Exec reports - VOCene Editor

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Introduction

The VOCene Editor:

  • Compiles "what's happening" information and trip reports.
  • Very reliable, collects any club gossip for publication.
  • Prepares the email version of the VOCene, generally sent out Tuesday mornings.
  • A good position for somebody who is computer literate (*note* "computer literate" is a subjective term - as long as you can send an email, then you're fine), available to collect articles each week, and who can coerce people into telling us what they're planning or what they just did.
  • Also a good position for anyone who likes having a captive audience, feels lonely and needs someone to talk to, wants to feel important, has serious plans for world domination (umm....wait...scratch that last one).

Current Exec Report

2011 - 2012

VOCene Editor: Len Goff

Timing

Generally it should come out mid week, on Tuesday or Wednesday, every week during the school year. During the summer, if not much is happening, then a biweekly schedule can be adopted. However, the club has been growing very rapidly, and so has the number of trips - it might now be necessary to send it out weekly during the summer too.

There are several issues that should be taken into account when considering when to send it out:

  • Exec meetings

Historically, the VOCene was presented at the weekly exec meeting and sent out by email afterward. There is some value to waiting until after the exec meeting, because things sometimes come up that should be included. But, I didn't really make a point of waiting until after the exec meeting this year. In practice, I just tried to do it either Tuesday or Wednesday night, depending on which night I had more time.

  • Slideshows/socials

During the academic year the VOC often has slideshows or other social events on Wednesdays, and in summer the monthly BBQ's and weekly ultimate frisbee are on Wed. This is a good reason to try to get it out on Tuesday, so that people are able to plan their Wednesday around these things.

  • Trips/pretrips

If the VOCene comes out too late in the week, it doesn't give enough time for people to find out about last minute trips, or decide last minute to go on trips they didn't know about. In addition, for most weekend trips the pretrip is on Wed evening.

  • Addition of trips

Trips are often advertised midweek, both for the coming weekend and the one after. There are probably several factors contributing to this trend, such as: recovering from that previous weekend rules Monday out, preparing for the next weekend rules out Friday, and also midweek one has a better idea of the weather/conditions for the coming weekend. For this reason, sending out the VOCene too early (say Monday) would be too early.

Compiling the VOCene

The numbering of the VOCene resets to '1' every year after the Banquet or soon after. The VOCene itself is compiled by starting with the VOCene from the past week (since many things will be the same), then going through the trip agenda tool and the message board (make sure to check both forums) to find out what trips and events are happening. It might be best to first make a list of the events for the "contents" section of the VOCene, make sure that nothing is missing, the order and numbering is correct, and only then fill in the blanks by adding some info on each trip. To keep the order and titles straight, you might want to copy the table of contents down to the main body of the VOCene and fill it like that.

Feel free to include trips for at least the two coming weekends, possibly three, depending on how full the VOCene is. If you notice that the trip schedule is looking a bit lean, you might want to alert the Trips Coordinator to this, it is their job to make sure there are trips going out all the time. Remember to check for slideshows which are sometimes not added to the schedule(http://www.ubc-voc.com/wiki/Slide_shows), BBQ's (first Wed of May-Sep) and any other ongoing events such as kayak polo (varies). Remember to includes the dates, and possibly the date of the week in parenthesis.

These are then listed in the VOCene along with a short description either written by the VOCene editor or shamelessly copied from the trip's wiki page. It is best to keep this very short - one or two sentences. If people want to find out more about trips, they can do this by following the links to the trip agenda tool/wiki/message board, so it isn't necessary to include full information about a trip - just make it sound interesting and attractive. Staying on top of what's being discussed on the message board is key - sometimes a trip's advertised title no longer describes correctly the objective or timing. Remember to add links to the trip tool page and message board posting (and possibly wiki) for each trip.

Sometimes it is appropriate to include a "Special Announcement", if an event or issue is worthy of additional advertising. Examples are the journal deadlines, the banquet, winter social, etc (see also example). It might be appropriate to have a Misc. section for various club stuff that needs to be circulated, such as a reminder that we are looking for slideshow presenters (during the year). If something was really important I would put it as item 0 at the beginning of the VOCene (a lot of people who troll the message board anyways just scroll down to Miss Manners so they will miss anything that's not at the very top).

The formatting of the VOCene is not set in stone so feel free to put your own spin on things. It is very helpful to use Rich Text Formatting (bold/italic/underline) to make things stand out. This can be easily done if you use gmail or a similar service - just mark text that you want bold and then click on the bold button. An easy way of retaining the formatting and structure, is to copy paste last week's VOCene and work from there.

With the introduction of the Trip Agenda, the line has become sharper between legitimate "trips" that one can sign up for and random posts by people looking for partners for something, or just bouncing around an idea that will eventually turn into a plan. For this reason, I introduced a new section: "Trip Ideas and Partners Sought". I basically put anything that was on the message board but not on the Trip Agenda in here. This keeps the "Upcoming Events and Trips" section less cluttered, while still getting information about - say Skyler's crazy plan to group by Pack Rafts - out to the membership.

