MeFi Nascent Nonprofit Update January 11, 2024 9:34 AM   Subscribe

The MeFi interim board met Jan. 3.

MrMcsurly gave a presentation on the state of MetaFilter’s current finances and operations, followed by questions, answers and discussion. The purpose of the review is to evaluate options and provide the Interim Board with the information needed to transition the LLC to a new non-profit status. The rest of the meeting was focused on community engagement. Details to come later.

We decided to meet for 90 minutes, every other Thursday, starting Jan. 18. We are still working on housekeeping matters such as refining our goals and process(es) for decision making. The governance committee is starting its work.

Apartment dweller is helping the board as a dedicated note-taker. GenjiandProust, a former member of the steering committee, is helping as a member of the governance committee. Rebent has resigned, due to other obligations. He had taken a leadership role and helped set the agendas.
posted by NotLost to MetaFilter-Related at 9:34 AM (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Has whomever is in charge of clicking buttons at Metafilter figured out how to pull a revenue statement yet, and is this information being provided regularly to the board?
posted by phunniemee at 10:05 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]

Hurray for progress!

Will the minutes of those semi-weekly meetings be shared?
posted by wenestvedt at 12:12 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

I'd like to say thank you to all of the nice people working hard on their own time to keep this place going.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:26 PM on January 11 [33 favorites]

Hi folks - I don't speak for the group, but I'll reply, and I'm part of the group of volunteers and I did the financial review. If my Interim Board colleagues disagree or want to add anything, I hope they will.

Our mandate, as I see it, is to help Metafilter LLC (a privately-held corporation) become a non-profit organization (possibly/likely a 501(c)3 under US tax law), which can be accountable to this community and a public interest mission. As NotLost posted above, I did a high-level review of the balance sheet and assets to give some information and advice to the group as we figure out how to do that transition. I was able to review the last few months of revenue data, and last year's overall P&L, staffing, expenses, etc.

I know some folks want more visibility into the books; I'm not here to have an opinion about it, or the people doing that work. I will just note that the Interim Board isn't mandated or equipped to evaluate the books in detail. We haven't asked for monthly statements, and we likely won't. To do our work, we need to know what the revenue and expenses look like, and to the best of our ability, know what we'll be setting up for a new board. I can say that I was provided everything I asked for, and without reservation, and I'm satisfied with what was provided.

A new legal non-profit board, and a new ED, might do more analysis and will have governing authority, and more accountability to the community by design and obligation. Our job, as I see it, is to get things to that point, and let that Board lead in collaboration with our community.
posted by mrmcsurly at 12:33 PM on January 11 [36 favorites]

This is good news! Thank you for the report, and thank you to everyone who is doing the work to keep MetaFilter MetaFiltering.
posted by cupcakeninja at 12:48 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]

Apartment dweller is helping the board as a dedicated note-taker. GenjiandProust, a former member of the steering committee, is helping as a member of the governance committee. Rebent has resigned, due to other obligations. He had taken a leadership role and helped set the agendas.

Sample meeting report paragraph hard to read outloud with straight face.
posted by y2karl at 1:55 PM on January 11

Will the minutes of those semi-weekly meetings be shared?

That question is part of the discussion on community engagement, which is still continuing.

My update should have said that we started that discussion.
posted by NotLost at 4:41 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

"Sample meeting report paragraph hard to read outloud with straight face."

Not clear on what the criticism is. Is it ridiculous to have somebody taking notes during a meeting? Because trust me, reconciling half a dozen different ones or recapping from memory ain't great. Having somebody (GaP) with a background in governance helping determine a structure for a legal nonprofit is also a pretty sensible idea. And while we'll miss rebent, he did a great job helping to kick the group off by setting up thoughtful one-on-one interviews to break the ice and get a sense of shared goals. The nature of volunteering means not everybody has the capacity to be involved all the time, and that's okay.

If it's about the post being pretty brief, you can blame that on me. I attended the last meeting while out of state for the holidays, and agreed to recap it when asked. I knew I'd be traveling back and have a lot of make-up IRL work to do, but carved out some time to work on it after I got home. Had some discussion about making it a comment vs. a new post, what points to include, made a transcript of the meeting and started on a draft post (in Notepad because it's a habit)... only to lose it all due to a power outage from this week's big winter storm. (It was extra frustrating because I'm in the process of setting up a new computer; if I'd been using the new one I could have used the new Notepad autosave feature, but no dice.) I haven't yet had time to rewrite it, but thankfully NotLost posted this update just to let everyone know the basics, which is nicely responsive to some of the questions people had in the last update about what's been going on with the nonprofit push.

Could I have done this better? Yeah, I should have let folks know about what happened instead of letting it become quietly delayed, and should probably join the 21st century and start doing stuff like this in shared cloud formats for better redundancy and collaboration. I've also reorganized my work schedule starting next month so I'll have some guaranteed time for future meetings and related tasks. We're all doing what we can in our limited spare time to help make things work; it's not always ideal but it's a lot better (and healthier) than the top-down one-man benevolent dictator approach that just led to bottlenecks and burnout. If you see something you think you can help with or that could be improved, feel free to reach out and join us -- that's what apartment dweller did with her offer of notetaking help. Greater community involvement like this is the whole point.

PS: One downside for juggling this stuff with work and holiday stress is that there's less time to actually enjoy and contribute to the site itself! Shout-out to NoxAeternum for covering the big college football retirement story (Saban stepping down is a genuine day of mourning here in Alabama), and I hope to find time to put something together for the Iowa caucus in *gasp* three days).
posted by Rhaomi at 11:11 PM on January 11 [5 favorites]

Thank you all for the update. Hearing directly from the Interim Board is incredibly valuable, even if the notes are brief, and it's very reassuring to know things are moving along.

I also appreciate mrmcsurly's note on the financials. I remain keen to see monthly trends in data but I assume these are coming in the near future.
posted by adrianhon at 2:01 AM on January 12 [6 favorites]

Not clear on what the criticism is.

Personally I find it very amusing (in a non-critical way) to read professional-sounding minutes where the names are all MeFi usernames like mrmcsurly or apartment dweller. Not at all a comment on the work being done here or the quality of the minutes, just two different cultures (professional writing vs absurdist naming style) happening to meet in a way that results in delight.
posted by terretu at 2:43 AM on January 12 [44 favorites]

Exactly. It was the names that amused me. No disrespect was intended. I suppose I could have added the caveat 'read aloud to a stranger.'
posted by y2karl at 5:51 AM on January 12 [19 favorites]

Thank you for your work. And thank you for the updates!
posted by mochapickle at 6:55 AM on January 12 [8 favorites]

I am on the board of two organizations, and we meet monthly. Having good minutes in a consistent style is, basically, our memory.

Hurray for the note-takers!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:46 AM on January 12 [12 favorites]

Thank you for all the work you are all doing, and for the update.
posted by pianissimo at 6:47 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

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