implemented as a start and only when that has been successfully achieved should more functionality be considered. At the moment the requirement appears to be a moving target and that always translates into increased costs.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: lastant on September 25, 2018, 02:14:17 pm
It must be 3. I've checked the emailing list and citoyen isn't on there.  Nor postie either come to think of it.  But everyone who had registered a valid email on their aukweb > My Details screen was included.

No, it's definitely not 3. I know this because I have previously received communications to my listed email address (eg relating to my recent calendar event, sent via the link on the event page) and it hasn't changed.

I've searched my spam folder and can't see it there either, and I have recently received other Mailchimp-generated mailings to the same address. I imagine that's no guarantee that it's going to work every time though.


Don't worry...I didn't get one either (checked spam etc.), and have an email address set up in aukweb's 'My Details' screen - I'm not offended, mind...I caught up with everything here and the forum!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Redlight on September 25, 2018, 03:23:32 pm
Anyway, I'll offer my apologies to the Board, and particularly the Chair, for embarrassing them by sending out the email without the recipients' names.  It just shows how easy it is to offend people.

I will also offer my apologies to those who were offended as it was on my advice/insistence that this was sent as a direct email to members rather than simply published on the web site for people to find. DC did a sterling job in stepping up to handle the mailing, at short notice, and I'm only sorry that not everyone received it as planned.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 25, 2018, 03:34:43 pm
---
*FWIW I'm relaxed about increases to membership charges, but rather doubtful about increases to temp fees. Changes to other fees are as yet unknown. It would be helpful to understand exactly whet the changes are expected to achieve. their impact on AUKs cashflow projections, and the analysis/justification behind the approach taken in deciding the new charges.

As someone who's income is in euros, the price change in pounds is actually so little to as effectively just correct for the fact the pound is tanking.

You make some good points regarding the increase in guest fees. I did in one of these threads suggest a small increase for it, but they seem to have gone for a 200% increase if I read it right (1 --> 3), which seems a tad steep. I'd have gone for 1->2 or 1->1.5.

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Neil C on September 25, 2018, 03:50:07 pm
Only a 50% increase from £2 to £3.

"It was also agreed to increase the temporary membership fee for non-members riding events by £1 to £3."
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hillbilly on September 25, 2018, 04:46:59 pm
At the end of the day, if this goes tits up, Audax UK will die but audax and long-distance cycling in the UK will continue.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on September 25, 2018, 05:18:41 pm
I think the board’s decison is being driven by statements like this:
Quote
What is very much the case however, is that the existing aukweb badly needs to be decommisioned, and somewhat urgently.  It uses tired old code on tired old software and the last time we had a major forced migration (Jan 2016) we had the dickens of a job sourcing and commisioning old enough server software to run our code.  Frankly, it really could fall of a cliff at any time, and comes to that so could I.

If you think there are other options then you badly need to put it to the board.

My solution is simple.  Do whatever is necessary** but at AUK rates, not at commercial rates.  What's so difficult about that in an organisation which is (a) largely volunteer-run and (b) appears to be stacked with self-professed IT experts.  But if Board ever want my opinion (as custodian of the existing aukweb) no doubt they'll ask for it.

** 'necessary' appears to be, in order:
(1) a liberal coating of fairy dust
(2) [edit to add] a more robust event entry system
(3) upgrade existing code and data to future-proof it
(4) add highly specialised custom-built future-looking bells and whistles
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: The Bonk on September 25, 2018, 05:41:03 pm

Assuming there's no overspend on top of the overspend. What will be left in the coffers after the 340k goes out?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Kim on September 25, 2018, 06:38:51 pm
Everybody's "minimum" would be different though.  I would suggest that, since cheques as a means of payment are on borrowed time, the absolute minimum requirement is an online listing of events, with the facility for anyone to enter an event online. 
At the crudest level the listing itself could be maintained by an admin offline on a desktop, with periodic uploads to refresh the list. 
The entry process would simply send a notification to the organiser - though to be safe there would need to be some logging and once you have that you effectively have your online Start Sheet for each event.
And once you have a Start Sheet it's not much of a step to a Finish List, and from there to a Results service.

The rest - membership admin, validation, Arrivee, and background tasks like finances, can be done offline on desktops, admins scattered around the 3 nations.  That's how it was in the last century.  Is that "minimum" enough?

I think the important point is where the desired functionality diverges at a fundamental level from an off-the-shelf CMS / e-commerce platform, which is where you need someone to do clever databasey things, rather than just tweaking the front-end for the type of products on offer.  That's probably *handwaves* somewhere around the validation and results stage, I suppose.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 25, 2018, 07:29:15 pm
A few years ago 'this months audax panic' was the dilemna of a non-commercial body holding vast reserves of cash. It was generally agreed that this was a bad thing and that effort should be put into somehow getting rid of the vast reserves.

So, at least the Board should be congratulated for successfully putting an end to that conundrum and ensuring that for at least the foreseeable future it cannot happen again.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Feline on September 25, 2018, 10:43:52 pm
Still waiting for any email here. No disrespect intended to DC- I don't think this latest email glitch is on you.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Bianchi Boy on September 26, 2018, 07:07:24 am
A few years ago 'this months audax panic' was the dilemna of a non-commercial body holding vast reserves of cash. It was generally agreed that this was a bad thing and that effort should be put into somehow getting rid of the vast reserves.

So, at least the Board should be congratulated for successfully putting an end to that conundrum and ensuring that for at least the foreseeable future it cannot happen again.
It is amazing how quickly a pile of cash can be made to disappear on an IT project. Then at the end of it there is nothing to show but some lines of code in a source code repository that no one knows how to build into something that works.

BB
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 26, 2018, 07:45:14 am
I know very little about the IT industry, but I view this situation in the light ofthe perceived need to disburse the huge reserve held by AUK, as detailed above, as well as the need to attend to the website.

There is no doubt the Board were well-intentioned, and perhaps the most vocal of critics, those with self-professed IT expertise, can ruminate on whether their expertise may have been more usefully delivered in a manner other than hindsight. In fact, you yourself are offering useful advice as to how the project should proceed, so perhaps an offer of more direct,  hands-on help would be welcomed?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 26, 2018, 08:10:45 am
I am very surprised that there is so little contact between the Board and Francis, especially since this cost blowout became apparent.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: fboab on September 26, 2018, 08:41:50 am
I suppose everyone looks at this fiasco from their own viewpoint. IT people are all looking at the requirements and how they'd do that differently.
As a buyer I'm horrified at a) the massively inaccurate cost assessment b) a total failure of the supplier to actually produce anything after however many years and c) no sign that the contract has been actively managed.
If I pulled off a disaster of this scale at work I'd be sacked, and £340,000 is a much smaller proportion of my spend than of AUK's.

I feel very negative about this. I really don't want to renew. When I look at what I personally get from being a member AUK that I wouldn't get if I wasn't a member the answer is the ability to compare my points total to other people's and a mighty handy excel calendar download. I've had all the prizes and awards except the trike and recumbent and I don't want those. The only thing missing from my palmares is an Ultra- and I'm not sure I CBA for another 5 years of SRs.

Obviously if AUK didn't exist I'd lose a lot more. AUK is only the sum of its parts. Individual organisers do a grand job, key volunteers scurry away in the background spreading stamp collecting joy everywhere- and the massive pot we wanted spent on benefits to the riders is gone with no clear benefit to anyone.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on September 26, 2018, 09:06:25 am
In fact, you yourself are offering useful advice as to how the project should proceed, so perhaps an offer of more direct,  hands-on help would be welcomed?

A lot of people offered advice, especially on the AUK thread. Much of that advice was along the lines of pausing after phase 1 to consider all options. It wasn’t even acknowledged - just the chairman’s letter declaring Phase 2 is going ahead exactly as planned and here’s how you’ll be paying for it.

So I’m not sure where you get the idea that help would be welcomed.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 26, 2018, 09:54:06 am
Fair enough. I rarely read the AUK forum. The implication is that the Board rejected advice from IT professionals, then?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on September 26, 2018, 10:17:53 am
I think the important point is where the desired functionality diverges at a fundamental level from an off-the-shelf CMS / e-commerce platform, which is where you need someone to do clever databasey things, rather than just tweaking the front-end for the type of products on offer.  That's probably *handwaves* somewhere around the validation and results stage, I suppose.

It's ironic that that bespoke backend stuff, the 'hard part' is actually the thing that is least needed, imho.
What's the actual point of AUK maintaining lists of past results? As a record of rides done it is never, ever going to be able to compete with strava, so why bother trying?

ACP maintains lists of BRM finishers so it's not necessary for PBP qualification purposes.

A new website might be necessary to facilitate entries but a cheap generic ecommerce site would be suitable for that - it seems most of the money is going on the 'need' for it to be bespoke, but to try to replicate functionality that is already provided by Strava, but which is never going to be as good as Strava.

The 'getting people through the door' side of the functionality is what is going to enable AUK to keep making money, but it's the other part that is costing the money to do.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Martin on September 26, 2018, 10:24:45 am
FF; if my sources are correct why are we interfacing to the existing database? why can't we sunset it and migrate the important historical data over?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on September 26, 2018, 10:27:18 am
Compete with Strava? I hadn’t realised Strava has an AUK section.

Besides, if I am going I to give my details to an organisation, I’ll do it to an organisation I’m a member of, not one that wants my details to make money from.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 26, 2018, 10:37:34 am
Fair enough. I rarely read the AUK forum. The implication is that the Board rejected advice from IT professionals, then?

I offered (via email) and was told that if my view was that we should "pause and review" (but it was unfairly interpreted as canning everything done so far) that they would "have genuine difficulty in passing your application to work on the IT Refresh team to the IT Refresh managers".

I need to do a bit more reading up on the history of it all via the minutes/reports but given what has recently come out I'll almost certainly be withdrawing my offer of help if they continue with the plan to piss away lots of money unnecessarily doing things, IMHO, in the wrong order.

I also suspect there's a fair bit of this going on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy

What I expect/hope will happen is that the possibility of pissing away all of this money will get all of the people that probably wanted to volunteer last time but didn't bother (just like me), or did but fell away as the enormity of it dawned on them, and galvanise them into really doing something this time. If that happens then I'll throw my hat back into the ring.

The projected costs of the project may be enormous but my greater concern is the ongoing maintenance fees that CF1 were scheduled to charge, these annual chargers were more than the current annual surplus of AUK. (From what I've read, happy to be proven wrong.)

In my mind the minimal viable product of this work should have been the shoring up of the existing website/backend so that it is not running on legacy software, not reliant on FF so much, can be more easily maintained, and then slowly rewrite chunks of it in situ to make it more easily extensible and maintainable for the upcoming improvements required in both membership and event planning. None of this needed outside contractors.

Once that it would be considerably easier to get a prettier front end slapped on the front of it, which may be easier to do with outside contractors but considerably cheaper as the interface/infrastructure required to do it would already be in place.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on September 26, 2018, 10:41:08 am
Quote
FF; if my sources are correct why are we interfacing to the existing database? why can't we sunset it and migrate the important historical data over?

Because there’s no event database in the new code, or event admin (for organisers), or event entry (for riders), or event results. It’s just a pretty-but-dumb website that pulls calendar and perm listings from the AUKweb database.

(How you spend £100+k to get so little is a mystery, but that particular ship has sailed)

It doesn’t seem to be proposed for any of the future phases either. So £340,000 later we’ll still be 100% dependent on AUKweb.

NB I’d love to be wrong about this, but I’ve posted it several times and no one’s corrected me yet...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 26, 2018, 10:53:51 am
I think the important point is where the desired functionality diverges at a fundamental level from an off-the-shelf CMS / e-commerce platform, which is where you need someone to do clever databasey things, rather than just tweaking the front-end for the type of products on offer.  That's probably *handwaves* somewhere around the validation and results stage, I suppose.

It's ironic that that bespoke backend stuff, the 'hard part' is actually the thing that is least needed, imho.
What's the actual point of AUK maintaining lists of past results? As a record of rides done it is never, ever going to be able to compete with strava, so why bother trying?

ACP maintains lists of BRM finishers so it's not necessary for PBP qualification purposes.

A new website might be necessary to facilitate entries but a cheap generic ecommerce site would be suitable for that - it seems most of the money is going on the 'need' for it to be bespoke, but to try to replicate functionality that is already provided by Strava, but which is never going to be as good as Strava.

The 'getting people through the door' side of the functionality is what is going to enable AUK to keep making money, but it's the other part that is costing the money to do.
I thought the actual point of AUK maintaining actual lists of actual past results was that actual people are actually interested in them. They actually date back actual decades before actual Strava was actually invented. Even for rides happening this actual year, not all, actually probably not most, will actually be on actual Strava. And Strava can actually disappear or change its actual access rules at any actual moment. I believe there was actually a similar actual problem with an actual commercial mapping service actually relied for a time to verify actual distances. So if AUK wants to maintain records of events, actual Strava is actually fuck all actual fucking use. Plus, what Jaded said.

If on the other hand you were to ask what were the point of maintaining such records, you might have had a point.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on September 26, 2018, 10:56:17 am
Compete with Strava? I hadn’t realised Strava has an AUK section.

It doesn't (or shouldn't) need an AUK 'section'.
In terms of what functionality it provides to fulfill the purpose of listing and reviewing the past rides that I, and others have done, Strava offers me details, statistics, including a map and even 'flyby' map in which you can watch your progress on the map compared to others that did the same ride. You always see others that have done the same audax.
The AUK website offers .... a single line of text.

