Minutes of TAFN Member’s Meeting Held at 15.00 On July 13th 2014

Ann Saunders opened the meeting at 1507 and welcomed all members and reminded everyone that Chris was taking names for questions this month.

01. Roll Call.

Ann Saunders, Chairperson.
Chris Payne, Treasurer and Memberships Administrator.
Amanda Burt, Secretary.
Carol Eddon, Dar Wournell, David Richards, Drusilla Insole, Gladys Taylor, Greg Hamilton, Ian McNamara, Jaye Ayers, John Hosch, John Wilsher, Katie Myers, Keith Waters, Leon Gilbert, Lilian Stubbs, Linda Tyler, Margaret Cooper, Mark Tyler, Martin Foden, Maurice Pothecary, Michael Brown, Miriam Raymond, Pamela McCain, Peter Beasley, Peter Hallam, Sal Pitts, Sharon Bowell, Stephen Evans, Stephen Hassall, Steve Pallett, Teresa Payne, Trevor Franklin.

02. Apologies.

Richard Wilkin, Web Master.
Justin Macleod, Events Coordinator.
Catherine McManus, Executive Officer.
Andrew Payne, Billy Whitcombe, Charlotte Payne, David Norton, Elisabeth Standen, Ian White, John Wells, Lynette Norton, Michael Payne, Paul Smith, Roma Creech, Shirley Grant, Stanley Saunders.

03. Acceptance Of June’s Minutes.

Proposed By Martin Foden. Seconded by John Wilsher.

04 Matters Arising.

There were none.

05. Chairperson’s Report.

List migration has taken place for which a lot of work was done by the lists team, particularly Richard and Justin. Other exec members were involved, namely Catherine and Chris. It was quite an undertaking. We had to leave Google Groups, as they were becoming very difficult to manage due to their inaccessibility to people with screen readers.

Everyone is now subscribed to the Announce List. This is because, you need to be on at least one of the lists, and that will be the announce list.It is your choice which of the other lists you want to subscribe to, and that includes the main list. Because from now on, all information on meetings, wishing well draws, events and any other information, will come through the Announce List. The theory being that this way, EVERY member will receive All important information, and we are assured no one will be missed out.

The last thing she would like to say, is that next month we will try to involve the overseas members in the Member’s Meeting, as discussed in last month’s Meeting. It was suggested that if we had a 5th Thursday in a month, then this would be a good evening to have a meeting where we could hopefully see our members in Australia and America join us. So on the 31st of July we will experiment with this idea. If successful then we would like to do this regularly on the 5th Thursday of any month that has a 5th Thursday. This would also mean no Meeting in August and the following Meeting will be the 2nd Sunday in September, which is the weekend after CAMEO.

This concludes her report. Any Questions?

Chris Payne: He had no comments come through at that moment. With the Meeting being moved, it is experimental for the July September Meeting on the 31st July, the next opportunity, if that is a success, will be the 31st October.

06. Treasurer’s and Memberships Administrator’s Reports.

6.1 Treasury

Opening Balance £ 1,115.53
Incoming £ 2,218.00 As follows:

  • Auction £ 954.50
  • Bingo £ 49.00
  • Bonus Ball £ 170.00
  • Donations £ 1,026.50 £1,014 was donated through the Auction
  • Memberships £ 18.00

Outgoing £ 1,158.14 As follows

  • 1 and 1 Ltd £ 71.99
  • Bingo £ 70.00
  • Bonus Ball £ 100.00
  • Member’s Gifts £ 916.15 This is for the Wishing Well during this years Auction
  • Closing Balance £ 2,175.39

    Savings Account Balance £19,405.33
    PayPal Account Credits £ 1,258.10
    Debits £ 42.13
    Balance £ 1,215.97
    Grand Total £22,796.69

    6.2 Auction

    Chris apologised to members, for the delay of sending out member’s parcels. This was due to his local Post Office being closed, and also due to not having sufficient boxes. Chris went on to thank Jackie Glynn, for sending surplus boxes and asked members, if they have any such boxes to contact Chris to obtain an address, to which they can be sent.

    6.3 Memberships.

    Good news on the Memberships front. We approved 7 new Guests, of which, 1 became a Full Member fairly quickly. There has been 1 Member and 1 Guest deleted from our Database. So altogether things are looking up on the Membership side of things.

07. Secretary’s Report.

Ann Announced that, of course Amanda is definitely on the mend. But for this month the Exec Members are still keeping her side of things running smoothly.

Chris commented, on behalf of all the Members, that it was great to see that Amanda has made it into the meeting.

08. Web Master’s Report.

8.1 Server

Following requests from members who asked for control over their spam, we set about looking for a suitable alternative. We wanted a system that was accessible, easy to manage and which allows members to be more independent.

Conventional anti-spam software works using a scoring system. The software gives a score from 0 to 100%. We would set a level, let’s say 90%, which would block anything that is 90% or higher suspected spam. This does not give any real control and the software just sends or blocks based on this score.

The system we have selected is an artificial intelligence. It sends all email to you, and as you move emails from your spam folder to your inbox, or vice versa, the system understands over time what is, and what is not spam. It’s like neural networks and becomes more accurate. Think of it as teaching a child not only how to bring in the mail, but also how to know which ones are important, and which ones are advertising leaflets. You teach by showing the anti-spam what is to be kept, and what is to be discarded.
As was stated in the email sent out, you do not delete legitimate emails from the spam folder. This would make the system think that your legitimate emails are spam.
Richard is delighted to say that the new anti-spam system ticks all of our boxes, and allows members to be more independent. While being independent is something that most of us fight for in the community, help is available from the Helpdesk if you need it. That’s what we’re here for. There’s no shame in admitting that you need to learn how something works, so please do get in touch for assistance.

Richard must apologise for the sudden appearance of our new anti-spam technology. We are working with a company to ensure that e-mails are absolutely secure, as this is the weak point of any server. Richard has insisted that we have advanced notice so that he can draft instructions and set up help ahead of any significant changes in any future work that may cause disruption. At the time this went into effect, he was not informed of this work, which was done as an emergency measure as our systems were under strain from the thousands of spam messages per day.

Richard would like to thank the Helpdesk for their assistance and quick response in setting up three drop in sessions to help members with spam sorting. His thanks also go to Peter Hallam, who between the two of them spent time troubleshooting
the issue. Further to this, we had to force the spam folder to make an appearance within the e-mail clients that were already configured. This in particular affected Windows Live Mail, which is due to it’s lack of sophistication as a mail client.

Can Richard please ask that members do not create a spam folder, as this confuses the e-mail system. If you create a spam folder, and there’s already one on the server that didn’t appear automatically, you end up with two. This confuses the mail server. Please contact him and he’ll get it fixed.
This issue should not affect future mailboxes.

Everything is going well with the new server and phase 2 is now under way. This phase is to set up a redundant backup. A redundant server is a mirror copy of our primary server, and the job of this server is to handle things when the primary server stops working. So unlike in the past where 1 and 1 goes down, and we lose the website, the redundant server would seamlessly reroute you to the working server until the problem is fixed. This will apply to the mailing lists and mailboxes as well.

The mailing lists are now migrated away from Google Groups. From a technical point of view, there were no issues.

During the transfer from one system to the other, a gremlin came up to have a nibble. While this issue is relatively minor within the overall migration process, we do apologise for the inconvenience to members. Anyone on no mail with Google, became active mail recipients again.

Richard’s only wish is that the e-mail implementation could have been as smooth as the mailing lists. Unlike Mailman where we had the opportunity of full testing before migration, we had no way to fully test the e-mails prior to the switch. We had to tweak and repair on the fly.

Richard would like to praise the hard work and attention to detail of Justin Macleod, who asked specifically for the mailing list migration project. He crossed every T and dotted every I, ahead of the switch.
He worked tirelessly to configure each list from scratch, he gave every public list a full description, he customised the subscribe and unsubscribe messages. He trained the List Mods and List Administrators to use the system.
Thank you Justin, the months of work are heartily appreciated.

