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chickenhead
06-18-2009, 06:21 PM
How would you rate the importance of a private HANA forum?

I realize this will only reach a subset of the HANA members that frequent this forum, but I wanted to ask what people thought of the idea of a members only forum where HANA members could talk in private.

The group at handletalks recently set up a Yahoo Group that people have been very participatory with, my own take is that they are feeling more engaged in the process than they were previously. HANA has it's own little place here on PaceAdvantage courtesy of Mike, but it gets less activity, despite more people seeing it.

One explanation is that having a communication method that is private makes people more comfortable with engaging, asking questions, giving their opinions, etc -- a safer environment, where you know who the audience is.

So I just wanted to get a quick read on that from the HANA members, or even potential HANA members...do you think HANA should have a private forum where all the members can get together and talk about things? Or in your mind is this where that already happens, and a private forum would have no benefit?

BUD
06-18-2009, 10:25 PM
I am just an ex cop horse player for a short time-I have no idea of the storied history and all the troubles of the sport before I arrived on the scene---But if you ask me a((private anything)) has the feel of this is the begining of the same ole same ole--What Who Song applies??

But maybe its best--Remember I really have no roots to base whatever I am advising---And half the time too sick or annoyed to give a sharp opinion.

At PA I would assume we are all Horseplayers--to different extents---having a private area smacks of us & them----That is counterproductive when we all are aiming for the same goal --I hope---

I try--But I may not know what I am talking about with 2 years in----If a rook tried to tell me anything 2 years in----he'd be bumming.

chickenhead
06-18-2009, 10:44 PM
looks like you are in the majority Bud, apparently no desire for a private forum amongst the people here.

I've been worried that people don't seem all that engaged with HANA -- very few comments on the blog, very few posts by anyone in the HANA forum here that isn't on the board -- whereas the handletalks group has been getting so many HANA related posts that they kind of had to ask people to cut it out and stay on topic. There is a disconnect there somewhere, I'm just not sure where. Thought the private nature might be it, but I guess not.

So long as all the HANA members feel plugged in and engaged with HANA, I guess that's all that matters. Maybe this is what it looks like, and I was just expecting more for some crazy reason.

Indulto
06-18-2009, 11:40 PM
Chick,
I think the impetus has to come from HANA leadership on this one. A true grass roots organization should engage its membership collectively and frequently in polls like this one and identify the responses for participating individuals so that like-minded members could then initiate contact with one another.

My guess is that more HANA members would feel comfortable initiating and participating in public discussions on matters of policy and action planning and strategy in a forum limited to HANA members.

The fact that this “handletalks” alternative to PA has sprung up suggests there is a demand for a forum independent of PA, and HANA might be well advised to not let things splinter any further.

Even if HANA were to establish a private forum, it should continue its recruitment efforts and progress reporting at PA.

There is no reason not to enable private discussions there as well, but e-mail would serve that purpose just as well using less resources.

HUSKER55
06-19-2009, 09:04 AM
What could you discuss in a private forum that you can not discuss here? It would appear to me that if you can answer yes to that question then the purpose of HANA has ended. Purpose being to help the horse player.

There is a purpose to HANA and a "closed room" is not it. Who is going to buy into that?

JMHO

Cangamble
06-19-2009, 10:12 AM
I'm against a private board. I want it all out there. I also realize that owners, trainers, and racing execs read these boards as well. I want them to be exposed to what the horseplayer has to say.

chickenhead
06-19-2009, 10:59 AM
What could you discuss in a private forum that you can not discuss here? It would appear to me that if you can answer yes to that question then the purpose of HANA has ended. Purpose being to help the horse player.

There is a purpose to HANA and a "closed room" is not it. Who is going to buy into that?

I have always had a mixed opinion about some kinds of public debate for an organization like HANA -- as well all know horseplayer's are a notoriously opinionated lot, very hard to get them to agree about things.

Now I know that personally, I have always taken most of my comments to the HANA board private via email, for precisely the reason that I don't want the discussions, debate, whatever, to be out there for public consumption. I have all the board members emails, so this is really easy for me. And obviously, all of the conversations that occur within the board themselves are private. So of course I think there is a need for private discussions -- they are the rule right now. But they are really private -- i.e. they are all point to point emails. Other HANA members don't get to see them -- there is no option for only other HANA members to see them.

