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PalmTalk Forum is at Risk of Closing! Help!

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MattyB

A handy dandy proportion might shed some light on this issue.

How many current IPS members?

How many IPS members are Palmtalk members as well?

How many BOD? 39

How many BODs are Palmtalk members as well?

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elHoagie

All - I've tried to read through everything in this set of posts, along with the thread that Dean started, and I just want to make a few things clear. Sorry if I'm repeating information that's already been posted.

- For the record, we had approximately 25 BODs in Peru. I fully agree that the way we currently conduct business precludes all but the wealthiest of our members from being active on the BODs, and I fully agree that this should be changed.

- None of the BOD receive any compensation from the IPS.

- Out of all 34 BOD, I believe only 3 are botanists. So, botanists have very little direct influence over the IPS.

- The only official vote at the meeting was to close down the PM feature, and there was no other official decision related to PalmTalk. As Dean has mentioned, the PM feature is being closed down based on our consultations with a lawyer, who identified a clear liability risk in continuing that feature. We were advised that there is no simple or safe we to avoid this liability, even if users are forced to acknowledge disclaimers every time they log into PalmTalk. I have no legal expertise, so I can't comment on the accuracy of these legal findings, but that is the information the board used to base its decision to close the PM feature. I can't speak for anyone else on the board, but I did not feel that the decision to stop PMs was made in a malicious way, and it was solely based on the legal advise we received.

- Although I am fully in favor of PalmTalk for a variety of reasons, and I've been involved with PalmTalk since 2003, there is a financial reality that Kim pointed out in her post. Basically, no matter how you run the numbers, PalmTalk is a net financial loss to the society. Again, this doesn't mean that it should be shut down, I just want to clarify that the IPS is actually losing money by running this site.

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_Keith

You know Facebook gets bad press on here all the time, but at least on Facebook I can do a couple of mouse clicks and download my entire activity, posts, comments, pics and all into a personal archive in a matter of minutes, which I can then download to do with what I choose.. Match that, Palmtalk.

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dalmatiansoap

Wouldnt just adding email address to PalmTalk profile be enough?

On the end there is NO privacy in personal messages on internet.

Ever!

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MattyB
PalmTalk is a net financial loss to the society.

But of course you cannot calculate how many memberships are gained from people who are introduced to the IPS through the long arm of Palmtalk. I'm sure that Palmtalk is by far the IPS's largest, most visited presence on the internet.

As to the shutting down the PM feature due to legal advice. I completely understand. Sad testament as to where people's values and therefore fears reside.

So are they going to ban us from putting our email addresses and phone numbers on our posts? Get real you sick lawyer types. Sick in the head. THis is insane behavior! Makes me disgusted. Just be normal for once in your lives!

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PALM MOD

Wouldnt just adding email address to PalmTalk profile be enough?

On the end there is NO privacy in personal messages on internet.

Ever!

Feel free to add your email address - then watch the spam you will receive. We value your privacy here, so the default is not to expose email addresses of users.

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_Keith

PalmTalk is a net financial loss to the society.

But of course you cannot calculate how many memberships are gained from people who are introduced to the IPS through the long arm of Palmtalk. I'm sure that Palmtalk is by far the IPS's largest, most visited presence on the internet.

As to the shutting down the PM feature due to legal advice. I completely understand. Sad testament as to where people's values and therefore fears reside.

So are they going to ban us from putting our email addresses and phone numbers on our posts? Get real you sick lawyer types. Sick in the head. THis is insane behavior! Makes me disgusted. Just be normal for once in your lives!

Agreed. Let PT go away, and IPS will be dead inside of 5 years. At least that is my prediction. And yes, I know today's proposal is not to verbatim kill Palmtalk, but there are many ways to kill something, and in my opinion these actions will eventually do just that.

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_Keith

So, you want to criticize, second guess, or become a board member. This is not about a reaction to PT or its existence. It is not about PM, or IM, or anything like that. It is about sustainability and evolution of an organization. Read, and not just the latest thread, or even two or three. Educate yourself. State your platform for the continuation of the organization, not just a part of it, for the whole of it. Quit reacting and get proactive. WHAT WILL YOU DO TO HELP? It is not all about Palmtalk?

I am going to post this in every related thread.

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Alicehunter2000

A handy dandy proportion might shed some light on this issue.

How many current IPS members?

How many IPS members are Palmtalk members as well?

How many BOD? 39

How many BODs are Palmtalk members as well?

I am with you Matt....would like to see the numbers.