8.2 Website

With regards to the website, everything is going well. As stated at last months meeting, we are intending to find a membership system, allowing protected content to be secured. We have temporarily placed this on hold as there is a sense of urgency to get the site finished. Every time we are diverted to something else, time is taken away from work on the website. We would like to try and hit our goal of completion of the website rebuild by the end of August to the middle of September. For now, we are using the current embed code to require your existing username and password.

Richard would like to welcome two new members to the web team. They are Sharon Bowell and Dar Wournell who have agreed to assist us in proof reading content. This brings our team to nine hard working, dedicated and fantastic people, it’s a pleasure working with you all.

As most of you know, the public content of the website was incomplete. There are bits and pieces. Thanks to the hard work mentioned above, we have drafted over 40 pages for the public site over the last month. These are almost ready, and are currently being proof read prior to going live on the site. As happens, the occasional mistake may be overlooked, however we are doing everything we can to ensure the public facing site is as polished as possible from the start.
The drafted pages include:

  • Write-ups of our online events to attract new guests.
  • The about us section, including a page of testimonials which we need to get permission to use from the members concerned.
  • The start of our support section, including e-mail and mailing list configuration

Existing pages which are being proof read, formatted and corrected currently include:

  • Sue’s Kitchen
  • Elisabeth’s Garden

Work to be assigned next includes:

  • Blindness and the Blitz
  • Audio Description

  • Greg’s Training Pages

There’s obviously more than the few things mentioned here, but these are just to demonstrate that we have a rolling schedule in place to keep the work moving.

We are also prioritising the text content. Once the pages are up, we’ll be going back through and inserting photographs and audio content where appropriate.

At the bottom of every page we will soon have a link to official policies. This will take you to a page that links to all of our official guidelines and terms of service documentation.

Most of our documentation is already online, including the constitution, communicator and list guidelines and code of conduct. Wherever possible, if there is a reference to one document inside another, there will be a handy link to allow you to jump from one to the other. Cross linking makes it much easier to get from place to place and find the information you’re looking for.

We’ve made a slight adjustment to the welcome pack in order to make it easier to navigate and read. It’s now broken down by the sections they were originally written in.
We’ve got six pages of the welcome pack, and have replaced the last page, formerly a list of e-mail addresses. This will point to our contact form.

On the subject of forms, Richard is delighted to announce that we now have both the guest join form, and forgive him if he’s mistaken, he believe the first ever contact form in TAFN’s history.
You can visit www.tafn.org.uk/contact and use the contact form to get in touch. No more frustration trying to remember who to contact and what the correct e-mail address is. Simply choose who you wish to contact from the drop down menu, fill out your name, e-mail address, a subject and message, then send.

Richard tried to list the contacts in the most logical order, which is why the Helpdesk is listed first, followed by the Guest Support contact, then memberships. These may be tweaked over time, based on which addresses get the most messages. We can move the most commonly contacted addresses to the top of the list to make it easier for people to find the one they
want. Like many drop down lists, you can hit the first letter of the person you’d like to contact. For example, hitting the letter E in the contact selection will cycle through Exec, Events and Events Coordinator.

We have background spam protection with a honeypot trap and spam checking on the contact form. No graphics to steer around will ever appear on the website.

We are already planning more forms for the site. The next to be created is an application form for the Cameo weekend. While too late for this year, we can create one in anticipation of the next one. This will be much easier for members to fill out, rather than replying to an email as in the past. The form will ensure that no questions are left unanswered.

You will notice that the URL for the minutes of the months of April and May look short. You may have encountered these at the end of a TV show, when they say to get in touch, go to our site and they just append contact to the URL. This is how we intend to implement simplified links. So instead of www.tafn.org.uk/public/documentation/constitution.htm, you can go directly to www.tafn.org.uk/constitution.

Currently, you can visit www.tafn.org.uk/ and add the following to view the documents:

  • contact – Our contact form.
  • join – Our guest sign-up form.

  • constitution – TAFN’s Constitution.
  • minutes – These will always be the most recent minutes, with no need to try and remember the format of the URL.

There are more on the site, these are just examples to show you how it works. Most of our important documentation and site zones will have these short links to make it easier to remember.

