Sime~Gen™ Inc. Annual Meeting - 2002

This is a record of the formal meeting of Sime~Gen participants for purpose of voting the Awards due for tasks accomplished during 2001, and for awarding Preferred, non-voting shares of stock in Sime~Gen Inc.

Below is the log of the business meeting.  Discussion was in a separate room. 

The meeting was called to order by Jacqueline Lichtenberg <JL>.

      - compiled by Karen

JL -- Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Jean -- Jean Lorrah
Patric -- Patric Michael
Karen -- Karen MacLeod
ECJB -- Eric Berlin
MaryLou -- Mary Lou Mendum
MargareTZ -- Margaret Carter
Don -- Don Jaramillo

irc_name -- 'real' name
Seanara -- Seanara
-- Captain Button
Broomstic -- Broomstick
-- Linda Whitten
N'omi -- N`omi
-- Marge Robbins
Lisa --

Session Start: Tue Jan 01 13:03:00 2002
<JL> OK, we can start with the year in review.
<Patric> Hi everyone...
<Patric> First off, as you all probably know or heard, we are working on moving the domain to a new server. Its located in the continental u.s. so should prove faster in that regard, as well as being connected to multiple t-1 and t-3 connections.. the increase in speed alone is very noticeable.
<Patric> I am also supposed to talk about picking up teh rope as webmaster, but there really isnt much to say about that. The only time that should ever be an issue is if something fails... :)
<Karen> Supposedly I will be helping Patric eventually with other server related jobs. But he has to finish training me.
<JL> Patric - tell us about what the banner carousel will be able to do - with different sized banners.
<JL> Training is NEVER finished in this trade -- there's always the next "upgrade" (pardon my Simelan).
<Patric> In which case you are asked to send the usual emails and it will be corrected. Anyway, becasue there is more control and more speed on the new server, we will be able to implement some of whats now becoming common offerings... Among others are the ability to automate much of what the volunteers have to do by hand, set up customized pages, etc..
<Patric> Banner carousel: Right now, we maintain mostly static or animated gifs. Fine of themselves, but we will also be able to handle odd sized images, shockwave styled banners, and more of the static images..
<Patric> This will allow us to offer advertisement from those places which look toward the high tech end of things, as well as maintain the solid foundations we already have.
<Patric> Revenue means improvements in this game because none of us are looking to make a fortune off the stuff, and we can put it back into the server itself..
<Patric> Good grief.. I am drawing a blank here folks..
<JL> Mention your idea for Art-cards.
<Patric> Ok.. Some may be aware of our book cards project: Electronic greeting cards which feature book covers and authors, etc.
<Patric> We will be implementing a similar thing to feature artists and their works. With the new server, we will also be able to host other domains more efficiently, and offer them the usual host of benefits that any other hosting site can do.
<Patric> In short folks, the new server means we are no longer limited by the machine, but by how fast the individual users connection is...With luck, a bit of patience, and useful communication we will be able to customize the domain to account for individual tastes: Marylou uses an old browser? The pages she gets will display fine there. JL uses high end stuff? What she gets will be suitable for her setup, etc...
<Patric> We will be looking at using cookies in the future though. You can set your browser to ignore them, etc so no need to complain outright, but their primary goal (from my perspective) is to be able to set up a situation where marylou CAN customize her page to be text only if she wants it, and others can pile on the images...
<Jean> Cookies are a necessary evil, so we can't let cries of "I hate cookies" deter us when we need them.
<Jean> If you hate cookies, turn them off, but let us do things that require cookies, such as keeping spam off our mailing lists. But we have to have them for some purposes.
<Patric> That way, the next time you connect, you get what you want, without having to wade through what you can't use, etc. With this new machine, we can handle both easily, and all variations in between...Lots of folks don't like cookies becasue they are so danged intrusive. Ours would only try to set itself once, and if rejected, not try again. If allowed, then the cookie would relay the customized info you can set up, etc... It is HOPED that because its Simegen, that folks will trust that we don't maul them with cookie sets...
* Patric laughs! Its why *I* dont like cookies either. I don't mind stopping ONE, but stopping an army of them is just plain annoying... my own aversion of cookies will help keep us -sane- about using them. I got no problem using a cookie to recall customizations or remember login info etc. but the rest are just evil.. :)
