Thursday, October 23, 2014

On geese, gander, and going dark; or, why some of the links on this blog don't seem to work anymore

In a recent post, I explained why I had briefly taken my blog offline and why I put it back online.  I say this now because in this post I am about to criticize the UIC United Faculty Union for doing something similar with its new website, which you can find here.

The site has a bit of an aesthetics problem, but my main criticism is that it does not have archives of older posts the UICUF had written, to which I have linked on this blog from time to time.  Whatever the intent behind the decision to make this new website, the function is to reduce transparency about the union's history.  The union had made statements on its old website, most of which, in my opinion, were reasonable for a union to make, even those with which I disagreed.  But now, with the older posts not online, it's hard to track the statements it made. 

Perhaps the intent behind this website change is indeed justifiable.  As a pseudonymous blogger, I have the luxury of setting up a blogspot account and then type away.  Mine is not the official voice of any organization with multiple members not all of whom agree with each other.  Also, I imagine a blogspot account is easier to hack into or to pirate.  When it comes into hacking into my own musings as represented in this not very widely read blog, that's a small thing.  If, however, someone were to hack into the union's website, that would be a bad thing.  Also, there's a lot I don't know about running a website.  Perhaps for the sake of functionality, that type of website is best practices.  Maybe there's something about the code or whatever that makes the website better.

I did send an email to the union, and their response was polite and open to discussing my dissension, and I very much appreciate the interaction.  Their response was further proof that whatever my disagreements with the union, they are willing at least to treat people who disagree cordially.  That's smart unionizing.  But the response left a little to be desired and didn't explain much.  It was basically this:  the union wants a more useful and better looking website.

I seem to recall, back when the last website was created, around January 2014 (maybe?  I don't recall), reading a statement on that site suggesting that there had been an older site the union had used.  I don't know if older posts were imported to that new site or not. 

Finally, kudos to one thing I've found on this website.  The union has posted the "minutes" on that site from its last meeting.  I didn't go to the meeting, so I don't know how faithfully those "minutes" represent what went on.  And the "minutes" seem actually more like a report from the union to its members and not minutes per se.  But that is a good thing to make public.  And the union deserves credit for that.

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