I don't necessarily think HANA wants all discussions and disagreements to be made public. Having public be the only option to me obviously does have an effect, and some discussions and disagreements just aren't going to happen -- because people do not want to risk making HANA look bad, or disjointed, or in disagreement -- publicly. Also, no, I probably don't think you necessarily want every idea, suggestion, and plan -- and misstep, and failure -- be talked about openly and publicly. Again, I think having public be the only option means the discussions just don't happen group wide -- not as often as they should.

I guess all I can do is try to move any ideas, comments, questions, suggestions, critiques that I do have, from time to time, here. If this is where HANA gets together to talk, I guess this is the place for it to happen. But I don't really think that anything is going to change the dynamics I mentioned above.

miesque
06-19-2009, 11:26 AM
Just a comment, I can fully understand why there might be some HANA members who would feel more comfortable posting in a more private setting because I know that personally prefer posting in a more secure, private Forum where you have no idea who is lurking and reading your comments since the entire world has access since nobody needs to sign. I purposely try to keep my participation on here to a dull roar precisely for that reason especially since it seems whenever I get too casual posting here it often comes back to bite me on the ass. That said, I also know that in order to have a decent Forum you need a pretty significant number of regular participants or else it starts to feel stale or dead for lack of a better word. In addition, having a Forum means running a Forum which I personally know can be a royal pain in the ass because at times someone needs to be a real hardass to keep people in line and on occasion people do have to be tossed out. Now its one thing if a private individual owns and runs a Forum and starts tossing people but its another when you have a grassroots organization running it that is trying to grow and have a positive impact. As a result the potential negatives associated with a group like HANA having a Forum in many ways outweighs the positives, most especially from a distraction of time and effort perspective.

Lastly, we are going to at some point in the very near future have e-mail links on the Contact Us page to the individual HANA Board Members/Officers which will enable a more direct line of communication between members and Board Members.

chickenhead
06-19-2009, 11:50 AM
Thanks Miesque. I understand there would be some work involved, and some responsibility taken on, particularly with regards to moderating. Obviously from my own perspective I'd argue it's important enough to maintain a top priority on the to-do list to happen at some point in the near future, but based on some of the comments here -- it seems like that's not only not shared, but actually actively not liked.

That some members would react negatively to the idea of a private place to talk, where they might get included in more of the private discussions that already take place -- feeling that that goes against what HANA is all about -- I just really wouldn't have predicted that.

I had always just assumed everyone would like to have that place. Glad I asked :eek:

Indulto
06-19-2009, 01:03 PM
I have always had a mixed opinion about some kinds of public debate for an organization like HANA -- as well all know horseplayer's are a notoriously opinionated lot, very hard to get them to agree about things.

Now I know that personally, I have always taken most of my comments to the HANA board private via email, for precisely the reason that I don't want the discussions, debate, whatever, to be out there for public consumption. I have all the board members emails, so this is really easy for me. And obviously, all of the conversations that occur within the board themselves are private. So of course I think there is a need for private discussions -- they are the rule right now. But they are really private -- i.e. they are all point to point emails. Other HANA members don't get to see them -- there is no option for only other HANA members to see them.

I don't necessarily think HANA wants all discussions and disagreements to be made public. Having public be the only option to me obviously does have an effect, and some discussions and disagreements just aren't going to happen -- because people do not want to risk making HANA look bad, or disjointed, or in disagreement -- publicly. Also, no, I probably don't think you necessarily want every idea, suggestion, and plan -- and misstep, and failure -- be talked about openly and publicly. Again, I think having public be the only option means the discussions just don't happen group wide -- not as often as they should.

