PASS Summit 2013 Report #4

One of the items that came up for discussion at the Chapter meeting today was the privacy policy for SQLSaturday. I’m going to sum up my understanding here, the full policy may be more nuanced than that so take with a grain of salt:

  • SQLSaturday events can email attendees with sponsors offers as part of the overall event, obviously using some discretion and restraint about how many times they contact the registrants. [I agree with this policy]
  • SQLSaturday events can provide registrant demographics to sponsors only if the registrant opted-in. [Sane and fair, I agree with this policy]
  • SQLSaturday registrants are automatically added to the PASS membership roles without an opt-in. That is included in the privacy policy for SQLSaturday. [I think this makes sense and serves the organization and the registrant well]
  • SQLSaturday registrations cannot be added to the supporting Chapter membership list. This is due to PASS being unable to make the privacy agreement specific enough on a per Chapter/Event basis. [I disagree – strongly]

The last two items are in conflict. SQLSaturday was designed as a membership drive and a fund raiser. It’s absurb to create the situation where the parent organization can grow their membership list but the local Chapter cannot. I see a few options to fix this:

  • Add a checkbox to opt-in to Chapter membership. I’m not thrilled with this, but it’s a fair option.
  • Send an email post event to anyone not on the Chapter list and ask them to join. The click through rate will probably be low, but it’s something – and it perhaps helps decrease the ‘duplicates’ that end up on the membership list.
  • I’m hard pressed to say why it wouldn’t be equally fair to do this for joining PASS. Maybe they are already members, maybe they don’t want to be members. I don’t like this, I think it’s anti-success, but what is good or not for Chapters should be the same for PASS
  • Perhaps simplest is to have the Chapter sign the SQLSaturday event agreement. In the handful of cases where the event is not affiliated with a a Chapter then the current rule would make sense, otherwise the chapter/event are one and the same – and that was really the intent from the beginning.

Getting privacy right is hard. It’s worth doing. I don’t want anyone walking away from a SQLSaturday feeling that we didn’t apply our privacy policy well. At the same time, I’m frustrated that this issue wasn’t presented as “we have this problem and we’re still working on it”, it more “this is how it is, live with it”. I love SQLSaturday, but chapters are where PASS happens and we should do every single thing we can to help them be successful. Let’s hope PASS revisits this right away and comes up with one or more options to help insure the success of PASS, SQLSaturday, and the local Chapter.

Apologies for the mid week rant, but this is important stuff.

3 thoughts on “PASS Summit 2013 Report #4

  1. Agreed. Local Chapters do all the leg work by marketing the event and PASS as an organization and to think we cannot benefit from it to also grow our membership, just doesn’t make sense. I don’t see the reason for not having a boiler plate privacy or attendee agreement that says you will automatically be added to the mailing list of {insert Chapter Name here} unless you opt-out. I think it would make sense to have an op-out option rather than an opt-in option. Provide the attendee to opt-out if he/she decides so.


  2. I couldn’t agree more. It is an unfair game that a local event, put together by local people for local people cannot be used to grow the local chapter. It does not seem that hard to fix in my book. Thanks for the re-cap Andy


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