Re: National's Web Site (LONG)
Ronald W. Fox (us018956@POP3.INTERRAMP.COM)
Tue, 9 Jul 1996 21:24:05 PDT
Mike Walton and others responded to my posting. I will use Mike's
posting as a template, but I mean to respond to all. I've done a
little editing and reordering to facilitate this.
>>1) The opening paragraph states that "if you are a boy between
>>the ages of 7 to 20", and goes on to state that you might be
>>interested in one of the BSA's programs. No mention that young
>>women between the ages of 14 to 20 have options in the BSA
>>program as well.
>The references to only male youth is not a mistake. The BSA
>is currently in litigation on two separate fronts dealing with females
>in the program, and has chosen wisely not to include the fact that
>female youth ARE a part of the BSA's program through the young
>adult Exploring program (or at least in bold lettering).
However, the site DOES note elsewhere that female youth are welcome
as part of the program; just not in the opening paragraph. I don't
understand why, since they do reference it in the site, they don't
reference it in the opening.
Can anyone supply specifics about this litigation?
>>No recognition that few males over the age of
>>about 12 care to be referred to as a "boy".
No one responded to this.
>>And, just who is BSA's target audience for this site, anyway?
>The BSA's web site is NOT designed to do
>anything but to serve as an example to local Councils as to
>what kinds of things National will "buy off" on without a long
>The target audience hasn't really been made. The site was designed
>to meet the needs of the local Council, which several have been
>asking for some sort of example of what a "Council site" should
>look like and what it should contain. This is why I've been working
>nearly overtime on the "Cardinal Council" site, which I feel (biasly)
>would answer those questions a little better than the BSA official
1) Where has the BSA informed it's members of this? Or, has it only
told this to the Councils, and not to it's own members?
2) Regardless of BSA's intent, the site is open to the public and will
be viewed by a number of potential members, both youth and adults.
The site should be structured with that in mind.
>>2) There hasn't been a change in the "What's New" section since
>>the site opened. Currently, it touts a tour of Norman Rockwell
>>art that ended 2 months ago. Doesn't project an image of a
>>program that's really with it.
Chaplain Morrison agreed with me here. Cheryl Singhal wrote:
>These pages I rather think of as flyers in the library: here's the basic
>info and a contact point.
>Of course, if I were putting up a page purporting to be, say, a calendar
>of coming events, or if I were sharing time-sensitive or even timely
>material, that's a different question. As is the link that says "For the
>Latest on this, _click here_" and the "click here" was last updated a
>year ago. <G>
The latter paragraph is my point. If you've got a link marked,
"What's New", it ought to be something new. Scouting has enough
of an image problem with being boring, etc., without adding to
it on the fastest moving and most "with it" environment on the
>>Do they think youth between
>>the ages of 7 to 20 care about an art exhibit tour? How about
>>something on what's been happening at the High Adventure bases
>>this year? How about some news about some of the remarkable
>>achievements of units or Scouts around the country?
Back to Mike:
>You'll find all of that in _Scouting_ and _Boys'_Life_, Ron. Again,
>the main purpose of the BSA's official site is NOT of communication.
>It is only (right now, anyway) of national promotion and as an
>example of what a local Council website should look like.
True, you will find that in "Scouting" and "Boys' Life". However,
non-members generally don't get these. Regardless of what National's
purpose for this site is, it's available to the public and should
present an appropriate face to the public.
>>3) There are a few typos and grammatical errors on the site. This
>>was O.K. for the start, but it's been two months or more now, so
>>these should have been cleaned up.
>I have a few typos and grammatical errors on my pages, and I
>just haven't had the time to go back and fix them, and some pages
>have been up since December of 1995. I would say that there are
>many pages that fit this same description as well.
>When you are designing and crafting information, as well as doing
>other tasks, there's really not enough time in the day to go back and
>constantly clean everything all of the time.
>Yeah, its' an excuse, but a valid one, I feel.
Sorry Mike, but I disagree with you here. This is a corporate site,
not a personal one, and was crafted by a professional service for
the BSA (or so I understand, anyway, I don't know this first hand).
It should be both literally and figuratively letter-perfect, or we
didn't get our money's worth (note the use of WE and OUR, not "the
>>4) Of course, one of the biggest things is that there's no resource
>>material (read, BSA publications) on the site.