The sort of wider point is - does AUK deserve its apparent monopoly on Audax/long distance rides in the UK?
Organisers are effectively franchisees and they are doing the hard work but paying a chunk of what they get to AUK.
I don't organise but if I did I would take the view that if that chunk is a very small amount (in absolute pound note terms) then it is worth it for the entry system/front end but if I'm paying more purely to maintain a page that shows a simple list from a database then I would probably take the view that that tips the balance of the benefits of the franchise not being worth the fee.

Has AUK even got a monopoly - does it even own the copyright to the word 'Audax'?
Could someone set up a rival organisation, just build (or buy off the shelf)  a simple front end that has no results system, but offers organisers an entry system and third party insurance, to allow organisers to run rides that they could call Audaxes, for a lower fee than AUK charges.
I'm sort of wondering why that hasn't happened, but my guess at the answer is that AUK's results system in fact is its USP which makes its franchise model saleable, but the only reason for that is simple inertia, rather than merit.

Quote
Besides, if I am going I to give my details to an organisation, I’ll do it to an organisation I’m a member of, not one that wants my details to make money from.

You might, but as an argument it's a red herring because most people aren't that anal.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on September 26, 2018, 10:59:48 am
Beyond all that, once the database - which is required for managing the records associated with current events - is established, the cost of maintaining the historical record is something approaching 'nothing'.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ivan on September 26, 2018, 11:01:29 am
Has AUK even got a monopoly - does it even own the copyright to the word 'Audax'?

AUK has an agreement with ACP for organising BRM rides in the UK, you're not going to get that with any other organisation, whatever it calls itself, so if you want to qualify in this country to ride PBP, you're stuck with 'us'.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ian H on September 26, 2018, 11:05:40 am
Fair enough. I rarely read the AUK forum. The implication is that the Board rejected advice from IT professionals, then?
Not even acknowledged (http://www.aukweb.net/official/minutes/)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ivan on September 26, 2018, 11:14:21 am
With so many computer experts clearly around, I look forward to the AUK IT Director role being hotly contested this year, ideally by people experienced in managing large, volunteer-led projects as that appears to be what is being called for.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on September 26, 2018, 11:17:30 am

I thought the actual point of AUK maintaining actual lists of actual past results was that actual people are actually interested in them. They actually date back actual decades before actual Strava was actually invented. Even for rides happening this actual year, not all, actually probably not most, will actually be on actual Strava. And Strava can actually disappear or change its actual access rules at any actual moment. I believe there was actually a similar actual problem with an actual commercial mapping service actually relied for a time to verify actual distances. So if AUK wants to maintain records of events, actual Strava is actually fuck all actual fucking use. Plus, what Jaded said.

If on the other hand you were to ask what were the point of maintaining such records, you might have had a point.

I don't really know why, or to who, it's particularly interesting to be able to find out whether Ernest Higgins rode the Midlands Mesh Perm in 1986. Is the ability to find out things like that really the best thing AUK's got going for it?  :-\  (over a hypothetical slimmed-down rival that is)

Has AUK even got a monopoly - does it even own the copyright to the word 'Audax'?

AUK has an agreement with ACP for organising BRM rides in the UK, you're not going to get that with any other organisation, whatever it calls itself, so if you want to qualify in this country to ride PBP, you're stuck with 'us'.


Which is a good point, but (at least) 3/4 of all rides aren't PBP qualifiers. Even assuming a hypothetical rival takes no trade at all in PBP year, then by definition 75% of the market is open.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 26, 2018, 11:19:44 am

AUK has an agreement with ACP for organising BRM rides in the UK, you're not going to get that with any other organisation, whatever it calls itself, so if you want to qualify in this country to ride PBP, you're stuck with 'us'.

[Dons tinfoil hat.....]


So if the HMS AUK goes down, where does that leave riders for next year?

Is this the reason the numbers have been hiked so quickly and without consult to the membership? To ensure we are not insolvent before PBP? We'd have another four years it were to happen after next summer.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Martin on September 26, 2018, 11:25:02 am
Quote
FF; if my sources are correct why are we interfacing to the existing database? why can't we sunset it and migrate the important historical data over?

Because there’s no event database in the new code, or event admin (for organisers), or event entry (for riders), or event results. It’s just a pretty-but-dumb website that pulls calendar and perm listings from the AUKweb database.

(How you spend £100+k to get so little is a mystery, but that particular ship has sailed)

It doesn’t seem to be proposed for any of the future phases either. So £340,000 later we’ll still be 100% dependent on AUKweb.

NB I’d love to be wrong about this, but I’ve posted it several times and no one’s corrected me yet...

or Event Planner? (it's what organisers use to build events; almost entirely self service)

Well that's just pants, I thought the whole idea was to replace the obsolete platform the existing database sat on, not just to provide a snazzy front end into it
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 26, 2018, 11:36:45 am

I thought the actual point of AUK maintaining actual lists of actual past results was that actual people are actually interested in them. They actually date back actual decades before actual Strava was actually invented. Even for rides happening this actual year, not all, actually probably not most, will actually be on actual Strava. And Strava can actually disappear or change its actual access rules at any actual moment. I believe there was actually a similar actual problem with an actual commercial mapping service actually relied for a time to verify actual distances. So if AUK wants to maintain records of events, actual Strava is actually fuck all actual fucking use. Plus, what Jaded said.

If on the other hand you were to ask what were the point of maintaining such records, you might have had a point.

I don't really know why, or to who, it's particularly interesting to be able to find out whether Ernest Higgins rode the Midlands Mesh Perm in 1986. Is the ability to find out things like that really the best thing AUK's got going for it?  :-\  (over a hypothetical slimmed-down rival that is)
Presumably to Ernest Higgins and others who rode the Midlands Mesh Perm in and around 1986.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 26, 2018, 11:39:22 am
AUK has an agreement with ACP for organising BRM rides in the UK, you're not going to get that with any other organisation, whatever it calls itself, so if you want to qualify in this country to ride PBP, you're stuck with 'us'.

Which is a good point, but (at least) 3/4 of all rides aren't PBP qualifiers. Even assuming a hypothetical rival takes no trade at all in PBP year, then by definition 75% of the market is open.

This is actually something that I just cannot get my head round with AUK. From what I can tell AUK is the only Audax/Randonneurring club the organises rides of 200km or longer that aren't run as BRM.

At the weekend I joined a 200k BRM in Denmark, this ride will be recognised by ACP, and by inference every other Audax club. It will count towards an attempt at a RRtY from Randonneurs.nl, it's even recognised by AUK if I should decide to claim RRtY from them instead.

However, if I had done a 200k BR in .UK on Saturday, it would be recognised by... AUK.

Part of what I love about Audaxing is the rich history, and the shard goals. The Danes welcomed me, we road together, we shared a great ride. It was all playing by the same rules.

But the Brits? Why?!? why reinvent the fscking wheel? What is it about AUK that makes you so special?

It's mentioned that ¾ of rides in .UK aren't PBP qualifiers, assuming that's talking about all rides of 200km or greater, 100% of Dutch rides are PBP qualifiers. 100% of Belgian, of German, of Danish.

What is it that makes the UK so fscking special?

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 26, 2018, 11:45:58 am
Several national organisations run non-BRM brevets alongside BRMs. Randonneurs USA and Audax Oz are the biggest ones after AUK.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 26, 2018, 11:47:16 am
Several national organisations run non-BRM brevets alongside BRMs. Randonneurs USA and Audax Oz are the biggest ones after AUK.

Any European orgs?

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 26, 2018, 11:51:07 am
But the Brits? Why?!? why reinvent the fscking wheel? What is it about AUK that makes you so special?

Because years ago ACP asked AUK not to register all their rides as BRM as they were doing far more than any other country and the validation admin was swamping ACP. So AUK created BRs for non-PBP qualifiers and validated them themselves.

Now the BRM validation is a lot slicker and more automated it might be worth asking ACP if AUK can up the number of rides it validates as BRM. If they agree to it then AUK can aim to have all its BR rides go back to BRM where feasible (some BR rides do not fit within BRM guidelines although that can easily be ignored with a Gallic shrug).

One for AUK's ACP delegate I guess. Posting on here won't get you anything, I'd try creating a thread on the official AUK forum or contacting the ACP delegate directly (details on the AUK site).
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 26, 2018, 11:51:37 am
A couple of European orgs and groups organise non-BRMs, not many. ACP is one of them.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 26, 2018, 11:54:01 am

I thought the actual point of AUK maintaining actual lists of actual past results was that actual people are actually interested in them. They actually date back actual decades before actual Strava was actually invented. Even for rides happening this actual year, not all, actually probably not most, will actually be on actual Strava. And Strava can actually disappear or change its actual access rules at any actual moment. I believe there was actually a similar actual problem with an actual commercial mapping service actually relied for a time to verify actual distances. So if AUK wants to maintain records of events, actual Strava is actually fuck all actual fucking use. Plus, what Jaded said.

If on the other hand you were to ask what were the point of maintaining such records, you might have had a point.

I don't really know why, or to who, it's particularly interesting to be able to find out whether Ernest Higgins rode the Midlands Mesh Perm in 1986. Is the ability to find out things like that really the best thing AUK's got going for it?  :-\  (over a hypothetical slimmed-down rival that is)
Presumably to Ernest Higgins and others who rode the Midlands Mesh Perm in and around 1986.

Indeed. I like to look back at my historical results from time to time as I know many others want to look back at theirs.

I completely get that some may never want to look at their historical results.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Peter on September 26, 2018, 11:55:50 am
"What is it that makes the UK so fscking special? "

Hard to know where to start, really!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: fboab on September 26, 2018, 11:57:59 am
With so many computer experts clearly around, I look forward to the AUK IT Director role being hotly contested this year, ideally by people experienced in managing large, volunteer-led projects as that appears to be what is being called for.

Will the new IT director be able to cancel this project? Who on earth would want to inherit this poison chalice if they can't get out of whatever contract was agreed?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on September 26, 2018, 12:06:39 pm
It's mentioned that ¾ of rides in .UK aren't PBP qualifiers, assuming that's talking about all rides of 200km or greater, 100% of Dutch rides are PBP qualifiers. 100% of Belgian, of German, of Danish.

No they're not. What you possibly mean is 100% of rides in a PBP year are PBP qualifiers. You can't qualify for PBP outside of a PBP year.

"PBP qualifier" is a subset of "BRM ride", the two are not synonymous.

(I'm assuming these countries do organise rides in non-PBP years instead of completely hibernating in which case I stand corrected.)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on September 26, 2018, 12:10:02 pm
And one more thing, on the AUK forum, the Club Sec has provided an interesting reply to a post from Manotea about the board's powers.  Might be worth a read - I don't know the truth of it but it must help focus debate.

Interested AUK members can find out more here (http://forum.audax.uk/index.php?topic=1590.msg13198#msg13198)

Sadly, it does require the ability to read and to follow detailed arguments...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ian H on September 26, 2018, 12:28:21 pm


But the Brits? Why?!? why reinvent the fscking wheel? What is it about AUK that makes you so special?

It's mentioned that ¾ of rides in .UK aren't PBP qualifiers, assuming that's talking about all rides of 200km or greater, 100% of Dutch rides are PBP qualifiers. 100% of Belgian, of German, of Danish.

What is it that makes the UK so fscking special?

J

Historically:  at the request of ACP who didn't, in pre-computer days, want so much work from AUK, especially between PBP years.

Special?  AUK was the first 'foreign' affiliate, and for a long time the biggest.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 26, 2018, 12:31:23 pm
"What is it that makes the UK so fscking special? "

Hard to know where to start, really!

Janteloven



But the Brits? Why?!? why reinvent the fscking wheel? What is it about AUK that makes you so special?

It's mentioned that ¾ of rides in .UK aren't PBP qualifiers, assuming that's talking about all rides of 200km or greater, 100% of Dutch rides are PBP qualifiers. 100% of Belgian, of German, of Danish.

What is it that makes the UK so fscking special?

J

Historically:  at the request of ACP who didn't, in pre-computer days, want so much work from AUK, especially between PBP years.

Special?  AUK was the first 'foreign' affiliate, and for a long time the biggest.

Right, things have changed, lets stop pissing around as special creatures and play the same as everyone else?

Just cos you're first at something doesn't mean you're doing it right...

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 26, 2018, 12:39:19 pm
QG, you are wrong.

AUK is doing much more than ACP and requires more flexibility to do so than BRMs allow. ACP operates a subset of brevets within a host of FFCT formats. AUK doesn't have that situation.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Kim on September 26, 2018, 12:41:43 pm
With so many computer experts clearly around, I look forward to the AUK IT Director role being hotly contested this year, ideally by people experienced in managing large, volunteer-led projects as that appears to be what is being called for.

To be fair, there are totally different levels of expertise required to have a back-of-the-envelope idea of the scale of the project, a knowledge of market rates, the ability to project manage, and the ability to manage volunteers[1].

While I probably count as a computer expert by forum standards, my expertise is in fields only tangentially related to large database-driven websites (Linux system administration is about as close as I get to the Web), and my project management skills are limited to "shut up, and do exactly as I say".  On the other hand, I have more exposure to the industry than the average layperson, and I've seen what happens when well-meaning experts volunteer to build a bespoke IT system for a non-profit organisation[2].

