Online Membership

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Roger de Coverly
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:27 pm

Angus French wrote: I think most systems will send a reminder of password. That's what the paysubsonline system does - I just tested it.
So what does it actually do?

Send a fresh password?
Send a question which gives a clue to the password?
Send the original password?

Angus French
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Angus French » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:31 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Angus French wrote: I think most systems will send a reminder of password. That's what the paysubsonline system does - I just tested it.
So what does it actually do?

Send a fresh password?
Send a question which gives a clue to the password?
Send the original password?
It sends the original password.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:02 pm

Angus French wrote: It sends the original password.
I've used the same hack as yourself to get to my account. I then changed the password and repeated the Login. It emailed back the password I had set in plain text. Better practice would surely be to send a fresh system generated one.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:25 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote: The latest membership list is available to all (minus confidential personal information, of course) in the 'Membership' drop-down menu.
Category of membership was previously regarded as confidential whereas it's now exposed for all to see. If the ECF thought there was a data protection issue previously restricting its disclosure, it's probably still there. There's a vital item missing for club secretaries and treasurers, namely expiry date. At the moment the list is a mixture of names where the membership will expire 31st August 2012 or later and those who have joined early.

I notice, by the way, a number of players with Bronze or Silver memberships who also have FIDE ratings. What is the ECF's current policy on instructing FIDE to remove ratings?

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:32 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Andrew Farthing wrote: New members can now join the ECF online and pay from their PayPal account or by debit or credit card. Their membership is instantly activated.
The ECF might wish to clarify whether the April Council meeting set the three year membership at £ 36 ( 3 * £ (13-1)) or £ 38 ( 3 * £13 - £ 1).
I'll take personal responsibility for this and Council can reprimand me if it wishes. I was the one pressing for the limitation of the online discount to £1 even on a 3-year membership. I reflected on it and felt that it was churlish not to grant £1 per year of membership, because the principle - that joining or renewing online saves the ECF money in office costs - applies 3-fold for a 3-year membership.

The rates loaded are, therefore, intentional, because it seemed fairer to members. However, if Council wants this changed in October so that the discount is limited to £1 even for 3 years, they need only say so.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:34 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
John Upham wrote: I'm anticipating follow-up questions to potentially to be "What happens if you do not have an email address?
A valid question to ask is "What if I don't want to disclose an email address to the ECF?".
Then you will need to join and renew by phone or mail.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:37 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote: I have no idea what the ECF system will do when you click 'forgot password', but suspect that you don't either.
Which is why I asked. If the CEO believes the system will send the quoted email address a brand new password, he should have said so.
I specifically said that the system would send you a reminder of your password, because that is the correct answer (as I knew, because I tested the facility myself).

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:42 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:How much extra would it cost the ECF in Office expenses if everyone renewed directly with the ECF by post or phone?
If I had to guess: about £15,000, possibly considerably more. (I'm assuming that you are excluding bulk submissions from an MO as well.) It seems an unlikely scenario.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:43 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote: I specifically said that the system would send you a reminder of your password, because that is the correct answer (as I knew, because I tested the facility myself).
It sends you the actual password, not just a reminder. There are systems out there which ask you to set a memorable name or date and to supply the question that would unlock it. The reminder then is that they send you the question.

Angus French
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Angus French » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:47 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote:I'll take personal responsibility for this and Council can reprimand me if it wishes. I was the one pressing for the limitation of the online discount to £1 even on a 3-year membership. I reflected on it and felt that it was churlish not to grant £1 per year of membership, because the principle - that joining or renewing online saves the ECF money in office costs - applies 3-fold for a 3-year membership.

The rates loaded are, therefore, intentional, because it seemed fairer to members. However, if Council wants this changed in October so that the discount is limited to £1 even for 3 years, they need only say so.
I may be wrong but I thought Council had already decided - at this April's Finance meeting - that the discount for three year memberships would be £1 and not £3.
Will the minutes for the Finance meeting be published soon?

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:56 pm

Angus French wrote:A few comments on the newly-announced membership system:
1. I was able to use the ‘Forgot password’ function to retrieve my system-generated password. I was then able to login and see that my details had been correctly migrated.
2. I wasn’t able to renew in advance (my current membership expires at the end of April 2013). This functionality doesn’t seem to be available (I tried to use the ‘Payment’ option but this took me to a near-blank page).
3. The three-year membership rates appear to be incorrect, with a £3 discount rather than a £1 discount for on-line applications.
4. There doesn’t seem to be any validation of an input ‘Grading reference’ value. It would be useful, for example, to ensure that the format is six digits followed by a letter. It would also be useful to check for multiple uses of the same Grading reference to help prevent input of incorrect values.
5. It appears to be possible to make multiple applications for membership and then to make a single payment to cover all applications. I think this is useful.
6. A minor point: there’s reference on the registration and ‘My Details’ pages to the ‘Club name’ field but the field is labelled ‘Club’.
7. Another minor point: there’s reference to http://ecfgrading.org.uk/ on the registration and ‘My Details’ pages. It would be useful if this was hyperlinked.
8. A further minor point: on the registration page, I would position the ‘Submit and Finish’ button below (rather than above) the ‘Submit and add additional members’ button.
9. I wonder: Has the system gone through a formal user acceptance test? Appearances would suggest not and this makes me uncomfortable.
[I've given your questions numbers so that it's easier to cross-refer to the answers.]