I guess all I can do is try to move any ideas, comments, questions, suggestions, critiques that I do have, from time to time, here. If this is where HANA gets together to talk, I guess this is the place for it to happen. But I don't really think that anything is going to change the dynamics I mentioned above.Good points. Maybe you should look at how many HANA members are also PA registrants.Just a comment, I can fully understand why there might be some HANA members who would feel more comfortable posting in a more private setting because I know that personally prefer posting in a more secure, private Forum where you have no idea who is lurking and reading your comments since the entire world has access since nobody needs to sign. I purposely try to keep my participation on here to a dull roar precisely for that reason especially since it seems whenever I get too casual posting here it often comes back to bite me on the ass. That said, I also know that in order to have a decent Forum you need a pretty significant number of regular participants or else it starts to feel stale or dead for lack of a better word. In addition, having a Forum means running a Forum which I personally know can be a royal pain in the ass because at times someone needs to be a real hardass to keep people in line and on occasion people do have to be tossed out. Now its one thing if a private individual owns and runs a Forum and starts tossing people but its another when you have a grassroots organization running it that is trying to grow and have a positive impact. As a result the potential negatives associated with a group like HANA having a Forum in many ways outweighs the positives, most especially from a distraction of time and effort perspective.

Lastly, we are going to at some point in the very near future have e-mail links on the Contact Us page to the individual HANA Board Members/Officers which will enable a more direct line of communication between members and Board Members.Congratulations on your 5 of 6 BTW. Very impressive.

I suppose it all comes down to whether HANA is really a grass roots organization or not. One's willingness to contribute one's time and resources doesn't always justify limiting the involvement and access by others to ideas and strategy when the alleged goal is to benefit all. BTW is anyone outside the leadership aware of what contributions have been forthcoming from the advisory board members?

I can only speculate, but it would seem a forum of HANA-only members would require less moderation than an open forum like PA. Because there is a board running the organization, no individual needs to be a designated "hardass" to make decisions in the interest of productivity.Thanks Miesque. I understand there would be some work involved, and some responsibility taken on, particularly with regards to moderating. Obviously from my own perspective I'd argue it's important enough to maintain a top priority on the to-do list to happen at some point in the near future, but based on some of the comments here -- it seems like that's not only not shared, but actually actively not liked.

That some members would react negatively to the idea of a private place to talk, where they might get included in more of the private discussions that already take place -- feeling that that goes against what HANA is all about -- I just really wouldn't have predicted that.

I had always just assumed everyone would like to have that place. Glad I asked :eek:Maybe you need a larger sampling. ;)I'm against a private board. I want it all out there. I also realize that owners, trainers, and racing execs read these boards as well. I want them to be exposed to what the horseplayer has to say.I thought it was our COLLECTIVE voice they were supposed to hear.:jump:

Warren Henry
06-19-2009, 02:32 PM
Chick, I understand the appeal of a more private venue for discussion between like minded folks without the need to put up with some of the jerks one encounters out here in the open. I also appreciate that you and others are actively thinking and suggesting ways to improve the effectiveness of HANA.

I actually like the idea of a private members only HANA forum, but I don't think now is the right time.


For now, I think we need to concentrate on generating interest in HANA, building membership and generating excitement about the possibility that we might positively impact the future of the game we love. I think that can better happen out in the open and on the forum which has the greatest exposure (I assume that to be PA)

I feel that the Handle Talks group siphoned off some of the energy which was previously shown here at PA. Recently, the HANA thread has been somewhat slow and it may be because of the diversion of some of the action to HT. While I enjoy the HT discussions, I wish that the activity had taken place here on PA.

In the beginning, the instigators (now known as the board), were the catylists for active and engaging discussions here on PA. Now that the group has actually formed, the Chiefs have their hands full actually running things. Now, they may not have the time to post as much. This may be part of the reason for the slowing of the HANA threads. Since our goal is greater exposure, and since we suspect that many folks other than HANA read our posts, I think that ALL of us should try to think of ways to keep the HANA threads here at PA active and interesting.

In the future, when HANA is much larger and is already having some influence on the game, I would be more interested in something private IN ADDITION to the efforts on the public forums.

Just my $0.02

DeanT
06-19-2009, 02:35 PM
Some great points there Warren. Thanks very much for your input (and it goes without saying - thanks for the support. )

chickenhead
06-19-2009, 03:56 PM
Hi Warren, that's a good response.

