Geocaching Australia Society

Geocaching Australia governance issues
Mix
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Geocaching Australia Society

Post by Mix » 09 September 06 2:45 pm

This thread is not about an Australian Geocaching Association/Club (i.e. a group to cover the whole sport in Australia) but a Geocaching Australia group to ‘own’ this site with all that entails.

That said:
What are peopleÂ’s thought on starting a non-profit for this purpose?
i! what are the parameters for such taking ownership?


Suggested reading:
http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopic.php?t=5367
http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopic.php?t=5122

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caughtatwork
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Post by caughtatwork » 09 September 06 3:17 pm

I'm in :-)

I'll supply cash (but not all of it), coding skills (along with any others who want to join in) and points of view (not that I wouldn't provide that anyway).

The current developers are looking into what needs to happen with regards to getting a new server and the issues and costs that entails.

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Post by Damo. » 10 September 06 8:35 am

Good idea. Definately necessary. Would also mean we could open a bank account in that name for expenses.

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Postman Pat
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Post by Postman Pat » 10 September 06 9:22 am

Count me in I would happily contribute to keep the site operating :lol:

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Post by Team Falling Numerals » 10 September 06 9:44 am

I am interested in hearing more about what sort of entity structure is preferred for this venture. At present we have a loose collective of well intentioned and interested souls - are we mooting an unincorporated association (generally these are governed by respective state legislations so a NSW association would have no juridiction in QLD) or are we looking to incorporate (company limited by guarantee for example) which is governed by Commonwealth legislation?

This choice might also impinge on our ability to apply for government or council grants to promote our passtime/sport.

The whole bank account opening issue might need to wait until details along this line are made clear.

What concerns me is the cost of administration - both unincoporated and incorporated associations require books to be kept (I am sure we were planning on this anyway), but the books need to be audited (different rules apply to different types of associations) - I envisage that the cost of administration distracts funds from the real objective of maintaining our core IT assets.

I am also concerned that if we become "official" that a public liability risk arises for our association's office holders - in today's society we cannot presume that someone who is injured and/or suffers damage will not make a claim. (Although maybe those who promote this site are already exposed to these risks regardless of the disclaimers that appear on the site - I am not a lawyer).

I dont want this comment to become too lengthy - I find it difficult to read large forum comments so I will leave this thought in the hands of others for further comment.

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GIN51E
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Post by GIN51E » 10 September 06 10:51 am

It's all a good idea and something needs to be worked out to secure the site for the future.

Although i would love to help out and keep the site alive and improving i don't think i have a great deal to offer, on the programing side, finacial side 'except for small donations' or the political side of the site, which is why i can't really help with any input as to how ownership or the running of the site should continue which is why i'll leave that up to the members that are more educated on the matter, however i'm sure the end result will be good.

I would like to drag this old thread back up because obviously matters have changed since it was closed.

http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopic.php?t=3474


May i just make clear that the site should still run as a free service and you shouldn't require any payments to use all of the sites features however i'm sure there would be a lot of members who would love to be official members for the sake of the title and a sticker.

And no doubtly many would be happy to make small donations to the cause.


So unsure as to how i am capable of helping with the site if there is anything i can do i am more than happy to give it a go :D

Geof
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Post by Geof » 10 September 06 1:56 pm

The April fools 2005 thead has similar ideas to this issue by those who fell for the bate.
http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopic.php?t=2799&start=0

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Post by caughtatwork » 10 September 06 2:13 pm

http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/asic_pub.ns ... enDocument

Ack!

Rule me out of participating in a true not-for-profit company. That's all too hard. I've been involved in other formal associations and, in all honesty, the ones who run the association think they are little tin gods.

My personal preference for keeping this site free and open is the informal senate proposal (happy medium) made by Bronce here:
http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopic.php?t=5367

There are interested parties, but there is no-one group that is the be all and end all.

Taking i!'s comments into account, if your IT Guru's aren't interested in coding the requirements, then in all reality those requirements aren't going to get implemented.

That sounds like the IT Guru's weild the power, but that's not the case (or at least it shouldn't be).

