Notes from WGPO General Membership Meeting

Notes from WGPO General Membership Meeting

Minneapolis, MN

August 6, 2012

Approximately 50 people attended.

Larry Rand called the meeting to order at 8 pm.

Introductions:  The WGPO Executive Committee was represented by Stephanie Steele (MN), Keith Hagel (CO), and Rick Wong (CA).  The Board of Player Representatives attendees included Steve Pellinen (MN), Susi Tiekert (FL), Peggy Grant (SC) and Larry Rand (AZ).  Unable to attend was Laurie Cohen (AZ).

Rick Wong announced that Reno WGPO tournaments are scheduled thru 2015 at Grand Sierra Resort.  Rick broached the idea of having the July 4th tournament be held in conjunction with a word game players convention. Words With Friends® and casual Scrabble® players would be included in the target audience.   Ideas are welcome (Coaching by experts, lecturers, discussion leaders, classes for new players).

Brian Galebach reported that he is working on ratings and looking to improve the system with the help of another volunteer.  Brian explained the functionality of the website. Stability of the system is being addressed through setting standards. Aaron Daly volunteered to work on the technical aspect of the functionality.

There was a question on how ratings are translated for players who have been inactive for some time. Larry responded that tournament directors start with the player’s existing rating; we will be looking into the possibility of “translating” the old rating using multipliers.

Keith Hagel announced that earlier Monday, he called a committee meeting for planning the Denver area Word Cup for 2013 (WC2013).  In attendance were Keith Hagel and Angela Dancho (co-organizers of the 2013 Word Cup), Steve Pellinen and Sue Hoehn (2012 Word Cup Directors), Rick Wong  (WC2013 co-director with Angela), and Stephanie Steele.  Plans are well underway, and it is likely that WC13 will be in August at the Denver airport Crowne Plaza.  The exact dates are to be determined, and the committee intends to announce the dates before Labor Day.  Discussion points:

  • Anne McCarthy from Durango, CO volunteered to be on the committee.
  • Keith commented that the committee will attempt not to bump up against the date of NASPA nationals.
  • The Committee will be asking people to spearhead regional efforts to recruit players.
  • Bennett Jacobstein has offered to do Trivia again.
  • Keith asks everyone here to talk one or two other players into going to Denver Please email Keith with ideas.
  • Brian raised the issue of ratings cutoff in unlimited play up tournament.
  • Janice Kaye feels strongly that prize money should be distributed equitably among the divisions, and likes to give directors autonomy.
  • Mike Johnson likes that money is not as emphasized in WGPO and we can reach more people who cannot necessarily pay to go NASPA, especially mid and lower range players.
  • David Weiss mentioned that he liked the fun prizes in Reno.

Word Cup 2014 locale was discussed. Steve Grob suggested mid-size cities, and Jason Vaysberg suggested centrally located cities.  Larry expressed a main concern with picking the location is having people on the ground who are seasoned and available to work. Ann mentioned considering area with major airport. Canadian membership would need to be built up in order to host a Word Cup in Canada. Steve Grob suggested advance planning years out. Nadine Jacobsen suggested having tournament over the span of 4 days instead of 5.

In a show of hands, almost all in attendance intend to come to Denver.

An early bird later start suggested by Brian.

A question was raised about the rules used by WGPO. Larry stated that we use the same rules as the NSA framework while putting more discretion in the hands of the director.  Steve Pellinen pointed out that the 4 basic rules are on the contestant scorecard (Play Fair, Be Nice, Have Fun, Be Quiet).  Steph Steele commented that fairness and common sense are used by directors for guidance in making a decision.

John Aitken suggested instituting a membership fee.  This will be discussed in the EC/BPR meeting tomorrow.  John mentioned $20 annual.  $1 per tournament discussed.  Lynda Finn commented that several Madison players would not play if membership fee required.  No fees will be imposed without a vote by membership.  John A. suggested a rating fee. Maddy Kamen suggested a $5 surcharge per tournament. Lynda suggested a rule that you don’t have to be a member to play but do have to be member to win.

Meeting adjourned 9:10 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Melissa Brown
WGPO Member Liaison

Notes from WGPO EC/BPR Meeting

Notes from WGPO EC/BPR Meeting

Minneapolis, MN

August 7, 2012, 1 pm

The WGPO Executive Committee was represented by Stephanie Steele (MN), Keith Hagel (CO), and Rick Wong (CA).  The Board of Player Representatives attendees were Steve Pellinen (MN), Susi Tiekert (FL), Peggy Grant (SC) and Larry Rand (AZ).  Unable to attend was Laurie Cohen (AZ). Nonvoting attendees were Janice Kaye and Melissa Brown.

Agenda items:

  • Word Cup 2013, to be held in the Denver area – This was discussed in last night’s general membership meeting; no further discussion needed at this time.
  • Ratings and Website – The current Website contract is up in 28 days. Aaron Daly has offered to host the website for no charge.  Henry and Aaron to discuss transfer of website and ensure that the transfer of data is done with no loss of data or integrity. Rick so moved, Keith seconded the motion. Unanimously passed.

(NOTE:  Keith will take care of getting all the directors named on the website.)

  • Rick raised the topic of Word Cup 2014 and the Proposal for Lansing, Michigan (Jeff Clark).  Keith has discussed with Jeff the need for a dedicated committee. Susie suggested that the tournament be dedicated to Stella (the late Cheryl Cadieux).  Open to proposals for other locales — Larry suggested that once the date is announced for WC 2013 we open up to suggestions for WC 14.
  • Logo contest .  Steph recapped the history of the logo contest; Lawren Freebody has been selected as the winner and this will be announced in the tournament on August 8th.  Georgia vs Comic Sans font discussed; Georgia selected.
  • Membership dues.  Larry outlined two ideas:

1.  Suggest that All directors add line on tournament entry form for voluntary contribution

2. Add fee to all tournaments, vs. a per person annual fee

It was proposed by Rick that Larry develop standard suggested language for player donations to be used on entry forms.  The suggested wording will be sent by email to all active WGPO directors.

  • Clubs affiliated with WGPO were discussed.  There is an opening for a point person to manage the list of clubs. Peggy, whose tenure ends later this year, will consider taking on the management of the club list.
  • Nominating committee will need to be reinstated soon because elections are up for later this year.
  • Discussion on rule book was tabled because of time constraints … to be continued.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:15 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Melissa Brown
WGPO Member Liaison

Donations and tournament fees

August 16, 2013
To:  WGPO Tournament Directors
CC:  WGPO Membership
From:  WGPO Executive Committee & Board of Player Representatives
Topic:  Donations and tournament fees

At our meeting in Bloomington, MN, the topic of yearly dues, donations and tournament fees was discussed by the EC and BPR.  At this time, the WGPO will not be implementing mandatory membership fees. The organization will be encouraging player support through voluntary donations and tournament fees.  Tournament players will bear most of the responsibility for providing funds to the organization.  We are hopeful that this income will meet our financial needs.
Suggestions:  When you are preparing your tournament flier for the website, please consider adding the following statement on the entry form:

If you would like to make a voluntary contribution to the WGPO, you may add a donation to your entry fee and it will be forwarded to the organization at the end of the tournament. The WGPO does not have annual membership fees.

All directors have full authority for their event, and if you wish, you may add whatever amount you feel is appropriate to each entry fee and state that clearly on your flier before you email it to Dave Wood (
Example:  For a one day tournament with 25 players, you may want to add $1 or $2 to your entry fee, or simply deduct it from the prize pool.

All donations and tournament fees collected by the directors should be mailed to Janice Kaye, 1893 Highland Parkway, St. Paul, MN, 55116.
If you have other ideas for raising funds for WGPO, please forward them to the executive committee:

Thank you for all you do to help make the WGPO successful.
Members of the Executive Committee and Board of Player Representatives

Logo and Name Contest

Announcing an enhanced logo and name contest, with entries due before May 15, 2012.  Please read carefully and completely, including the expanded explanation at the end.  We understand that some of you couldn’t care less about names and logos.  That’s fine, and you can certainly ignore the rest of this.  Otherwise, read on:

Following our recent request soliciting ideas for a logo for our organization, there has been some discussion about how logos and names can be tied together, how they can brand and contribute to a positive image for an organization, and how the acronym WGPO (for Word Game Players’ Organization) may or may not play a positive role in our image and potential growth.

