Access to Badge Rosters
Provide access to badge rosters with means for admins to maintain them and correct inaccuracies. I know of no defensible reason to hide this information, especially from committees that need it to do their jobs.
Cheryl Talbert commented
As committees we desperately need the ability to control the granting of leader badges ourselves, rather than relying on someone in member services scanning the comments. Too many opportunities for a person to fall through the cracks.
Here are the issues as I see them.
1. Badges rosters are easily misconstrued as Course rosters; but they are subtly different; it doesn't make sense to have two rosters for the same thing.
A course roster is a record of participation/graduation from a course. A badge roster is a list of members holding some qualification or other merit. With respect to courses, they are close cousins, so it's easy to get the concepts confused. If someone graduates from the Scrambling Course, for example, they naturally earn the Scrambling badge. That's easy to automate. But the Scrambling badge doesn't logically represent the graduation, Instead, it logically represents the qualification to go on Scrambles. See the subtle difference?
There may be other ways to meet that qualification (equivalency, graduation pre-dating course records, and a different course come to mind). And there may also be legitimate reasons for a committee to revoke a qualification. Are we supposed to falsify the graduation records to effect those realities? No, it's more straight forward to manage the rosters directly.
2. Sometimes I may want a list of graduates from a course. The roster under the course template gives serves that purpose, nicely. But it is limited to a single course template for one branch. I might also want a list of all members qualified for Scrambling. That list spans branches and courses, possibly containing members who have never taken the Scrambling course and not containing some who have. No such list is available now.
3. Leader Badges are granted indirectly from the Committee roster. That's problematic because it limits a committee to a single leader badge. Some committees need multiple leader badges for different activities. Currently, we are forced to create "fake" committees to effect the necessary badges.
4. Committee rosters get bloated with all the leaders and consequently are difficult to use for committee business. Most of the names on the Everett Scrambling committee roster are not on the committee and never have been; some may not even be in the Everett Branch. But we are compelled to add and maintain them strictly so they may lead trips. I suggest that the leader badge roster, not the leader role on the committee roster, should be what controls trip scheduling. Such badges can be awarded automatically upon completion of an appropriate leadership course or by manual access to the badge roster.
5. Because they are on the committee roster, trip leaders have committee-level privileges like updating committee documents and (heaven help us) changing committee web pages. That's absurd. As I mentioned earlier, some of those members may not even be in the same branch. The solution is not that difficult: base trip scheduling on the leader badge instead of the leader role and provide an independent means for committees to manage their leader rosters. And yes, "rosters" in the plural is intentional and necessary.
I disagree with Tess that the Badge system is inflexible. If implemented well, it's way more flexible than the committee roster method that limits a committee to one leader badge per committee and forces hundreds of members onto the committee roster where they have no business.
I see a need for instructors badges, but dearly hope they are not implemented with the same design as leader badges (via a role on the committee roster and without direct access to the roster).
At the risk of making this too confusing I have one more point. I think we need a committee roster which represents strictly the members who are on the committee. This roster is used for committee business and for effective administrative permissions on the website. As such, that roster has nothing to do with leading trips, having graduated courses, or having climbed some list of peaks.
But, committees have other kinds relationships with members and need a way to access rosters about their broader community of involvements. By that I mean, their leaders (of which there may be different activities), their instructors (of which there may be different courses), their graduates, their awardees, etc. While giving them access to the respective rosters is the main point of this suggestion, I don't see any reason why we couldn't have a view that unions them all to give the appearance of one master list. So, while we may have distinct rosters under the covers, the user-facing view does not need to appear that way.
Cheryl, you can view and download the roster of everyone who has participated in Backpacking Building Blocks for all years that Foothills has taught it here: https://www.mountaineers.org/about/branches-committees/foothills-branch/committees/foothills-hiking-backpacking/foothills-backpacking-committee/course-templates/backpacking-building-blocks-b3-course/team-roster
You can also send emails from this roster. Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Committees do have complete control over their leader rosters and can remove leaders rights simply by removing someone from the roster.
Leader badges and course/skill badges work differently.
The ability to list a trip on the website comes from being listed as a leader on a committee. The website allows flexibility in the type of trip the leader wishes to lead so that scramble and climb leaders can lead conditioner hikes and all leaders can lead stewardship activities etc. We trust our leaders to list trips that they are qualified to lead. If you have examples of leaders leading trips they are not qualified to lead that should be addressed immediately either by reporting to the committee chair or directing to staff/branch for follow up. This flexibility was designed because we had heard strongly from committees that they want control over their committee rosters and who has the power to lead which this allows. And we have had very few incidents of leaders failing to comply with the guidelines outlined by their committee.
On the other hand we have guests and members who are interested in hopping on trips that they don’t have the pre-requisites for which is why we have the badge system which is inflexible. For a participant to register themselves for an activity that is more technical they need to have the badge. You can read about all the different types of activities, difficulties and the related badges here: https://www.mountaineers.org/explore/activity-types-difficulties-prerequisites
Responding to Cheryl's last point. Presuming the backpacking course is always scheduled from the same template, it's already possible to pull the roster of all graduates. The graduates for a given year are on the individual roster of the scheduled course; the of graduates across all years are on the "master" roster under the course template. In a good data design, the master roster is not really a separate list; rather, it's a union of the all individual rosters for the course template of interest. I have no reason to believe that practice was not followed. I believe that much is well-and-good.
However, I want to clarify that the roster of Backpacking Course graduates is different than the Backpacking Badge roster! The difference is subtle, but important to understand.
Since graduating from the Backpacking Course is one way to earn the Backpacking badge, the two rosters will naturally carry a lot of the same names. But, graduation means having satisfied all graduation requirements of the course. The badge is a qualification independent of the course. Let's look at some ways those two things are different.