In other words, I'm fully aware that I'm unqualified to do more than ask reasonably sensible questions.  I'm sure that goes for most of the 'computer experts' on this thread.  Who you'll note are mostly asking sensible questions, rather than offering to build a new AUK website.  Indeed, if anyone comes along and says they will, I'd suggest treating them with healthy degree of suspicion.

Perhaps you'd rather people didn't ask sensible questions?


[1] Who, with the best will in the world, are less reliable than paid workers, as the volunteering will necessarily take a lower personal priority for them.
[2] The usual problems include poor project management, poor communication, or an unexpected change in personal circumstances meaning the project gets left high and dry too late for the organisation to implement an alternative.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 26, 2018, 12:51:36 pm
QG, you are wrong.

AUK is doing much more than ACP and requires more flexibility than BRMs allow to do so. ACP operates a subset of brevets within a host of FFCT formats. AUK doesn't have that situation.

Am happy to be wrong.

Can you elaborate so I am have the knowledge necessary to not be wrong?

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ivan on September 26, 2018, 12:59:15 pm
How can you have a DIY under BRM rules for example?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 26, 2018, 01:04:54 pm
How can you have a DIY under BRM rules for example?

DIY's are not recognised by ACP (AFAIK), and as such are outside the remit of my rant. Tho aren't BR DIY/Perms done at a different speed to a BRM?

That said, how does ACP handle the SR series permanents? These are recognised by ACP? Are there other perms recognised by ACP?

Tho I failed to specify it clearly, I was referring to calendar events initially. Given that not all Audax associations allow perms/DIY.

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 26, 2018, 01:06:57 pm
No perms under BRMs, so no DIYs either. No opportunity for non-standard distances or extra time for over-distance with BRMs. No sub-200 BRMs. No opportunity to add events to a calendar after the previous September. Are they enough reasons?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 26, 2018, 01:12:43 pm
ACP offer various perms but each series of perms are independent of BRMs and their perm awards are similarly independent of each other. It is only ACP's Randonneur 10000 award that incorporates a perm (SR600) amongst the BRMs. ACP's perms range from Fleche de France to the Tour de Corse. Look them up on the ACP website to see how they differ from BRMs.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ian H on September 26, 2018, 01:31:44 pm
ACP offer various perms but each series of perms are independent of BRMs and their perm awards are similarly independent. It is only ACP's Randonneur 10000 award that incorporates a perm (SR600) amongst the BRMs. ACP's perms range from Fleche de France to the Tour de Corse. Look them up on the ACP website to see how they differ from BRMs.

Separating the different elements of AUK's offerings is something I think would make sense, rather than shoehorning everything into the current points system.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 26, 2018, 01:49:38 pm
If AUK was starting from scratch, perhaps. We're so far down the line now, the marginal benefits of doing so probably aren't worth the bother.

Getting back to the OP, what form of contract was the IT firm employed under? What were the deliverables, cancellation, payment and IP requirements? I don't recall seeing the contract at all when I was a non-exec. director, which was a big mistake, given the current circumstances.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on September 26, 2018, 03:47:44 pm
At the weekend I joined a 200k BRM in Denmark, this ride will be recognised by ACP, and by inference every other Audax club. It will count towards an attempt at a RRtY from Randonneurs.nl, it's even recognised by AUK if I should decide to claim RRtY from them instead.

However, if I had done a 200k BR in .UK on Saturday, it would be recognised by... AUK.

It's not AUK's problem if the Danes don't want to recognise our BRs.  </spirit of Colonel Blimp>

There is nothing like a Dane ... nothing, in the world.
There is nothing you can name, that is anything like a Dane.


(http://www.aukweb.net/pix/ke7cqysv_sun_sep_21_12_43_24_2003.jpg)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on September 26, 2018, 03:56:07 pm
Compete with Strava? I hadn’t realised Strava has an AUK section.

It doesn't (or shouldn't) need an AUK 'section'.
In terms of what functionality it provides to fulfill the purpose of listing and reviewing the past rides that I, and others have done, Strava offers me details, statistics, including a map and even 'flyby' map in which you can watch your progress on the map compared to others that did the same ride. You always see others that have done the same audax.
The AUK website offers .... a single line of text.

The sort of wider point is - does AUK deserve its apparent monopoly on Audax/long distance rides in the UK?
Organisers are effectively franchisees and they are doing the hard work but paying a chunk of what they get to AUK.
I don't organise but if I did I would take the view that if that chunk is a very small amount (in absolute pound note terms) then it is worth it for the entry system/front end but if I'm paying more purely to maintain a page that shows a simple list from a database then I would probably take the view that that tips the balance of the benefits of the franchise not being worth the fee.

Has AUK even got a monopoly - does it even own the copyright to the word 'Audax'?
Could someone set up a rival organisation, just build (or buy off the shelf)  a simple front end that has no results system, but offers organisers an entry system and third party insurance, to allow organisers to run rides that they could call Audaxes, for a lower fee than AUK charges.
I'm sort of wondering why that hasn't happened, but my guess at the answer is that AUK's results system in fact is its USP which makes its franchise model saleable, but the only reason for that is simple inertia, rather than merit.

Quote
Besides, if I am going I to give my details to an organisation, I’ll do it to an organisation I’m a member of, not one that wants my details to make money from.

You might, but as an argument it's a red herring because most people aren't that anal.

Yay! I’ve been bonjed  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mattc on September 26, 2018, 07:15:20 pm
A few years ago 'this months audax panic' was the dilemna of a non-commercial body holding vast reserves of cash. It was generally agreed that this was a bad thing and that effort should be put into somehow getting rid of the vast reserves.

Indeed.

And by far the most popular way to spend this money was on shiny new webby stuff that would attract new members.

(cos the old was so ugly/unuserfriendly/old-fashoined, as evidenced by AUK's growth rate in the 3 years subsequent - I assume, I haven't checked ... )
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: IanR on September 26, 2018, 07:23:34 pm
I notice that Control F1 Limited has recently changed its name (to Intercept Services Limited).

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07284437/filing-history

I wonder what is the reason for this?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 26, 2018, 08:51:42 pm
Read back to page 6 and page 7 of this thread.

Huddersfield-based Intercept IP has acquired software company Control F1

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/intercept-acquire-control-f1-in-deal-to-take-technology-global-1-9310430 (https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/intercept-acquire-control-f1-in-deal-to-take-technology-global-1-9310430)

https://www.interceptip.com/ (https://www.interceptip.com/)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hillbilly on September 27, 2018, 11:10:16 am
To me, the relevant question about Control F1 is not really who owns them (beyond seeking clarity on what it does to the quotations given). 

It is what happens to the maintenance and support (costing a tidy total sum of £26,000 a year to Control F1 according to the minutes) if they cease to trade.  I anticipate the Board has a contingency plan but who knows.    Likewise who has the rights to the code in that circumstance.  At the moment it feels like the Board is putting a lot of faith in a single firm (Control F1 in this case, but it could be anybody in truth).  Understandably given the use of commercial firms, but I can't help but get a tingle in my risk sensors.

(As a complete aside, the minutes don't add up the support and maintainence costs correctly.  They claim a total of £17,980 a year when the component figures add up to £28,980.)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: chrisbainbridge on September 27, 2018, 01:20:25 pm
I am not an IT expert but i have written a couple of applications (psion 5) in the past and over the last 4 years developed a bespoke software package for our unit with a custom database of some complexity, data input systems linked to an iPad app, with appropriate sandboxes, safety and running in an NHS server. We also completely archived our previous database with15 years worth of data on many thousands of patients when the costs of integration became too high.  So i have some idea of the complexity and needs of such development.

Do we have a formal written specification for the software and what it needs to do?
Did we have a cost analysis of archiving the old database and creating a new bespoke versus continuing with the old database?
Did we have progressive deliverables at defined costs with the early option to walk away or change tack.
how many quotes did we get and was there a history of development of similar development?

i really do not see examples of their software on either site which is a bit worrying.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: toontra on September 27, 2018, 06:17:27 pm
Everything I've read in this thread leads me to the conclusion that, however well intentioned, this project has been poorly consulted upon and runs the risk of being poorly implemented.  When a sizeable number of your members, particularly those more informed in the area of IT, are raising serious questions I'd suggest it's time to stop and reconsider.

When a national charity I volunteered with for many years imposed far-reaching policy changes without appropriate consultation and with poor implementation it lead to the mass resignation of hundreds of long-standing volunteers and has never fully recovered.  AUK should take heed.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 27, 2018, 08:59:02 pm
Everything I've read in this thread leads me to the conclusion that, however well intentioned, this project has been poorly consulted upon and runs the risk of being poorly implemented.  When a sizeable number of your members, particularly those more informed in the area of IT, are raising serious questions I'd suggest it's time to stop and reconsider.

Given stuff like this,

Quote from: Greenbank
I offered (via email) and was told that if my view was that we should "pause and review" (but it was unfairly interpreted as canning everything done so far) that they would "have genuine difficulty in passing your application to work on the IT Refresh team to the IT Refresh managers".

It is crystal that that the board will proceed.


An IT man offers his services, but is told that any opinion other than proceed is not compatible.

The board is proceeding.

AUK will have it's new website.


I've been adamant from the instant all this website hullaballoo came to light that the membership needs to be balloted on what we do.

Nope, the board is proceeding.

You could be fooled into thinking  AUK is in fact now just a business run by the board, and not a club run by the board on behalf of the members.

As evidenced by this.....
Quote
I think we all share the view that AUK should retain as much of the ethos of a club as possible.  However AUK is also a company and, as such, those members willing to volunteer as directors of that company (we currently have two vacant posts) are subject to important legal duties deriving from the Companies Act 2006 and wider case law

Is AUK big enough for off shore accounts and registering in Jersey yet? Nope? Memberships Efforts should be doubled.
When a national charity I volunteered with for many years imposed far-reaching policy changes without appropriate consultation and with poor implementation it lead to the mass resignation of hundreds of long-standing volunteers and has never fully recovered.  AUK should take heed.


I stated in another thread that I categorically would not let my membership lapse over the matter of £4. I would pay double if asked.

If asked.

Unfortunately, its PBP next year - a fact I'm sure is not lost on the board.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on September 27, 2018, 09:17:27 pm
£26k per annum. New costs.

I can't remember what the existing income is but c £36k comes to mind.

Barking, unless I am wrong.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Pickled Onion on September 27, 2018, 09:53:48 pm
I offered (via email) and was told that if my view was that we should "pause and review" (but it was unfairly interpreted as canning everything done so far) that they would "have genuine difficulty in passing your application to work on the IT Refresh team to the IT Refresh managers".

I need to do a bit more reading up on the history of it all via the minutes/reports but given what has recently come out I'll almost certainly be withdrawing my offer of help if they continue with the plan to piss away lots of money unnecessarily doing things, IMHO, in the wrong order.

I also suspect there's a fair bit of this going on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy

What I expect/hope will happen is that the possibility of pissing away all of this money will get all of the people that probably wanted to volunteer last time but didn't bother (just like me), or did but fell away as the enormity of it dawned on them, and galvanise them into really doing something this time. If that happens then I'll throw my hat back into the ring.

The projected costs of the project may be enormous but my greater concern is the ongoing maintenance fees that CF1 were scheduled to charge, these annual chargers were more than the current annual surplus of AUK. (From what I've read, happy to be proven wrong.)

In my mind the minimal viable product of this work should have been the shoring up of the existing website/backend so that it is not running on legacy software, not reliant on FF so much, can be more easily maintained, and then slowly rewrite chunks of it in situ to make it more easily extensible and maintainable for the upcoming improvements required in both membership and event planning. None of this needed outside contractors.

Once that it would be considerably easier to get a prettier front end slapped on the front of it, which may be easier to do with outside contractors but considerably cheaper as the interface/infrastructure required to do it would already be in place.

I agree with everything you have said.

The most disturbing figure is the annual support cost. This is just to keep it ticking over, no new functionality, which will certainly be required over the coming years. I'm also concerned about the choice of a relatively little-known platform, further tying in to this supplier.

I would also be willing to throw my hat in to a team of volunteers (I'm an IT professional with experience of a number of "lift-and-shift" projects of very large systems) but I suspect that is never going to be an option.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 27, 2018, 10:27:31 pm
Everything I've read in this thread leads me to the conclusion that, however well intentioned, this project has been poorly consulted upon and runs the risk of being poorly implemented.  When a sizeable number of your members, particularly those more informed in the area of IT, are raising serious questions I'd suggest it's time to stop and reconsider.

Given stuff like this,

Quote from: Greenbank
I offered (via email) and was told that if my view was that we should "pause and review" (but it was unfairly interpreted as canning everything done so far) that they would "have genuine difficulty in passing your application to work on the IT Refresh team to the IT Refresh managers".

It is crystal that that the board will proceed.


An IT man offers his services, but is told that any opinion other than proceed is not compatible.

The board is proceeding.

AUK will have it's new website.


I've been adamant from the instant all this website hullaballoo came to light that the membership needs to be balloted on what we do.

Nope, the board is proceeding.

You could be fooled into thinking  AUK is in fact now just a business run by the board, and not a club run by the board on behalf of the members.

As evidenced by this.....
Quote
I think we all share the view that AUK should retain as much of the ethos of a club as possible.  However AUK is also a company and, as such, those members willing to volunteer as directors of that company (we currently have two vacant posts) are subject to important legal duties deriving from the Companies Act 2006 and wider case law

Is AUK big enough for off shore accounts and registering in Jersey yet? Nope? Memberships Efforts should be doubled.
When a national charity I volunteered with for many years imposed far-reaching policy changes without appropriate consultation and with poor implementation it lead to the mass resignation of hundreds of long-standing volunteers and has never fully recovered.  AUK should take heed.


