March Volunteer’s Meeting Report — Closing in on a New Name

The new organization’s volunteer group met on March 20, 2012. Good progress was made toward picking a name for the organization, and we’re moving forward with a social event inspired by Pecha Kucha.

Attending were Charles Roburn, Jim Royal, Mary Perchanok, Sebastien Cayer, and Susan Armstrong. Two members of the group — Chris L. and Kelly L’Archeveque — could not attend, but submitted comments in advance by email.

The Name Game

To recap, during the most recent round of polling, the following were the top contenders:

ATCM — Association for Technical Communication in Montreal – Association pour technologie et communication de Montréal (5 votes)
CTMTC — Communicateurs Techniques de Montréal Technical Communicators (4 votes)
WOMBAT — Writers of Montreal, Business and Technology (17 votes)
YULC — Montreal Communicators / Communicateurs de Montréal (5 votes)

Some of the new names that have come out of the last few weeks’ worth of discussion that are not acronyms or initialisms include:

Ars Communica


Narrowing the List

The volunteer comitte narrowed the choice of names considerably. Many were discovered to be unworkable because the related domain names or social network IDs have already been taken. The name we pick should be available for a web site domain name, a Facebook name, and a Twitter ID.

The committee’s current shortlist of names:

  • Ars Communica
  • MontrealTC
  • MtlTC

The consensus of the group was that we should try to move away from acronyms or initialisms, if possible. Bilingual names in particular tend to create acronyms or initialisms that are lengthy, and less memorable. Instead, the group focused on neologisms that are not language-specific. Neologisms are also more likely to be available for web sites and social network IDs.

In all cases, a descriptive tag line can certainly help clarify the meaning of the name, so a good initialism can still work. And tag lines can be bilingual.

We’re Still Looking for Feedback on the Name

If you think we’re moving off track — that something similar to “STC” would be a better choice, for example — do speak up. If you think one of the discarded names has merit, speak up. However, at this point, we should consider only names that are readily available for web sites and social network IDs.

So have at it in the comments below.

Pecha Kucha

Mary Perchanok has been researching Pecha Kucha for a future event to be held in May or June. Pecha Kucha is a radical departure from the kinds of events that STC-Montreal held, and we’re looking forward to shaking things up a bit. The first go at it will be a trial run with a small number of presenters. We’re looking for a cool an unusual venue for it — perhaps a bar or even a downtown church.

Additional Volunteer Roles

The outgoing president and treasurer of STC-Montreal will retain their roles for the time being; however, these individuals will need to be replaced over the spring and summer.

Other volunteer roles that need to be filled are:

  • Secretary (needed immediately)
  • Treasurer (needed, ideally, by early summer)
  • Vice-President (in training to become a future president)
  • Webmaster (a candidate is already under consideration)


Filed under Uncategorized

18 responses to “March Volunteer’s Meeting Report — Closing in on a New Name

  1. Chris

    The Ars Technica ( people might have an issue with Ars Communica. But Latin would certainly solve the English-French issue, as well as be a nod to shared linguistic origins. Perhaps some variation of Communica Technica? Maybe throw in a Latinized version of “Quebec” or “Montreal”? Scribimus Technica Quebecum (or whatever that should be in proper Latin)? It could even be shortened to Scribec, in lieu of an acronym.

    Hey, I’m just spitballing…in a dead language.

  2. Susan who is not Patrick


    Personally, although I think Ars Communica is beautiful, it is not fully descriptive. A good plain short name is MtlTC. Not too long to remember, not too long to type.

  3. Andy

    Dare I say it, that the vote leader is being ignored.

    • Well, the .org and the .ca, the Facebook name, and the Twitter ID are all taken. How would you suggest we work around that?

    • Susan (who is not Patrick)

      Dare I say it, how did the vote leader get so many votes? Who admits to having voted for WOMBAT?

      • Chris

        Just once. I think. Actually, I’m not sure. If it happened, it was the night I only had La Fin du Monde left in the fridge. That 9.0% hits you real fast. And wombats are just so cute!

  4. Charles Roburn

    I find that I very much like “Ars Communica”. It avoids the language issue; it refers to the technical communication that most of us do, but sounds open to including many other communication-based fields; it parallels nicely with Ars Technica; and I find it much more evocative than an acronym. To me it suggests a possible “Leonardo da Vinci” type theme for the web site.

    I don’t think it’s necessary to mention Montreal or Quebec in the name itself. As noted above, that can go in the tag line.

  5. I think we’re pretty near the end of this process, and I’m open to suggestions on how to make the final determination.

    We could use the polling feature — although web polls, given their nature, are not rigorous, and perhaps should not be used for the final choice. Or, we could wait for the next volunteers meeting and decide face to face. Or we could do it by email.

    I suggest that the final choice is in the hands of the people who have been attending the volunteer or admin council meetings; decisions, after all, are made by those who show up. That’s eleven people, and we all get one vote.

