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 Post subject: A forum for debate on Mustering
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2003 12:44 pm
Posts: 1200
Location: USA
Gents,

Let's have an open discussion on the topic of mustering, or more appropriately, keeping track of who is still active or not.

Before we start talking about future state, let's make sure we understand the current state and associated facts.

Our Club Rules address this topic:

2.4 Musters. There are no club dues and no regular club meetings. It would be easy for someone to drop out of the club and the club would never know. The rules for the muster may be set up by the Chief of the Army or the Army Commanders and not be less frequently than once per quarter. Generally, the muster will be via the chain of command and is usually by email or by message board postings. Other means might be used, such as a web page format.

I, as the Chief of the Army for the Union side of the Club, have the following Standing Order:

http://www.geocities.com/laubster22/Uni ... ng_Orders/

Standing Order #5 – Muster Requirements and Member Status



Muster

Muster of all assigned personnel is a requirement at the Army Commander level. Each Army Commander is directed to at minimum conduct a monthly poll of their assigned officers to ensure they remain active and in contact within the Club. This muster can be delegated to Corps and Division commanders, with results being collated at the army level if it is desired. The muster may be undertaken via any of the following methods:

Email from the Army, Corps or Division Commander
Reply to a Muster post at the Army tavern
Automated web forms
A member is considered to be in good standing if he is heard from at least once per quarter. If a member is not heard from during a given 3 month period, he is moved to the Hospital for 3 months before being Discharged. Every effort should be made to contact the officer in question, including emails, posts at Army and Club taverns, and soliciting opponents (use the game log to find them) for recent activity/contact, prior to moving an officer to Hospital or Discharged status.

Those are the basic facts.

Is it even needed? - Why do we muster? That's a decent question in and of itself. I think we need to have a way to keep the rolls current, if for no better reason than to not having to continue to grow the army structures.

Intent on frequency - My intent in having my Standing Order the way it is with a monthly muster, but only a quarterly consequence, is to help balance the desire to foster communications between folks in the same Division/Corps/Army against the chance that we're annoying some folks who want to focus on thier games a bit more. This Club is many different things to many different people, and striking a good balance is a key to it's success. One example of how that flexibility is implemented - the AoS has a Veteran's Division. It's understood those folks are longstanding members, and don't need to get caught up in some of the routine of admin - by mutual choice.

Practicality - It is definitely hit or miss amongst the Union Armies, and I'm sure from Division to Division. Again, I think it largely depends on the current or past commanders who have done a good job being flexible and balancing things appropriately that sets a strong precedent to be carried forward. I think it's entirely ok to have multiple avenues that work for different types of members - the AoS is a good example of that.

Now let's talk future state possibilities:

My preference is/has been using the Army tavern to post for muster, and try to get some dialogue going. Then if I didn't hear from some folks, I'd send them emails to check in.

Checking the DoR - I'm not a fan of this idea. How do you know a game is still active? I've done enough in 3 different Clubs to know games can sit open and abandoned for months. So just having an open game isn't a good indicator that someone is still around. If the guy you are playing just up and disappears, most folks will follow up, but many don't bother. They may or may not go in and file an end game for the 3 turns they had played, for example. This is too much like a ladder situation, which we are clearly not.

Web forms - Easy, accurate, allows someone to muster according to their schedule or availability. Very impersonal, though. I've tended to know more Rebs better than I know Union officers, because we've traded files and banter over the years, except for those Union officers I worked with on these types of things along the way. So I can see the place of the automated forms, if supplemented with other communications.

Email - Easy to send out an email one per month, and facilitates communication between a commander and his troops, but on a one on one basis. That's why I like the Tavern ideas better.

Other options?

I think the thing to keep in mind is different strokes for different folks. Structured options, so it's not a free for all.