Aside from the events, trips and special announcements, here are some additional ideas, some which have been incorporated in the past:

  • Past trips

Here you can include a sentence about each trip from the last week and a link to the message board where a TR was hopefully posted. This allows people who don't scan the message board frequently to see what's been happening (see example).

  • From the exec's desk

It has been pointed out that our membership has no idea what the exec does. This section is meant to give insight to a few things that the exec has been discussion / has been busy with lately (see example). It isn't meant to be comprehensive, and use your judgment - some things are "off the record" or just not appropriate/worthy for wide publication. It is helpful to look at the previous week's minutes (assuming the VOCene is sent out before the exec meeting) to refresh your memory. The minutes are usually sent out by email by the secretary, and should also appear on the website.

  • Editor's message

In some past years the editor has included an editor's message, that can be on anything, but is typically at least related to the outdoors see example.

  • Quote of the week

How about a quote each week? Should probably be at least loosely related to the outdoors, see example.

  • HTML

Should we have the VOCene formatted in HTML? It would look "nicer" but perhaps the minimalist format that we have had so far is good enough?

  • Photo of the week

How about including a chosen photo from the last week's trips? If so, it should probably be: small, have a caption and be linked to the TR for that trip.

Miss Manners

Ms. Manners is the best part of being VOCene editor. Honestly I was intimidated by the prospect of trying to be funny every week at first, but once I had done it a few times I started to really enjoy it. The important things to keep in mind are:

  • Don't stress out about it. If you don't have any good ideas this week, it's perfectly OK to just skip Ms. Manners this time, or do something that isn't funny. There are a million things that newcomers to the club would benefit from knowing, and Ms. Manners can be a great opportunity to explain something useful to them.
  • If you're not sure whether what you want to say is going to be funny or not, just make sure it's not offensive or too inappropriate, and go for it. Trying to be entertaining inevitably involves risks. Half of my Ms. Manners columns fell flat, but then when somebody tells you they enjoyed what you wrote it more than makes up for it.

A few suggestions for keeping the ideas flowing:

  • When you have an idea for a future Ms. Manners, add it to a list (I kept a Google Doc) that you can look at when you are trying to come up with something. I can send you my leftovers if you want a few ideas to get your mind going.
  • As Conrad wrote in the Journal after he was VOCene editor, the best way to come up with ideas is to go on a lot of trips. Often something hilarious happens and there is a natural question. Also, it's easier to think of ideas while you're out on a trip.
  • Ask people, and they often have great ideas. Especially when drinking. Also you might consider soliciting advice from others in order to answer a question.
  • Don't afraid to be nerdy, and relate it to your school work. After all we are a university club. An honestly after a full day of school work sometimes that was all I could think about.

Have fun with it, make it your own, channel Miss Manners in your everyday life :)

Sending It Out

The VOCene, once compiled, needs to be uploaded to the website. This is done by clicking on the Admin link on the website and then on 'Upload a VOCene or Meeting Minutes'. The draft VOCene can then be copied and pasted into the text window that comes up. After clicking submit, a preview will be shown which provides an opportune time to proof read the whole thing. Make sure to check that the date and numbering of the VOCene is correct. If everything is good, then confirm the submission otherwise hit the back button to make changes. Once uploaded to the website, the VOCene can be sent out to the mailing lists. There are separate mailing lists for members (voc-members) and alumni (voc-alumni) both 'at' interchange.ubc.ca, so make sure to send it out to both. Sending out the VOCene will result in a dozen or so bounced email messages which can be eliminated by either updating the mailing list or adding appropriate filters to your inbox (less work).

Emails from members

The VOCene has an email address. Someone, probably Chris M. has to make sure these messages get forwarded to you. Members will sometimes email you, either to this address or to your personal address. They might ask about trips, membership, how to add themselves to trips, or anything like that. Also, they might ask to be removed from the mailing list. They should be able to do this by themselves by doing the following:

  1. Surf to the VOC website
  2. Look on the left bar for the "Edit account" link, under the "Members Only" section
  3. The website will ask you to login, you will need to supply your email address and password
  4. If you have forgotten your password, click on the link below the login text boxes to get it emailed to you, or just go here
  5. Click on "Update your contact information"
  6. Uncheck the box that says "Do you want to receive the VOCene (weekly newsletter) at the above email address?".
  7. Click on "Submit Query"

If this doesn't work, they can try the following: send an email to [email protected] with the following command in the body of the email message: "unsubscribe voc-members" (without the quotations). Make sure they use the account they want to unsubscribe, or the software just gets confused.

As a last resort or for additional troubleshooting, you can change the mailing lists yourself but you will have to get the password from someone (previous VOCene editor/President etc.). Then just go into the list of members and add or delete as necessary. Note that in order to have permissions to send the VOCene out to these mailing lists you have to be on the admin list for them. You add yourself once you get the password.

Past Exec Reports

It is my understanding that we now no longer file exec reports by years - just update the above when it is your turn to pass on the throne.

Exec report - VOCene Editor 2008 - 2009
Exec report - VOCene Editor 2007 - 2008
Exec report - VOCene Editor 2006 - 2007