I stated in another thread that I categorically would not let my membership lapse over the matter of £4. I would pay double if asked.

If asked.

Unfortunately, its PBP next year - a fact I'm sure is not lost on the board.

So do you think the Board should get the boot?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frillipippi on September 28, 2018, 12:02:27 am
Answering to QG's question, in Italy we have ARI (Audax Randonneur Italia) that organizes both BRM and non-BRM audaxes. I guess the reason for non-BRM audaxes is related to our national habit of improvising: it conflicts with ACP schedule for publishing the world calendar for each year.

We also have a rival organization (Ciclofachiro), that organizes non-BRM rides, plus a BRM-validated Super-Randonnée.
This rival organization is a sort of "rebel" organization: it was founded by some former members of the "official" equivalent of AUK who decided to leave an organization that apparently didn't suit them (anymore). I remember I read some recriminations about money, but when I asked why they left to one of them, he told me that while ARI spent a lot of energies in a lot of different things, he and his partners just wanted to focus on riding. Riding beautiful rides.
To my opinion, "rebel" routes are often much better than those of the official organization, so I dare say they're achieving what they strive for.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 28, 2018, 12:10:34 am
I've been adamant from the instant all this website hullaballoo came to light that the membership needs to be balloted on what we do.

FWIW I don't quite agree with this.

I wish that the board would do the right thing. I don't trust the membership to be able to be informed enough to make the right decision if it went to a ballot.

What I wish the board would do is stop at the end of Phase 1 and reassess. Don't fall for the Sunk Cost Fallacy and throw good money after bad with Phases 2/3.

Look at what really is the problem (the current infrastructure is shaky) and the proposed solution (which does not change this) and realise that it is pointless to continue with Phase 2 or 3 as it stands.

Phase 1 has cost enough and scared enough people that a proper rethink is required. Balloting the members suggests that there is a viable alternative plan, there isn't yet.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 28, 2018, 05:50:53 am
No small feat...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Bianchi Boy on September 28, 2018, 07:12:13 am
I have said this before but the way (from the outside) that the website re-write appears have been undertaken by looking at all the features and trying to do it all. In my experience this approach normally fails. I have have worked on many project large and small and there are some worrying signs. First when something goes over budget you should should look at what has been achieved and ask if it has been done effectively. Most projects look at the remainder of the work and do a frantic re-plan which often just repeats the mistakes that were done in the planning of the first phase in more painful detail. The point here is that all software development is really R&D as nobody will have done it before, look at what has been achieved and if it is good quality and has been done effectively take the next set of functionality and implement. To take this approach the users of the software have to have a clear idea of the minimum functionality that makes sense, then augment it in iterations ensuring that after each cycle the product makes sense.

One common feature that many failing projects have is having large amounts of documentation. Firstly no one reads the documents and they take a great deal of effort to write and then it is ignored in varying degrees during the implementation. Focus on what has been delivered and understand the product, build things that people can see and not endless features that are in the spec.

I am not close to the project and it would take some time to examine what had been done, but this looks like what needs to get done before further commitment is made.

There is one other point there appears to be two separate objectives, one to give us a modern web site and the other to get us off obsolete infrastructure. Which is the most important, I would suggest the second.

BB
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 28, 2018, 07:52:15 am

So do you think the Board should get the boot?

Loaded question! I'm sure the articles would somehow prevent it from happening anyway.

I think that they should put the future of the works in the hands of the membership. If the membership votes in favour of carrying on, that is fine by me.
In the meeting minutes, RJ is even quoted as having said that the membership should be consulted. Let me state that again - the IT refresh man said the membership should be consulted. Who, and at what point was he overuled?


FWIW I don't quite agree with this.

I wish that the board would do the right thing. I don't trust the membership to be able to be informed enough to make the right decision if it went to a ballot.

What I wish the board would do is stop at the end of Phase 1 and reassess. Don't fall for the Sunk Cost Fallacy and throw good money after bad with Phases 2/3.

Phase 1 has cost enough and scared enough people that a proper rethink is required.

Whether you or I believe the membership aren't informed enough to make the right decision is irrelevant. Its not as though the board are forthcoming with details. (I'm sure case law says they can't divulge some stuff, but do the board know enough?) The only right decision is the decision of the memberhip. This is a club supposedly, not Westminster or Brussels.

Every other point in your post, I agree.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 28, 2018, 08:03:44 am

So do you think the Board should get the boot?

Loaded question! I'm sure the articles would somehow prevent it from happening anyway.

I think that they should put the future of the works in the hands of the membership. If the membership votes in favour of carrying on, that is fine by me.
In the meeting minutes, RJ is even quoted as having said that the membership should be consulted. Let me state that again - the IT refresh man said the membership should be consulted. Who, and at what point was he overuled?


Maybe the minutes were incorrectly recorded, in which case it's the fault of the clarks.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Aunt Maud on September 28, 2018, 08:16:33 am

So do you think the Board should get the boot?

Loaded question! I'm sure the articles would somehow prevent it from happening anyway.

I think that they should put the future of the works in the hands of the membership. If the membership votes in favour of carrying on, that is fine by me.
In the meeting minutes, RJ is even quoted as having said that the membership should be consulted. Let me state that again - the IT refresh man said the membership should be consulted. Who, and at what point was he overuled?


Maybe the minutes were incorrectly recorded, in which case it's the fault of the clarks.

Maybe they were pinching corns.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on September 28, 2018, 08:21:07 am

So do you think the Board should get the boot?

Loaded question! I'm sure the articles would somehow prevent it from happening anyway.

I think that they should put the future of the works in the hands of the membership. If the membership votes in favour of carrying on, that is fine by me.
In the meeting minutes, RJ is even quoted as having said that the membership should be consulted. Let me state that again - the IT refresh man said the membership should be consulted. Who, and at what point was he overuled?


Maybe the minutes were incorrectly recorded, in which case it's the fault of the clarks.

Maybe they were pinching corns.

Ecco, ecco, ecco.........
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on September 28, 2018, 10:56:18 am
Maybe the minutes were incorrectly recorded, in which case it's the fault of the clarks.

Maybe they were pinching corns.

I think we've had enough footwear-based puns in this thread already, thank you.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 28, 2018, 11:00:12 am
Well, we don't. ::-)

If you've got some enlightened comment that will add some new balance to the discussion then nobody is stopping you.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on September 28, 2018, 11:04:52 am
Well, we don't. ::-)

If you've got some enlightened comment that will add some new balance to the discussion then nobody is stopping you.

That had better be the last one.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 28, 2018, 11:09:38 am
(Bzzzzt.....repetition!)

Hold your tongue you Shitheel.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on September 28, 2018, 11:14:56 am
I believe we have had tongue before. He would have every right to give you a jolly big welt.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 28, 2018, 11:16:13 am
That awl you got?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: alotronic on September 28, 2018, 11:18:22 am
As yet another person with significant web experience (20 years, projects up to £10m but mostly around the £50k-£500k level including years inside agencies selling such projects) this is all worrying.

There are first-order obvious questions around projects that are over ambitious and agencies that make money out of people's ignorance and inexperience (indeed that is part of the business model of most agencies) stupidly high maintenance costs and general over specification to satisfy the desire for one system to rule them all. Generally stopping and taking a good look at what you have and need is probably a good idea at this point. If the critical part of the project is infrastructure then how are we doing on that? What is the least we can do to solve that problem? What are the minimal set of features we can use to run events? How can we make those as easy and pleasant to use as possible? How is that ease balanced against the cost? You need an approach to that too.

There are second-order questions about system design and intent - like why a monolithic website/management system? One of my favourite exercises when reviewing or writing briefs is how much of this specification in front of me could I do with google docs and forms and a routing engine like IFTTT or Zapier? The answer is usually around 80-95%. Add a marketing/story website on top from a platform provider like webflow or square space and add stripe (the expensive bit). I appreciate that is a bit challenging as a set of ideas and that the time for them is past, but nevertheless there is was an opportunity here to just to leap over the whole pile of spec-driven nonsense. I suspect a tech person from the team will give me a hundred reasons why the current approach is the best, and I would be happy with a good explanation, but I would want to know that a cloud-based free-tools MVP approach had been considered. It is the modern way for a good reason. And most web agencies are explicitly not structured to offer that kind of advice or service because it is not profitable for them.

Third-order is organisational. My casual observation is that the Audax clientele has a strong Venn cross-over with Technical, IT and Web pros. While this population will never be of one mind it seems wasteful to not recruit some of their expertise. Indeed I offered mine (to read specs and briefs etc) and was thanked but never contacted. I have no particular problem with that and I am grateful that there are people who put in this amount of time for nix and I hope to join their number when family commitments subside a little. This bit is about being grateful for volunteers but balancing that with getting good advice. There is no easy answer to that, but it seems a little odd to not call on that expertise in the membership without devaluing the contributions of the generous volunteer core.

Over the years I have noted that there is a strong correlation between expense and structure of the organisation commissioning digital work. It is simply easier for a Board to cope with Specs and costs rather than get their heads around alternative approaches. As a web practitioner I see this a lot - projects look like organisations that start them, even when that form is inappropriate. A fact of life. Unfortunately this often means that larger more formal organisations get their lunch eaten by upstarts - this is where the SWOT analysis comes in - who are the 'threats' to AUK, what are the opportunities etc. Again more about strategy than IT, but my observation is that organisations are much more likely to start a project to deliver what they *think they want* than take a good long look at themselves beforehand. Then, with over runs,  the project then becomes highly contested and becomes an expensive and tortuous defacto soul-searching exercise. I think we can see that playing out here. Again, horse has bolted on this one, but a good one for the lessons-learned list. Money spent on direction and strategy is often resented in organisations but it saves you a ton of cash in the medium term.

Finally I love my Audax riding, I am not particularity bothered about the price rise and generally I actually don't really care how well the board functions. I suspect this appreciative apathy is quite common. I don't excuse this apathy and acknowledge that I am not a great example of the charitable individual. The collapse of the organisation would, of course, be a blow and should be avoided but I would be really troubled if it was a failed IT project that did it. Projects can be paused, saved, rewritten, renegotiated, abandoned. There is always hope, but often admitting a feckup is the right place to start. I genuinely wish the board all the best in this, it's in no one's interest for this to become a collapse.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 28, 2018, 11:23:36 am
So how do we get the interested IT/ procurement AUKs together with the Board's IT committee and all the relevant information and documentation to fully understand the scale of the problem and to workshop alternative solutions?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on September 28, 2018, 12:25:15 pm
Yes offers so far are fragmented, instead of somehow being assembled in one place - I have had a couple of PMs via this forum, and a couple via the AUK forum, and likely other PMs have been sent to other people - then there are remarks like "I'll thow my hat in the ring" upthread from here.  But it seems that all such offers at present fall on deaf ears, because the new project is in the hands of the contractors, and there is no mandate to refurbish the old aukweb.  If there were, I would as a first step open up the documentation that exists for aukweb, to interested applicants.  But we're not at that stage.

What I wish the board would do is stop at the end of Phase 1 and reassess. Don't fall for the Sunk Cost Fallacy and throw good money after bad with Phases 2/3.
Look at what really is the problem (the current infrastructure is shaky) and the proposed solution (which does not change this) and realise that it is pointless to continue with Phase 2 or 3 as it stands.
and
There is one other point there appears to be two separate objectives, one to give us a modern web site and the other to get us off obsolete infrastructure. Which is the most important, I would suggest the second.

But the IT refresh project from its inception (early 2013 I think) is specifically about Teh Shiny.  The second objective didn't exist.  And in a perverse way (unintended I'm sure) it is the existence of the new project that has led to the obsolescence of the old.  Like - you build a new garden shed and you don't care too much any more about the leaky roof on the old one.  As soon as the new project became reality in 2013, all incentive was lost to continue development on aukweb, or even to do anything more than essential maintenance.  Without that new project, the obsolete features in aukweb's codebase would have been addressed long ago.

Why are CF1 using the existing data?  Well I think it seemed an obvious first step and a way to get some tangible progress out there, to just re-skin the front end.  And migrating the data is not trivial - it's very 'live' with around 20 event entries per hour and half a dozen new members per day.  They have discovered too late (I did try to warn) that the data structure is labyrinthine and obscure, with unintuitive table and field names.  Really, at some point it has to be rebuilt.  They could employ me as a consultant (I'd be very cheap) to guide them round this stuff and it would save them stacks of time and therefore reduce their billing.  I do in any case answer their questions when asked but in general they don't seem to know what are the right questions.

There are second-order questions about system design and intent - like why a monolithic website/management system? One of my favourite exercises when reviewing or writing briefs is how much of this specification in front of me could I do with google docs and forms and a routing engine like IFTTT or Zapier? The answer is usually around 80-95%. ...
 I suspect a tech person from the team will give me a hundred reasons why the current approach is the best, and I would be happy with a good explanation, but I would want to know that a cloud-based free-tools MVP approach had been considered. It is the modern way for a good reason. And most web agencies are explicitly not structured to offer that kind of advice or service because it is not profitable for them.

