[svlug] ISSUE: SVLUG's continued status with SBAY

Karen Shaeffer shaeffer at neuralscape.com
Fri Feb 24 23:15:42 PST 2006

On Fri, Feb 24, 2006 at 01:54:57PM -0800, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Karen Shaeffer (shaeffer at neuralscape.com):
> > Your comments about lawyers and civil lawsuits are so biased to be useless
> > here. Not all lawsuits are without merit. 
> _Huh?_  I certainly never said all lawsuits lack merit.  That's pretty 
> bizarre, Karen.  I have no idea where you'd have gotten that impression,
> and it's kinda puzzling that you'd say so.

Hi Rick,

A couple of comments before I respond.

1.) I have no axe to grind here. I am not taking sides. I don't know if I'll
even have the time to actually show up and vote.

2.) I fully recognize you have given so much of your time to the open source
communities, that no one should be demonizing you for expressing your views
on these issues. Let me assure you, I am not attacking you personally. I
intend to remain friendly with everyone at SVLUG -- no matter how it turns out.
I would hope everyone has this intent.

3.) This will be my last comment on this topic. I am way too busy to get
bogged down in this mess. You can have the last word. I am OK with that.

> What I said was:  

That's not really what you said. Folks are free to look at the archives and
see for themselves. But I do appreciate you filtering out all the noise and
clearly telling us the essence of your thoughts. Let me respond to your
concise ideas here.

First off, you need to have some expertise with statistics to draw
conclusions from data points. You have to define events and somehow
establish probability distribution functions for the defined events.
Then you have to establish that your data set represents a statistically
valid sample with respect to the constraints discussed above. Only then
can you draw conclusions or cite trends in the data as statistically
significant. And even then, you would attach a confidence factor to
these declarations.

In the work you have done below, none of this scientifically required
structure is presented, so we can have no confidence in the conclusions
you are asserting. My point is, there may be a significant cluster of
lawsuits involving LUGs in the next few years -- we have no way of
knowing if that will or won't actually happen.

Therefore, I think folks who are volunteering at LUGs here in California,
where lawsuits are not generally a rare event, should be focused and
diligent when considering how to limit their potential liability with
respect to their activities connected to the LUGs.

This is _my_ opinion. YMMV. It's OK. I am not offended if you disagree
with my opinion.

I have no idea about LUGs in other regions. Way too many variables to even
make a comment.

> 1.  LUGs don't tend to draw lawsuits.  Most of the things that tend to
> create them aren't present.
> (This isn't just an opinion:  I get news of LUGs from all over the
> world.  I'm reporting that it's an observed fact because it simply is.)
> 2.  It's by no means clear, in a given factual situation where
> someone might hypothetically try to sue, that a corporate liability
> shield would be effective.

> > I believe the corporate liability shield might protect some or all of these
> > SVLUG folks in such a case.
> Could be that _a_ corporate liability shield would.  (More than one 
> corporation exists in this world.)   Or maybe it wouldn't.
> [1] They are, as previously mentioned, a non-profit corporation, and
> (unlike the other ones that several people keep talking about) are a
> Linux user group.  I stress this fact because I'm tired of the bullshit
> assumption that corporation == SBAY.

Well, it would be nice if someone from SBAY would provide explicit
information to the members of SVLUG about the status of the corporation
and about any liability shield that may exist. This is likely the only
issue of any significance (my opinion; It's OK if you disagree.) in this

Since this is my last comment on this matter, and I have already indicated
that I will be giving you the last word, I want to discuss one more of
my opinions. And it responds to one of your assertions earlier on in these

My view of leadership -- is that you always find ways to work together and
avoid conflict whenever that path is viable. Leadership is doing everything
in your power to maintain good harmony within a group -- as long as a viable
path to that end presents itself. The maintenance of goodwill and enthusiasm
and the social fabric of the group ought to be a very high priority to good

I want to believe that all this didn't actually need to happen. I have seen
nothing to convince me that it did need to happen. It does appear this is
all about personal problems between volunteers and officiers from both SVLUG
and SBAY. And if that is the case, then it may be true there has been a
failure of leadership that has precipitated all this. I don't really know.
But I do hope that everyone can calm down and remember back to when they
were all friends. Maybe they might want to focus on that for a while.

I have nothing more to say. I may not even get to vote as other priorities
may prevent me from attending the meeting. I am not taking sides anyway. I
don't really care if SVLUG stays with SBAY or not. The only thing that has
tweaked me a bit in all this: I don't think volunteers, especially those
with a long history of volunteering, should be made out to be demons. I
truly am saddened about this aspect of this SBAY - SVLUG issue.

Thanks for your comments Rick. And thank you for all the volunteering you
have done over the years. And thank you to all the other volunteers and
officiers who, over the years, have made SVLUG such a wonderful
organization. I have benefited quite a lot over the years due to my
membership in SVLUG.

 Karen Shaeffer
 Neuralscape, Palo Alto, Ca. 94306
 shaeffer at neuralscape.com  http://www.neuralscape.com

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