RE: STC SIGs - scam or resource

Subject: RE: STC SIGs - scam or resource
From: John Eldard <JEldard -at- vinca -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000 08:53:36 -0700

I feel like the STC should absorb the cost for the first SIG. After that,
they could charge the $5 fee. I think that those who belong to SIGs are
those whose companies pay the fee. I will not join a SIG even though my
company pays my membership fees. The value just isn't there.

-----Original Message-----
From: George F. Hayhoe [mailto:george -at- ghayhoe -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2000 8:27 AM
Subject: RE: STC SIGs - scam or resource

I belong to 7 STC SIGs. Some provide more value for the dollar than
others (at least in terms of tangible benefits such as newsletters and
listserve activity), but all of them have been well worth the

I'd like to offer a few observations based on my experience, which
includes four years on STC's board of directors and two years on the
SIG advisory committee in the early 90s:

1. As with chapters, each SIG's level of activity is entirely a result
of volunteer effort. None of the $5 SIG dues is paid to volunteers,
who donate their time. The larger, more enthusiastic, and giving the
membership, the more bang the members get from their bucks.

2. The most tangible SIG products are their newsletters. Paper,
production, printing, and postage are incredibly expensive, and those
costs continue to rise.

3. As with most professional organizations, the cost of delivering SIG
services exceeds the fee the organization charges its members. The SIG
membership surcharge recovers only a portion of the cost per member
for the services provided.

4. STC's board of directors debated charging for SIG membership for at
least 4-5 years before instituting the additional fee a few years ago.
The argument for SIG dues was to shift part of the expense of SIGs
directly to those who use SIG services. The board delayed implementing
the surcharge for several years to allow the SIGs to grow sufficiently
so that the additional fee wouldn't have an adverse effect on
membership. Despite the additional cost, SIG membership has grown each
year, not declined.

I'd also like to share three items related to SIGs that haven't (I
think) been mentioned in this thread:

1. The thoughtful and informative Annual Conference sessions offered
by many SIGs (amounting essentially to SIG stems in a couple of cases)
have added significant value to the conference, which was an
extraordinary value to begin with.

2. The ID SIG is about to become the first SIG to sponsor a special
section in an issue of STC's journal, _Technical Communication_. The
May 2000 issue will feature an introduction, three commentaries, a
bibliography, and three articles on information design.

3. The Online Information SIG's newsletter is, appropriately, online

--George Hayhoe (george -at- ghayhoe -dot- com)

George Hayhoe Associates
Voice: +1 (803) 642-2156
Fax: +1 (803) 642-9325

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Awards of Distinguished Technical Communication
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