Exactly who's been in charge for the last 10 years?

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Jenny already stole most of my thunder, so take what thunder I express in this post, and multiply it by most to get some sense of my frustration. Imagine my surprise yesterday, learning for the first time at Clancy's blog, that CCCC is shopping around for a web editor.

Why might this be insulting? Well, for the last 4 years or so, I've been working on the CCC Online Archive as the Associate/Online Editor for the journal. A few weeks ago, I was informed that my title, without any consultation from me, was now the CCC Online Archivist. I don't really care much about the title, but I do care about being treated like a peon by people (the Executive Committee) who are my colleagues, and for whom I am essentially performing volunteer work. So yes, having my title unilaterally turned from something that sounds official to something that sounds made-up, without even the courtesy of being consulted, is something I construe as insulting.

I presume now that the change was to minimize confusion between my own position and that of the new CCCC Web Editor, which makes a great deal of sense, since this person will be responsible for editing the Web. Oh wait. Never mind.

What is most insulting, though, is that my title was changed as part of a conversation to which I might have had something to contribute, and to which I almost certainly should have been invited. As I said, I first saw the ad yesterday, the day before the deadline.

Why should I be involved? Well, one thing that set back my ongoing redesign and restructuring of the site was the small matter of CCCC changing their link formats, which invalidated hundreds of permalinks on my site. I was never informed of this--I got to find out that my site was broken by testing it. I answer dozens of email inquiries per year on behalf of NCTE related to functions of the journal outside of the purview of my site. I made what I felt at the time were very strong arguments about what CCC and NCTE should be doing with their web presence--a vision that I'm implementing and that our "leadership" seems (at least from the text of their ad) to be ignoring. So yes, even though I host the site externally, my site is impacted by the various decisions that NCTE makes, even when they don't see fit to inform me of them.

I am mildly encouraged by the fact that, some ten or so years into the existence of their website, that CCCC has finally seen fit to consider the site a worthy area of development. I am less encouraged by the fact that no experience appears to be necessary to actually contribute. I am less encouraged by the fact that they ask for a writing sample (?!) as part of the application process. And I am less encouraged by the prospect of a whole new set of CCCCreepy treehouses springing up on the web.

So, since my work on CCCOA hasn't seemed to have made any lasting impact on our "leadership" beyond that of the journal (with whom I've always worked well and happily), allow me to forgo the application process, and offer my vision of what the CCCC website almost certainly will not look accomplish in the near future:

1. The strength of a central, organizational website is directly proportional to its ability to aggregate the interests and contributions of its members.

2. Those interests and contributions are not going to be in the form of legislated community.

The attempts at legislated community on CCC Online failed. The attempts at legislated community on the CCCC blog failed. We are already a community, and we already are full to the brim with locations where we engage in community. There is no nascent community activity waiting breathlessly for a CCCC Facebook page.

3. CCCC is in a position to provide centralized, aggregated content, unavailable anywhere else on the web.

This content could include a great deal more valuable information about the conference, job postings, syllabi, program information, teaching resources, etc. We don't need CCCC to blog, email, tweet, post Facebook pages, host wikis, or anything else like that. All that stuff is already being done by us, for us, better than our organization could ever handle.

4. If CCCC wants a professional web presence, one which does things and offers content that no one else can, and which no individual or group can, I am all for it. And I have no shortage of ideas as to how that can be accomplished. I am currently engaged in the process of accomplishing it.

5. Asking a volunteer to do this is deeply offensive to me, when the expectations that we should have of this position are professional. I am embarrassed for my organization, and I am embarrassed for those on the EC who should know better than this. To imagine that anything worth doing can be done in 5-10 hours a month is to misunderstand the potential value of bringing our organization out of the late 90s.


Like Jenny, I am increasingly frustrated with our organization. I believe that the organization itself is broken in several ways, and this is only the most immediate and recent example, unfortunately.

That is all.


This is really interesting/odd/disturbing, Collin. To be honest, when I saw that post about a new CCC web editor, my reaction was "Oh, I guess Collin has decided he doesn't want to do it anymore." That you weren't informed about this is, um, really really bad.

I remember having a conversation with someone involved with NCTE/CCCC about 6 or 7 years ago about getting involved in governance-- you know, putting my name in to run for some position on some various steering committee. This person was encouraging to me; but in the end, I decided that it simply wasn't worth it for a whole bunch of reasons.

Interestingly enough, things like this (combined with some other bad taste things with NCTE/CCCC conferences over the last couple years) are not exactly motivating for me to get involved to help "clean things up." Just the opposite.

We'll see how this all turns out. Quite frankly, if the NCTE/CCCs had done this and I was in your shoes as the editor for these several years, I might have just pulled the plug on the site I had been working on for these many years.


i've had my WPA job publicly obliterated at a faculty meeting, without advance notice. public humiliation. nice.

i recently received a letter from our new VP informing me that CXC would be taken over by the Dean's Council and handed to the Gen Ed committee (where one unfriendly r/c faculty member -- pretty much my nemesis) is located.

so i've been on the receiving end of disresepct such as this. and it's no fun. for my part, i'm so sorry that this happened to you. it's not our finest hour.

i'm sorry.

I'm sorry I didn't make you aware of this when I saw it. I guess I assumed they'd have the professionalism to ask you to be involved. I'm very, very disappointed.

Like Steve when I read this I figured you had resigned. Who knows what they have in mind. I just don't see how anyone could do this in their spare time. Some hobby.

What happened to you was wrong, and what the NCTE/CCCC seems to want to do with the position is ridiculous. The five-ten hour per month of volunteer work is not what it would take to bring the website up to muster. And, along with the no tech experience needed qualification, leaves me wondering just what year the organization is operating from..

I worked at what I thought was a job as an editorial assistant for the Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni magazine my first year of grad school. The Assistant Dean wanted my title to be "Proofer." I suggested "Editorial Assistant" instead. He refused to change his mind, apparently confusing the more grandiose "Assistant Editor" with what I had proposed. I resigned.

I believe that Assistant Dean is now a Dean today. Or at least once was. Ears to hear, etc.

It stinks.

And it is very unprofessional.

They should be extremely humiliated at this point. I hope someone over there knows enough to feel sheepish.

The whole thing, from start to finish, makes the organization look rather dumb.

Thanks for the comments. My thunder has subsided a bit (replaced with cringing over the performance of a certain Chicago sports franchise), but I still think that our leadership has behaved shortsightedly and poorly.

I'm committed to the CCCOA project, though, and will continue to work on it until I'm no longer allowed to. Exacerbating my anger has been that this all happened at a time where the outgoing dean of my college essentially pocket-veto'ed the support that I had from SU for this project, so I'm for all intents and purposes a volunteer myself.

I certainly wouldn't have put my own name forward for this new position, but I think that I could have contributed something to its conception, and I would certainly raised the same questions that Jenny and others raised about the absurdities in the ad itself, which make our organization look foolish and uninformed. For all of its faults, I'd prefer an organization that represents the best of what we do and know, and I'm willing to do a great deal (short of standing for our StudentCouncil-esque "election" process) to help it in that direction.


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