There is the history.  The data-based aukweb was set up before Google Docs was a thing.  It replaced desktop operations spread across the 3 nations, from Cornwall to Edinburgh, on a mix of platforms (PC and Mac).  And it was instantly a huge improvement.  The database originally had to replicate as closely as possible, what the volunteer workers knew from their desktops, databases which to some extent they had each developed individually.  Table structures and field names were copied aas far as possible. 
Also for most workers this was pre-broadband, so data queries and resultsets etc had to be kept as lightweight as possible.  (Those who know me will vouch that I am to this day a bit eccentric about bandwidth!)  Partly for these reasons there are a multitude of small data tables where a more modern design would use fewer larger ones.  No-one who admins for AUK is assumed to be SQL-savvy so their interface consists of control panels and stored queries tailored to each task - Membership, Events, Results etc.  I think many of them would be less comfortable with a generic interface based on generic tools - but maybe I'm wrong about that.

I've had no input to the new project, but presumably those who drew up the spec looked at what we currently have and at least partially drew inspiration from that.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 28, 2018, 12:47:12 pm
It replaced desktop operations spread across the 3 nations, from Cornwall to Edinburgh,
Non-IT question: Why does AUK not organize events in Northern Ireland?

IT question: As a non-IT person, what does "infrastructure" mean in this context?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 28, 2018, 01:02:51 pm
There is a gentleman's agreement that Audax Ireland does most or all of the calendar events and perms on the island, though there is nothing stopping a Northern Ireland AUK organiser stepping forward. There are (or were, haven't checked recently) some AUK perms through Ireland and Northern Ireland with GB organisers. Both organisations have agreements with ACP to run BRMs in Northern Ireland and there is currently no issue with AUK starting a brevet in NI and heading across the border, though Brexit seems determined to change that.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on September 28, 2018, 01:06:00 pm
(Have you ever been to N.I?)

I think it means different things to different people, but what is being referred to here is that aukweb is stuck on old software and can't easily update.  It's a bit like a lot like using Windows 98 and Word 97 - there's nothing actually wrong with those but it's a risky setup that would not be easy to recover if it goes wrong.  Although people seem to be fixated on the data, it's actually not the database that is the main problem, it's the scripting code (1000s of individual scripts) used to display the public site and run the (much bigger) non-public stuff.  Virtually every single one requires updating, and it's not just a trivial thing like search-and-replace.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: mattc on September 28, 2018, 01:17:16 pm
No small feat...
Did you mean "feet"??

This is very confusing ...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 28, 2018, 01:21:15 pm
I think it means different things to different people, but what is being referred to here is that aukweb is stuck on old software and can't easily update.  It's a bit like a lot like using Windows 98 and Word 97 - there's nothing actually wrong with those but it's a risky setup that would not be easy to recover if it goes wrong.  Although people seem to be fixated on the data, it's actually not the database that is the main problem, it's the scripting code (1000s of individual scripts) used to display the public site and run the (much bigger) non-public stuff.  Virtually every single one requires updating, and it's not just a trivial thing like search-and-replace.
I see. Or at least, I see that it's not physical hardware, which is what the term implied to me. Thanks (and to LWaB)!
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on September 28, 2018, 01:28:28 pm
I see. Or at least, I see that it's not physical hardware, which is what the term implied to me. Thanks (and to LWaB)!

Physically most servers these days are very robust.  A much, much greater risk than hardware failure is Hosting Provider failure - a company that just ceases to exist overnight.  Even in that case aukweb does have a backup server running on a different Host that copies the data in real time, and the codebase and any uploaded gpx files etc, nightly.  The domain name is hosted separately again so can be pointed at either server.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Bianchi Boy on September 28, 2018, 06:12:53 pm
I see. Or at least, I see that it's not physical hardware, which is what the term implied to me. Thanks (and to LWaB)!

Physically most servers these days are very robust.  A much, much greater risk than hardware failure is Hosting Provider failure - a company that just ceases to exist overnight.  Even in that case aukweb does have a backup server running on a different Host that copies the data in real time, and the codebase and any uploaded gpx files etc, nightly.  The domain name is hosted separately again so can be pointed at either server.
Many infrastructure problems come because of old software being used that first stops being supported and then stops works on the latest hardware or operating system. So this does not sound too bad just upgrade the software. Ah well the code will not work with the new version and an upgrade is needed, which requires some re-writing, ah and then regression testing.
So we will keep running the old software on old hardware. But the hardware stops working and then there are no spares, and the software no longer gets security patches and is vulnerable to hacking, then the data centre will not run it anymore because it does not run the current version of the monitoring tools.

The above is a summary of what I have seen on many occasions because of a lack of investing in upgrades and putting things off until next year. Is this what has happened to AUK site?

BB
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on September 28, 2018, 06:39:31 pm
The above is a summary of what I have seen on many occasions because of a lack of investing in upgrades and putting things off until next year. Is this what has happened to AUK site?

There is one other point there appears to be two separate objectives, one to give us a modern web site and the other to get us off obsolete infrastructure. Which is the most important, I would suggest the second.
But the IT refresh project from its inception (early 2013 I think) is specifically about Teh Shiny.  The second objective didn't exist.  And in a perverse way (unintended I'm sure) it is the existence of the new project that has led to the obsolescence of the old.  Like - you build a new garden shed and you don't care too much any more about the leaky roof on the old one.  As soon as the new project became reality in 2013, all incentive was lost to continue development on aukweb, or even to do anything more than essential maintenance.  Without that new project, the obsolete features in aukweb's codebase would have been addressed long ago.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: ian_oli on September 28, 2018, 10:07:27 pm
I didnt follow the genesis of the IT rewrite but did anyone look to see if a system/package out there could be tailored to AUK needs, rather than write software. British Cycling have a club/race admin system, RiderHQ is used for a lot of sportives (I use it for organising Willesden CC's Reliability Rides and it works well and I can see no reason it wont work for audaxes with more than a little twiddling. There are several commercial club management products too.

Much of what is special about AUK such as the points competition and long term storage of results can be achieved by exporting rider data from the package and loading it into bespoke tables that can then be interrogated. APIs make that easy to automate, but there are other ways to do it.
 
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: bairn again on September 28, 2018, 10:34:23 pm
At least us normal folk know that AUK has loads of IT professionals and we can make allowances accordingly. 

I’d always wondered why you were all so weird, but had just assumed you were all GPs or actuaries.   ;)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: arkle on September 28, 2018, 11:31:06 pm
I didnt follow the genesis of the IT rewrite but did anyone look to see if a system/package out there could be tailored to AUK needs, rather than write software. British Cycling have a club/race admin system, RiderHQ is used for a lot of sportives (I use it for organising Willesden CC's Reliability Rides and it works well and I can see no reason it wont work for audaxes with more than a little twiddling. There are several commercial club management products too.

Much of what is special about AUK such as the points competition and long term storage of results can be achieved by exporting rider data from the package and loading it into bespoke tables that can then be interrogated. APIs make that easy to automate, but there are other ways to do it.
 

In the context of all this debate I thought I'd look at the Audax Ireland website, which appears to be written using Wordpress. The scope of what they do seems simpler than AUK, but it was quite interesting nonetheless to see how they do things.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 28, 2018, 11:42:30 pm
Ireland takes a more catholic approach to cycling. So Cycling Ireland embraces all disciplines. Audax comes under Sportives and Leisure. It's possible to decode them by the distance references, any reference to multiples of a 100 will reveal an audax.

http://www.cyclingireland.ie/page/events/events-calendar/leisure-sportive-events

An odd concept to cyclists in the UK of course.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Somnolent on September 29, 2018, 08:37:43 am
At least us normal folk know that AUK has loads of IT professionals and we can make allowances accordingly. 

I’d always wondered why you were all so weird, but had just assumed you were all GPs or actuaries.   ;)

POTD !
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 29, 2018, 12:18:14 pm
At least us normal folk know that AUK has loads of IT professionals and we can make allowances accordingly. 

I’d always wondered why you were all so weird, but had just assumed you were all GPs or actuaries.   ;)

Surely the hand writing on the brevett cards would be a give away ? :p

J
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: DrMekon on October 15, 2018, 11:43:48 pm
I've been adamant from the instant all this website hullaballoo came to light that the membership needs to be balloted on what we do.

FWIW I don't quite agree with this.

I wish that the board would do the right thing. I don't trust the membership to be able to be informed enough to make the right decision if it went to a ballot.

What I wish the board would do is stop at the end of Phase 1 and reassess. Don't fall for the Sunk Cost Fallacy and throw good money after bad with Phases 2/3.

Look at what really is the problem (the current infrastructure is shaky) and the proposed solution (which does not change this) and realise that it is pointless to continue with Phase 2 or 3 as it stands.

Phase 1 has cost enough and scared enough people that a proper rethink is required. Balloting the members suggests that there is a viable alternative plan, there isn't yet.

This.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on October 16, 2018, 12:25:13 am
What I find difficult is the absence of any sense of vision of what the new website is supposed to achieve, what functionality and benefits it will offer members and the delivery programme.

The vision thing is especially important because if you're selling the family silver to pay for a system then you have to be focused on the long term, looking to develop a system that will be relevant in 5 or even 10 years time. That in itself requires a fairly solid vision of the future of Audax UK and how it will present itself in an increasingly online world. If a purpose of the website is for example to help promote audax - and help orgs promote their events - where are the photo galleries and social media elements? Yes, anathema to some but absolutely essential in the modern world (and standard elements of a modern website).

Its not unreasonable to expect this to have been nailed before issuing contracts and for it to be communicated to the users/members/customers. All we've had is a few column inches in Arrivee and the odd forum post, mostly consisting of statements to the effect of, 'we've gotta have it and very little of this has anything to do with you'.

Meanwhile the budget (so far as can be ascertained) has gone from a nominal £150k to a projected five year (additional) spend of £500k or more. A large chunk of the current overspend seems might have been avoidable either by stronger project/supplier management and/or by taking an approach which didn't neccessitate wholesale integration with old/existing systems.

At the end of the day, instead of having a complete solution/service we'll have a shiny front-end website developed and maintained by costly contractors who we are essentially going to be paying forever for every minor enhancement/change to come, whilst club volunteers will continue to kept busy (re) developing and maintaining  the backend database to facilitate the website. (Was it not part of the rationale for the project to allow the club volunteers to retire, i.e., to avoid being dependent on just one person? AUK ought to put up a statue to Francis for all he has done and is continuing to do for the club.)

The really worrying thing is that what has been implemented to date is relatively straightforward webstuff. All of the more technical elements are yet to come, so assertions that the later stages will not incur similar cost overuns seem naive at best.

I don't doubt that a vast amount of work has been put into this project by volunteers but much of the return will be lost if it is misguided.

The real tell is that those most involved with this project mostly want out. That does not bode well for the future.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Dapper on October 17, 2018, 10:48:58 pm
Manotea is so right. When I got the ‘offical’ Email I replied but no response. Which is ok but does feel like part of the problem. The new site has to be about customer service, us as members being the customer!  Whilst the present site has limitations and I suspect mainly from the organisers position. It allows us to choose our events, pay on line, download gps or route sheets, has maps of the courses, it ain’t bad.

I am not a techie, but I do run a 70m turnover transport organisation and our website, with journey planners, live tracking, etc does not come close to the numbers being spoken about. I value the people running our club....... makes me sad.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Tull924 on October 17, 2018, 11:27:11 pm
When I got the ‘offical’ Email I replied but no response.

Really?

Did you think that the volunteers at the other end have the time to answer all the emails they have coming in? (I do not doubt that your's was better than everyone else's and deserved to be replied to which I understand)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Delph Cyclist on October 18, 2018, 07:50:14 am
...Whilst the present site has limitations and I suspect mainly from the organisers position. It allows us to choose our events, pay on line, download gps or route sheets, has maps of the courses, it ain’t bad...

You might have missed the posts made earlier suggesting that the present site could collapse at any moment, and relies on a very small number of people (probably numbering less than 2 in a lot of cases) to keep it going.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on October 18, 2018, 08:06:56 am
Along with the posts from those folk noting that there are cheaper alternatives to the current approach.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on October 18, 2018, 08:39:53 am
You might have missed the posts made earlier suggesting that the present site could collapse at any moment, and relies on a very small number of people (probably numbering less than 2 in a lot of cases) to keep it going.

All sorts of things have been suggested....

The actualite is The One (shall we call him "Neo", though perhaps, "Paleo" might be more appropriate... these are the jokes, you may as well laugh... :) ) has stated that the current system is quite stable, and that from his perspective the major issue is that it is based on aging tech which makes development and maintenance problematic. This might have been addressed years ago however any such development work was shelved because of the pending new system.

As is, there is more than a suggestion that the 'new website (a.k.a., 'The Shiny') is simply a front-end to the existing system, that AUK admin will continue to be dependent on the existing system, and that extensive development to the existing system will be required to faciliate further development of 'The Shiny'.

Throw in the scope for problems arising from different elements of the system being developed and maintained by disparate groups with completely different priorities and working methods, and from an armageddon perspective its hard to see how we're any better off.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Whitedown Man on October 18, 2018, 09:09:33 am
Manotea is so right. When I got the ‘offical’ Email I replied but no response. Which is ok but does feel like part of the problem. The new site has to be about customer service, us as members being the customer!  Whilst the present site has limitations and I suspect mainly from the organisers position. It allows us to choose our events, pay on line, download gps or route sheets, has maps of the courses, it ain’t bad.

