A Vote for a Vote for a Vote
The IGDA (International Game Developers Association) has called for its members to vote on whether they think Edge Games CEO Tim Langdell should be removed from the board of directors.
So finally a resolution to the issue first brought up back in May of this year? Well, maybe, but it’s certainly not that clear cut and there’s still the question as to why it’s had to go on for so long. Anyway, here’s the letter and some thoughts regarding what it entails:
Dear IGDA Member,
A Special Meeting of the membership of IGDA will be held on October 3rd, 2009. The sole purpose of the meeting is to vote on whether IGDA Board of Directors member Tim Langdell (a) should serve the remainder of this term, or (b) should have his term concluded early (effective October 3rd, 2009). Mr. Langdell was elected by the membership on March 1st of 2009, and his term is scheduled to expire on March 1st of 2012; or (c) abstain from this vote.
A Special Meeting is intended to allow the membership to make a decision and requires a quorum of half the membership to participate in order to carry the outcome. I highly encourage all members to participate so that quorum can be reached.
Further information as to the background of these two outcomes will be posted to the members-only section of the IGDA website as of September 2009, and a second reminder email will be sent at that time. In addition, an electronic proxy ballot will be provided to each member at that time, with which they may cast their vote. The voting period will extend through the end of September, approximately 30 days.
While process requires there will be a “physical meeting”, which will be at IGDA headquarters offices (19 Mantua Road, Mt. Royal, NJ 08061) at 10:00AM eastern time, and members may attend in person, such presence is not required or even anticipated. The meeting itself likely will take only a few minutes and consist primarily of announcing the results of the voting. No other business will be conducted.
Again, more information will be forthcoming in early September, and we ask that you withhold any questions until that time if at all possible.
Thank you for your attention and cooperation as we move through this process together.
Tobi Saulnier, Co-Chair
Date: August 28, 2009
The bolded piece is something that we think is quite, nay, very important to this matter. A quorum of half the membership, that’s 6,934 of the 13867 members from around the globe, no small number. If you’ve been following this story for a while you’ll remember the petition that was launched in order to bring events to this point. That petition was sent out to every member of the IGDA, all 13867. The group that sent the petition email requested to do so via the IGDA’s official system, but that request despite repeated attempts didn’t happen and as a result left the group with no other choice than to find their own way of contacting the membership. That chosen method was successful and reached everyone, but in doing so uncovered news that not all members were actually receiving official emails, as people stepped forward to say that they got the petition email, but no messages from the IGDA.
I have never received any email from the IGDA, on any matter. I have checked that my email address is set. Where on earth is this “no email option” you speak of? I can’t find it anywhere and am probably not the only one.
I swear I’ve crawled over every inch of my profile pages, and can find no such setting. I haven’t even gotten anemail about my membership expiring on Sept 30th … not exactly inspired with confidence here.
Joe McGinn 08-29-2009 (via email)
I never get any email from the IGDA, not even a membership renewal notice. I’ve double-checked my email address on my profile, I’m sure it’s correct. I’ve checked my spam folder to make sure it’s not going there by mistake. I don’t suspect anything nefarious, it just worries me that there’s a technical glitch perhaps?
A flaw that if not fixed could have a terrible effect on the possibility of reaching the quorum of 50% membership, if people don’t know, then how can they step up to vote?
You might ask why a member might not know about this subject as it’s certainly made the news recently. Well the IGDA membership is made up of a combination of people, some are active, they visit the forum, the SIGs (Special Interest Group) and take an interest in the events surrounding the association. Then there’s the discount crew, people that join in order to receive the discounts offered to members on book purchases, GDC events and such, many of them will not take any part in the IGDA’s activities beyond using it as a cost saving process. There’s also the company membership branch, where companies can be come affiliated with the IGDA and then automatically enroll their employees into the association automatically. There’s a belief that the affiliates make up the largest proportion of the membership count, possibly as many as 8000 of the 13867. Many of these people have no idea that they’re members, or know but don’t care. Some are active in the events that have recently taken place but aren’t sure if they’re actual members due to communication problems. The result of all this shows just how tough it’s going to be to get 50% of the membership to vote when possibly around only 20% of the membership know they’re actually members.
That’s not the only question that’s being raised here. Why is a vote by the members needed at all?
Well reading the IGDA Bylaw document it seems pretty clear that the board of directors have the power to remove someone without needing the membership at all, in fact the quoted sections below reveal a number of reasons that the removal of Tim Langdell could have come about over the previous months, saving a great deal of pain and suffering to the association and preventing their name being dragged through the mud.
Section 8. Removal. Any director may be removed from such office, with or without cause, by a majority vote of the voting members of the Corporation at any regular or special meeting of the members called expressly for that purpose. In addition, the Board of Directors may declare vacant the office of any Director who fails or ceases to meet any required qualification that was in effect at the beginning of that Director’s current term of office.
And to the “required qualifications”:
Section 2. Number and Qualifications. The Board of Directors of the Corporation shall be composed of twelve (12) elected individuals and no more than three (3) appointed and ex-officio seats (view Article IV, Section 5 below). The number of directors may be decreased, but no decrease shall have the effect of shortening the term of any incumbent director. All Directors are required to be members of the Corporation as of the time of their election, and to have been a member in at least two (2) membership years prior. All Directors must remain as members in good standing of the Corporation for the duration of their term and adhere to the Board of Directors Code of Ethics.
Section 18. Code of Ethics. Board members are committed to conducting themselves in accordance with ethical and professional standards, and therefore shall behave in conformance with the IGDA Code of Ethics adopted by the Board of Directors.
IGDA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CODE OF ETHICS
The Board of Directors of the International Game Developers Association (“IGDA”) is committed to conducting its business in accordance with ethical and professional standards, and therefore has adopted the principles set forth below as organizational policy.
Each member of the Board of Directors shall:
1. Act with honesty and integrity.
Has Tim Langdell acted honestly and with integrity during his time on the board of directors? Well a quick read of his bio   and the statements he’s made about his previous and current workings as CEO of Edge Games might suggest that honesty is not the first thing on his agenda.
2. Exercise loyalty to the IGDA, acting in the best interests of the organization and taking no action that would undermine or impede the activities of the IGDA.
Would sending a threatening letter to a developer’s employer using his stance as a director of the IGDA qualify as acting in the best interests of the organization?
3. Adhere to high standards of professional conduct, in particular regarding meeting attendance, preparedness, objectivity, mutual respect, courtesy, and candor.
Again, is it professional to use your position as a director of an association set up to represent game developers as means to throw your weight at someone in a threatening manner? Using that position as part of a personal dispute that has nothing to do with the IGDA?
4. Comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
5. Maintain the confidentiality of all proprietary and competitively sensitive or valuable information of the IGDA.
6. Respect the principles of free competition as embodied in the antitrust laws.
7. Support the protection of the assets of the IGDA, including intellectual property.
8. Encourage IGDA staff to alert the Board of Directors to potential misconduct or violations of law without fear of retribution.
So as you can see. It’s fairly clear to all that letting this whole debacle could have been revolved a while back and really has no need to go to a members vote. But the fact that it is now means that the task over the next few weeks is to get developers to call out, to check with their employers to see if they’re members, to join in on the vote and to take this chance to use that vote to make your opinion heard no matter what that might be.
If you think you might be a member, or have lost your details, then follow the link below to find out and use that vote wisely when it comes in the following weeks: