scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Council Web Site Rules
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Mon Mar 15 1993 - 21:01:07 CST
Although Jim has asked to have comments off-list, I feel this is too
important for it to be posted privately:
Jim wrote and asked:
>No, I'm not bragging that our Council Web site rules. Rather, the
>sublect refers to a memo which I just recieved from one of the D.E.'s
>in our Council (Samoset in Wisconsin). This is a _draft_ of a memo
>that will be sent out to all units within the Council regarding rules
>for posting web sites.
Your DE probably has just come back from the BSA's get-together on
electronic medium...or that he's been talking with someone that has come back
from it....or he has the same kind of information I (and some other Scouters
with longtime Scouting content websites) have about websites that
I've been wanting to hold back on posting until a clearer (and FINAL) set
of rules come out from the National Meeting.
The following rules will become the STANDARD that the BSA is wanting all
"official websites" to follow (so far...I'm hoping that the "standard" will
>1. The unit must have direct control over the content of its site.
In the BSA's memorandum, all UNIT sites will be managed by a *registered
Scouter* and not by a firm, individual or Scout. Scouts will be able to
assist, but so far, a *registered Scouter* will serve as "webmaster." This
will all but remove the
"Troop or Team Webmaster" Scoutmaster/Coach-assigned youth position. A true
>2. The content of the unit site must be appropriate to the Scouting
The BSA's version of this states that all content will be in the best form
of Scouting and will reflect favorably upon the local Council and the Boy
Scouts of America in order for it to be considered as an "official" site.
>3. The unit site cannot contain any advertisement or commercial
Makes sense, both from the national as well as the local point of view. Same
>4. The site cannot engage in electronic commerce.
This means that the site cannot sell anything, like special hats, pads of
paper, etc. as well as calendars or other items...even if the unit makes or
creates them. I am still
awaiting an answer on whether or not this includes "giving away" things.
>5. The site cannot replicate any BSA publication currently for sale
>through the National Supply Division.
The BSA version of this simply states that NO BSA PUBLICATION will be
created or linked from a UNIT site; District and Council sites will be able
to link "approved copies of BSA publications" from the Council or the
official BSA site.
There are something like FIVE VERSIONS of the local Tour Permit out there,
and there's something like three versions of the Guide to Safe Scouting out
>6. The Site must abide by all laws regarding copyrights, trademarks,
>and other intellectual property.
The BSA version of this says the same thing and in particular, it is talking
about the unit sites with Cub Garfield and other "official BSA" indicia on
>7. Sites must consider the safety and privacy of their participants
>(unit members) by obtaining permission to release information about,
>or images of, any individual.
This doesn't appear on the BSA's version, and in reality, is not realistic
to carry out.
>8. The unit must notify the council office of the existence of the
>site, so that the council may review and approve the site's content.
"In order for a site to be linked to the National BSA and local Council
site, the unit website must be approved by a Council-level volunteer or
professional designated to approve such unit sites."
[American English: someone is going to look at your site and tell you if he
or she likes it or not. If they don't like it, you won't be considered as
an official website and you cannot link it to your Council nor National
The National BSA rules, which are supposed to be discussed and finalized
during the BSA's National Meeting this spring, with implementation in June
or July (July), are designed to link up the BSA's national website with all
local Council websites and in return, to all District and unit websites.
This does NOT apply to individual websites, nor to websites put together by
Scouters independently of the local Council or which crosses boundaries
between Councils. It DOES apply to OA sites, both Lodge and Section.
The BSA is concerned for three major areas, two of which we've discussed
here on Scouts-L and some over at E-Scouts (the companion list to Scouts-L
which addresses issues dealing with the usage of electronic means to acheive
*Commericialization of the Scouting name: They are concerned that with the
ability to create PDF documents and webbased text documents, that the Supply
Division will eventually have loads and loads of publications stacked up in
their warehouse. "Why buy it when you can read it online?" In addition,
there's been an explosion of sites dedicated to selling to each other
everything from binders (small plug in there!), to mousepads to playing
cards, to patches. The BSA wants to see if they can curb those
things...they won't be able to because of existing federal, state and local
laws and ordinances. But this won't stop them from attempting to curb what
they see is an increase in the commericalization of its program.
*Purity of Program: Literally, ANYONE can build a website or page and post
ANYTHING they want and with a few lines of code, LINK it to the BSA's
National site and to sites belonging to local Councils. There's not a THING
that the BSA can do about this. What the BSA wants to do, however, is to
build a pyrimid
of *official resources* that new families and old Scouters can go to,
starting with those local resources and moving upwards to the National level
resources. To help things out, the BSA wants to give "official sites" a
hand by providing them OFFICIAL COPIES of their clipart, graphics and other
items so that they can continue to make their site "updated and current"
according to BSA national policy and program options. As I stated above,
this will become more of a burden to the BSA than what they are hoping to
gain from this new "corralling them in".
*Elimination of Undesirable Sites and Content: This again, will be hard for
the BSA to do. The BSA wants to exert pressure to have sites like Scouting
for All (a gay alternative to the BSA's official site) and sites similar to
it removed as a "Scouting site". In order to do this, they have to
distinguish the "official sites" from the "unofficial ones." Additionally,
there are many websites that were built back in the early days of the World
Wide Web and their "name" has been either sold or given to third parties
whom have resold the names. Unfortunatly, as we've talked here, some of
those new parties are using those names for porn and hate sites, and because
of their former names (and the fact that many of our sites *still link to
them*), we have Scouts and Scouters going to those sites and getting quite
an eye and/or ear full!!
I can understand the BSA's desire to do these things; but they are
completely unenforceable. Unit sites will contine to exist, and the BSA nor
any local Council can *make* a volunteer drop a website. They can remove
that person from BSA membership, but if the person wasn't a BSA member in
the first off-start, what good would that do?? The solution is not in
*mandating* a set of rules which *must be followed in order to be linked*,
but in giving some sort of *positive incentive* for official sites to "get
official" and to conform to whatever National and the local Council wants
them to look like. Here's some suggestions on how this could happen (I
can't go into detail because one, I'm late for bed and two, I'm almost out
*official clipart and graphics and access to special "update sites" to get
new clipart and graphics when it comes out
*special previews of upcoming _Scouting_ and BL issues, and graphics of the
covers to go on the unit's website
*mention in _Scouting_ and BL that "these are official websites"....take a
page or two each quarter and list them all by unit number, council
name/number, and URL
*special "webmaster" emblems (REAL ONES!!) for the unit Webmaster to wear,
with the control of the emblems left with the Council...the Council gives
the patch to the Webmaster upon "certification" of the site by the Council.
*a certificate for the unit stating that they "have an official BSA website."
Some of us with "private sites" with Scouting content have already been
advised of the coming changes, and I'm sure that others that have received
similar information will comment here as well with their recommendations and
comments. To me, however, I think this comes again WAY, WAY too late for
the BSA to do anything except to "lure us in with eye candy and good words"
and hope that enough of us will take it.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
[Purchase Your Binder! for Scouting's Y2K's publications!]
personal inquiries via email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
professional inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org
-----FORWARD in service to youth and the nation-----