<JL> Front Page extensions for those who use that method of posting will speed things up and broaden the range of folks we can have working here.
<JL> With our increased bandwidth we can handle larger images and more of them on our image intensive pages.
<Jean> Oh, some people will scream bloody murder at the idea of more graphics!
<JL> And so our image-intensive sections are clearly marked at entry. You won't get trapped in something you can't handle.
<JL> We will also be able to serve pages that contain sound and animation in sections where they seem useful. But again, you don't go there unless you want to.
<Jean> But we need people to build the alternate pages for everything.
<Patric> So... thats a nutshell, I guess.. More stuff will be announces through the usual channels, of course. and as always, feel free to contact us if you have questions or concerns... Dont expect everythig to change all at once. we are still a volunteer company, of course, and we all have other lives, but you should see a steady stream of improvements and chages as time goes by... Wanna help with any of it? Feel free to give a holler.. Thanks...
<Patric> If you can set your browser to accept cookies from a trusted site (us) then what I had in mind, (barely discussed mind you) is to set things up so you can go in and hit a list of check boxes saying things like "no shockwave ads, minimal graphics, etc. I can't think of a good example offhand but I am sure you have seen the pages I mean..
<Patric> what you would get back is the static ads, of course, and the content of the page set up as close to how you like it as possible...
<Karen> We do need alternate pages for those who can use only software that for visually handicapped people.
<Patric> Yes.. Thats very true Jean.. And it will take time... If we can get folks to build those, that would be great...
<Karen> That can't handle visuals unless they are described somehow.
<Patric> If they can't volunteer, I'd hope they were at least patient enough to stick around till we do get things set up... :)
<Jean> Actually, any browser working today can handle low-graphics pages--only those designed for the visually impaired show none.
<Karen> But our pages are high intensity.
<Jean> And yes, I have access to a non-graphic broswer, but I certainly don't USE it, and neither does anyone else.
<Jean> That's why we need some low-intensity pages.
<JL> Thank you Patric!
<Patric> welcome...
<JL> We'll all be looking forward to innovations that will make life easier around here.
<Jean> Jacqueline? Want me to discuss how we're paying for all this?
<JL> Yes, Jean -- just what I had in mind for next.
<JL> Jean now has the floor in SGCHAT.
<Jean> OK--as we all know, our attempt to earn money through commercial ads was an abysmal failure.
<Jean> We wasted endless time and effort, but we were obviously working against the nature of OUR visitors. So we have discontinued those ads.
<Jean> However, we have had some success with visitors do buy books.
<Jean> Also, we have had some success with authors advertising their own books, an absolute necessity for them these days.
<Jean> Before September 11, we had achieved self-sufficiency--our advertising was paying our monthly expenses. Then 9/11 happened, and advertising stopped dead. No one renewed, no new advertisers came.
<Jean> FINALLY, only this past week, we have one new banner ad, and another author querying about advertising on
<Jean> So I am hoping to get that source going again. We are a major bargain, BTW. We charge the going rate to advertise on our domain.
<JL> Jean may want to discuss hit-rate growth this year -- and what cookies will let us add to our analysis of those hits. Nessie (one of Jean's projects) has consistently topped our hit-rate listing.
<Jean> But other sites charging that rate have far fewer visitors.
<Jean> Our hit statistics show more than that we have four million(!) hits (page views) per year.
<Jean> Our statistics show that when people arrive at, they do not immediately leave.
<Jean> On average, they view ten pages on before they leave. Now THAT is important to our advertisers. What good are millions of hits if they are just people bouncing away as soon as they see us?
<Karen> If they stay, that is to our advantage.
<Karen> The longer they stay, the more banners they would view.
<Jean> Ours and our advertisers'.
<Jean> Exactly.
<Jean> So I have been working up advertising pitches that feature our proven virtues.
<Jean> As soon as we are settled on the new server, I will start a concerted campaign to get more advertisers, because we now have more expenses.
<Jean> We had to dip into our capital to buy the server.
<Jean> And now we have a monthly maintenance fee.
<Jean> We now have to do more than break even to put back the money we spent.
<Patric> Dont forget about hosting too...