We intend to compile a comprehensive set of navigational functions that work with HTML5 and the modern web. As you know, you can hit the letter H to jump between headings on a web page. This is not an accessibility aid, simply a browser feature that is honoured by screen readers. In order to help some of our members who may not be familiar with these newer commands, we’re going to have a site navigation section, which will list commands for a variety of screen readers. HTML5 is far more accessible than the older standards, and can speed up the process of navigating around, As long as it’s coded correctly. We have to balance accessibility and usability with a site that is a pleasure to navigate. We’re working on accessibility as we go, and the lists of quick navigation keys will go on our to do list for the near future.

One last thing to mention regarding the public site, is that we are making an effort to announce upcoming special events on the home page. We inserted some information about the auction, which is now gone and instead you will see an advert for the talent night. This is being changed manually, but we hope in the future to be able to offer an upcoming events system that will automatically display the upcoming events weeks, or even months in advance.

The members area is not initially subject to the above mentioned proof reading in the short term. Since it’s important that we get both areas built and launched, we are building the members area and will go back and proof read later, once the public site is complete.

The current work in the members area includes the official documents and meet the members sections, which Mark Tyler and Greg Hamilton are working on. This involves formatting and inserting HTML code. To give you an idea of how well this is going, we already have over 60 of the pre-existing pages HTML coded. These are done by hand prior to their insertion into Word press and are no small task.
Once these two sections are complete, we’ll start working on the events, Founders Day, Oral History Project and other sections of the members area.

After we’ve finished building the website from the current information we have, we’d like to encourage all members to get involved. Do you have a hobby or interest? Would you like to talk about it? Maybe you kept a diary of some fascinating place you visited while on holiday. In the coming months, we’re going to start asking for your experiences, your interests and put them up for all to see.

Have a think about this and once we have the site ready, we’ll ask for this information. Until then, we are happy to report that we’re on target, and everything is going well and according to plan.

Richards sincerest thanks go to the entire web team. More than a third of our team are currently suffering from serious ill health, yet they are working very hard behind the scenes to ensure we make TAFN the best it can possibly be. This level of dedication is truly amazing, thank you all.

If any member has a question regarding the website, mailing lists or e-mail system, please contact the web team.

This concludes the Webmasters report for the month of June.

Ann thanked Teresa for reading that Marathon of a report. And said that a lot has been done over the last month. Any Questions?

Stephen Hassall: He wanted something clarified. this occurred yesterday, being Saturday. It was to do with trying to read the minutes. He was 1 of the people who got the page not found. He didn’t know why. He’d looked at the Member’s Area, and he couldn’t get into it. He asked is he bound to have an email account with TAFN in order to access the minutes or not, as his email address is not a TAFN one.

Chris replied: No, he didn’t think that was the case, as the minutes are held on the Website not on emails. He thinks Ann would agree that at this time, we would be unable to give a valid reason as to why some can and some can’t. It’s just an internet glitch that we just don’t know the answer to.

Ann said she could get on alright, and that it was nothing to do with emails, as she doesn’t use her TAFN email account that

Mark Tyler: Said that you do have to be logged in the Website, to actually access the minutes.

Ann said this was a security point. By being logged in, it proves you are entitled to read the minutes and the outside world can’t get to them, unless they’re hacking our Website.

09. Events Report.

As Justin was not in, there was no Report.

10. M. A. D. Update.

John Hosch: There were no complaints for the M. A. D. this month. We have been working on preparing a Web Survey which includes technology and the future of TAFN, which will be sent to all Members in the near future. The Members of the Committee are: Ian McNamara, John Hosch, Monique Lannott, Stephen Hassall, Steve Hyde-Dryden and Carol Forrester who is our Exec representative.

Chris thanked John for his report.

Ann asked if there were any questions. There were none.

11. CAMEO.

Chris said he had some brilliant news for the Members going to or thinking of going to CAMEO 2014. After negotiation, he has managed to obtain a discount, for all Full Members and Paid Carers. This will be £100 per person attending the CAMEO weekend. Those who have already paid in full, you can either request a refund prior to CAMEO, or you can receive an envelope at CAMEO. Whichever you prefer.