I think maybe the piece I am looking at differently, is there is always going to be a public face and a private face. I am not at all arguing that HANA shouldn't have a public face, and publicly talk about HANA in places like PA, and try to drum up interest in HANA . I'm just pointing out that HANA doesn't have a private place -- so we really don't have certain kinds of discussions as a group that we probably should. Realistically, PA will never be a place for that.

I've always noticed that sometimes the ideas that are most effective are not always the most obvious. Kind of like with the change in tracks for handletalks -- the best way to get big widespread participation is to play the really good races at places people want to play, where the play won't necessarily result in a large % increase for the group to crow about. So by sublimating the obvious goal of making headlines, it becomes more likely that the group will someday make headlines. That was apparently kind of a non obvious solution to that problem.

In the same way, I think the argument that we need to get bigger and accomplish things before we worry about providing a private area for work is maybe a faulty argument. Something needs to change that out of 1200 members, ~1190 of them aren't really doing anything. Of course the board is overloaded!

I think getting members engaged in doing more things is pretty critical, but I'm not certain that's really possible without a better way for group communication. Again -- not public kinds of things, not things that are designed to attract members, nuts and bolts kind of things, the dirty sausage making part of things. A workspace.

Anyway, even though I'm not really pleased with the voting, and I'm not sure everyone is really on the same wavelength about what private spaces mean, that they aren't an enemy to public spaces, they are an addition -- I'm glad I started this thread. There has been some good discussion.

senortout
06-19-2009, 05:04 PM
Town meetin' tonite!

Only joe, bob, and alex need attend....................

chickenhead
06-19-2009, 05:40 PM
Town meetin' tonite!

Only joe, bob, and alex need attend....................

OK, I'm done.

Anyone who actually understands what this entire thing is about -- never say I didn't try. Cause you won't see me trying again.

BillW
06-19-2009, 06:01 PM
Town meetin' tonite!

Only joe, bob, and alex need attend....................

This is about a separate forum open to all registered HANA members. It has absolutely nothing to do with locking people out - only those who won't join HANA and are somehow curious as to what is being posted. It is kind of like Paceadvantage, you can't post here if you don't join only it also includes read access.

rrbauer
06-19-2009, 07:26 PM
When HANA first started there was lots of enthusiasm for the idea. If HANA is not going to be an organization (what, over 1100 members?) and start running its business like an organization and making its web site the focal point for communications to its members, then why have a web site? why have an organization? why have members? everyone can just go through the regular horseplayer routine of bitching about this, that and the other thing and doing absolutely nothing about it. we have PA right? Well no offense to Mike who does a great job with PA, but tune in on the null action response we received to our petition to the Jockey Club.

It's not clear to me why we have people who want to piss on efforts to improve communication and see what members want. If you're not a HANA member then go fly a friggin' kite and stay off of this thread. It's not your general purpose, let's-see-what-clever crap I can post, venue. "chickenhead" is a volunteer for HANA and has spent a lot of his time trying to make the organization better for its membership. Cut him some slack, OK?

cj
06-19-2009, 09:43 PM
I think a private board is a great idea. If someone can't take the time or provide the limited info it takes to register, who cares what they want to add?

Indulto
06-20-2009, 12:45 AM
I think a private board is a great idea. If someone can't take the time or provide the limited info it takes to register, who cares what they want to add?Nice to see that we're in agreement for a change, but I guess I’m missing your point in the bolded portion. The issue doesn’t seem to be one of convenience as much as interest, i.e., whether or not an individual wants to become a member of HANA. Why would anyone want to add anything at a HANA forum if they weren't a member?

Wouldn’t all (and only) signed-up members automatically be registered in such a forum with some pin # assigned as password for initial logon to be delivered by e-mail -- initially in a mass mailing to existing members -- and subsequently with each new sign-up?

Warren Henry
06-20-2009, 01:46 AM
OK, I'm done.

Anyone who actually understands what this entire thing is about -- never say I didn't try. Cause you won't see me trying again.

Don't stop thinking and trying to make things better. You are one of the volunteers who is working hard to make HANA better. Most of us who are thus far sitting on our thumbs do appreciate what you are doing.