<Jean> We are now hosting one domain,, and will try to get others.
<Patric> We have on online already, and another in the works... Right..
<Jean> We have room for several--if we could get twelve, their fees would pay OUR fees.
<JL> Yes this is one advantage of the new server -- with more ROOM and more speed.
<JL> We can offer services, and gain revenue that way.
<JL> I can post here the list of books we've sold on Amazon this quarter -- to show the elusive PATTERN our visitors produce.
<JL> Books: Narcissus in Chains(HB) 2
A Feast in Exile : A Novel of Saint-Germain(HB) 1
Astrological Timing of Critical Illness : Early Warning Patterns in the Horoscope(PB) 1
Growing Up In Ancient China (Growing Up In series)(PB) 1
Growing Up In Ancient Greece (Growing Up In series)(PB) 1
Growing Up In Ancient Rome (Growing Up In series)(PB) 1
Growing Up in Ancient Egypt (Growing Up in Series)(PB) 1
Identifying Planetary Triggers : Astrological Techniques for Prediction(PB) 1
<Jean> The pattern really doesn't matter as long as our visitors click on OUR ads to buy.
<JL> Oh, the pattern matters!
<Patric> And we can finally offer a decent web package to go with those hosted sites..
<Jean> It doesn't matter WHAT they buy, as long as they come to from
<JL> In retailing, the trick of success is to repeat success.
<JL> But notice how our visitors buy ONE of a thing -- not five people buying one thing.
<Jean> So we have one visitor who bought a bunch of esoteric books for kids. That's not a pattern.
<JL> We get paid 15% of the sale if they click on a direct link -- but most of our sales are coming from people using the browse boxes, or buying after clicking more than 3 links on Amazon -- so we get usually 5%.
<Jean> What we need to do is encourage people to go THROUGH us, instead of reading our book reviews, and then leaving us and going independently to Amazon to buy them.
<Karen> I usually go through our Amazon and Alibris links.
<JL> Yes, our visitors produce NO pattern. None. At least not yet, not a discernable one. However, with cookies, a pattern may yet be revealed -- one we can use to increase our sales hits.
<Jean> It doesn't cost the visitor one penny more to go to Amazon by clicking our ad--but WE get a few cents. We need to do something to educate the thousands of people who come to read our book reviews.
<Jean> We provide them with a free service, those reviews, author spotlights, other neat stuff.
<Jean> IFF they are going to buy books anyway, we would appreciate it if they would use our links to do so.
<JL> Amazon has a new feature that allows a store to use Amazon's computers to discern the pattern their visitors show. But it's useful only above a certain click-through rate - and we're not hitting that rate.
<Jean> So we continue to find palatable ways to obtain income.
<JL> We need to increase our general hit-rate and our Amazon click-through rate.
<Jean> We are not going to use the two top Internet moneymakers: porn and gambling.
<JL> But we did sell one tech item this time.
<JL> People do buy computers and components on the web.
<Jean> That leaves us with few options, because of the nature of our website.
<Jean> People don't come to us for reviews of computers and components.
<JL> No, but all our visitors and writers USE computers - printer supplies etc.
<Jean> One person by accident bought such through us--but as we are not a techie site, we cannot count on it ever happening again except by accident.
<Jean> Books are on people's minds when they come to, not computers.
<JL> That may be.
<Jean> We have to play to our strengths.
<JL> We have to find our strengths first - and that will require cookies.
<Jean> Our attempt to choose commercial ads that would appeal to our visitors showed that our visitors don't travel, don't buy tea or wine or jewelry or any of the other things we so carefully chose.
<JL> We need to know the path our visitors travel through the domain, and when they click out and make us some revenue, we need to know what link they clicked on exit.
<Jean> Yes--those things will be helpful. But for the time being we can only go with what we already know.
<JL> Right - instead of imagining who these people are and what they want - we need some hard evidence. Then we can build services and opportunities they will want.
<Jean> Our visitors are readers, not buyers.
<Jean> The only thing we can consistently get them to buy is something to read.
<Jean> If we discover something else they will buy, we'll run with it.
<Jean> Anyway, that's where we stand right now: a glimmering of new hope to get some new advertising.
<JL> We can move to the next item on the agenda then, I think.
<JL> Having seen how much work has been accomplished this year -- having seen an orderly changing of the heads of various departments, and the growth of new departments such as Spotlights, and the new Historical e-zine, I think we should open nominations for the Digen and Yo-Yo awards.

PLEASE NOTE -- Within the voting, there were people who were not familiar with the nominees, or the websites in question. These people chose not to vote, or to abstain, because of their lack of familiarity with the domain.

<Karen> Ok, I'll start.... Nominating Ronnie Bob for his various works for the fandom. Not sure if Digen or YoYo. Digen Award for Meritorious Service.
<JL> I second Ronnie Bob for the Digen.
<JL> I also nominate Eric for the Digen -- for super-meritorious service when Karen moved -- if not for Eric, Karen's down-time would have been MUCH greater, and we need her around here.
<ECJB> Pbbbbttt...
* Karen smiles. Eric did work very hard, but he was fed well. ~~mirth~~
* JL one must feed one's Gens
<JL> And I nominate Karen for the Digen -- because she's learning so much so fast she doesn't even know what she's learned. And she's kept the spam-traps cleaned out so the Listmail flows smoothly.
<Karen> I'll open the room for the vote...we can vote here.
<Karen> Opening for voting.
<Jean> Second on Karen.
<JL> Let's do the Digens first.
<Karen> One at a time...DIGEN first.
<Karen> Ok, nominees are: Ronnie Bob, Eric Berlin, who else?
<JL> Karen MacLeod, Carol Castellanos, Lois Wickstrom for Sime Center
<JL> And of course PATRIC - for building the new server - a Gold-Plated Digen!
<Karen> Should we include Kaires for taking over Sime center and battling with the pages.
<Jean> Second Lois.
<Jean> How many Digens can we give?
<JL> Carol Castellanos for the Digen (her work isn't 'zine related)
<Jean> We have lots of hard workers this year.
<Karen> Up to you and JL, Jean. Give as many as you like.
<MargareTZ> six is a good number
<JL> 6 nominations have been entered for the Digen Award for 2001.
<JL> All have been seconded I think -- except maybe Carol. Anyone want to second Carol? For Spotlights?
<MargareTZ> I'll second
<Patric> Seconded.
<JL> Good -- 6 have been nominated and seconded.
<JL> All in favor?
<JL> aye
<MargareTZ> aye
<MaryLou> aye
<ECJB> Mais bien sur.
<Seanara> Oui.
<Karen> Troublemakers. ~~mirth~~
<Jean> aye
<Patric> Aye
<Karen> Aye...for everyone else but me.
<Seanara> Aye for everyone, INCLUDING Karen.
<JL> 8 of 11 people have voted Aye for this list of candidates. (except Karen who's giving me trouble, but that's not new)
<JL> Therefore these 6 people are awarded the Digen for 2001's HARD work.
<Karen> One can not vote for oneself.
<JL> Make a note of that -- and have Patric update the awards site.
<Karen> This is being logged.
<JL> Next -- the Silver Yo-Yo.
<JL> The nominees are?
<JL> Ronnie Bob - Doreen Dabinett - Kaires -
<Karen> Katherine Rylien for working on CZ
<JL> I second Katherine Rylien
<DonJ> Aye, btw.
<JL> Anyone seconding my nominees?
<Karen> I can second JL's nominees, I'm not on the list.
<Patric> Seconded across the board...
<JL> BTW Ronnie Bob is a Yo-Yo candidate for his unrelenting pursuit of scanning and OCR'ing the 'zine backlist for a CD Rom edition which actually CAME OUT at Darkover.
* Karen nods...and I have those CD's for sale, and paper issues he did, too.
<JL> We have 4 nominees for the Silver Yo-Yo for back-and-forth service to the point of being dizzy, but getting CZ out anyway.
<JL> All have been seconded. All in favor say Aye!
<JL> aye!
<Jean> aye
<N`omi> AYE!
<MargareTZ> aye
<Karen> Aye
<MaryLou> Aye
<Seanara> Aye
<Patric> Aye
<JL> 9 of 12 vote Aye - and the following have been awarded the Silver Yo-Yo for 2001 - Ronnie Bob Whitaker, Doreen Dabinett, Kaires, and Katherine Rylien.
<Karen> Noted and logged.
<JL> Are there any other awards or other people you can think of who deserve recognition? Remember, these awards are posted PERMANENTLY on our Awards site. This is part of our history. We don't ever want to forget who has contributed these wonderful things.
<Patric> Tecton award. dancer and Jenn.
<Karen> the Techton Award...that's for tech service....
<N`omi> second that motion!
<Jean> Also Patric
<Patric> Also Karen..
<Seanara> Second Patric and Karen.
<JL> I nominate Patric and Karen for the Tech-ton award for 2001 contributions.
<MargareTZ> second
<N`omi> second
<JL> We have 4 nominees for the Tech-ton award for 2001 - Dancer, Jenn, Patric and Karen. All have been seconded. All in favor say Aye!
<JL> aye!
<MaryLou> Aye
<Patric> Aye
<Seanara> Aye
<Jean> aye
<Karen> Aye...but I can't vote for myself.
<MargareTZ> aye
<MargareTZ> yes you can
<Broomsti> I vote YES for people - people are wonderful and I'm quite fond of humans (BG)
<ECJB> I concur.
<N`omi> second that one also!
<N`omi> aye
<JL> We have 11 of 15 voting Aye for the Tech-ton nominees. They will be added to the Awards Website, by Patric even though he's one of the nominees. He will teach Karen how to accept accolades, but only deserved ones.
<Jean> I think the Secret Pens should have their own awards.