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General Jeff Laub
Union Chief of the Army
ACWGC Cabinet Member
http://www.geocities.com/laubster22/UnionHQ/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:16 pm 
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Suh's

The Army of Georgia muster system and rules work along very similar lines to those outlined by Gen Laub. I personally do not think that mustering every month is that onerous. At the AoG officers are given up to four months grace and then they are still on the books in the hospital for another four. At no time do the AoG staff make officers muster with threats, although we do try bribary - free steak and beer at Miss Clarissa’s [:D][:D]

One of the key points of the AoG muster is not to ensure officers are playing games, but to make sure they are ok. Being a club in cyber space, with little or no physical contact, knowing that club members are alive and well is important.

If we changed the muster period to one that is greater I think we would loose a degree of club cohesion.

Cam McOmish
Chief of Staff
Army of Georgia

Brig Gen Gam McOmish
Georgia State Volunteers
Gainsville Infantry Division
King Cotton Corps
Army of Georgia
CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:10 pm 
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I favor an automated, club-wide system similar to the game registration system. If it is at all feasible. If it is, the automated responses could be (if possible) forwarded to the individual army commanders in question. I am not as up to speed on the ins and outs of running a website a gaming club system as others but, these are just ideas. They can be discussed, dismissed as not possible, or even altered.

To Bill's point, though, I have this to say. Army Commanders need to have more of a commitment to their jobs. Nobody wants to say 'No' to a request to help out. But maybe they should. Or at least just volunteer to fill the position until someone else can be found.

If your personal life will not permit you to contribute the time necessary to fulfill your periodic duties as an Army Commander you should not accept the post.

Mustering needs to be revamped, for sure. I feel it should be club-wide, as well.

On a similar note, I would like to thank General Laub and the Cabinet for allowing this debate. I urge EVERYONE, even if you do not have an opinion on the matter to present yourself to show appreciation for this opportunity to have our ideas presented.

CE Trog
CPT, USA
6th Artillery Bde
III Div/XVI Corps
Army of the Tennessee

E-Mail cetrog@comcast.net

"My aim was to whip the rebels. To humble their pride. To follow them to their innermost recesses and to make them fear and dread us. War is cruelty! There is no use in trying to reform it. The crueler it is the sooner it will be over."

-<i>William Tecumseh Sherman</i>-

"I will be as harsh as truth, and uncompromising as justice... I am in earnest, I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard."

- <i>William Lloyd Garrison</i> -


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:11 pm 
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Location: H.Q. Army of Georgia ACWGC
Sirs,

Up to date contact information for like-minded gamers is the prime reason many of us joined up. Because we are busy people, we benefit from player rosters that offer a high probability of successful contact. There is nothing more discouraging to a new club member than sending e-mail to dead accounts. I appreciate the efforts being made to facilitate our hobby. I am all for an elegant solution, but do support the concept of a regular muster. The AoG muster site is so easy to use that even a brand spanking new butter bars can do it in less than a Yank minute. If it took two Yank minutes, it would still be worth the effort to help maintain an accurate list of active e-mail candidates for gaming. And yes, I'd still be saying this even if the AoG Higher-Higher had already distributed Conduct Points for June.[;)]


<font size="4">Major Jon Ellis
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Officer Commanding
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The Hill Country Rifles Brigade
The Lone Star State Volunteers Division
Rough and Ready Corps
Army of Georgia
1/3/III</font id="size4">


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2003 12:44 pm
Posts: 1200
Location: USA
Good starts!

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Chris Trog Posted - Jun 17 2009 : 12:10:19 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mustering needs to be revamped, for sure. I feel it should be club-wide, as well.

<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

I think the technology is feasible, but out of my league. We do have automated forms in some of the armies in this Club and other sister Clubs. As for the club-wide status, what do you see as the value of that versus on a more "local" (Division/Corps/Army) level?


<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Bill Peters Posted - Jun 17 2009 : 12:16:17 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I know that I have mustered this year. Yet I cannot find any record of it on the AoA site Jeff.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Keeping websites up to date is a tough task - we have very few members with the skill set to do it. My Union HQ pages are on Geocities as a free host, but that service is going away soon - got to find another host site (preferably free, since a General's pay isn't what you'd think it is!) The website issue is a bigger one within the Club.