- Although I am fully in favor of PalmTalk for a variety of reasons, and I've been involved with PalmTalk since 2003, there is a financial reality that Kim pointed out in her post. Basically, no matter how you run the numbers, PalmTalk is a net financial loss to the society. Again, this doesn't mean that it should be shut down, I just want to clarify that the IPS is actually losing money by running this site.

Jack, I was under the impression that the printed quarterly was a net loss as well. Other than endowments, grants or donations...membership dues are the only other income to the Society right? If the PM feature gets shut down and it causes a cascading effect resulting in the eventual demise of PT; would this not adversely affect the IPS even more than the losses currently incurred by running the site?

Curious about the lawyer giving the advice, Does the IPS have such deep pockets that someone would likely sue?

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richnorm

Time for Palmtalk to consider breaking away from IPS. The tail is wagging the dog. How much does it cost to run? I would never join IPS in its current form but would be happy to pay a subscription for Palmtalk....

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sonoranfans

PalmTalk is a net financial loss to the society.

But of course you cannot calculate how many memberships are gained from people who are introduced to the IPS through the long arm of Palmtalk. I'm sure that Palmtalk is by far the IPS's largest, most visited presence on the internet.

As to the shutting down the PM feature due to legal advice. I completely understand. Sad testament as to where people's values and therefore fears reside.

So are they going to ban us from putting our email addresses and phone numbers on our posts? Get real you sick lawyer types. Sick in the head. THis is insane behavior! Makes me disgusted. Just be normal for once in your lives!

Hmmm, if palm talk is a financial loss to the society, I would be curious to examine the book keeping and the interpretation of loss centers. I have seen the manipulation of loss centers many times in companies I have worked for. I am not an IPS member mainly because I perceived IPS as an elitist organization 5-6 years ago. Very recently, I was thinking maybe I was wrong and thought I should become an IPS member, but this event combined with the lack of participation here by a great majority of the board pretty much reinforces my initial impression. I would be willing to pay dues for a palmtalk membership if I knew that money was not going to fund other IPS projects. Perhaps it is not possible to do this, earmark IPS dues, but it is possible to support a separate entity. If it can be done, and I can be confident that my dues would go only to supporting palmtalk, I would do it tomorrow. At worst case, it takes ~100 dues paying members to fund a palmtalk type entity, but I'm betting the loss is calculated against advertising revenues only. I'm thinking that it is assumed in the finances that palmtalk does not generate new IPS members so that the only income on the books is advertising. This kind of accounting would make the co existence of the palmtalk board and IPS problematic. I can understand the desire to save palmtalk here, but it would seem temporary till the board is overturned and that would take what, maybe 8(?) years. In the mean time what happens?

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LJG

All - I've tried to read through everything in this set of posts, along with the thread that Dean started, and I just want to make a few things clear. Sorry if I'm repeating information that's already been posted.

- For the record, we had approximately 25 BODs in Peru. I fully agree that the way we currently conduct business precludes all but the wealthiest of our members from being active on the BODs, and I fully agree that this should be changed.

- None of the BOD receive any compensation from the IPS.

- Out of all 34 BOD, I believe only 3 are botanists. So, botanists have very little direct influence over the IPS.

- The only official vote at the meeting was to close down the PM feature, and there was no other official decision related to PalmTalk. As Dean has mentioned, the PM feature is being closed down based on our consultations with a lawyer, who identified a clear liability risk in continuing that feature. We were advised that there is no simple or safe we to avoid this liability, even if users are forced to acknowledge disclaimers every time they log into PalmTalk. I have no legal expertise, so I can't comment on the accuracy of these legal findings, but that is the information the board used to base its decision to close the PM feature. I can't speak for anyone else on the board, but I did not feel that the decision to stop PMs was made in a malicious way, and it was solely based on the legal advise we received.

- Although I am fully in favor of PalmTalk for a variety of reasons, and I've been involved with PalmTalk since 2003, there is a financial reality that Kim pointed out in her post. Basically, no matter how you run the numbers, PalmTalk is a net financial loss to the society. Again, this doesn't mean that it should be shut down, I just want to clarify that the IPS is actually losing money by running this site.

Not pointing finger at you directly, but this is simply an incorrect way to look at it. Short sighted at best. The journal has no net gain. Grants have no net gain. The board views PT separately and not one with the IPS. Thats the major error here. PT is the reason for many memberships.

As far as there only be three botanist on the board - thanks. Now tell me who gets the majority of the grant money?

