Friday, June 1, 2007

USCF Forums: I Quit

I have resigned my position on the USCF Forum Oversight Committee.
Here is the text of my post on the USCF Forums announcing my resignation:

Post:50570 Posted: Thu May 31, 2007 8:35 am

I quit.

I have to. The abuse in terms of petty bickering and in outright assault is not worth this. Mike Nolan, you are a saint. You did this for months. My term is just over a month.

I took on the responsibility of being on the Forum Oversight Committee determined to approach each matter honestly and with judicious impartiality. Having reviewed actions that I have been a participant, I can honestly say that I think I have done this. I have voted to sanction a friend, I have voted to exonerate those who dislike me. In each complaint matter I have tried to apply the Accepted Use Guidelines in a manner consistent with Executive Board policy.

I have pushed for and the FOC has accepted several ideas regarding the manner in which deliberations are structured, a time limit for complaints to be adjudicated, and other things I think protect the membership's interests. I confess to a certain satisfaction that some of my ideas were welcomed by my fellow FOC members, and I thank them for the consideration they afforded my viewpoint.

Happily, I have gained a few valued friends in this experience. Sadly, I have also lost several whom I considered friends, and that pains me. I have damaged other friendships in my quest to do the best I could in this position, and to those friends, I offer my most humble apologies. One of these is Rodney Vaughn. You were correct, I was wrong. I hope you will forgive me and I hope you still consider me a friend.

SysAdmin, please remove my FOC access as soon as possible.

Steve Owens in Tennessee

Just a USCF member, just like I always wanted to be.

If you are a USCF member, I encourage you to vote your conscience in this election. You should be getting your ballot in the mail shortly with your June Chess Life. Please inform yourself regarding the candidates and mail your ballot back in before the deadline.

My choices, should this interest you, are as I posted on the Forums:

Post:48418 Posted: Wed May 23, 2007 6:00 pm

My over riding desire in an Executive Board member is for the ability to facilitate the abilities of others to organize, sponsor, direct, and play in chess tournaments. I keep hearing that "so and so" has brought in amounts of money, has name recognition, has sponsored this and that...

But, so what?

It is not the ability to do any of those things that is important. It is the ability to propose, enact, and support USCF policy that enables all of those things that is important. We need leadership that facilitates others, not leadership that simply points to the leaders' accomplishments in terms of money raised and tournaments organized. I believe [these] candidates are the best to set the desired policies, and that is why I am voting for them.

1) Randy Bauer.
-I'm voting for Randy because of the way he was able to work to make the USCF better on all issues. Randy was the ultimate team player and worked to make USCF policy succeed even when he did not support that policy during discussion stages (the Crossville move, for instance). The ability to passionately fight for something during debate and then to work for the policy when it is decided is something that is lacking in the current board, and is an ability that Randy has mastered. I don't agree with Randy on many issues, but I trust, and Randy has proven this trust in his previous term on the board, that he has the best interests of the USCF in mind at all times and that he will act on those interests. That makes Randy Bauer my hands down first choice.

2) Joe Lux.
-I'm voting for Joe because of the way he has shown the ability to listen to opposing opinions, and when convinced, will change his mind. It is my opinion that Joe will do this as a member of the board while still retaining the drive to support his opinion of what is correct for the USCF. My interaction with Joe, and the interaction I have seen Joe have with others, here on the Forum has convinced me that Joe wants to enact policy that is in the best interest of the USCF.

3) Stephen Jones.
-I'm voting for Stephen Jones largely based on his record as a past organizer and his professional resume. The limited interaction I have seen from Mr. Jones indicates a willingness to listen to other viewpoints. In fact, one thread he started asked for opinions (Online Chess) and it was my perception the answers were incorporated into one of Mr. Jones' "platform" points. Mr. Jones, from what I have seen, also displays an ability to set aside his favored ideas for those that better benefit the USCF.

Post:50270 Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 2:30 pm

4) Don Schultz. My fourth vote is going to Don Schultz. Early on I asked Mr. Schultz pointed questions about the USCF and his interaction with FIDE. Mr. Schultz did not flinch and gave me straight answers just as he gave straight answers to others that have asked questions of him here and elsewhere.

Mr. Schultz detailed, with surprising candor, the mistakes he has made during his lengthy career in chess, and the lessons he has learned from them. Mr. Schultz, in his answers and his actions, displays a vast amount of wisdom gained from these experiences. Despite his request last Fall that we not vote for him should he run again, it is my opinion that the USCF would be poorer for not having Mr. Schultz on the EB for another term.

In talking to those knowledgeable about USCF governance and FIDE relations, the one thing that everyone said about Mr. Schultz is that he tries his best to work with everyone, on the board and off, for the betterment of the USCF and the membership. So, despite Mr. Schultz's request to the contrary, he gets my vote.

One last note about USCF leadership and then I'm done with chess politics on this blog:

I have received many notes of thanks for the effort expended from members of the Forum and from my fellow committee members, even those that vehemently opposed me. I thank them for their thoughts and welcome the many new relationships that have come about as a result of my time on the committee.

However, I find it very illuminating that not one member of USCF governance has chosen to say anything positive or negative. Despite their posts on other subjects they can't seem to find the time to jot one small line, in public or private, to acknowledge that someone contributed something to the organization they govern. As a committee member I received, and am still receiving, daily threats and abusive emails, private messages, and public posts running the gamut from character assassination to legal threats to threats of physical violence.

It is no wonder that so few wish to volunteer their time to the USCF. It is largely a thankless effort, and one that is dangerous to boot.

It is time to put in place Executive Board members that value the efforts of regular USCF members and volunteers.

Please vote.

1 comment:

  1. I'm amazed you stayed as long as you did. The issues forum is a cesspit. And this is now the 2nd time I've heard of physical threats being made. What is this? Chess or "The Sopranos?"


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