I'm on the record for keeping this Club as simple as possible - in the hands of the members, so to speak. If you make it too complex for anyone to hold positions of leadership, then you no longer have an open, democratic Club. You end up with some technocrats who run the joint, and others participation is limited by their relative IT prowess. The downside here is stuff can fall through the cracks, it's simpler methods and tools, that may not be as effective as some of the automated stuff available. It's a trade-off, but I err on the side of keeping leadership opportunity accessible to all.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">If we changed the muster period to one that is greater I think we would loose a degree of club cohesion.

Cam McOmish
Chief of Staff
Army of Georgia

<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

That is definitely the balance to be struck. It's that cohesion that sets us apart from being just another ladder. We have a command structure and an interactive history that set's us apart. We also need to recognize folks are here to game, banter, share history, etc. Not do admin. Keeping that minimal is important, and I think we can do better in that regard.

Keep the ideas and discussion coming!


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General Jeff Laub
Union Chief of the Army
ACWGC Cabinet Member
http://www.geocities.com/laubster22/UnionHQ/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:10 pm 
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Officers of the club,

I've already shared this in other threads, but since this one also pertains to the topic and is active, I'll add it here as well:

The Cabinet has discussed the topic of Mustering, and collectively agrees that the current Rules, as written, allow sufficient flexibility and guidance on Mustering in the Club. We also feel that personal interaction, where appropriate, is a key element that sets our Club apart, and as a Cabinet, we endeavor to encourage that interaction at all levels within the Club. Many tools or methods can be and are used for muster purposes, with the key to their effectiveness almost always being in how each individual commander implements them - not necessarily in the tool or technology itself. Any questions regarding the actual implementation of Muster should be directed to the respective Chain of Command up to either Union or CSA Chief of the Army.


Your humble servant,
Gen 'Dee Dubya' Mallory

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David W. Mallory
ACW - General, 3/2/I/AotM (Club President & Cabinet Member)
CCC - Lieutenant, Georgia Volunteers, Southern Regional Department, Colonial American Army


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:38 pm 
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We are having this same discussion over at The Winchester Arms, and I really like our system of mustering in the Tavern. Especially if we can get some banter going. We recently moved our muster from bi-monthly to monthly, and haven't suffered any ill effects. When I first came on, Ken Miller was running the AoS, and we did automated musters, and that was slick and easy. A few clicks, and whamo...you were mustered. However, Ken had a monthly parade for the AoS, where officers who were being promoted, or were being awarded medals, that month were recognized, and discussions were held at the Tavern with threads about the parade. (I miss the old parades!)

I do agree, as a CC, that I really don't earn my pay. My only real responsibilities are to send out a monthly email reminder to muster, and recommend officers in my corps for medals. I'm certain that my division commanders don't even have that much responsibility, and that should definately change. Maybe make the musters work their way up through the chain, or something to that effect. I do try to be as active as I am able, but, like Bill, I've been involved in creating scenarios as of late and have fallen off the horse, as it were. That I do intend to correct.

I can also see that while I do like the interaction with the people on here, that maybe some are really only interested in playing the games, and that's it. However, mustering once a month, or qtr., or whatever is decided on, is only a small encumberance to pay for the ability to find like minded people, interested in military history to wargame with that this club provides.

"We must decide. If it's the wrong thing, we'll find out soon enough, and can then do the other, but we must decide." US Grant

Major General Rusty Hodgkiss
VIII AoS
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:44 pm 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">One of the key points of the AoG muster is not to ensure officers are playing games, but to make sure they are ok. Being a club in cyber space, with little or no physical contact, knowing that club members are alive and well is important.

Cam McOmish
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">I agree with you on that.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Army Commanders need to have more of a commitment to their jobs. Nobody wants to say 'No' to a request to help out. But maybe they should. Or at least just volunteer to fill the position until someone else can be found.