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Alicehunter2000

Tom, you may have hit the nail on the head. The accounting seems manipulated and skewed.

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sonoranfans

I wonder why it is that the PM feature seems to be a problem for palmtalk but not 5-6 other boards I frequent. The PM feature has allowed me to contact people I do not know and to visit their gardens and buy palms in my own state of florida. I have not contacted any grower via PM outside of my state. Without this PM feature, my yard would have probably 6 species of palms instead of 46 and I would have bought all of them at big box stores. I'm not sure what a NY lawyer knows about florida law, but I would suspect that NY is lawsuit happy and the law changes from state to state. If you want to sue in florida the barriers are going to be a lot tougher.

Perhaps the law or threat of a lawsuit has eroded yet one more freedom and the PM cannot be saved. If it has and PM's are finished, the utility of palmtalk has taken a serious downturn for the newcomer looking for new species of palms to grow. But I expect the big box stores will be happy to effectively crush a few more small businesses.

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Dr. George

All - I've tried to read through everything in this set of posts, along with the thread that Dean started, and I just want to make a few things clear. Sorry if I'm repeating information that's already been posted.

- For the record, we had approximately 25 BODs in Peru. I fully agree that the way we currently conduct business precludes all but the wealthiest of our members from being active on the BODs, and I fully agree that this should be changed.

- None of the BOD receive any compensation from the IPS.

- Out of all 34 BOD, I believe only 3 are botanists. So, botanists have very little direct influence over the IPS.

- The only official vote at the meeting was to close down the PM feature, and there was no other official decision related to PalmTalk. As Dean has mentioned, the PM feature is being closed down based on our consultations with a lawyer, who identified a clear liability risk in continuing that feature. We were advised that there is no simple or safe we to avoid this liability, even if users are forced to acknowledge disclaimers every time they log into PalmTalk. I have no legal expertise, so I can't comment on the accuracy of these legal findings, but that is the information the board used to base its decision to close the PM feature. I can't speak for anyone else on the board, but I did not feel that the decision to stop PMs was made in a malicious way, and it was solely based on the legal advise we received.

- Although I am fully in favor of PalmTalk for a variety of reasons, and I've been involved with PalmTalk since 2003, there is a financial reality that Kim pointed out in her post. Basically, no matter how you run the numbers, PalmTalk is a net financial loss to the society. Again, this doesn't mean that it should be shut down, I just want to clarify that the IPS is actually losing money by running this site.

Jack - First of all, thank you for your service on the BOD. I, and probably others on PT, appreciate your vote against stopping the PMs on PT.

It has been my impression from the beginning that all of the information about what was/was not decided by the Board, and the reasons behind that have not been fully outlined to the folks on PT. On the other hand, I am utterly amazed that this issue has been spinning out of control for over 24 hours now and no one representing the Board has stepped in to do damage control. The first mistake was not to clearly outline the issue to IPS/PT members before it was considered by the Board, and the second was not being prepared to address the issue once "the cat was out of the bag".

So, just out of curiosity, were all of Board members provided with this information for consideration, discussion, further independent research and consultation well before the meeting, or was this sprung on the Board when they arrived?

And lastly, to echo the observations of others, I'd bet pretty much everything IPS does is a net loss to the organization. I don't think that the expenses of PT are the sole reason we have membership dues of $45/year, but if it is, it is in my opinion, a membership benefit well worth it to me and of incalculable value in outreach to the world to promote the mission of the IPS.

Thanks for your involvement and support - gmp

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neoflora

Botanists on the BOD. Any grant money been paid to them?

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Brahea Axel

I've taken the time to send an E-mail to several of the board members not active on PalmTalk. None so far have bothered to send a reply. I am not sure anyone cares to reach out to the membership.

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sonoranfans

OK, how do I become a member without paypal? Does IPS take AMEX? I don't have or want any other credit card. I have used the donate button before and that seems easy enough, but do I have to (snail) mail in a membership form?

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PalmatierMeg

Most members already have these emails but thought I would post them here:

Leland Lai: lelandlai@aquafauna.com

Jeff Brusseau: jbrusseau@newportnational.biz

Ray Hernandez: subtropicofcancer@hotmail.com

Susan Hubbell: sushubbell@aol.com

Larry Noblick: Inob@montgomerybotanical.org

Michael Merritt: merritt4154@gmail.com

Jim Cain: jim.cain@cain-barnes.com

Other directors not above do not have emails listed but can be emailed through IPS site with membership

That final sentence says a lot about the situation with the BoD. How many current Directors have no e-mail & itnernet access whatsoever? How many have no clue about the PT and the importance of Private Messaging because they refuse to accept any form of communication outside of telephones and snail mail? How many hate technology and want nothing to do with people who use it?