I am not a techie, but I do run a 70m turnover transport organisation and our website, with journey planners, live tracking, etc does not come close to the numbers being spoken about. I value the people running our club....... makes me sad.

(My bold in the embedded quote)

The customer vs member question is a key one.  Were we ‘customers’, then it would be a case of take it (the price rise resulting from throwing c. £0.5m of good money after bad) vs. leave it.

However, many of us (can’t speak for everyone, but perhaps it’s all rather than many) had understood we were members of a club. As members of a club, we should have the right to vote on whether our membership fees should rise. We used to have that right. The Board (via a vote, but a vote in which members were advised that nothing substantial was changing) has removed that right.

YMMV, but in my view we have been reclassified from members to customers without the courtesy of either being notified or given the choice.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on October 18, 2018, 10:23:45 am
So I emailed Richard the IT director this list of functionality asking where it fit into the project phases:
Quote
- Event entry and payment
- Event creation/admin/etc for organisers
- Event results database
- Points tables etc
- Calculation of awards etc (the ones AUKweb currently does automatically)

Here's the reply in full (my bold):
Quote
We originally carried out functional analysis on rationalising Calendar / Perm / DIY payments and workflows for organisers and riders.  Which includes the points you raise.  Unsurprisingly it is complex, and as the note explains, the recommended development strategy was not to start by re-developing the back end - high cost / high risk.  The agreed phasing is:

Phase 1 is read only replacement for the CMS element of AUKWEB, with a membership dashboard.  Part of the cost problem was that even simple looking routines were building data from the original unstructured data in AUKWEB.  We underestimated the amount effort required.  Since then Francis Cooke has restructured the results data which will be a huge help going forward.   

Phase 2 will be membership management. 

Phase 3 is end to end rationalisation of all the different event types.  This is where your points will be tackled.  We haven’t started to think about the best way to do this, there are many development options.  We need to complete the current phase first.

So, to clarify, by the end of Phase 2, we will:

The stuff in some of the board papers about Phase 3 just being "some DIY stuff" or whatever now strike me as completely fraudulent. Phase 3 is where the core hard bits get done!

This is much more than an IT project gone a bit over budget, this is discovering your senile grandparents have handed over their house to a door-to-door salesman level of intervention required.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on October 18, 2018, 10:36:30 am
And let's not forget all the complexity is purely so Ernest Higgins can check how many perms he did in 1986.
If you'd started from square one with a new database with no requirement to import legacy data it would be a fraction of the cost.
Why is legacy data so important? Just keep your brevet cards or better still maintain your own spreadsheet or use strava if you're that bothered. Personally I don't give a toss how many rides I did years ago. I can remember the ones I can remember, the rest obviously weren't that memorable.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on October 18, 2018, 10:51:48 am
And let's not forget all the complexity is purely so Ernest Higgins can check how many perms he did in 1986.
If you'd started from square one with a new database with no requirement to import legacy data it would be a fraction of the cost.
Why is legacy data so important? Just keep your brevet cards or better still maintain your own spreadsheet or use strava if you're that bothered. Personally I don't give a toss how many rides I did years ago. I can remember the ones I can remember, the rest obviously weren't that memorable.

That's only a fraction of the problem.

The bulk of the work related to results/awards is creating the schema for storing results data and the work needed to allow awards to be defined with minimal (ideally none) code changes (only changes in the awards DB) when new awards are devised, i.e. the awards themselves are not hard coded. This will all need to be done whether legacy data is imported or not if the new system is going to keep track of results and awards.

Once that's all done, mashing the legacy data into the new schmea format and importing it, and tweaking the system to produce the correct results is a relatively small chunk of work.

The only saving would be if the new system did not automate the tallying of awards (and/or results at all).
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on October 18, 2018, 11:00:12 am
Why is legacy data so important?

Because the scope of Phase 1 doesn't include any of the tools to create or manage event listings (or anything else) - it's "read only". The only way to get events into the new front end is to use the AUKweb tools to put them into the AUKweb database. Thus the "legacy data" includes events that haven't happened yet, or even been thought of yet! Nothing whatsoever to with legacy data from 1986*.

Arguably starting afresh with a new database might have been a better plan, but would also have required writing new management tools at the same time. In any case, importing the legacy data into that new database would have been a relatively trivial task.

The issue to me is that they've ignored that we already have working code that can read the existing data, and instead of using that, they've paid a very expensive team to recreate that code from scratch in a new language, apparently without consulting the old code to see what it did. This is the only way I can explain how they ended up burning £100+k bolting a basic event listing system onto an off-the-shelf CMS.

(* and the new front end doesn't even have a results listing feature AFAICT)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on October 18, 2018, 11:07:51 am
Here's the reply in full (my bold):

Interesting, thanks for doing that.

That and my other reading seems to confirm my suspicions about this project as a whole.

I'm still torn on what to do. Part of me wants to help AUK minimise the possible fuck-up in the future by helping get the existing code into a better shape (to make future integrations easier and to avoid security nightmares from running code that doesn't run on the most recent versions of the underlying software), but the other part of me is loath to do this whilst AUK is seemingly pissing money up the wall.

Sitting back and watching AUK implode due to spiralling IT costs for a misplaced vanity project might not be what is best for AUK.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: jiberjaber on October 18, 2018, 11:19:04 am
As risk mitigation and improving certainty of scope/costs on Phase 3, perhaps a volunteer team could start work on a new schema now and then that could be used to narrow the scope of Phase 3?

Surely there is a target architecture for the end solution?

Some of my understanding with the legacy data problem is that a lot of awards were 'hand crafted' rather than machine crafted (eg: RRtY rides been user selected for particular months rather than the month they appear in within the results for example)  I wouldn't see there a need to re-calculate awards/results from the legacy data but to be able to report on it.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on October 18, 2018, 11:32:00 am
And let's not forget all the complexity is purely so Ernest Higgins can check how many perms he did in 1986.
If you'd started from square one with a new database with no requirement to import legacy data it would be a fraction of the cost.

Not wishing to derail an otherwise interesting discussion, but once you have an event Entry system maintaining a Results system is quite trivial - Entries and Results are two sides of the same coin.
At its barest bones, an Entry is just a EventNo/MemNo pair of fields.  A Result is just the same pair of fields with a third one added to show the status of that ride - Started, Finished, Validated whatever - you could even build simple Tracking into that 3-field schema.
Even when fleshed out with other stuff to deal with non-members, off-date rides (eg helper rides) etc etc, the Results table is a very simple thing.  Assuming one row in the table = one ride, the Awards lists are simply queries on that table, the queries can sometimes be very complex but that's no big deal, they're all stored.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on October 18, 2018, 11:42:54 am
And let's not forget all the complexity is purely so Ernest Higgins can check how many perms he did in 1986.

Is it really? Surely it's the current membership and events management/planning elements of the site that are the real cause of the complexity?

If Phase One is all about making a shiny new website, that sounds relatively trivial. However, even with my limited expertise in this area, I can see that making a new website interact with a live and constantly updating membership and events database that is based on outdated technology would be far from trivial.

So the options are either rebuild the database from scratch (mental) or try to make the new website work with the existing database (complex). Neither option is ideal.

The fact that the database contains a lot of legacy data about historic rides sounds like a bit of a red herring. Maybe I've misunderstood what is actually happening but I can't believe that preserving legacy data about historic rides is that high on the priority list, and I would have thought that kind of data could be parked and dealt with later if necessary.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on October 18, 2018, 11:44:01 am
And let's not forget all the complexity is purely so Ernest Higgins can check how many perms he did in 1986.
If you'd started from square one with a new database with no requirement to import legacy data it would be a fraction of the cost.
Why is legacy data so important? Just keep your brevet cards or better still maintain your own spreadsheet or use strava if you're that bothered. Personally I don't give a toss how many rides I did years ago. I can remember the ones I can remember, the rest obviously weren't that memorable.

That's only a fraction of the problem.

The bulk of the work related to results/awards is creating the schema for storing results data and the work needed to allow awards to be defined with minimal (ideally none) code changes (only changes in the awards DB) when new awards are devised, i.e. the awards themselves are not hard coded. This will all need to be done whether legacy data is imported or not if the new system is going to keep track of results and awards.

Once that's all done, mashing the legacy data into the new schmea format and importing it, and tweaking the system to produce the correct results is a relatively small chunk of work.

The only saving would be if the new system did not automate the tallying of awards (and/or results at all).

Oh I see, so it's about the system automatically recognising when someone has won an award.
That's not exactly rocket science.
I would model it as something like:
AwardDefinition
  Name
  Type
  RideCollectionRequirement[]

RideCollectionRequirement
  DateTimeScopeRequirement
  RideTypeRequirement
  CountRequired
  DistanceRequirement
   
RideDefinition
  Date
  Type
  Distance

So e.g. an award definition has a collection of ride requirements. Each ride requirement has a time span in which the matching rides must be completed, how many rides of that type are required, and what distance they are required to be. So a simple SR would be:
[
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BRM, CountRequired: 1, DistanceRequirement: 200},
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BRM, CountRequired: 1, DistanceRequirement: 300},
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BRM, CountRequired: 1, DistanceRequirement: 400},
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BRM, CountRequired: 1, DistanceRequirement: 600}
]
Fairly easy from there to write a matcher that detects new award won when a ride is entered.
There you go - job done, can I have a hundred grand?  ;)

And let's not forget all the complexity is purely so Ernest Higgins can check how many perms he did in 1986.
If you'd started from square one with a new database with no requirement to import legacy data it would be a fraction of the cost.

Not wishing to derail an otherwise interesting discussion, but once you have an event Entry system maintaining a Results system is quite trivial - Entries and Results are two sides of the same coin.
At its barest bones, an Entry is just a EventNo/MemNo pair of fields.  A Result is just the same pair of fields with a third one added to show the status of that ride - Started, Finished, Validated whatever - you could even build simple Tracking into that 3-field schema.
Even when fleshed out with other stuff to deal with non-members, off-date rides (eg helper rides) etc etc, the Results table is a very simple thing.  Assuming one row in the table = one ride, the Awards lists are simply queries on that table, the queries can sometimes be very complex but that's no big deal, they're all stored.

Yep, absolutely. (In my example above, 'RideDefinition' is analogous to 'Event', and 'Ride' would be synonymous with 'EventCompletion'.)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on October 18, 2018, 11:51:03 am
Quote
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BR, CountRequired: >=4, DistanceRequirement: >=200},
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BR, CountRequired: >=3, DistanceRequirement: >=300},
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BR, CountRequired: >=2, DistanceRequirement: >=400},
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BR, CountRequired: >=1, DistanceRequirement: >=600}

FTFY [and edited]
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on October 18, 2018, 11:53:04 am
And let's not forget all the complexity is purely so Ernest Higgins can check how many perms he did in 1986.

Is it really? Surely it's the current membership and events management/planning elements of the site that are the real cause of the complexity?

If Phase One is all about making a shiny new website, that sounds relatively trivial. However, even with my limited expertise in this area, I can see that making a new website interact with a live and constantly updating membership and events database that is based on outdated technology would be far from trivial.

So the options are either rebuild the database from scratch (mental) or try to make the new website work with the existing database (complex). Neither option is ideal.

The fact that the database contains a lot of legacy data about historic rides sounds like a bit of a red herring. Maybe I've misunderstood what is actually happening but I can't believe that preserving legacy data about historic rides is that high on the priority list, and I would have thought that kind of data could be parked and dealt with later.

Maybe legacy data isn't the complexity - maybe the complexity is a rod has been made for AUK's back in terms of 'when do we start using the new system instead of the old'.
The way I would have tackled it would be swtich everthing over at once - get the new system fully working, including putting events in and entering them, fully tested, and then switch over. That way you don't build in a requirement to use the legacy data.
Once the system is fully tested and working - pick a date, any event occurring after that date is scheduled, and entered, in the new system. Any event occurring before that date is scheduled, and entered, in the old. There would obviously be a short time when people are using both the new and the old system, but I don't see as that being a problem.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ben T on October 18, 2018, 11:54:26 am
;D
yes obviously, and
Quote
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BR, CountRequired: >=4, DistanceRequirement: >= 200},
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BR, CountRequired: >=3, DistanceRequirement: >= 300},
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BR, CountRequired: >=2, DistanceRequirement: >= 400},
{DateTimeScope: WithinSameYear, RideTypeRequirement: BR, CountRequired: >=1, DistanceRequirement: >= 600}

FTFY
although the logic that it's never harmful to ride too much could be hard coded into the matcher as an axiom - if it indeed is regarded as an axiom that is :)

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on October 18, 2018, 11:58:08 am
The legacy stuff is important - an essential element of being a club - but it was never a priority.

We constantly hear about how complex this project is.

Consider this approach:

Phase 1: Start with the static web pages, membership and shop side of things, i.e., all standard website elements.

>> One of the operational shortcomings of AUKweb is the way it manages online event entries, the financial transaction and registration being decoupled;  this is why Orgs get so many queries regarding failed event entries. This would allow the financial and registration elements of the transaction to be handled as a single element, resolving these problems and providing Orgs with access to an uptodate ecommerce facility to manage their events (A multi-shop approach would allow each Org to administer their own event transactions without involving AUK in the financial transaction.)

At this point,
- Riders would still enter via aukweb; only the financial transaction is handled by the new website.
- All of the 'heavy lifting' associated with implementing the CMS functionality is complete; from here on its mostly more of the same, forms and reports, all standard fare.

Phase 2: implement support for event listings for display, search and entry, updating overnight/on demand.

