A Message from the ACCU Chair

A Message from the ACCU Chair

By Francis Glassborow

Overload, 6(29):, December 1998

If you are one of those members who usually put C Vu to one side because Overload is what you want to read, please dig out your copy of the last issue and read the extended editorial. ACCU is composed of members such as you and it is the members who should choose future directions. Of course your Committee will add advice and guidance but it is the decisions as made at AGMs and Special General Meetings that form the framework within which ACCU operates.

Almost a year ago I gave notice that I would not edit C Vu beyond the January 2000 edition. That is not a negotiable date (except that it can be brought forward by eight months). I also notified members that I would not accept nomination as Chair at any time after the 1999 AGM. As of the next AGM I will have served on your Committee as an Officer of CUG(UK)/ACCU for ten years. I will, by then, have written over a million words for publication in ACCU periodicals. It is time for the younger generation to take over.

Of course being the kind of person I am I will continue to write for ACCU publications as long as there is no suggestion that I am doing more than contribute to them.

Now let me turn to an important issue with regard to Overload, the small number of contributors. Check the last six issues, remove all material written by me, Kevlin Henney and 'the Harpist' together with material that responds to that material. How much is left? A lot of good stuff but not enough to even fill three issues. This is unhealthy. The prosperity of your favourite periodical depends on the work of your Editor and three regular contributors. Each of those three could add a regular source of income by selling the material they give you for free. More to the point, the time they take writing those articles is time that they cannot use for something else.

I am writing this at a time when for various reasons (read C Vu 11.1) I am under extreme time pressure yet somehow I will find time to write an article so that your editor will have just a little more to make up this issue.

The sad thing is that I know from talking with many of you when we meet that almost every one of you has something novel and worthwhile to share with others. I know it can be scary writing your first contribution. The actual process of writing English can be hard work even for a native English speaker, much worse for the increasing number of members for whom English is a second or even third language. Another problem is that many fear that they may show themselves up by making a mistake. Actually I do not know of any technical author who doesn't sometimes make a mistake.

I recently had an ex-member explain that he had resigned because he was fed up with my focusing on obscure syntax issues and 'the Harpist' not having the courage to write under his own name. If you sometimes feel that way or even just wish there was more in Overload you should know what you can do about it. If everyone leaves it to someone else nothing gets done and there is a real possibility that one day you will find that there is nothing left to do.

It is very easy to ignore the next deadline and promise that you will do something for the one after. Or as my mother used to say 'Tomorrow never comes, do it now.' And the first thing to do is to get out that copy of C Vu and think about where ACCU goes in the next millennium.

The second thing to do is to give your hard working editor a Christmas bonus by writing something for him. A full pending tray would let him look forward to 1999 with an easy heart.

Seasons Greetings to all of you and may 1999 be a vintage year for all.

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