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monkeyranch

I'm not sure what all of the commotion is about. The internet is a a passing fad and will be gone in a few years anyhow. I don't know anyone who uses it. Yup, going back to the ole' quill and inkwell for me.

Seriously though, why is IPS's liability for illegal transactions made on palmtalk any greater than for arrangements made on gmail, hotmail, yahoomail, other forums, or message boards?

How many legal opinions was this decision made on and what is the relationship of the attorneys to the BOD individuals?

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_Keith

Whose lawyer? Paid for by whom and by whose request did the opinion originate? Paid how much? Was this lawyer present in Peru? If so, paid for by whom? If not, who cross examined or got a second opinion? What were the opposing viewpoints? Lawyer are said to protect from risk, who was paid to present the opposing opportunity, lawyers generally don't do that.

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elHoagie

To answer a couple of questions to the best of my ability....

- The IPS has an endowment valued at approximately $800K, so there are plenty of assets to potentially lose as a result of litigation.

- As far as I know, none of the botanists on the IPS board have ever been involved in a grant proposal to the IPS, so nobody is giving money to themselves.

- You guys are correct that I can't definitively say that PT is operating at a loss, mainly because the IPSs books are somewhat complicated and I don't work directly on them. Kim has the financial details, so I'll defer to her to clear up that aspect.

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PALM MOD

Whose lawyer? Paid for by whom and by whose request did the opinion originate? Paid how much? Was this lawyer present in Peru? If so, paid for by whom? If not, who cross examined or got a second opinion? What were the opposing viewpoints? Lawyer are said to protect from risk, who was paid to present the opposing opportunity, lawyers generally don't do that.

Keith - I think this is the issue........ The IPS wants 0% chance of liability. But there really is no such thing, unless you don't engage in the activity at all. And if that is what you ask the attorney, that is the answer you are going to get. The way things are set up now, the paperwork at the web host says I am the owner and person liable for what happens on PalmTalk. And I personally pay all the bills with my credit card - not by choice, but by necessity. I proposed some suggestions for limiting my liability in this and other matters (to protect me), but the powers to be were unresponsive. So my only choice was to request a contract that specifically absolved me of liability, and made them the responsible party - which should have already the case. I presently have no agreement in place with the IPS.

So this is what happens when you ask an attorney how to limit your liability to 0% - and that is what the IPS did. I proposed procedures that would have reduced liability IMO to .001% - but I guess that was not good enough.

If you want zero risk of dying in a plane crash, the only sure way is never to get on one. But I guess one could still fall on you. So is there really such thing as zero risk anyway?

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PALM MOD

All - I've tried to read through everything in this set of posts, along with the thread that Dean started, and I just want to make a few things clear. Sorry if I'm repeating information that's already been posted.

- For the record, we had approximately 25 BODs in Peru. I fully agree that the way we currently conduct business precludes all but the wealthiest of our members from being active on the BODs, and I fully agree that this should be changed.

- None of the BOD receive any compensation from the IPS.

- Out of all 34 BOD, I believe only 3 are botanists. So, botanists have very little direct influence over the IPS.

- The only official vote at the meeting was to close down the PM feature, and there was no other official decision related to PalmTalk. As Dean has mentioned, the PM feature is being closed down based on our consultations with a lawyer, who identified a clear liability risk in continuing that feature. We were advised that there is no simple or safe we to avoid this liability, even if users are forced to acknowledge disclaimers every time they log into PalmTalk. I have no legal expertise, so I can't comment on the accuracy of these legal findings, but that is the information the board used to base its decision to close the PM feature. I can't speak for anyone else on the board, but I did not feel that the decision to stop PMs was made in a malicious way, and it was solely based on the legal advise we received.

- Although I am fully in favor of PalmTalk for a variety of reasons, and I've been involved with PalmTalk since 2003, there is a financial reality that Kim pointed out in her post. Basically, no matter how you run the numbers, PalmTalk is a net financial loss to the society. Again, this doesn't mean that it should be shut down, I just want to clarify that the IPS is actually losing money by running this site.

Jack - First of all, thank you for your service on the BOD. I, and probably others on PT, appreciate your vote against stopping the PMs on PT.