1. One may earn the badge other ways besides taking the course, equivalency for example.
2. Graduations are permanent--once graduated, a member should remain on the roster of graduates indefinitely; graduations do not "end" after some period of time. But badges may have an expiration date and a need to be re-issued.
3. Badges may be revoked. Let's say the Scrambling Committee deems someone "unfit" for Scrambling. They must have the ability to revoke their badge and disqualify them for scrambling. However, that does not change the fact that they once graduated from the Scrambling Course.
4. Graduations are specific to a certain course offered by a certain branch at a certain time. Badges are neither specific to a course or nor a branch. The same badge could conceivably be awarded upon the completion of two different courses, for example.
5. I do not think it is implemented this way, but current badges, not historical graduation records, should determine eligibility for trip participation, trip leadership, and instructor signup just like they determine eligibility for student signup.
Cheryl Talbert commented
I completely agree that the granting of leader badges needs some specific improvement. First, seems very ad-hoc the way the PC must manually track leader status AND comments in our rosters and may or may not properly catch who has been granted leader status. Let committee chairs and admins manage their leader lists!! Second, individual committees DO manage multiple activities (we do hiking and backpacking) and would prefer not to have to manage two committee rosters to grant two separate leader badges. Finally, the ability to pull up a roster of all the people who have graduated from our backpacking course, for example, would be very helpful as we seek to circulate information in the future to our graduates.
Currently, Leadership Badges are awarded based on the "leader role" in the committee roster. The process involves an automatic email to the PC that gets sent whenever that role is added or removed. So the effect on badges is not immediate and subject to falling through the cracks and the discretion of the PC.
Direct access to badge rosters is fairly straight forward and not subject to the shortcomings and side effects of the way leader badges have been implemented.
1. The process unnecessarily imposes an undocumented, time-delayed, manual process involving the PC. It's silliness. Let committees self-manage their badge rosters.
2. The process clutters up the committee roster with hundreds of names that have no committee involvement except to lead trips. Every time I want to email the committee from the roster, I need to sort it on role, then uncheck pages and pages of names that I don't want to get the email. That's after I sort on membership status to uncheck the members that no longer even belong to the club. I prefer the committee roster to be comprised committee members, no one else.
3. All those names also means we cannot really use website for committee business. That's because what we store there is exposed to all those members, not just those really on the committee, even if it is unpublished.
4. That design limits us to 1 leader badge per committee. The Everett Scrambling Committee currently has two different leader badges (Scrambling and Snowshoe). We are forced to have a pretend Snowshoe Committee for the sole purpose awarding the Snowshoe Leader badge. Furthermore, we are limited with other leadership qualifications (Winter Scrambling, for example) because there is no badge and we really don't want to set up another committee for the sole purpose of awarding it, anyway. Skiing Committee is in much the same situation, having different leadership qualifications for different activities and therefore forced to set up distinct committees.
5. The one leader badge per committee limitation is bad enough, but it would be an unacceptable hardship for instructor badges. That would limit us to one course per committee if we had to use Instructor role of the committee roster award that badge.
Will Greenough commented
With the past system, I could look up graduates of the sea kayak course for all past years, either by time period or as a whole. Could also do this for equivalency. We have used this tool to develop/edit lists of qualified and active paddlers. I see no way to do this with the current system. Perhaps a "badge" search would be an equivalent way to do this.
We have cases of members who have earned badges in the past, but are not on the badge roster for a variety of reasons. I've been advised to add them as a course graduate to give them the badge, but that doesn't sit well, as it is is essentially "faking" the graduation roster. Perhaps they took the course, perhaps not. We often qualify climbers for example to go on or even lead scrambles even though they haven't graduated from the scrambles course. We also have cases of individuals who have graduated from the course, but have been "disqualified"; We wan the record to show them as graduates of the course without the related badge.
Also there are some badges that do not have related courses, for example, leader badges. We currently have no way to manage those badge rosters. In the case of leader badges, there is a convoluted process involving emails to the PC when someone gets assigned "leader" group on the committee roster. We'd prefer managing a leader roster to cluttering up the committee roster with so many leaders. Also, letting us self-serve those rosters would reduce the workload on the PC. Another problem with the badge-via-leader group mechanism is that sometimes a committee has different kinds of leaders, like winter scrambling leader is distinct from scrambling leader. There is no way to distinguish those leadership qualifications with the current system. The KISS way to resolve it is to simply allow badge rosters self-maintained by committees.
The current design forces us into a model where we have a course for every badge (even if there isn't one) and a committee for every course (even if two courses are sponsored by the same committee).
Fundamentally, graduating from a course and holding a badge are not entirely congruent. There are cases of graduates not being badge-qualified, and visa-versa,
Nancy Lloyd commented
I have added hike leaders and the badge does not appear. They can, and have led trips without the badge, but I have been told by some that they thought they were not official leaders because they did not have a hike leader badge - although they are on the leader roster. I have also seen badges remain for former hike leaders. We should not have to contact the PC every time there is a badge problem. Committee Chairs should be able to control the badges for their activities.
I personally do not like the badge system because a member's badge can be misleading or inaccurate. In addition, in its current form it has created extra work for Chairs.
I anticipate one objection is that granting access to badge rosters is undesirable because they span branches and committees, thereby opening the door to the potential for spamming. Well, they do open the door for cross-branch communication all right. I'd hardly call contacting fellow mountaineers about mountaineer business "spamming", but that's not really the point I want to make.
I suggest that badge rosters be logically segregated by branch and committee keys in the roster. That way, one committees can be restricted to just their part of the badge roster. That limits the spamming risk to no more than the spamming risk of the committee roster. Ditto for intrusions on badges managed by another committee.