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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • The mechanism of a non-profit membership organization in the United States is quite complicated and overly complex. It basically further cripples any action that the administration can do. When I started Perl Mongers, a couple of lawyers explained it all to me and my research all turned up the same answer: don't form as a membership organization if you can help it. If TPF becomes more like a guild (which is what you propose), its tax situation is completely different.

    If you were only in the presidency for a year, you wouldn't be able to implement the membership system, as you would have to dissolve the current corporation and form another one. The type of organization falls under a separate section of the US tax code. The complexity of this situation is beyond belief and requires quite a bit of accounting since the old organization has to liquidate all of its assets and pass them on to a similar organization with a similar mission. I went through this process to close down Perl Mongers, Inc. so TPF could subsume it, and my very simple situation took over two years. That is, TPF would have to start over, with no money. This protection basically ensures that you don't pull a bait-and-switch with previous donors who might not agree with the new form of the organization.

    As one of the partners of Stonehenge and the publisher of the onyl Perl magazine, I'd publicly be against any developer registration, even if TPF needed the money. As it is, TPF doesn't seem to have enough things to give money to and I don't see any reason why you'd need to charge people money for something that's essentially meaningless and without benefit. I certainly don't feel the need to give even more money to TPF. Just how much of my life does Perl need? I already do quite a bit for free or close to free, and I'm not going to give anyone any money to be call to call myself a "Registered Perl Developer". If TPF tries that, I'll set up a competing system at much lower costs (say, $1 for all levels) and suck your donor base away.

    Additionally, you'd suck your YAPC donor base dry, and instead of the intended model of a decentralized conference under local control, you're back to the thing that started YAPC: central control without local flexibility. Indeed, this has already become a problem.

    As for the White Camels, as their creator, I say that Dave Adler has a good system going and it should stay that way. Let the past recipients vote on the things and keep it an award of the community to community members rather than somethng you can buy (and as a donor of $10k, you'd be stupid not to try to get it for someone within your organization).
    • the onyl Perl magazine

      Does that have something to do with onions? :-)

    • As I said, it's a fictional scenario, but one that (ignoring the details of implementing it) I think many people would like to see.

      More participation, more feedback, more opportunity.

      As one of the partners of Stonehenge and the publisher of the only Perl magazine, your view is from a position far closer to the action than people on the other side of the world, with little to no access to the North American community.

      I personally got more out listening into a stream of Allison from Randal's laptop at one mee
      • People don't not particpate because they don't have a way to give money. A membership organization is not going to change that.

        In reality, charitable organizations will always have to beg for money. You get that by developing personal relationships with the people who give out the money (not just the organization that has the money). As a charity, no one can inure private benefit, which means that your plan turns TPF into a non-charity, which cuts you off from charitable giving.

        Changing things to an foreig
      • The TPF has too much money? Where did you find that out, because from out here I had no idea. There's no financials visible since 2003.

        Go to the TPF Web site [perlfoundation.org]. On the left side, near the top of the page, is a clearly visible "tax returns" link. Click on that and you'll see our tax returns through 2004 (I've no idea if this year's return has been filed as I don't handle the money).

        A little below that link is the Fund Drive Status [perlfoundation.org] link. Click on that and you'll see the money we pulled in for last year

        • Go to the TPF Web site. On the left side, near the top of the page, is a clearly visible "tax returns" link. Click on that and you'll see our tax returns through 2004 (I've no idea if this year's return has been filed as I don't handle the money).

          In Adam's defense, the tax returns had only gone through 2003 when he wrote his comment. When I read it, I double-checked to make sure he was right and noticed that the tax returns were only up through 2003. I had the 2004 return in PDF form, but I forgot to po

    • Having been on the Board of several US charities under section 501(c)(3) and an officer of one [former Secretary MoP [museumofprinting.org]], I endorse brian d foy's comments regarding non-profit governance. Membership organizations are possibly the most complex , but all non-profit governance in the US is complex. Not only does it depend upon the exact IRS chapter a corporation is registered under (scientific & educational, good works, fraternal, religious, ...), but also under which options under the local law of whichever
      --
      Bill
      # I had a sig when sigs were cool
      use Sig;