It has been my impression from the beginning that all of the information about what was/was not decided by the Board, and the reasons behind that have not been fully outlined to the folks on PT. On the other hand, I am utterly amazed that this issue has been spinning out of control for over 24 hours now and no one representing the Board has stepped in to do damage control. The first mistake was not to clearly outline the issue to IPS/PT members before it was considered by the Board, and the second was not being prepared to address the issue once "the cat was out of the bag".

So, just out of curiosity, were all of Board members provided with this information for consideration, discussion, further independent research and consultation well before the meeting, or was this sprung on the Board when they arrived?

And lastly, to echo the observations of others, I'd bet pretty much everything IPS does is a net loss to the organization. I don't think that the expenses of PT are the sole reason we have membership dues of $45/year, but if it is, it is in my opinion, a membership benefit well worth it to me and of incalculable value in outreach to the world to promote the mission of the IPS.

Thanks for your involvement and support - gmp

George - as far as I have been filled in (so this may not be entirely true) - this is what I believe happened. When the subject of limiting potential liability as it related to the PM system, it was proposed that the simplest and surest way would be to just turn it off. Nobody asked me. I was told many members had no idea there even was such a thing. It was just a knee jerk proposal made by people who have no concept of what PT is all about, or what it takes to manage it successfully. And the result is exactly what you could have predicted.

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Stevetoad

I find it funny and sad the the INTERNATIONAL PALM SOCIETY wants to get rid of the society that we have here. Isn't the point of a society is create a place where people can come together and discuss a common interest publicly and privately? Lets change the name to the IPP. International Palm People. At least then we don't have to speak to each other so we can't be a liability.

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Cindy Adair

As someone who ran (unsuccessfully) 2 years ago after only 2 years (the minimum) as an IPS member, I certainly don't claim to have the long term perspective of many posters on this forum. However like many, my passion for Palmtalk and palms are intertwined and are certainly what led me to the IPS.

I too would clearly not have joined the IPS without the positive experiences on this forum. I would never have paid my fees for the wonderful Thailand Biennial and traveled without my family to a continent across the world to spend time with almost no one I'd met face to face. So I greatly appreciate the IPS and understand that they are responsible for this forum plus many other worthy ventures.

I had the privilege of spending most of our free day in Thailand (in an air conditioned room where there were no palms!) observing a board meeting. I heard about the research grant decisions, none of which went to Board members and the many other issues. I truly felt that the directors in attendance (even when they disagreed with each other) were all trying to do their best. When I was asked if I would be willing to serve on a committee I thought Palmtalk was the logical choice. Behind the scenes is always fine with me except for the not getting to vote part when it counts.

As a member of the Palmtalk committee with Bo, Kim, Tim and Dean I have continued my education and appreciation for Palmtalk and most of the time the IPS. I was certainly enthusiastic about helping with the first ever Palmtalk fundraiser in early 2013. One of my goals was to help the IPS notice that members of this forum are willing to give money for something they value. Another reason was to inform more of us about the relationship between the IPS and PT that should not be adversarial.

Even though calculating all the direct and indirect $ generated by the fundraiser became a challenge, I assumed that our forum would receive perhaps a compliment and encouragement since we yielded unexpected and unbudgeted $ for the IPS. I am surprised that the end result was different. I trust that it happened out of concern for liability as a crisis reaction and NOT any reflection on or dislike or disdain for Palmtalk itself.

A positive outcome of all the recent furor is that those who are IPS members on this forum are now much more likely to vote and learn about the candidates to make an educated choice. I have been approached to run again and in my usual slow and deliberative fashion have not entirely decided. I am clearly strongly pro Palmtalk, but am at the same time not anti IPS. Rushing to separate from the IPS in anyway as an emotional response is no better than the recent vote by the board to cancel PM options. Let's use this chance to be positive rather than just rant. It's great to hear so many people plan to vote and even run for the board and make a difference! Thanks everyone!

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MattyB

So now that we know what the issue is the shutting down to PM's someone could write a sample letter using some of the stuff that Dean has said and then start a new thread and re post all of Jason's email addresses of the Board of Directors and then we could all start the mailing them. sorry I don't have a computer right now

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PALM MOD

I am closing this now for the following reason. Some of you still think PalmTalk is shutting down. I specifically stated toward the beginning of the thread this was not the case. And I specifically started another "pinned" topic trying to explain exactly what is taking place.

Please read the pinned topic and continue your discussion there. And remember to be courteous.

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