With that in mind, we are expanding the logo contest to include, if you choose, suggestions for a new name (and possible acronym) for our organization.  Please note that WGPO will not change its name without a vote of the entire membership.

Here are your options for entries (multiple entries are welcome):

1.  Submit a standalone logo idea to go with any name.

2.  Submit a logo tied to the WGPO name.

3.  Submit a proposed new name for the organization, with an explanation why you prefer it to WGPO.

4.  Submit a logo tied to a new name, with an explanation why you prefer it to WGPO.

Please send your entries before May 15, 2012, to both the Executive Committee and the Board of Players Representatives (entries will be forwarded to other review committee members)

For the logo, your submittals need not be of final, professional quality, but should be drawn or depicted carefully enough to give a clear idea of your concept.  Keep in mind the potential uses of a logo, including stationery, envelopes, webpages, posters, banners, cards, clothing and other products – these and a variety of other uses mean that a logo needs to be adaptable and legible in a variety of sizes and contexts.

An ad hoc committee will do the initial review and narrow down the choices to the top two or few.  If there are sufficient entries (with explanations) for a new name, the top candidates, along with WGPO, will be subjected to a vote of the membership.  Otherwise, the review committee will select the winning logo design.

The winning logo designer will receive a $130.00 cash prize, which coincidentally matches the entry fee for the Word Cup.

Expanded explanation for a possible name change:

The discussion on the rationale behind choosing a logo, and possibly a new name, for our organization has recognized that both a name and logo have potential to, in and of themselves, attract and intrigue potential members as well as provide a sense of identity, satisfaction and pride for existing members.  Think about names like Words with Friends, Facebook, Google, Scrabulous – these are great names that, combined with a great product or service, initially intrigued and attracted, and later solidified, a great customer or user base.  WGPO, or Wig-Po, is probably, at best, a neutral contributor in its name value.

WGPO was a somewhat hastily chosen expedient name.  Perhaps it is the best name for us, perhaps not, but with the logo need, now is a good time to reconsider our name and how we want to present ourselves to the world.  Remember, that while our initial focus has been on Scrabble, our bylaws allow us to expand into other word game worlds.  Some of these even have potential to significantly enhance our initial focus.

For example, while closely related to Scrabble, Words with Friends is a different game with millions of players.  Presumably some of these players might be interested in more organized, competitive play.  We should be able to provide that opportunity, either via Scrabble or even by organizing events that cater to their particular game and lexicon. Will these players be interested or intrigued by a name like WGPO?  Perhaps, but maybe there is something better that we should consider.

We understand that we need to steer clear of trademark or copyright infringements, but those are easily avoidable as long as we are aware of them.

Note:  Scrabble is a Hasbro trademark, Words with Friends is owned by Zynga, Facebook is a corporate name, Google is a corporate name, Scrabulous morphed into Lexulous.

2012/02/19 WGPO Committees and Board of Player Representatives Meeting

WGPO Committees and Board of Player Representatives Meeting

Phoenix, AZ

February 19, 2012

Attendees:  Laurie Cohen, Steve Pellinen, Rick Wong,  Stephanie Steele, Larry Rand, Keith Hagel; Susan Hoehn (nonvoting), Bobbi Hendrickson (nonvoting), Janice Kaye (nonvoting), Melissa Brown (nonvoting).  (Not attending:  Susi Tiekert, Peggy Grant.)

Keith called the meeting to order at 1 pm

1)  “cross-tables” update: WGPO would like to pursue having some of the features that are part of “cross-tables,” which only lists NASPA tournaments and player data.   Over a period of time, we might be able to enhance the ratings pages at the WGPO website and add tournament records and other data for posterity.

2)  Word Cup 2012 update:

Budget: Steve gave a high-level overview of the tournament budget. He reported that fundraising is on track: the Fundraising Committee is approximately halfway to reaching the goal of raising $6,500.  Sixty-four people have expressed interest in attending the Word Cup.  At this time, there are six paid entries. Steve said that the breakeven point will be when the hotel has reservations for 80% of  the 200 room nights for which we are committed (i.e., a minimum of 32 rooms for five nights).