<JL> I agree.
<Jean> Let the Secret Pens Awards be annnounced on the Secret Pens website.
<Patric> No.. They are "secret"! laugh..
<JL> Patric's got a good point there.
<Seanara> Ah. But what about the Distect site? ~~mirth, deviltry~~ There is one now.
<Jean> Ditto Distect Awards.
<Karen> Then their representatives should do so.
<N`omi> I second
<Jean> What are you seconding?
<N`omi> your thinking
<Jean> Okay.
<Jean> Thanks.
<JL> The professional writers who created the Historical E-zine, Bygone Days, should be honored with an award for creative contributions.
<N`omi> welcome!
<Karen> I'll second that.
<N`omi> third it
* Patric nominates the Out-territory Award for those sites whos non SG content draws visitors to the simegen domain.
<Jean> Simecenter, Nessie's Grotto, Bygone Days.
<MargareTZ> second Jean's list
* Patric seconds Simecenter, Nessie's grotto, and Bygone Days.
<Patric> Don't forget N3F...
<JL> We have created a new award called the Out-Territory award for contributions to and that are not connected to specific Sime~Gen content.
<JL> Is there a second for N3F?
<N`omi> second
<MargareTZ> second
<MargareTZ> vote for all four
* Patric votes for N3F, Simecenter, Nessie's Grotto, and Bygone Days.
<N`omi> second that
<Karen> Karen votes for all 4.
<Jean> aye
<N`omi> aye
<MargareTZ> aye
<MaryLou> Aye
<MargareTZ> just so there's no conflict, I nominate Nessie's Grotto
<Patric> Kim Murphy - Bygone days
<Karen> N3F, Lois Wickstrom and Kaires for Sime Center
<Karen> That's the 4.
<JL> We have 4 nominees for the first Out-Territory Award, for work done in 2001, Sime Center, Nessie's Grotto, Bygone Days and N3F. Note the nominations are for domain sections, not specific individual people. The people involved are Lois Wickstrom, Jean Lorrah, and Kim Murphy and associates and the N3F is a club, Laura Hazelwood in charge of their website.
<JL> They have all been moved and seconded. All in favor of awarding the first Out-Territory Award to these 4 sections, say Aye!
<JL> aye!
<MargareTZ> aaye
<Patric> Aye
<N`omi> aye!
<Karen> aye
<MaryLou> Aye
<DonJ> Aye!
<JL> Anyone else going to vote?
<Jean> aye
<Patric> Ok.. Missed that..
<JL> I have 8 out of 13 voting Aye for this slate of 4 nominees for the first Out-Territory Award. They are awarded, and Patric will be asked to make a new page in the Awards section for these creative contributions.
<Jean> Out-Territory Awards for contributions to by sites w/o S~G content.
<Jean> Book Reviews!!!
<MargareTZ> second Book Reviews
<Patric> third Book reviews.
<JL> The problem with including Book Reviews in the first Out-Territory award is that the award is for originating a section of the domain this year. Book Reviews - while pivotal and crucial to our operations, has been there since our first days. It is true the section deserves Recognition for this year's work though.
<Jean> Outreach is for sites that bring a wide variety of visitors to Doesn't include Nessie, for example, which has a specific if large audience. Sites that bring in people with a wide variety of interests.
<JL> We have now official created the Outreach award, as defined by Jean Lorrah.
<JL> The out-Territory award is for a new contribution during the year, specifically of an entire section of the domain.
<Jean> Nominate Reviews for the Outreach Award.
<JL> The Outreach award may be won any number of times by the same domain section.
<JL> I second the nomination of Reviews for the first Outreach Award.
<MargareTZ> second nomination of Reviews
<Lisa> Yeah reviews is a good choice
<JL> All in favor, say Aye!
<MargareTZ> aye
<Lisa> Aye
<Jean> aye
<JL> aye
<Patric> Aye
<Karen> aye
<MaryLou> Aye
<N`omi> aye!
<Broomstic> aye
<Seanara> Aye.
<JL> 10 out of 13 present have voted Aye for awarding the first Outreach to the Reviews Section for this year's work bringing a wide variety of visitors to the domain.
<JL> The award is bestowed upon the Reviews section, and Patric will be asked to create a page for it in the Awards Section.
<JL> Note that this award is to a section, not a particular person. This year, both Shari and Marge have worked very hard to keep the large and ever growing section updated.
<JL> I think we've come to the end of business. Is there any other new business?
JL> Are there any questions on other topics anyone would like to ask Jean or me -- or anyone else? social chit-chat is now acceptable.
<Jean> If that's it, then Happy Year's Turning, everyone!
<JL> We may have a contract for reprint of the S~G novels -- but nobody's holding their breath yet.
<JL> We're about to leap to our new server so smoothly you won't notice anything except increased speed and capacity.
<JL> Meeting adjourned
Session Close: Tue Jan 01 16:34:37 2002

Logs edited by Karen MacLeod

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