Coding up changes is a long and arduous (albeit fun) excersize. The latest change (which will be going up soon) to have queries based on your input criteria has taken a full two weeks worth of effort. That's probably 2-3 hours a day over 14 days for a total of around 40 hours. It's still only in development while it's being tested. That takes about a week. Then there's a beta stage where the beta testers get to break things. That's another week. So from go to implementation is a minimum of 4 weeks of strenuous effort by the coders.

A group of Honchos deciding to make change that the coders don't see as 'fun' will be a hard change to implement without the IT Guru's on side.

At the moment, the IT side is owned by i!. We are trying to determine how best to fund an alternative server so we can take the load of the server that i! is providing for free. The issue is cost. The IT Guru's will still administer the new server, make changes, fix bugs, etc.

If we can find the funding for the first year (including purchasing the server) then incremental year on year costs are achievable by donations (hopefully). We really don't know the costs.

So, in summary, I would prefer an environment similar to what we have now with a single exception which is a community owned server.

Everyone is free to make suggestions for improvement. The IT Guru's make the ocde changes as time and interest allows. Everyone continues to have fun without the drudgery of a formal association.

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Post by CraigRat » 10 September 06 3:57 pm

I'd like to second c@w's comments above re: the Informal senate.

We have a lot of issues that will need to be fleshed out, including funding etc etc and we need to start sooner rather than later.

The biggest thing that needs to be kept in the front of everyone's mind is the 'Free and Open' ethos of the site. Its why I contribute code and list here.

I expect I'll be contributing quite a bit of money (especially for the stuff we need on the IT side during the transition), BUT we need to make sure that in any charter layed down that there is no preference/more power given to financial contributors (other than maybe being listed on a Thank You page or something)... My concern is people DEMANDING services once they have shelled out any contribution...we need to be upfront as to how this all works.

I'm looking forward to participating in this (from the IT side and possibly the governace side...)

Mix
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Post by Mix » 10 September 06 4:27 pm

Maybe the answer is a Friends of Geocaching Australia society i.e solely a benefactors group, the site itself continues to be governed jointly by the senate and IT Mob. All the Friends of GCA does is provide support/resources as it can. The FGCA might get a thankyou page, maybe an invitation to a dinner/event/other (with proceeds to GCA). Such groups could be state based and/or national. There should be no suggestion that the group has more rights than any other member, except the right to say I am a Friend of Geocaching Australia.

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CraigRat
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Post by CraigRat » 10 September 06 4:35 pm

I like that line of thought.

Oh, and you spelt Fiends wrong :lol:

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Postman Pat
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Post by Postman Pat » 10 September 06 4:43 pm

Mix wrote:Maybe the answer is a Friends of Geocaching Australia society i.e solely a benefactors group, the site itself continues to be governed jointly by the senate and IT Mob. All the Friends of GCA does is provide support/resources as it can. The FGCA might get a thankyou page, maybe an invitation to a dinner/event/other (with proceeds to GCA). Such groups could be state based and/or national. There should be no suggestion that the group has more rights than any other member, except the right to say I am a Friend of Geocaching Australia.
me to as that way you can contribute as much or as little as you want :lol:

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riblit
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Post by riblit » 10 September 06 8:21 pm

Friends of Geocaching Australia seems a step in the right direction. Clearly we need something. Business people we will have to deal with such as banks and hosting companies are much happier dealing with something vaguely formal when it comes to a group of individuals.
Up to now we have been shielded from that with i! tacking the server onto their business interests but the time has come to leave the nest and fly with our own wings.

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Post by Bronze » 11 September 06 6:49 pm

and...

I'm still reading and the thread just stopped. Keep writing people.

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Post by caughtatwork » 11 September 06 8:19 pm

So FoGCA could be a legal entitiy that owns the funds that get raised to keep GCA going handing them out as necessary to support the server, rental and bandwidth costs?

I doubt there is any need for any other costs than keeping the server running, so until we know what we want we don't know what we're asking for.

Does anyone have experience in setting up a legal entitity that would hold the funds?

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