CFOG's PIP, October 1988, Volume 7 No. 5, Whole No. 67, page 65

Whither CFOG?

What is the direction of CFOG? Where are we going? Does CFOG serve any function at all any more? Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

When CFOG was organized we all had the same computer, an Osborne 1, with two single density floppy drives, with 52 column display. We all had the same software. We all had the same problems, too. We were intrepid adventurers in the new world of computers, investing at least a couple of thousand dollars in a system that would do things we had never imagined.

CFOG was conceived and organized as a mutual help organization. That means that we helped each other.

Things have changed. We have many kinds of computers. Our new CP/M users have only a few hundred dollars invested in their machines (some even received them free), they are not pioneers adventuring intrepidly into an unknown and unexplored terra incognita, but rather travellers on a well trodden path. Our software runs the gamut from WordStar 2.26 to Ventura Publisher.

We used to have 500+ members, 100 or more people at meetings, vendors in the hallways outside, and lots of excitement. Now we have about 160 members, 25 is good attendance at a meeting, no vendors attend, and there's not much excitement. And you are asking for help, but don't seem to be very willing to help others.

We used to have a program chairperson, a disk librarian, a sysop, and even a few committee chairpersons who were just interested active members. Today we can hardly get a volunteer to do some work at a meeting.

CFOG has essential jobs that must be filled by people wilIing to give substantially of their time and effort. If there aren't people to fill these jobs, there will be no CFOG. The current problem is that the same people have been filling these jobs for a long time. We're not developing new people who want to fill jobs. Whether that's 'our' fault or 'your' fault is irrelevant: it's true.

One essential job is editor. I have been editor for over 2.5 years. Over this summer I've been so busy that PIP has fallen far behind schedule again. I don't think it will catch up again: there will probably be this issue and one more of similar size between now and the end of 1988. Are there volunteers who can help put PIP together? Is there a volunteer ready to take on the top job when the editor decides to call it quits?

Another essential job is program chairperson, currently handled by our vice president, Mike Andrews. Mike has been doing this for most of two years. Is someone ready to take on this task?

Bill Kuykendall has been running our CFOG II RCPM bulletin board and remote access software library for about two and a half years, too. Is there someone out there with the burning desire to have a ton of computer hardware in his house and do the hours of work that are necessary to keep this system running? What happens now that Bill has decided that he doesn't want to have this thing in his basement much longer?

Mike Andrews has been handling our CP/M disk library for over two years, too. The disk librarian gets access to the new software before anyone else, but on the other hand there's work: sort through new stuff, check to make sure it's not a Trojan, put it on disks, organize it, catalog it, annotate it, all time-consuming tasks. Who is going to replace Mike in this job?

Steve Lucius has been doing a yeoman job getting our MS-DOS library up and running; in a relatively short time already there are over 80 disks. Like Mike, Steve has put in a lot of hours for the advantage of being fed all the new stuff that comes in. But there's going to be a time when Steve won't want to keep this task. Who will take the baton and run?

Dave Jacobsohn has been handling our membership database and getting out labels for PIP mailings and postcard meeting notices for more than two years. Dave's retired, but busy, and one of these days will decide that he's had enough. Someone will have to keep track of changes of address and print out labels and notices.

In the past two years PIP has had Steve Lucius's DOS DOINGS column, one article by Bill Kuykendall, a few articles by Dennis Murphy and Hanns Trostli (a CFOGger from Brazil), and a lot of articles written by the Editor or found by the Editor on RCPMs or in newsletters that we exchange with user groups. In the first two years of CFOG almost every single article in PIP was written by a member of CFOG. Who's going to write or find the articles for PIP when the current editor stops?

Get to the point, already! Well, if you haven't got the point yet, I'm afraid maybe it's too late for CFOG. The point, simply stated, is that CFOG's old hands are getting tired of doing all the work. If the newer members are interested in picking up an oar and helping to row, then CFOG can continue. But if the newer members simply want to get some help for the price of their dues, and don't want to put anything back in, then CFOG is already dead.

Let's be blunt: we need some someone's to take over the CP/M disk library; to dream up and produce our Sunday meeting programs; to take over the RCPM (though Mike has indicated an interest in doing this, he can't do it if he's saddled with the CP/M disk library and program responsibilities); to help the RCPM sysop so that the job doesn't become so burdensome that the sysop is burned out in a month; to assist the editor in getting PIP out regularly, or maybe to take over the job altogether.

CFOG is a mutual help group, or it's nothing. Now is the time for you to put some mutuality into CFOG before there isn't any left.

That's not all. April means elections. This year we reelected all of our old officers and almost all of our old directors. These people have been around a long time, mostly, and they have done a lot for CFOG. Few of them are ready to take on another term of office. Unless some folks are willing to come out of the woodwork, take over some existing jobs, and become officers and directors at election time (or sooner), there may not be any CFOG officers and directors in six months.

This piece is too long: I'd rather fill up this issue with articles that might help some of our members. But here's the challenge: unless some of you come out to the next meeting or two or call to say that they want to put some mutuality back into CFOG, there won't be a CFOG or a PIP much longer. Don't think about it: volunteer. Call CFOG's 24 hour answering machine at 726-3569, or any officer or director (the names and telephone numbers are in the masthead that appears in every issue of PIP on page two!). If you're not a part of the solution you just might find that the problem is that you don't have a computer user group any longer.