Publicity: Various forms of publicity were discussed, including:

  • Email to potential attendees (Rick will provide Steve with a list of 2011 Word Cup attendees)
  • Personalized notes to club directors
  • Monthly email to membership
  • a postal mailing to WGPO members who do not have email addresses (Melissa will compile a list of physical addresses of WGPO members who do not have email and follow up with the WGPO member who volunteered to do a mailing.)

Advertising: The group discussed buying advertising in the Last Word newsletter.   Larry moved that WGPO fund the advertising, Steph seconded the motion. Rick abstained, other board and committee members voted yea.  Motion carried.  Next steps:  Keith will email the Last Word editor for quotes on a quarter page and a half page advertisement in 4 issues, will cc Steve.  Steve will work on graphic format to provide for Publication.  Rick suggests including a link to the WGPO site in the ad to count the number of hits.

Other notes: Keith suggested leveraging literacy volunteer event tie-in.  Rick suggested considering other methods of communication, including Facebook.   Bobbi is preparing a list of things to do in the Twin Cities.  WGPO intends to make a donation to the Word Cup; amount to be determined by the EC within 7 to 10 days.

3)  2013 Word Cup update. Keith stated that planning needs to begin soon for next year’s Word Cup, with the goal of being able to announce the city of 2013 at the 2012 Word Cup this August.  A WGPO member has already suggested Colorado as site. To elicit suggestions from others, Larry will draft an announcement to be sent to members of WGPO, give them 1-2 weeks to reply with ideas for the tournament city.  The EC will make the decision, followed by the formation of a planning committee to be headed by someone who resides in the area selected.

4)  Nationwide tournaments. Janice Kaye reported that those who have passed the WGPO director test (@ 10 people) have not yet directed a tournament.  Larry reported that Philadelphia had the largest attendance of one-day tournaments in the past year.  Rick suggested sponsoring a mentoring program for new directors.

5)  Website. The group discussed content and format of the WGPO Website.  Different “wish list” items were discussed, including functionality of the ratings and tournament entry lists, showing the state next to entrant’s name, and indicating who has paid.  Keith has received web development ideas from the database manager, which he plans to review and prioritize after consulting with EC and BPR members.  The webmaster of the Twin Cities clubs has expressed interest in helping out with website.  Rick moved that Steph and/or Steve approach this individual about displaying content of the site.  Motion passed.

Additional note:   Larry mentioned that some edits need to be made to the member registration form, to follow up with Melissa.

6)  Outreach and Development. The group discussed WGPO’s need for more directors, a wider geographic base, mentors for directors, more volunteers, and outreach to clubs.     Incorporation is to be formally considered at some point.  It has been shown that we continue to get new members when new tournaments take place. Regarding reaching out to the wider base of word game players, Rick mentioned that millions of people are playing   Words With Friends; there is an opportunity to figure out where to go with this.  Other potential members include people who play in online tournaments.  There are publicity opportunities, for example, running tournaments for the benefit of a charity.  Discussed making tournaments available and accessible to new players, for example, having 4- game tournaments in conjunction with 8- game tournaments.  Rick will work on drafting a message to WGPO members regarding development opportunities.

7)  Logo contest. Steve motioned that the group have a  WGPO logo design contest, with the prize being free entry to the Word Cup.  Steph seconded.  All voted in favor.  Janice to draft the message and send to Keith for editing.

Keith adjourned the meeting at 2:40 pm

Respectfully submitted,

Melissa Brown

Amendment to the Bylaws

WGPO members recently APPROVED two proposals to change Article IX of the

Proposal 1. WGPO tournament directors may offer approved invitational
tournaments (with further definition and approval requirements to be

Proposal 2. WGPO tournament directors may offer WGPO members-only

Proposal 1 received 69 YES votes and 18 NO votes.

Proposal 2 received 56 YES votes and 18 NO votes.

Voting began on December 12, 2011 and ended on December 26, 2011.

Respectfully Submitted,
Nominations and Elections Committee
Dick McHugh
Ruth Hamilton
Mary Krizan