>> The events continue to be admin'd through Aukweb

Phase 3: implement support for event results for display and search, updating overnight/on demand.

>> The event results continue to be admin'd through Aukweb

Phase 4a: implement support for additional member services (awards, personal calendar, etc.).

Phase 4b: implement event admin and planner functionality.

>> Once this becomes live AUKweb is for reference only.

Phase 4c: copy over the historical data

Phase 4d: integrate additional external systems developed by AUK volunteers (AAA checker, route planner, DIY validation, etc.)   

----

Here the focus is on early delivery of functionality. maximising benefit and minimising wasteful systems integration with complex historical systems.

Rather then the new system referencing and being dependent on the old, the old system port data into the new system until such time it is ready to standalone.i

This allows developers to ignore historical complexities and focus on developing a complete new system; any systems integration is essentially handled by the team responsible for the historical system, which they are very familiar with. The most complex elements (event and results admin, planner, etc.) are not progressed until the relevant data structures are well established, at which point it becomes relatively straightforward.

Assuming you select a CMS equipped with the relevent key functional elements none of this is technically complex; the real complexity is in the individual toolsets (AAA, routing, DIY, etc.) developed by AUKs with extensive understanding and experience of the problems being addressed.

So its all about project sequencing. What we've seen is a rush for The Shiny, which to be fair looks very shiny indeed, but at a very great long term cost.

Where we go from here is difficult to divine. As Greenbank says, its hard to know how best to help.

This is mostly a project managent problem; the technical stuff is relatively straightforward. Alas, the one thing you cannot outsource is management.
 
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on October 18, 2018, 12:00:41 pm
Surely the legacy data is the same as the current or new data? It just has older dates?
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: citoyen on October 18, 2018, 12:05:41 pm
There would obviously be a short time when people are using both the new and the old system, but I don't see as that being a problem.

I admire your optimism!

But my past experience of this kind of situation suggests that the transition period would be painful.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on October 18, 2018, 12:09:43 pm
Where we go from here is difficult to devine. As Greenbank says, its hard to know how best to help.

This is mostly a project managent problem; the technical stuff is relatively straightforward. Alas, the one thing you cannot outsource is management.

Well it starts with TPTB admitting there is a problem beyond "this has gone a little overbudget", because it seems no one has any leverage to force them to. From outward appearances it appears to be very much the opposite - digging in rather than asking for help.

Until you solve that problem, discussing schemas and better project plans is pretty pointless.

(if they've now contractually committed to Phase 2, which I assume they have, the financial damage is already done)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on October 18, 2018, 12:20:37 pm
Surely the legacy data is the same as the current or new data? It just has older dates?

The legacy data (up to 3 weeks ago) can be seen as a very low priority sideshow.  Which is not to say it isn't important to AUK - but there's no need to build in features into the new system to handle it, it can just be dumped on the cloud somewhere and it won't go away, or just kept on the old server until that falls off its perch.

However we also have 'legacy' event entry data which is very much alive - ranging from old entries dating back several years to permanents that have not been ridden so AFAIK the entry is still valid - to entries made say 2 or 3 months ago to next year's PBP qualifiers - to entries being made right now at an average of up to 20 per hour.  This stuff needs delicate handling in any transition.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on October 18, 2018, 12:25:04 pm
Phase 4d: integrate additional external systems developed by AUK volunteers (AAA checker, route planner, DIY validation, etc.)   

Phase 4d ??  We are under considerable pressure to implement this stuff right now (I have been fending off requests from Board level to put the AAA checker on the existing server - it's probably a resource hog).
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on October 18, 2018, 01:20:45 pm
Phase 4d: integrate additional external systems developed by AUK volunteers (AAA checker, route planner, DIY validation, etc.)   

Phase 4d ??  We are under considerable pressure to implement this stuff right now (I have been fending off requests from Board level to put the AAA checker on the existing server - it's probably a resource hog).

Goodluck with that. With all due respect to you and the developers, the Board was responsible for specifying routevalidator, and the service has proved so unreliable that I don't use it.

Beyond that, you have to have something to integrate it with...
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: hillbilly on October 18, 2018, 02:03:09 pm
I was going to check some of the figures being bandied about (I thought the £27,000 a year cost was for Phase 2, not Phase 1 as implied by someone yesterday) but it appears that the Minutes have be removed (presumably innocently and temporarily) from the Official section of the AUK website.

Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Ivan on October 18, 2018, 02:04:09 pm
(I have been fending off requests from Board level to put the AAA checker on the existing server - it's probably a resource hog).

Not sure what you base that accusation on - the development version of this, as used by the AAA sec this year, is running in a free AWS instance and has pretty minimal requirements. Everything, apart from elevation lookups, is done in the browser.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: chrisbainbridge on October 18, 2018, 09:10:42 pm
I am not a computer expert but have had some experience in developing software specifications and having in built. 

My view would be that the requirements of the new system should have been written as a formal specification from the ground up using a delphi system to achieve buy in from all users.  This could usefully have been done in the 6 months prior to the reunion with a series of proposals being thrashed out at the reunion weekend.

Then a brand new database is built on that plan from the ground up using the best software. Finally a flashy front end is put on it.  For a short while the 2 systems run in tandem  (a real pain for organisers) but assures safety and then the old system is locked down and archived and the new system goes live.  Additional modules are added as required/funds/stability allows.

We seem to have put the shiny bodywork on top of a very old engine and chassis at the moment for a vast amount of money.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: whosatthewheel on October 19, 2018, 07:50:56 am
I have just noticed that the AUK Website has been rated "cool" on the cool wall here on YACF, which kind of confirms what I always thought... follow me:

Audax is "unconventional" in that it doesn't follow the trend of "light and aero, fast and expensive, watts and carbon" which seems to be all the rage in the recreational cycling world and it's heavily marketed and advertised by the big players with no exception. This makes audax a bit quirky and that's the attraction. It certainly was for me. The market for quirky is actually quite big. Even Rapha realised that quirky sells!!
Having an old fashioned battered website fits in nicely with the image, a bit like those very busy greasy spoon cafes that don't even have a Website or they have one built in 1994.
Try and find a seat here at lunch time, they don't even have a website
(https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/05/be/ed/0e/touchdown-cafe.jpg)

Incidentally those places are often used as controls, which shows the synergy is real.

Is a modern, sleek interface going to make AUK mainstream? Frankly I hope not... with mainstream comes a cascade of unwanted collaterals like "liability", "support", "bad weather cancellations", "marshals", "charity donations", maybe even "profits" and all those things Audax rids of.

Maybe the stars really really wanted AUK to keep fixing the old banger indefinitely, with glue and gaffer tape if needs be, with sweat and tears, against the odds, and buying a new car (regardless of how expensive or performing) was a bad idea in the first place.

In a variant of the old adagio: "if it keeps breaking, keep fixin' it"
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on October 19, 2018, 09:10:31 am
(I have been fending off requests from Board level to put the AAA checker on the existing server - it's probably a resource hog).
Not sure what you base that accusation on - the development version of this, as used by the AAA sec this year, is running in a free AWS instance and has pretty minimal requirements. Everything, apart from elevation lookups, is done in the browser.

Pure speculation on my part.  If I was wrong, I'm sorry.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 19, 2018, 12:44:51 pm
I have just noticed that the AUK Website has been rated "cool" on the cool wall here on YACF, which kind of confirms what I always thought... follow me:
Wha?? The Cool Wall still exists??!??!!!??!!??!!


Quote
Is a modern, sleek interface going to make AUK mainstream? Frankly I hope not... with mainstream comes a cascade of unwanted collaterals like "liability", "support", "bad weather cancellations", "marshals", "charity donations", maybe even "profits" and all those things Audax rids of.
Apart from marshals, I think AUK or its organisers has all those, even if they're not noticeable.
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on October 19, 2018, 01:21:00 pm
Maybe the stars really really wanted AUK to keep fixing the old banger indefinitely, with glue and gaffer tape if needs be, with sweat and tears, against the odds, and buying a new car (regardless of how expensive or performing) was a bad idea in the first place.

Well currently they’ve blown the entire budget on a NASCAR style fibreglass body shell with nothing inside it. And they’ve decided phase 2 will be a banging new stereo.

Those pesky mechanical parts are details to be worked out later.

(More seriously, the fallacy of the car analogy is while metalwork rusts and wears, software lasts forever if you only need it to keep doing the same job)
Title: Re: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on October 19, 2018, 01:37:35 pm
(More seriously, the fallacy of the car analogy is while metalwork rusts and wears, software lasts forever if you only need it to keep doing the same job)

In isolation, yes. In reality, with a computer connected to the big bad Internet, not really. Software rot has two forms that can be catastrophic in a situation like this:-

1) Aukweb is mostly written in an older version of PHP. If a new vulnerability in PHP is found it could mean a big security hole for aukweb. To mitigate the problem you might need to either turn it off or upgrade the version of PHP, but we can't do the latter simply as the current PHP code will not run as is on the later versions of PHP (without considerable tweaking to sit happily with the new version). (A PHP upgrade can also be forced as a consequence of a vulnerability in another component.)

2) Similarly Aukweb runs on some hardware. If there's a serious enough problem with a hardware component we may need to move to a new machine. A machine with similar hardware may not be available and more modern hardware may require a later version of Linux. A later version of Linux may have a newer version of glibc. The version of PHP we require may not be compatible with this version of glibc, and so we're in a similar position to #1.

A steady rate of maintenance is required to avoid these problems (by doing the necessary tweaks to the code as required for the PHP/etc upgrades).
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on October 19, 2018, 02:00:11 pm
And maintenance stopped long ago pending New Website which for years has always been just a few months away, and was always assumed until very recently, to be a complete replacement.  It is the 'later version of Linux' variant of the problem that we actually encountered when we last had a forced migration (Jan 2016), Terry the admin did a great job sourcing older software and getting it deployed on the new hardware within about 12 hours.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on October 19, 2018, 02:08:58 pm
A steady rate of maintenance is required to avoid these problems.

I agree. But if you do that stuff you don’t end up with a rusty banger covered in gaffer tape. With a bit of care you end up with something that’s as structurally sound as a new one.

Also I disagree about it being “written in an older version of PHP”, which implies it all needs binning. Some of the functions it uses are no longer supported and need substituting for the new ones. A tedious job a very doable one. And after it’s done it’s fine.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on October 19, 2018, 02:58:31 pm
Also I disagree about it being “written in an older version of PHP”, which implies it all needs binning.

You may have inferred that, but that's not what I implied. I'll add some clarification to my post just to make that clear.

Most of this was covered way back on p4 of this thread.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Bianchi Boy on October 19, 2018, 06:56:06 pm
This is making quite sad reading. In my other (none cycling) life I have designed a number of data bases. I have racked my brains to see what is complex about the AUK records model and I cannot identify a problem.
Could some please tell me what is complex about the model? If it is what was done in the past then put the new events on the new model and migrate the results later. They are not requited to run the core function of AUK.
BB

Sent from my E6653 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on October 19, 2018, 07:39:10 pm
One of the main complications is caused by the deceptively niche (and very worthwhile) category of events known as ECE.  These were introduced long after the main data model outlined a few posts upthread was established, and the implementation was done in a way that broke the fundamental rule of 1 data row = 1 ride.  (I don't know why - it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.)
Since that happened some bright spark realised that 'AAA add-ons' (that is AAA points awarded to DIY rides on a per-ride basis) could be handled in the same way, and in fact AAA add-ons outnumber ECEs by about 5 to 1.
So when I said upthread that
... the Results table is a very simple thing.  Assuming one row in the table = one ride, the Awards lists are simply queries on that table, the queries can sometimes be very complex but that's no big deal, they're all stored.
I was glossing over the irony of the current situation, that the reality ain't quite like that.  We can not, in fact, simply query the results table to find a list of SRs, or even query the table for one member to find if (s)he is an SR or not.

There is other stuff that is less than ideal, and the history of that is that the data - Membership, Events/Perms, Results was originally distributed across 4 desktops in widely separated parts of the country.  Transitioning it to the online version took some years (starting before broadband) and in each area the online structure had to exactly mimic what existed on the desktop - so designed and refined by 4 individuals none of whom were computer nerds.  Anything else would not have worked, the individuals in question would have just ignored the online version and contnued to plug away on their desktops.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Bianchi Boy on October 19, 2018, 08:05:20 pm
If you start knowin
One of the main complications is caused by the deceptively niche (and very worthwhile) category of events known as ECE.  These were introduced long after the main data model outlined a few posts upthread was established, and the implementation was done in a way that broke the fundamental rule of 1 data row = 1 ride.  (I don't know why - it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.)
Since that happened some bright spark realised that 'AAA add-ons' (that is AAA points awarded to DIY rides on a per-ride basis) could be handled in the same way, and in fact AAA add-ons outnumber ECEs by about 5 to 1.
So when I said upthread that
... the Results table is a very simple thing.  Assuming one row in the table = one ride, the Awards lists are simply queries on that table, the queries can sometimes be very complex but that's no big deal, they're all stored.
I was glossing over the irony of the current situation, that the reality ain't quite like that.  We can not, in fact, simply query the results table to find a list of SRs, or even query the table for one member to find if (s)he is an SR or not.

