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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

September 27, 2014

Return to AERC Open Database Policy, A motion before the BOD

Per Rusty Toft:

"AERC membership committee strongly believes the AERC horse and riders data base should remain open for public viewing. We have crafted a motion for the next Board Meeting to be voted on to reopen. If you have strong feelings about this issue we encourage you to contact your regional directors, directors at large and the AERC office with your thoughts.
AERC Board of Directors
Motion Name: Return to AERC Open Database Policy
Proposing Committee: Membership Committee
Date of Motion: October, 2014 BOD Telecon Meeting
Classification of Motion Request: This Motion requires that recently implemented restrictions on access to the AERC rider and horse records be removed, returning database access policies to be the same as they were before these restrictions were implemented.
Proposed Motion: Resolved, that access to the horse and rider records in the AERC database be free and open to all who visit the AERC website.
Background, analysis and benefit:
In August, 2012, the AERC Board of Directors (BOD) approved a Membership Committee Motion to limit AERC database access for non-members. Implementation of the 2012 Motion took a long time. During this period, a new Membership Committee concluded that the proposed change would compromise success in its initiatives to increase membership. Thus, at the July telecom BOD meeting the Membership Committee offered a Motion to rescind the data restriction policy prior to its planned implementation. This Motion was defeated by a vote of 11-10, and the policy was fully implemented in September.
The central issue is, do the database restrictions enhance or hamper efforts to increase membership? The 2012 MC and BOD foresaw enhancement while the 2014 MC foresees significant negative effects. The current BOD is nearly evenly divided on the issue. At this stage, all is speculation, and relying on experience to prove the case either way will be very difficult. From the MC perspective, retaining the restriction is damaging AERC. Thus, the MC is offering this Motion for three reasons. First, this is a significant issue, and the BOD is so evenly divided that there is legitimate uncertainty about what the majority actually supports. Second, there have been many thoughtful member comments that describe the many ways the open database has been used to support membership recruitment (the personal testimonials support the point that the open data are indeed used to attract members). Third, the MC believes that our image as the most open and transparent equine organization is too important to discard without very strong reasons.
In summary, the Membership Committee is offering this Motion to return to the open-database policy and thus remove what this Committee believes to be a negative impact on its efforts to increase membership.
Budget effect/impact: Depending on how the restriction was implemented, it might be straightforward (i.e., inexpensive) to roll back to an earlier version of the relevant software. Or it might require a significant cost.
Benefit and/or Impact to Membership and/or the AERC Organization
In 2012 the Membership Committee and BOD concluded that restricting database access would encourage some to join AERC. The 2014 Membership Committee has the opposite opinion; that is, that restricting access is likely to have negative effects that far outweigh any positive effects.
Impact on AERC Office: Expected to be negligible.
Committees consulted and/or affected: None consulted.
Implementation Plan: As soon as practical, remove the data access restrictions."

I would like to express my support of keeping the records open on the AERC website.  The greatest value of those records is the inspiration they give to new riders,  the validation they give concerning mentor-ship of new riders,  and the information related to fast/slow ride times on upcoming rides. 

By closing off this vital information we alienate the very group of people we desire to attract.  Please consider the validity of this motion and the desires of the membership at large.

Contact your directors please in support of this motion.   HERE.

Jacke Reynolds

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