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WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes 6/5/22


From Helen Flores:

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm CST.

Attending: Will Anderson, Steve Pellinen, Jan Cardia, Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Keith Hagel.
Absent: Bennett Jacobstein.

Approve April 2022 Minutes: No changes to minutes as posted on the WGPO website.

Executive Session Report: The Board met at 6:30 pm CST and held a closed Executive Session meeting to discuss disciplinary action against a member of the larger Scrabble community. In late March 2022, Directors were notified that one or more players charged that the individual created a threatening, harassing or bullying experience.  Directors reviewed information including the individual’s own postings and written messages, and Steve Pellinen asked the individual to reply to concerns.  At the Executive Session Board members took the following action, with Steve Pellinen recusing himself from the vote.

Suspend the individual from participation in any WGPO event for 5 years. Should the individual wish to participate after that period, require that the individual publicly acknowledge past wrongdoing and refrain from repeating such actions and making comments that violate WGPO standards of behavior.

Tournament Committee Report: Via E-mail, Bennett Jacobstein asked Board members to vote on funding alternatives for WGPO major regional tournaments. By May 21, 2022, all Board members voted to use CCSFF moneys for the following:

  • $5000 for each regional tournament: Midwest, West, South
  • $15,000 pot of prize funds for several smaller tournaments and other initiatives.

Website Update: Charles and Thomas Reinke joined the Board meeting to report on their work revamping the WGPO website. Over the last six months they have made good progress. They have worked with Steve and Mike Johnson during this time. The overall goal is to make the site user friendly.

  • Improve the visual design of the site.
  • Modernize the membership system that was put together over a decade ago.
  • Increase availability of statistics and add functionality.

Charles and Thomas then previewed the site for Board members, noting the ease of use and logical organization of information. Functioning screens included the following:

  • Front page – clean, uncluttered, modernized design. Includes a brief mission statement (to be specified) and upcoming tournament information – the information that most members would want to find first.
  • Membership system: This will use a unique identifier for individuals. It would combine the membership and rating system, integrate the login, facilitate signing up for tournaments (instead of sending emails to directors).  Member information would be easier to update and keep current. The Reinkes demonstrated detailed member, tournament, and rating statistics included on the revamped site. Thomas noted that they were inspired by some features on the Rubik’s cube website.
  • Pages for Tournament Directors – to manage registrations and more.
  • Donation button on the front page that can link to the payment system.

Board members had questions for the Web designers. Charles and Thomas illustrated responses with working screens.
Steve suggested the Reinkes discuss tournament data and coordinated efforts with Seth Lipkin (CrossTables).
Board members expressed excitement and had only positive comments about the new site. Improvements thus far are impressive. The statistics are incredible. Kudos to Charles and Thomas.

School Scrabble Championship Follow up and Future: Will reported on the event. He felt the NASSC was a great success. “The kids had a great time, it was nice to see many organizations working together towards a worthwhile goal, the streamed games were excellent, and the stream was exceptionally well produced by Christian Kay.”
Will’s wish for the future is for WGPO to receive more of the credit for doing the lion’s share of the financial backing (liability insurance & donation).  NASPA assisted with personnel and over $1,000 in supplies, including tiles and racks. Again, it was good to see them willing to work alongside WGPO.  Adding more directorial personnel to WGPO will be helpful here.  With more key people like this in the fold, such a compromise on WGPO members’ part won’t be necessary.  The live stream could be used as an opportunity for branding WGPO and for persistent calls to action to join the organization.

Word Cup Streaming update now:  Will provided this report.  “July is a busy month, with both Word Cup and NASPA’s event on the calendar. As a Scopely employee in charge of increasing the size and scope of our Twitch channel, broadcasting live streams for both events is highly appealing. However, Scopely has a finite yearly budget allocated
for these types of sponsorships and it may be difficult to adequately support both.
As a WGPO board member, I would like to position Word Cup as the best choice, in case Scopely should be forced to pick just one of the two to financially support. I believe NASPA asked for $10,000 as their entry level of sponsorship, which is not going to work for Scopely. That’s a good starting point for us, as we have the financial stability to support a live stream without nearly so large of an ask from Scopely.
However, note that anything Scopely does in North America requires Hasbro approval (and Mattel approval in the rest of the world). Both Hasbro and Mattel have made their stances on lexicons clear. Whether the choice to expurgate was sensible or logical is irrelevant.
When Will floated the question of whether the WGPO board (and by extension, the membership) might be comfortable with the idea of using the expurgated NWL list if it meant procuring live streaming sponsorship from brand holders, the answer seemed tobe an emphatic “no.”
That being said, for Scopely to offer financial support of the Word Cup live stream and receive Hasbro approval, WGPO would need to broadcast games without the possibility of racial slurs appearing on the stream. In this case it means broadcasting the CSW division.

Evans and Jen Clinchy have been organizing and planning the live stream on the CoCo side, so they would have no issue with this stipulation. However, given that WGPO money is powering Word Cup to a significant extent, the Board has issues to address.  Will noted that he would love to see a prominent WGPO event featured on the official Scrabble Twitch channel, but it needs to be under conditions that we all support.  He added that another big question is whether WGPO or CoCo would get equal billing as organizers on the live stream.  Will favored seeing WGPO emphasized here, given the overwhelming financial support the organization is providing to the event.
Evans and/or Jen plan to pitch their live-streaming plans to Scopely people, and Will said that he will keep the board updated as to further discussions Scopely may have.

Finances, etc. Steve noted that the Form 990 has been filed, and we should put it on

Insurance for Canadian events: The WGPO insurance policy does not cover liability for Canadian events. Steve said this issue needs research and he plans to ask contacts in the Calgary Club to need to initiate this. Ask Calgary Club to initiate?

Adjournment: The Board adjourned the meeting at 8:30 pm CST (Helen/Jan).

Helen Flores, Secretary, WGPO