>You won't see any. One of the concessions that the BSA's
>Information Technology task force made was that there would be
>NO online "manuals" or "publications", simply because those things
>already appear in printed form, the BSA spends a lot of money to
>distribute them and place them in the hands of the local Council, and
>because local Councils asked that many of the publications NOT be
>"placed on the Internet" simply for control purposes (my statement).
O.K. I accept that the mission of this site is not to provide
copies of official BSA publications.
>If the only way you can get a copy of the Chartered Organization
>Representative booklet is through the Council Service Center, you
>are going to go in and maybe someone will hand you a copy.
Someone had d**m well BETTER hand it to me. Fast.
>If you can "get it from the Internet", why have a local Council
Because my local Council office is busy as h%@l trying to provide
program to the youth of my community, and offloading this clerical
function would free them up to do other work.
Cheryl Singhal wrote:
>Monday, 8 Jul 96, I read in either the Washington POST business section
>or in a TIME magazine article the statement that only <some small number,
>5% or 8%, I forget which> of America is on-line. GIven previously
>published stats that claim Americans make up "most" of the 'net's
>non-official users ... Seems to me it's going to be Looooonnnngggg time
>before d/l something off the web is commonplace.
True, the number is small, but they're distributed. If a large number
of units have one or two people with access to the net, many more than
5% or 8% of units will benefit, much as many units benefit because
each one seems to have a guy with a truck, and one adult who is a
carpenter, and another who can teach the Scouts to fish, etc., etc.,
and will help out other units who don't have someone like this.
>And -- once I d/l it, where do I store it? Do I tote my computer with me
>to meetings so I can quote from it? Or do I print it off and schlepp the
>hardcopy? If the latter, wouldn't it be easier to get the official,
>nicely formatted, pre-printed version from Council rather than paying
>for my own toner, my own paper and spending my time doing
>something they've already done?
What you do, is answer the question that came up that caused you to
download the document to begin with, and then keep it around until
the next question comes up. Now, you're right, having the printed
document around is great, and has many advantages, but having the
document on my hard disk is much better than having neither hard-copy
nor disk copy.
I'm not naive regarding the "control" issue, but there's a lot of
basic information that could be placed out there.
>>5) Finally, there's no Webmaster E-Mail address. Can someone name
>>another site on the Web that doesn't have a Webmaster E-Mail
Back to Mike:
>The reason why there are no email addresses is a rather simple one:
>They don't want to be pummelled with literally hundreds of email
>postings, everything from "Can Pedro write me back please?" to "Why
>is the BSA such a homophobic, sexist, racist organization?" and
>stuff in-between. Imagine the excitement that would be created when
>"a BSA email address" is sent out to the world!! *grinning*
Yah, too true, too true. I'd like a way for the Internet-aware
Scouting community to interact with the designers of this site,
but there'd be no way to restrict it.
>>The average youth accessing www.bsa.scouting.org has seen quite a
>>few sites. He (or She) is not going to be impressed with a site
>>that obviously hasn't been maintained since it was put up.
>But again, there's a lot of youth that haven't seen the site and would
>view it and say "kewl! The BSA has a web site!! I wonder if my
>Council has one, too!"
I'm thinking more of what a non-BSA member would think. I'm not
interested in preaching to the choir.
>>Bonus: I'll send a CSP of Des Plaines Valley Council for the best
>>.JPG or .GIF of a design for a Troop or Council Webmaster patch.
>Working on it.
You're not the only one! Hope to see some good entries. I'll
send out more than one CSP if I get multiple cool entries.
>>Please understand that my comments here are intended to try to
>>get National to make the web site that officially represents
>>our movement attractive to the very people who we are trying
>>to attract into our movement. I'm glad that National finally
>>put a web site up, but I fear that National doesn't understand
>>what to do with it.
>Do I agree with you, Ron!! The BSA spent a pretty penny on
>this access, and slowly but surely, they'll catch on that now that
>they have a site, that they have to constantly update and refresh
>it or nobody will stop by it anymore!
Bingo. Exactly what I meant. But it shouldn't be "slowly".
Everyone who logs in to the site in it's present state could be a
lost opportunity. They need to figure this out now. It's kind of
like a manager who budgets money for a computer, but doesn't budget
for maintenance, supplies, etc.
Cubmaster, Pack 69
Working on becoming Scoutmaster for (new) Troop 69 (2/97)
Des Plaines Valley Council (W & SW Chicago Suburbs)
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ronald W. Fox)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City