We are also going to re-contact the hotel this coming week. We were promised our menus by Friday, which has come and gone, and they are not yet with us. So we are still unable to send info to Members, but as soon as we get them, they will be sent out with your old application forms for your amendment or approval. Menus and applications will be separate attachments on one email.

If sharing a room: Cost is £110 per person for the weekend. A single room: Cost is £230 for the weekend. We apologise that those in single rooms can’t have a bigger discount, because it was felt it would be detrimental to those sharing. The cost
of a single room was set by the Hotel.

Ann said she’s sure everyone going will be delighted by Chris’s news. Any questions from anyone?

Maurice Pothecary: Could Chris clarify if 2 people sharing would be a double bed or 2 single beds?

Chris said he believes, if you require a twin room, it’s 2 single beds. If you require a double room, then either the 2 beds are put together with a double mattress on top or a complete double bed. The only thing we can’t offer, is queen or king beds.

Maurice said thanks for that, and he would duly get the money off as soon as he receives the email.

John Wilshire: Asked if the cost was the £25 deposit plus the £110.

Chris replied that the cost was £110 minus the £25 which all who going should have already paid.

Then 1 or 2 Members said that they were pleased with the discounts and that the total cost was less than they expected and they were pleased.

Ann said she also thought the £110 was on top of the deposit. This was brilliant.

Chris confirmed that, if sharing, room cost for 2 people, £220 minus £50 already paid, leaving £170 to pay. If having a single room, cost is £230 minus £25 already paid, leaving £205 to pay. So it is preferable, that you share if possible, because that means that we can get more Members going, and the Hotel is happy that there are more than 1 person in any one room. He then explained why a single room was more expensive than a double room. And as it’s only for 3 nights, he’s sure you can find someone you can tolerate for 3 nights.

John Hosch: Asked how much it would cost for a double room with 2 single beds?

Chris replied the same as a double room with a double bed.

John then asked for bank details. Chris said these would be sent out with booking forms and menus. This is to save on administration. As soon as we have info, you will have it as well.

Ann thanked Chris for the work he and Shirley are doing on the CAMEO, and for the good news.

12. Any Other Business.

Chris Payne: He would like to re-iterate, we do keep sending out by email, but he would like to mention it here. We are looking to start a second string of Bonus Ball Numbers. Apart from the Auction and Race Night which of course, are once a year events, Bonus Ball is our next, main money provider. It costs £5 per ball per month to play. There are 49 balls in total. We have prize money going out each month of £100. And it is geared upon the National Lottery and it’s Bonus Ball. So any Members who wish to Either increase their chances of winning by having numbers in both strings or if Members don’t have any, but would like some numbers they would be welcome. But we must have at least 25 numbers sold from the second string for it to work. So think on it, it is a good money maker for TAFN. Especially as it has been said, we may have to raise money in the future for our own bespoke voice client. Although at the moment we are waiting for Communicator 3.

Stephen Hassall: Has TAFN or the Exec ever thought of having our own email server.

Chris replied this is certainly something we can look at later. Neither he or Ann are technically minded enough to say one way or another if this is a goer or not. We would have to wait for others on the Exec who are more knowledgeable to tell us if this is possible or not. We will try to answer that question at our next Member’s Meeting.

Ann thanked Stephen for his suggestion, and said it would be discussed at an Executive Committee Meeting in the near future and they would come back with the answer then.

Stephen thanked Chris and Ann, and said he uses System Access, because their email client, for the blind is absolutely fantastic.

Ann said that the Exec had a lot of work they had to concentrate on at the moment, but it is definitely something to consider in the future and we will do so.

Stephen appreciates it will have to wait it’s turn, but thanks Ann and Chris for hearing him out.

Ann asked if there was Any Other Business.

Katie Myers: It’s about emails and the List Mods. She said there was a rather derogatory email went to lists the other day, that was sent by a list mod. She thought the List Moderators would have to be in the middle and not have their say. She was quite upset about this, and we may have seen her response to it. She doesn’t think it’s right for the List Moderator to be making comments such as that on the email list.

Mark Tyler agrees 100% with Katie and so does Linda. Lilian Stubbs also agrees.