If your personal life will not permit you to contribute the time necessary to fulfill your periodic duties as an Army Commander you should not accept the post.

CE Trog
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">I agree with you Chris on commanders at all levels having a commitment to their jobs and earning their monthly OBD points. But the problem is that often people are too busy with real life, lose enthusiasm, burn out, are spread thin over multiple roles or over several clubs, or in some cases they don't always get the support and help they need from their units. And let's face it, most of us don't enjoy paperwork! It seems to me that the club has always struggled to find enough people with the time and energy to do all the various admin jobs. That's why you see some armies functioning in total conformity with the standing orders and displaying great spirit and camaradie, while others struggle to maintain a website, award medals, conduct musters, or foster any kind of communication or spirit. Of couse not everyone wants all these things, and this I respect, but it is a real challenge to provide all the extras that make the club special. I guess that is why General Laub makes the very good point about keeping things simple and minimal, and for recognising the different levels of interest in non-gaming activities of a diverse membership.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">However, mustering once a month, or qtr., or whatever is decided on, is only a small encumberance to pay for the ability to find like minded people, interested in military history to wargame with that this club provides

Rusty Hodgkiss<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">I agree with that. I've always felt it was a privilege to be part of this club and that saying 'Yes I'm still here' once a month was the very least I could do to show my respect for my friends in my army and for the club as a whole.

My long experience with the AoC is this. For a long time the AoC has conducted musters in the private area of its forum. Division commanders initiate a muster post for their divisions and corps and army commanders make their own posts too. Then Corps Commanders assign OBD points and report to the Army Commander. Not everyone participates in this but those who do contribute greatly to the spirit and sense of camaraderie within the AoC. It's good to read of people's reports and some banter and discussion is generated by it and frienships are forged. The monthly awarding of medals follows and is also partly based on information in the muster reports. A certain portion of the army get to know each other well, and this leads to individuals feeling a sense of belonging and pride and wanting to get involved with the running of THEIR army. The army relies on TEAMWORK, not just the leadership of the Army Commander, and it's hard to see this happening without the channels of communication that exist, and which the muster is part of. Some people do not muster and therefore the DoR has to be consulted to see if they are active, followed by further emails, etc. Nobody is 'punished' for non-compliance, other than ending up in the hospital eventually if they are inactive and don't respond. However OBD points are awarded to those who do muster with additional points to those who submit a detailed report. The division with the best muster performance is also designated as the Honor Guard for the next month. So all types of member has a home in the army and there are ample opportunities for those who do want more out of the club than just the gaming. None of this can be taken for granted though. If a few key members dropped out maybe things could unravel. The challenge is to keep new members wanting to get involved so the veterans don't shoulder all the burden and burn out.

So for me you have to look at mustering within the context of the functioning and health of the command structure of each army, and see what can be done to improve/simplify/revitalise that. I think this was perhaps at the root of the problem that Bill Peters brought up.

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[url="http://homepage.ntlworld.com/a.r.barlow/acwgc/acwgc_personal_record.htm"]General Antony Barlow[/url]
[url="http://homepage.ntlworld.com/a.r.barlow/acwgc/western_theater.htm"]Commander, Western Theater, Union Army[/url]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:55 am 
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I am heartened to see statements made within this thread that add another dimension to this subject of <i>why</i> we muster! General Barlow has eloquently brought to the fore the elements of camaraderie and manners into the discussion; elements that, at their very root, seem to continually permeate much of what the ACWGC is founded upon and what distinguishes it from many of the so-called “ladder clubsâ€


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:15 pm 
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Gents:

There is not much that I need to add to these comments - other then the CSA HQ's does have balls and I did do something about the AoA. After looking and asking for someone to step forward to be AoA Army Commander - NO one did. So I asked Gen. John Dargan, who once was an Army Commander to help out and he did.