1. Correct. You can do this. As I indicated earlier, you will also receive an e-mail shortly confirming your username and password.
2. True, you can't renew that far in advance. For the vast majority - who will be on a 31 August expiry - they will be able to purchase the following year's membership around 1 July. We could make it available earlier if there was a demand. In individual cases, if you really wanted to do your April 2013 expiry now, you'd have to contact the office.
3. See my answer to Roger, who raised the same question. The rates in the system are intentional (and are better value for members than those previously indicated).
4. This is true. We are encouraging PaySubsOnline to introduce appropriate validation checks. In the meantime, there is a process for checking grading reference codes at the grading database end.
5. I haven't tried it, but I think you're right. And I agree, it's useful.
6. OK - thanks for the spot.
7. We asked for this in our original specification, but it wasn't possible to deliver it in time. It will be added as soon as the developers have coded and tested the necessary change.
8. Not sure whether we can change this.
9. I believe that the process which we went through before launch was user acceptance testing, but we may have different definitions. I'm not proposing to post chapter and verse here.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:06 pm

Angus French wrote:
Andrew Farthing wrote:I'll take personal responsibility for this and Council can reprimand me if it wishes. I was the one pressing for the limitation of the online discount to £1 even on a 3-year membership. I reflected on it and felt that it was churlish not to grant £1 per year of membership, because the principle - that joining or renewing online saves the ECF money in office costs - applies 3-fold for a 3-year membership.

The rates loaded are, therefore, intentional, because it seemed fairer to members. However, if Council wants this changed in October so that the discount is limited to £1 even for 3 years, they need only say so.
I may be wrong but I thought Council had already decided - at this April's Finance meeting - that the discount for three year memberships would be £1 and not £3.
Will the minutes for the Finance meeting be published soon?
I received a draft set of minutes yesterday.

What happened at Council was that I was asked the question whether there would be a £1 discount for each year of a 3-year membership and replied no. Council accepted my answer, but on reflection - as I said - I don't think my argument was logical. I feel responsible for the decision that the discount was only £1 for a 3-year membership taken out online and therefore, having reflected on it, took the decision to apply the more consistent approach of £1 per year. In doing so, I accept that I have stepped outside the pricing authorised by Council and take responsibility for this. There is some discretion in the Articles and Bye Laws for discounts on the agreed rates, and I considered this to fall within this category.

The price is easily changed in the system, so if this is a matter of concern, it can be amended quickly to the higher figure.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:07 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote: 2. True, you can't renew that far in advance. For the vast majority - who will be on a 31 August expiry - they will be able to purchase the following year's membership around 1 July. We could make it available earlier if there was a demand. In individual cases, if you really wanted to do your April 2013 expiry now, you'd have to contact the office.
The "vast majority" has to be disputed for the 2012-13 year at least. Have you looked at the long list of Gold and Platinum members generated from active Congress players and the existing compulsory membership for taking part in the 4NCL, e2e4 and other internationally rated events? I don't think MOs ever got much beyond a head count in the 1500 to 2000 range, so everyone else has anniversary year based membership. In some counties and leagues it can be as many as 50% who are already members and will have memberships expiring over the year. So the system needs to be able to cope with proportionate renewals. If it does, there's not any evidence yet. So you would expect to see a drop down of proportionate amounts for those renewing on 1st October or later.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:19 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Andrew Farthing wrote: 2. True, you can't renew that far in advance. For the vast majority - who will be on a 31 August expiry - they will be able to purchase the following year's membership around 1 July. We could make it available earlier if there was a demand. In individual cases, if you really wanted to do your April 2013 expiry now, you'd have to contact the office.
The "vast majority" has to be disputed for the 2012-13 year at least. Have you looked at the long list of Gold and Platinum members generated from active Congress players and the existing compulsory membership for taking part in the 4NCL, e2e4 and other internationally rated events? I don't think MOs ever got much beyond a head count in the 1500 to 2000 range, so everyone else has anniversary year based membership. In some counties and leagues it can be as many as 50% who are already members and will have memberships expiring over the year. So the system needs to be able to cope with proportionate renewals. If it does, there's not any evidence yet. So you would expect to see a drop down of proportionate amounts for those renewing on 1st October or later.
You're free to dispute it, of course, but the facts do not support you.

My reasoning is that the ECF currently has about 3900 members. Of these, some 1700 are Basic members (converted now to Bronze in the membership list) whose memberships all expire 31 Aug 2012. Several hundred more have joined since April 2012 for the period to 31 Aug 2013. A majority of those members on the list NOW have an expiry of 31 Aug. As membership numbers grow substantially - which they undoubtedly will, always with an expiry of 31 Aug - the percentage with an expiry date other than 31 Aug will be small and shrinking fast.

I stand by my use of the term "vast majority".

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Online Membership

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:32 pm

I've received an e-mail from someone with a clearer memory than me of the Finance Council meeting who recalls that the proposal to limit the online discount to £1 for 3-year memberships was made by a Council member. It would therefore be wrong of me to overrule the prescribed figure in that case.

I have amended the rates to the higher figure, i.e. (3 times the annual rate) less £1.

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