LOPSA: What’s in a name?

(Note: I’m not writing this in my official capacity as anything except a blogger who gets aggravated and abuses his soapboax)

And here’s where I make some people mad…

Major League Baseball. The National Football League. Major League Soccer. English Premier League. The National Hockey League. The National League of Nurses. Commercial Law League Of America. The League of American Bicyclists. The League of Cities. Child Welfare League of America. League of American Orchestras.

What do all of these organizations have in common? They’re all active organizations that are relevant to the 21st century and even though they’ve all got the word League in their name, none of them take crap from anyone about it.

But every once in a while, I’ll talk to a system administrator about the League of Professional System Administrators, and they’ll snicker. <voice=”fake incredulous”>League? Do you guys wear spandex, too?</voice>

Why? Because of this:

(that's me in the middle)

And why does that come to mind? Because the person that I’m talking to is a comic book geek. Or at least is more well versed in comic book alliances than in real-life organizations. I’m not actually sure which, but it really doesn’t matter.

What actually does matter is that some people are so hung up on a name that they refuse to join the organization. This is stupid.

Granted, there are some organizations that I wouldn’t join because of the name. Lots of them start with “Nazi party of…”; the point is that while there are good reasons for not joining a group because of the name, none of those reasons apply to LOPSA.

I could write a long paragraph about how League and has been on the rise in the 21st century, but I won’t. There’s no reason to. League is fine. The dictionary definitions are all in agreement and NONE of them mention its use being deprecated.

Of course, some people claim that it’s not that the word League is so bad, it’s just that they don’t like the name. Most of the time I hear this, it’s after I shoot down their above-mentioned theories on SysAdmins in Spandex (which is another group I wouldn’t join, but not because of the name). You know what, if you just don’t like the name, there aren’t any arguments from me that can change your mind…

…but to those people, let me impress upon you a thought. LOPSA is an organization of professionals. It has dedicated itself to improving the profession of which you are a practitioner. Whether or not you join them, they’re going to continue to work on your behalf. If you agree with the goals of the organizations, but would let your personal preferences about the name of the group stop you from joining, then I can only leave you with the immortal words of my little sister:

Build a bridge, and get over it

  • Jason Dixon

    I have absolutely zero problems with LOPSAs name. What I do have a problem with is that nobody is able to give me a real answer as to why it’s relevant, and what it actually does to earn all those dues.

  • Good post, Matt. Amusingly enough, one of the marketing team at Stack Exchange always asks me if I’m going to a “Lobster Meeting” since LOPSA, Lobster, well, you know. I told her last time that I’m sure membership would soar if lobster was served for dinner.

  • Jason: Replied via email.

    Peter: That’s hilarious. And yes, I’m sure it would! Talk to Justin and Doug about that ;-)

  • Scott Murphy

    Great post Matt. As long as we are not served with drawn butter and garlic, I’m not too concerned about the name. It would be nice if we had a list of ongoing projects and successes that were readily visible to the casual observer. That might help with questions like Jason asked.

  • Any true comic geek would have referenced The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

  • @Joe

    True. I’m not a true comic geek. Sorry.

  • It’s okay Matt. I forgive you … but the Internet may not. :-)

  • I echo Jason’s thoughts. I never thought to argue about its name. A thing has to be useful in the first place for me to feel enough interest to argue over its name. =)

  • @Matt I see you posted the picture with me directly to your left.

  • Will Dennis

    I agree with Jason – it *has* been in operation for a long time without much to show for it… I remain a member pretty much only by attending the PICC conference every year, which includes a 1-yr membership renewal… (I assume a lot of good people have been trying, but I really can’t think of much concrete benefit of belonging, at least up til now…)

    That said, I *do* think it’s valuable to network with my peers at the local LOPSA-NJ meetings and at PICC…

  • Alex

    Please post your reply to Jason here?

  • Alex:

    I can’t post it verbatem, since Jason and I go back a bit, and not all of it is public knowledge (even though it isn’t secret, per say).

    The idea is this: current money is largely going to pay previously acquired debt. We’re not currently garnering new debt in any significant amounts, but some of the LOPSA programs do take some amount of money. It costs money to pay trainers, for instance. Whenever possible, we strive to run events as cash-positive, and to my knowledge, both LOPSA-run conferences are…but I am not privy to the LOPSA budget, so I can’t verify that independently, other than saying, with 100% certainty that PICC last year was cash-positive for the conference. I know that because I chaired it.

    I am now on the LOPSA Leadership Committee. I fully plan on using my membership on that committee to encourage openness and transparency into the LOPSA budget, both in terms of expenditures and outstanding debt. I think that all of us having knowledge of the situation will lead to more successful outcomes. I have every expectation that, over the next year or so, members will be able to look at the situation and see where their money goes. That’s my goal.

  • Iain

    League kinda fits well with the with the whole LOPSA, IRC, mailing list, beardy, thing that the modern world left behind some time ago.

  • Lyle

    Are the LOPSA expenditures and debt open to review by current LOPSA members?

  • Lyle: Yes, although they’re not completely itemized. As a nonprofit organization, LOPSA files a Form 990, which is available on Guidestar.org.