There is other stuff that is less than ideal, and the history of that is that the data - Membership, Events/Perms, Results was originally distributed across 4 desktops in widely separated parts of the country.  Transitioning it to the online version took some years (starting before broadband) and in each area the online structure had to exactly mimic what existed on the desktop - so designed and refined by 4 individuals none of whom were computer nerds.  Anything else would not have worked, the individuals in question would have just ignored the online version and contnued to plug away on their desktops.
If you start knowing that it is not very complex. Bolting on things like that and migrating the assumptions through the data and programs would have been a lot of work.
I still come back to the central point of core function. If you had manual addition of none standard events then ECE and any future weird creation it could be managed by exception. Is ECE core functionality? If you ran a business would you pay for the extra complexity to be automated given the demand?

Sent from my E6653 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Phil W on October 19, 2018, 09:11:40 pm
Will have to have a look at the phase 1 URLs (in pre live mode) again to see what functionality is there, particularly around results and ECEs etc. The phase 1 URLs are in the audax uk minutes posted on aukweb.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Phil W on October 19, 2018, 09:34:42 pm
I cannot believe that something as simple as having multiple event rows for the same rider and same date would cause a doubling of project costs.


Stick a DBA and a programmer in a room and they would have an answer within hours at most, not £50,000 later.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: grams on October 19, 2018, 09:46:30 pm
Unless I'm very much mistaken, Phase 1 does not contain any sort of results listings. From what I saw when I checked out the site*, it does calendar and perm event listings and a basic member login and that's it.

To reiterate, this is the list I submitted to the IT manager and he confirmed it was all in "Phase 3":
Quote
- Event entry and payment
- Event creation/admin/etc for organisers
- Event results database
- Points tables etc
- Calculation of awards etc

Your guess is as good as mine as to where the money's gone.

(* I just checked and the preview server isn't currently online)
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on October 19, 2018, 10:23:05 pm
I cannot believe that something as simple as having multiple event rows for the same rider and same date would cause a doubling of project costs.

  • This would have been known from the upfront analysis
  • The code to get the right result exists and could have been examined
  • Joining a table to itself by left outer joins etc is pretty basic stuff within SQL type databases
  • Presumably even if in same table you can tell an ECE apart from a calendar event or DIY or trad perm else how on earth would the existing code work?

Stick a DBA and a programmer in a room and they would have an answer within hours at most, not £50,000 later.

Upthread it was suggested better to focus on the big stuff and forget the edge cases like ECEs. Thats basically how we've got into this mess, as you end up with loads of additional coding shoe-horned in after the event to handle the edge cases.

A similar but different problem to ECEs relates to 7x200km perms which are listed as 7x200 brevets rather than a 1400km Brevet with 7x200 validated rides.

The solution is to distinguish between the "Brevet" and the "Validated Ride"; normally theres a one to one relationship but not necessarily.

Building the system afresh would have allowed subtle stuff like this to be winnowed out, and designed into the central data structures, which in turn would make the rest of teh system realtively straightforward to implement.

The problem is that those taking the decisions don't know much about IT and those driving the technical side of the project don't have a first hand appreciation of AUK operations and running events (and I suspect nobody but Francis understands how ECEs are implemented and the developers soon decided they'd rather not have to find out!).
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Pickled Onion on October 19, 2018, 10:26:59 pm
So what happens when the next AAA add-on/ECE is invented? Is that included in the £27K maintenance fee (answer:NO). Is the code on GitHub so we can submit a PR to make it work? (Answer: NO) Have we bought the code at all or just a contract to keep the current functionality running on a new platform until we decide it doesn’t do all the new things we want it to ( I give that 3 years, maybe 5) at which point we are either over a barrel with the current supplier or start again. Again.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Pickled Onion on October 19, 2018, 10:42:12 pm
There are some very good points made above by Alex, Chris, Manotea, BB and others. Audax by it’s nature is awash with IT professionals. We can see how the project could be run better. But we voted for the board to make these decisions and this is what they have decided.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Pingu on October 19, 2018, 10:42:24 pm
...Stick a DBA and a programmer in a room and they would have a...

...fight.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Pickled Onion on October 19, 2018, 10:49:45 pm
...Stick a DBA and a programmer in a room and they would have a...

...fight.

 :D
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on October 19, 2018, 10:58:57 pm
There are some very good points made above by Alex, Chris, Manotea, BB and others. Audax by it’s nature is awash with IT professionals. We can see how the project could be run better. But we voted for the board to make these decisions and this is what they have decided.

'Could be run better' doesn't begin to describe the situation; nobody envisaged the Board would consider spending £500k on a website, and certainly not on 'half a website'.

Given AUK is a member run org, is there not a mechanism to overthrow the board to stop these decisions being made?

J
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on October 19, 2018, 11:04:20 pm
There are some very good points made above by Alex, Chris, Manotea, BB and others. Audax by it’s nature is awash with IT professionals. We can see how the project could be run better. But we voted for the board to make these decisions and this is what they have decided.

'Could be run better' doesn't begin to describe the situation; nobody envisaged the Board would consider spending £500k on a website, and certainly not on 'half a website'.

Given AUK is a member run org, is there not a mechanism to overthrow the board to stop these decisions being made?

J

Provisons exist for a vote of no confidence but thats extreme; what does seem appropriate - as the sums involved are getting ever larger - are to introduce some spending constraints on the board, to ensure such major decision are properly reviewed and approved by the membership.

As it happens Ive already submitted a resolution for the next AGM which includes such measures. You'll need to sign on to the AUK forum to see it though.  Clicky (http://forum.audax.uk/index.php?topic=939.0)
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: quixoticgeek on October 19, 2018, 11:05:29 pm
Provisons exist for a vote of no confidence but thats extreme; what does seem appropriate - as teh sums involved are getting ever  larger - are to introduce some spending constraints on teh board, to ensire such major decision are properly reviewed and approved by the membership.

As it happens Ive already submitted a resolution for teh next AGM which includes such measures. You'll need to sign on to the AUK forum to see it though.

That works.

I can't make the AGM, is there a mechanism for proxy voting?

J
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on October 19, 2018, 11:06:54 pm
Provisons exist for a vote of no confidence but thats extreme; what does seem appropriate - as teh sums involved are getting ever  larger - are to introduce some spending constraints on teh board, to ensire such major decision are properly reviewed and approved by the membership.

As it happens Ive already submitted a resolution for the next AGM which includes such measures. You'll need to sign on to the AUK forum to see it though.

That works.

I can't make the AGM, is there a mechanism for proxy voting?

J
  There is.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on October 20, 2018, 07:41:59 am
There are some very good points made above by Alex, Chris, Manotea, BB and others. Audax by it’s nature is awash with IT professionals. We can see how the project could be run better. But we voted for the board to make these decisions and this is what they have decided.

'Could be run better' doesn't begin to describe the situation; nobody envisaged the Board would consider spending £500k on a website, and certainly not on 'half a website'.

Given AUK is a member run org, is there not a mechanism to overthrow the board to stop these decisions being made?

J

Provisons exist for a vote of no confidence but thats extreme; what does seem appropriate - as the sums involved are getting ever larger - are to introduce some spending constraints on the board, to ensure such major decision are properly reviewed and approved by the membership.

As it happens Ive already submitted a resolution for the next AGM which includes such measures. You'll need to sign on to the AUK forum to see it though.  Clicky (http://forum.audax.uk/index.php?topic=939.0)

Your link take me to a very enthralling conversation between a points chasing behemoth and a mountain of a AAA man.

 Try this (http://forum.audax.uk/index.php?topic=1590.0)

I think in principle the resolution is a grand idea, and I'll be backing it, inspite of the threat of people "needing to think carefully....with that type of restriction in place".
If it goes through though, I can't help but think that it will interpreted it as something along the lines of "well we don't need to ask for permission for any of the IT project as the membership has already said yes in the past."

Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on October 20, 2018, 08:55:16 am
The problem stems from an arrogant "we know best" attitude and that the Board is (now) empowered to do much as they please without reference to the members customers

(ref : Whitedown Mans post upthread about the Board acquiring the right to increase membership fees  without seeking membership approval when the company Articles were revised at the last AGM, whilst advising members 'nothing had changed').

A Board focused on and directly answerable to the membership would have had pause for thought and worked to explain their proposals better rather than simply rush into this.

Mea Culpa: I pushed for changes which would encourage the Board to take a long term view and tackle larger projects like IT renewal. However I also pushed for changes to promote transparency, communication and dialogue between Board and members. The two go together.

What we've seen is a short-term approach and little in the way of communication and transparency (notices of impending doom don't count).

So we need to remind the Board, 'they work for us' and build/restore safeguards into the company Articles.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: sizbut on October 20, 2018, 11:30:23 am
You also need to remind yourselves that you're discussing this in front of an audience of potential members and so are not helping promote the organisation. Remember the first rule of fight club. Maybe the first IT priority should be to improve the AUK forums.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Jaded on October 20, 2018, 11:43:23 am
Divide and rule.

The best place to have a conversation is the place that the conversation is most likely to happen.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: j_a_m_e_s_ on October 20, 2018, 12:34:56 pm
You also need to remind yourselves that you're discussing this in front of an audience of potential members and so are not helping promote the organisation. Remember the first rule of fight club. Maybe the first IT priority should be to improve the AUK forums.

A lot of people break the first two rules.....
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Phil W on October 20, 2018, 02:33:32 pm
We don't talk about fight club...
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Greenbank on October 20, 2018, 02:34:53 pm
I missed the first few minutes of fight club. It's awesome, I'm going to tell everyone about it.

Anyway, back to Project Boondoggle.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: telstarbox on March 05, 2019, 12:07:39 pm
I read this guide recently on why the UK Government website doesn't use FAQs:

https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2013/07/25/faqs-why-we-dont-have-them/

The new website has a "New to Audax (http://audax.uk/about-audax/new-to-audax/)" guide which is fairly comprehensive (which I don't think was on the old website), a Glossary (http://audax.uk/about-audax/glossary/) of A-Z technical terms, and the FAQ (http://audax.uk/about-audax/faqs/) page copied over from the old website. Do we still need the FAQ as well as the first two?
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on March 05, 2019, 12:48:55 pm
I think FAQs can work well when there is a specific point of information that can be answered in one or two sentences. But regardless of the overall format, the Qs of some of those FAQs are potentially confusing. For instance, "How non-stop is 'non-stop'?" works well when asked face to face but has vagueries and contradictions which are not helpful in writing. After all, everyone knows the word "non-stop"! And the answer given isn't so much about stopping but about time limits. It could be rewritten along the lines of "What breaks are allowed for in the time limit?" or "Do I have to ride at a constant minimum speed?" in order for the question to reflect the information given. (Alternatively the answer could be changed to match the question!)
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Kim on March 05, 2019, 12:59:56 pm
I think the Government website people have the right idea.  FAQs made sense on newsgroups and mailing lists, as a way of perpetuating well-written answers to common questions, in the days when newbies had the time and inclination to actually read them properly.  They naturally transferred to the Web, which made them easier to access, but they're fundamentally for the convenience of writers and people willing to read aimlessly to achieve a broad knowledge of a subject - they're not the most accessible format for people with specific questions, and they just create tension where people ask the common questions without having read the FAQ.

Put the information in the logical place on a well-structured and searchable website, and you don't need a FAQ page.

"What breaks are allowed for in the time limit?" and "Do I have to ride at a constant minimum speed?" would be good sub-headings for a page about time limits, for example.

Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: frankly frankie on March 05, 2019, 01:24:20 pm
The information on the old aukweb is essentially crowd-sourced - it's a CMS and dozens of 'helpers' have edit rights.  This is good because it spreads the load and allows people to add content in their own area of expertise - however its bad because at some level all the information is 'official' (expanding on the regulations and supplementing them) and there needs to be some degree of oversight, which doesn't really happen.

I think edit rights on the new site are much more limited to a small handful of people - but I doubt if this is sustainable in the long term, especially if it's supposed to be 'dynamic' and 'newsey' with photos of recent and up-coming events, sounds like a big job to me.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on March 05, 2019, 01:27:50 pm
Put the information in the logical place on a well-structured and searchable website, and you don't need a FAQ page.

"What breaks are allowed for in the time limit?" and "Do I have to ride at a constant minimum speed?" would be good sub-headings for a page about time limits, for example.
There's something to be said for having sub-headings in the form of answers (or statements) rather than questions. As the gov.uk article said, that gives you the gist even if you don't read the whole article.

And people don't read the whole thing.

This is because of the BBC.

They have trained us to expect paragraphs of only one sentence.

However, the answers to those particular questions – it would probably be better to say the information which the audaxer needs to know – is not quite brief enough to fit into a sub-heading, so perhaps questions followed by more detailed information would be best in this case.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: Manotea on March 05, 2019, 09:49:09 pm
When I wrote the FAQs for DIY perms, some felt there were too many and that they weren't 'frequently asked enough'.  ::-)

What I was actually doing was documenting how I'd responded to questions arising, so that as/when the subject came up again I could simply refer riders to the answer I'd previously given.

The approach seemed to work as the number of enquiries dwindled over time. Whether that is because folks are generally more experienced, the DIY process simpler or even (shudder) the FAQs 'worked' is hard to say. As was though the FAQs were written 'after the event' to fill in gaps in the base documentation. As Kim suggests, get the base documentation right and provide a general search facility and FAQs are (mostly :)) redundent.
Title: Re: AUK FINANCES AND WEBSITE PROJECT was: AUK CHAIRMAN STATEMENT
Post by: tonyh on March 06, 2019, 08:45:38 am
Those FAQs for DIYs have been very useful indeed.