Each morning, I eagerly check the STC.org website to see if any of the suggestions, ideas, or complaints that I've logged have been addressed yet. I've given up asking for status updates, overviews, progress reports, or planning documents, so I simply check things out for myself.

On the morning of March 28 I was so excited to see that the menu bar finally contained the My STC button, I immediately shouted it to the world. Don't forget, we've been waiting for the "new website" since the GoLightly was previewed at Summit 2010 and the closing of the STC.org wiki and forums in 2009.
MySTC
I was so happy... I tweeted!


Out of the 15,000 ... 10,000 however many members we have left, one person responded. You probably already know who he (or she is), but I'll leave it up to him/her to "out" him/herself. He/she wanted to know what the address was, so I tweeted the URL from my address bar to him/her.

Please note that:
  1. The MySTC link was publicly visible from the public face of STC.org.
  2. The authentication simply asked me for my STC member ID and password.
  3. At NO TIME was there anything on the screen that said DEMO or DRAFT or BETA or even a 1990-esque "Under Construction" icon.
  4. There was never any malicious intent on my part. Instead I felt more like a kid in toy store, playing with every toy I could find.

Once in the members-only MySTC area, I began looking around. Unfortunately there wasn't much to see -- no groups, no discussions, no file galleries. In fact, I couldn't find ANY of the "social tools" that we've been promised. So, I began updating my profile.
  • I changed my name from "Mr. Rick S. Sapir" (no one calls me Mr. except... well no one, really) to simply "Rick Sapir.
    Profile
    Mr. Sapir is my father.
  • I uploaded my picture.
    Picture
    The intruder... unmasked
  • I added a short bio.

A few of the pages and links generated SQL errors, which I dutifully made notes of, in order to log as items on GetSatisfaction. After about 10 or 15 minutes, the novelty wore off and I started my real job.

I hereby apologize to the 15,000 ... 10,000 ... remaining members of STC.org for causing the delay of the website launch until April 11.

However, now that I have your attention, I'd like to ask:

Finally, I received an email from someone at STC.org. Because the email was sent directly to me, I won't publish it in its entirety (especially considering that a single Tweet can stop a website launch, apparently). However, because it was sent from the STC.org domain and it was "signed" with the person's name and STC.org title, I feel "safe" posting a few excerpts that, IMHO, are symptomatic of the entire STC.org "problem"...

"...I don’t think it’s a demonstrable fact that community activities are a significant draw for prospective members or employers. If anything, we’re seeing a decline in that interest..."

REALLY? STC.org thinks that most members join for reasons other than the actual community/SIG? I can only speak for my communities, be we've had *many* members decline to join/renew STC.org, but routinely show up for our community events. If I recall from the recent survey, communities were rated as one of the most important membership values. I tried to check the survey results to verify but the link is broken!


"...To be frank, though, most of what you’ve been requesting has come only from you. We’ve got to finish the site we’ve got before we change it into something else..."

Sorry, but from my point of view, the things I'm requesting are basic functionality of *any* web site. For example, how hard could it be to add a simple re-write expression in the site's .htaccess file to fix the millions of broken incoming links? Ignoring the fact that this is a basic element of any site redesign and yet seems to have been completely ignored, it should take no more than 5 minutes to fix. Yet, here we are 2 months later and it has not been addressed. I'm a communications professional. This is what I do. I know what it takes to make an effective web site, and quite frankly, STC.org doesn't have one (yet).

I complain... because I care.

My membership was renewed through 2011 and I did vote in the STC.org election. So there.

'nuff said



Updated March 31:

I just want to clarify a few points from Hillary's post...
  • I accessed the area by clicking the MEMBER LOGIN at the top of the page and entering my ID & Password. The menu then had a new MY STC button that I.... clicked.
  • Yes, the Tweet I sent to Bill had the word staging in the URL; no, I didn't notice it at the time.
  • Yes, Bill and I expressed reservations, but it never occurred to me that by updating my profile I would be pushing back the release by 2 weeks.
  • At no time did anything on the site say it was for testing only... unlike the other STC test site:
    Test server
    A clearly marked test server.