    I suggest a two-thirds majority, with multiple rounds if there is not a majority on the first round.

    Agree? Disagree?

    • Patrick

      Well I guess that leaves me out 😦
      But it makes perfect sense to me.
      Let those actively involved in the process vote.
      Given that you’re eleven, what would you consider to be the 2/3 majority?

      • You’re free to speak your mind, Pat. If you have a strong preference that you want to share, by all means.

        Anyone else?

        As for voting… I realized after posting we still have a Surveymonkey account. Might be the best way.

    • Chris

      Can we find out who intends to be involved with the organization, even if on a social level, and poll them once we’ve narrowed down the list? More than eleven were at the dissolution meeting, and that must represent a portion of the total number. I suspect that only a portion know to come to this site, for one thing. Can we send a one-time message to the STC-Montreal mailing list and not only tell people about this site — and the impending vote — but find out which of them want to actually remain on the list?

      • The issue of the mailing list was discussed in detail when we believed that the chapter would shut down. My position was that if the organization ceased to exist in any form, then the mailing list would have to be abandoned. A hypothetical future organization would not have a legitimate claim to it. However, since we are instead transforming, I believe the list remains the property of the organization.

        There is an unsubscribe mechanism, so anyone not wanting to stay connected can choose to do so.

        This blog, incidentally, will be folded into the new web site design. The blog was promoted quietly in one email blast about a month ago. I believe it would be more efficient to direct people to the new web site, once it is up.

        As for polling the entire list about the name… I certainly can understand the appeal of doing so. But there are a lot more people reading this site than who post. People who want to involve themselves are free to do so. And the date and time of the volunteer meetings have always been made public. Please tell me if I’m being unreasonable, but I think that something as vital as the org’s name should be the responsibility of those willing and able to contribute their time.

        If there are no objections, I will put together a poll on Surveymonkey over the weekend and poll the volunteer group on the name. And the results will be posted here and on the old web site.

        If anyone has any last minute suggestions to add to the list, speak up!

  6. Patrick

    Ars Communica is the only one that works for me!

  7. “Please tell me if I’m being unreasonable, but I think that something as vital as the org’s name should be the responsibility of those willing and able to contribute their time.”

    Jim, you now have about 11 volunteers and you intend to allow only those 11 to decide on the name. OK. . . But keep in mind that this may alienate all or many other potential volunteers who may have the time to give in the future. This is especially so after the poll and your request for input from everybody who has expressed enough interest to follow the discussion, comment and bother to vote. Of the current 11 volunteers, what guarantee do you have that they will all still be interested and have the time to still be active in six months, a year or more from now? You are right that the new name is of vital importance, but I think you are being shortsighted about disenfranchising the potential volunteer pool, which you WILL need in the future.

    And much as I hate to mention this, on what grounds are you, alone, making this decision of who gets a voice and who does not?

    • Poppy, I don’t see this structure as a disincentive to participate, but rather as encouragement for our current volunteers, and an incentive for potential volunteers.

      The most important thing that makes volunteerism a positive experience is having an effect on the world. Volunteers need ownership over a piece of the whole in order to feel that their efforts matter. That ownership keeps current volunteers engaged, and provides an incentive for new people to join in. If responsibility is handed to people who are not materially involved, what message does that send?

      As for unilateral decisions… Well, STC-Montreal’s volunteer group had not been this size in many years. Anyone is free to attend the volunteer meetings and take a role — the date and time of the meetings are always posted publicly. You, of course, are always more than welcome to attend. Andy and Everett have consciously decided to take less visible roles as we move forward, and that’s entirely their choice. But nothing prevents anyone from jumping in and saying, “Hey, what if we did things like this?” Ideas can flow freely here on the blog or at the meetings. But I think it is only fair to the volunteers that decisions be taken face-to-face. Otherwise, there is no accountability, which is a disincentive to participate.

      In fact, at no time in its history did STC-Montreal carry out discussions in such a public way as we are doing now. Not when I was president, nor as far as I am aware, when anyone else was. And this blog will be imported into the new web site, comments and all, and made a permanent front-page feature. These public discussions will continue, and it is my hope that future leaders of the new organization will continue in this vein.

      But your comment does hint at an underlying issue: from whence does the legitimacy of the new organization’s leadership flow? There is no membership structure as yet, nor any agreement on what that structure should be like. What if we decide on no membership structure at all, but rather a corporate sponsorship, like Montreal Geek Girls has done? What constitutes legitimate authority then?

      I don’t have the answer to those questions, but i think the only way to sort them out is by pushing forward, and leaning by doing.

  8. AG

    A few days ago I circulated a draft agenda to the admin council people and process for the naming is on the agenda. We’ll hammer the process then. Personally, I’d like to see it voted on in public as well as through other means; as we have no process, we’re running into how to resolve disputes about process. This is an easy fix ’cause if anyone can document process — it’s us.

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