Ann said that this would be looked into. Her emails have been dreadful, with some coming in and some not, and that one has not been received. Ann asked Chris if he had seen the email in question?

Chris Replied by telling everyone that up to coming to the Meeting, he had got up to 8pm on Friday with his emails so had not yet got that far, but he will look out for it. He is one of these people who reads every email, even if the Members send in an email that says, “this is a test, please ignore”, he will open it, just in case there’s a secret message in there. So it does take him a little longer than most to read emails, because he opens every single one just to make sure that nothing goes astray. As soon as he gets to the email in question, if ann still hasn’t had it, he will forward it to her. And as has been said, it is something we will discuss at our Meeting on Wednesday.

Katie then said to make it easier, it was Lee Garrett and it was about the minutes.

Sal Pitts: Personally she agrees with Katie, and this isn’t the first time he’s done this. And if he’s going to keep on doing that, he shouldn’t be a List Mod, because he’s supposed to be impartial.

Katie agreed, because she thought the List Mods were supposed to be impartial.

Ian McNamara: He saw the email too, but didn’t read it because of who sent it. This person’s emails are usually derogatory and from a Moderator is misuse of power.

Ann said that if a List Moderator is going to send something like that, then it should be discussed with other List Moderators, who would probably said “no you don’t”. If a List Moderator sends out an email, it’s from the List Moderators, not from an individual.

Stephen Hassall: This is why he put the question about not being able to get on and expressed his concern. And he did reply to that email, because he knows very well that the Exec are snowed under, and he wanted to resolve the matter. That’s why he asked the question, how does he do it? He’ll contact the Helpdesk anyway, and he does believe that these matters will be resolved.

Chris said that if a List Mod, who is still a member of TAFN first, if they want to make a comment on someone else’s email as their own personal point of view, they should say at the start or at the end, that this is their own opinion and not the List Mods in general. Then if the other List Mods feel that it is out of order, then they can deal with it as they see fit. but if this is Lee using his weight as a List Mod, then the Exec will come down very heavy on him, because as it’s been said, it’s not the first time he’s done this, and he has been warned in the past.If this does mean that we take the facility away from him, it will mean that we only have a List Mod Team of two, by day, and we have appointed Catherine to oversee emails that go through at night, because obviously we can’t expect people to do the job 24/7. We’ve all got lives, as they say. So leave it with us Katie, we fully appreciate your sentiments and this is something we will deal with as one of our discussions on Wednesday.

Katie thanked Chris and then said that Lee didn’t do it as a List Mod, but some of his comments were quite offensive, and some of the other comments that were having a dig at the Web Team were also getting her back up, because they don’t have a clue about the amount of work pressure the Team are under.

Chris said that he thinks that Members really do underestimate the amount of work that goes into keeping TAFN running. As he’s uttered occasionally, even the treasury can take 30 or 40 hours in a month, to get it all correct and find the last penny. And he knows from the minutes from the Exec Meetings, and one of our last meetings was a rather long one, 15 hours of work to transcribe those minutes. And this all goes on in the background. And the typical member has no idea of what is involved in keeping TAFN running. Those that have been on the Exec Committee, have got a better understanding, and of course, Lee being one of those, he would have thought he would have had more conscience of his actions, but as he says, they will discuss it on Wednesday.

Ann said that they certainly will discuss it on Wednesday, and the thing is, even if it wasn’t sent as List Mods, it was sent as him as an individual, he should know that, because he is known to be a List Mod, he’s got to be very careful what he says. There are certain ways, she wouldn’t comment on certain emails, because she realises, because one has a position on the Exec Committee, one doesn’t need to stick one’s ore in. as an ordinary Member she would, but sometimes, you just feel you’ve got to be that bit more careful.

Stephen Hassall then said Ann had answered it herself. If you’re a Moderator, you have to be impartial, which should be well known. If you can’t do it, then gracefully resign from being a Moderator.

Ann Replied saying, “Anything else? Or can we now Close the Meeting?

No more was said so Ann thanked everyone for coming,reminded them that the next Meeting is on Thursday 31st of July, at 8pm, and closed the Meeting at 1620.