Actually, the comment about the private meeting (even though it may have been meant in jest), may have changed my mind. Can I have a do over on my vote :rolleyes:

As long as the HANA members don't lose sight of the fact that we need to beat the drums out in public, I now see no reason not to have a private place open only to HANA members. After all, membership isn't really restricted or expensive. The board could anonymously boot any flaming butthole.

The biggest problem that I see is who is going to do it? The board and a handful of volunteers may be swamped right now.

senortout
06-20-2009, 01:59 AM
I will cut him some slack. His insights are thoughtful. However, a private setting to discuss the problems we all face, as a group, seems pointless.

The whole purpose of the group, as I understand it, was to improve horseracing for all of us.

Thats all

miesque
06-20-2009, 02:23 AM
Is it really that unusual for an organization such as the Horseplayers Association of North America to have a discussion limited to its members? I ask this only because it sounds like this is the first time some have heard of such a concept. I have been on many non-profit boards ranging from recreational clubs such as polo to charitable organizations which served women in need and at risk kids and in all those entities there was some aspect of member meetings so I apologize for not "getting it" as far as why people would be so opposed to such a thing on a moral ground like inclusiveness. Please tell me this fuss is because the requirements for membership of the Horseplayers Association of North America are too stringent and our membership fees are too steep. :lol: We are growing grass roots organization and Chick has so kindly put in a lot of time and effort in a very genuine effort to get members more involved and while there may or maynot be a few reasons why it might not be best at this time, to make nefarious assumptions as the broaching of such a subject matter is not only incorrect, but gives a great disservice to someone who is trying actively to help you get a greater voice.

comet52
07-06-2009, 12:57 PM
Since membership is free and requires nothing more than clicking a link, what does a private board accomplish? Who can't join and listen in on what you say, including people you think you don't want reading your very important conversations?

I haven't even seen an intelligent reason for this concept floated in this discussion. Build a wall around your forum, you shut out potential input that could have value. "If you build it, they won't come."

Anyone who thinks what they say in an internet forum is very important and needs to be walled off (with walls that don't really exist anyway :rolleyes: ) is just bullshitting themself to begin with.

GameTheory
07-31-2009, 02:43 AM
No reason to have ONLY a private board, but a private board might be useful to discuss HANA business. But you've already got a weekly meeting for that.

A private board just for discussion of the usual issues that horseplayers have is not needed. That stuff should be public. One reason for less activity here on PA is because the HANA section already seems like a narrowed focus -- any discussion of normal horseplayer issues probably just get posted in the non-HANA boards here. So the only thing to post in the HANA forum is some version of the question, "What is HANA gonna do about X?" But talk about X in general will naturally get posted in one of the other boards.

chickenhead
07-31-2009, 03:00 AM
Since membership is free and requires nothing more than clicking a link, what does a private board accomplish? Who can't join and listen in on what you say, including people you think you don't want reading your very important conversations?

I haven't even seen an intelligent reason for this concept floated in this discussion. Build a wall around your forum, you shut out potential input that could have value. "If you build it, they won't come."

Having some people not come would kind of be the point. The goal of a private forum is not to have people making random trolling drive by postings. You can do those here, at PA, and you'd of course continue to have that ability. This part of PA would continue on, unabated. No one at this forum would notice any difference. No one at this foum would have any less of a chance to do whatever it is they do here. If anyone here also wanted to troll the private forum HANA would at the very least know they got a membership bump from them. It's also of course worth noting, that based on my other poll, that an exceedingly small % of HANA members are also members of PA. So they aren't really coming here, now.

Anyone who thinks what they say in an internet forum is very important and needs to be walled off (with walls that don't really exist anyway :rolleyes: ) is just bullshitting themself to begin with.


It has nothing to do with being important per se -- many people just aren't comfortable talking in open internet forums. PA has a very high lurker to poster ratio -- just like any other forum like this. It doesn't really matter what you think about it, it's human nature. Perceived privacy is better to most people than obviously, without a doubt, no privacy. At the very least a private forum would not be indexed by search engines.

highnote
08-22-2009, 03:36 AM
It can't hurt to set up a private forum to see if it is worthwhile. The only thing lost will be a little bit of time.