If there was a PROBLEM with in one of the Armies, I would like to have been advised of the situation so that I could check into it and get it corrected.

Blasting fellow Officers in an open forum is NOT the PLACE nor is the the TIme to do so.

As for the MUSTERING part of the CSA side: It does not vary much from the USA Side of the Club...My purpose was to have the officers inact with each other. See how they are doing, if there is any concerns, is there medical issues that they need to be out for a few months, just keep in touch. I have posted our SOP for Mustering below: It is not hard to do and most Armies have a Web Page set up for posting your muster. I forgot to post this month myself - so guess what - I don't earn my points this month for mustering.

As I have always said, we are here to have fun and make friends - it only takes a couple of minutes to muster. As the CoA, I don't have the time to check the DOR for every member on the CSA side to see if they have register a game or in a battle for each month. I know that each of the Army Commanders and down their chain does not have the extra time to do that as well. It is so much easier to muster and everyone will know each month.

Musters:

Regretfully, we have members every month who just disappear. In order to keep our rosters current with active members who want to participate, it is necessary for members to identify themselves each month by mustering by using the following guidelines.

Brigade Commanders

Submits a muster report each calendar month by the 1st calendar day of the following month to his Division Commander. Example: At the end of January 31, a muster report is due February 1st to Division Commander. This means a short e-mail to his Division Commander, that he is still active and a short summary of his activities (battles, maneuver etc.).

After failing to send a muster report three times in a row and without responding to the notification of his Division Commander or Corps Commander, the Officer will be assigned to the Hospital. (See Member Status).

Division Commanders

Submits a monthly report to the Corps Commander by the 3rd calendar day of the following month reflecting the divisional activities and with the information, which officers has mustered in and which not.


Corps Commanders

Submits a monthly report to the Army Commander by the 5th calendar day of following month with at least the Corps' OBD points.


War College Commandant

Submits a monthly report to the Chief of Armies by the 3rd calendar day of the following month detailing new articles, new intelligence reports and any other pertinent information for that institution.


Army Commanders

Submits a monthly report to the Theater Commander by the 7th calendar day of the following month with the Army's OBD points and optional recommendations for brevet promotions or awards. This report shall include the following at a minimum:

Number of officers assigned
Number of officers present or active
Promotions
Awards/OBD Points
e-mail address changes, name changes,

VMI Academy Commandant

Submits a monthly report to the Chief of Armies by the 3rd calendar day of the following month showing totals of Cadets by Armies, other information that is pertinent for the Chief of Armies and any awards that were issued. This report should show:
Number of Current Cadets
Number of Cadets Graduated for the month
Number of Cadets Sent to Army – listed by each army –year to date totals
Number of Cadets AWOL
Number of Cadets Discharged – monthly and year to date totals
Number of Graduated Cadets Year to Date compared to Last Years Numbers

This report needs to be send to the Chief of Armies, Theater Commanders, Army Commanders, CSA Staff and to the Instructors at VMI.


Theater Commanders

Submits a monthly report to Chief of Army by the 10th calendar day of the following month with the Army's OBD points and optional recommendations for brevet promotions or awards. This report shall include the following at a minimum of each Army in his Theater:
Number of officers assigned
Number of officers present or active
Promotions
Awards/OBD points


Chief of the Armies

Submits a monthly report to Club President and Cabinet by the 12th calendar day of the following month with the Army's OBD points and recommendations for brevet promotions or cabinet awards.


So as you all can see, there is ALOT of WORK involved in RUNNING the CSA Side of the Club - This is a TEAM ENOUGH and not just a one person show -

If you or any one else has the BALLS to help us RUN it - STEP UP, if not then SHUT UP and let's continue to run the CSA side of the club.


Willie Tisdale
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"The Gray Fox"
General
Chief of Armies - CSA
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ACWGC Cabinet Member



"Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable and most sacred right - a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people, that can may revolutionize and make their own of so many of the territory as they inhabit."



Abraham Lincoln
January 12, 1848.


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