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 Post subject: Re: Tap?
Post #41 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:07 pm 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
You mis-read me completely. I did not say that the AGA does nothing. I did say that what it does in the future is not clearly defined. I am not saying that there is an asymmetry of contribution. I am saying that there is an asymmetry of definition.
This makes some sense--the caveat being that you can't perfectly specify future contributions. The tap will not by itself cover the AGA programs that benefit strong players, so some of those programs/actions will be contingent on outside factors.

As for the misreading:

Joaz Banbeck wrote:
At my most cynical, I fear that this could degenerate into a defacto extortion racket. If Asian tournament sponsors give the AGA the right to decide who gets to go, then the AGA would have a monopoly, and could demand almost any cut it wants from the players.
Folks were reacting to what you said.

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Post #42 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:15 pm 
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Hsiang wrote:
...

So, yes, there is indeed something specific that AGA has done in all cases that made it possible to have representatives selected from open competitions accessible to all strong players. ...


Fair enough. I guess I'll have to take your word for it.

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Post #43 Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:17 am 
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At the board meeting last night, this was discussed. You'll all be able to read the minutes when they're approved, but the gist is that the board didn't do anything, and the only "decision" was that nothing would be done in advance of the Sport Accord games.

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Post #44 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:11 am 
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I forgot I had these and I want to share it. This is the original proposal with comments by Allan. I just copied and pasted from the PDF I received from a strong player.

Quote:
Issue Paper: Proposal for AGA “Tap” of International Players’ Prizes/Appearance Fees
Thomas Hsiang, our International Vice President, has proposed requiring AGA
representatives in international tournaments to pay back 20% of their prize and/or appearance
fees, after foreign taxes.

The justification for the “tap” is the following: AGA officers brought us these tournament
opportunities. In particular, U. S. participation in the Chunlan Cup and the Sports Accord
Mind Games are ENTIRELY due to the effort of AGA diplomacy and development. The
women’s championship could have been lost to us as well had it not been because of the
AGA effort. AGA does not get management fees, but does incur real effort in making these
events happen. Up to now, liaison costs have been out of volunteers’ pockets. The “tap” can
help support further development without burdening individuals.

A quick estimate of this income to AGA in 2011 would be:

Fujitsu - $600; Chunlan - $400; Women's - $400; Sports Accord Mind Games - $2-4,000.

If we were to go in this direction, then I would suggest that a minimum be set, below which no
“tap” would be assessed, perhaps $2,000.

Our professionals and strong amateurs are being asked for their comments. As a start, I
asked the members of the Policy and Governance Committee for their comments. Here is a
condensed version of their responses, with no consensus:

O I think 10% on top of any government taxes should be plenty.

O I think this is a bad idea for a number of reasons. We can take a lesson from our big
brethren in the Chess world. They are facing the same issues of member retention and
financing.

[url]http://www.chessville.com/editorials/Interviews/20Questions/Marinello.htm
[/url]
AFAIK, the USCF makes no attempt to impose such a fee on its professional players, which
still hasn't prevented bad relationships and acrimony over the balance of amateur and
professional support.

As a fund-raiser, it doesn't add enough to make a big difference. As an irritant to our meager
handful of US professionals, it may be significant. They can easily tell the AGA to go jump in
a lake. They don't need us; we need them.

O I think we're putting the emphasis in the wrong place. If you want to compensate for the
value the organization is putting into choosing representatives, then charge ENTRY fees for
people to participate in qualifying tournaments. That pays directly for the work the
organization puts into the tournaments. Then let people enjoy their winnings.

Pulling money out of winnings that are already diminished by taxes just adds insult to injury
that we have so small a prize pool available for this game. When we have truly impressive
prize pools or so many tournaments that there's enough money to go around comfortably,
then the organization should consider skimming off its due, not before.

O "Tax" on the prize money is a traditional idea and a common practice in Asian Go
organizations. Although I think "AGA service fee" is a better name for it in our case.
O But isn't it also true that the Asian Go associations provide more services than we do to the
pros? It's kind of a chicken-and-egg problem. If we want to charge money, we have to
provide service in return; but if we don't have resources, we can't.

O Unfortunately, I think on balance it's negative if we try to impose it by fiat as AGA board
policy. It might fly eventually if it were discussed with the pros one-on-one over time, in the
light of building support for an American pro system. But we'd have to have some kind of plan
for that worked out first.

O The critical point is that in that situation, the strong players (professionals that
is) support the system. Not without some degree of irritation, but also not with any sense that
they are being exploited beyond reason. It is a rare person indeed who thinks they get their
money's worth from taxes, or are adequately paid for their work. But both are accepted as the
cost of getting on with life.

While we don't want to copy the Asian approaches exactly, there are elements well worthy of
emulation. The buy in of the group in question, seems paramount to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Tap? Let the player choose
Post #45 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:17 pm 
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Perhaps there is a way for both alternatives - tap and no tap - to exist simultaneously.

Let the player choose prior to the tournament. Does he want AGA backing for that specific tournament or not? And to what level? The AGA could have a choice of options, much like insurance companies do now.

The player could choose, for example, to accept that the AGA pays flight, room and board, and entry fee. In return, he would agree to contribute, say, 30% of his winnings, if any. This is a very useful option for the player who is short on cash, as many of our most promising young players are.

A second example would be for a player who wants to do it all on his own. He could decline any assistance, and if he wins, he keeps it all.

Those are the endpoints. There could be intermediate levels between. If a player has relatives/friends near the tounament, he would only need assistance from the AGA for airfare. He could then choose that option in return for a 15% tap. ( Like the above mentioned 30%, this 15% is just an example. )

==================================================

Note that the tap idea is basically reverse insurance. Conventional insurance is betting on how to split the bills in the event of a bad outcome. With a tap, we are talking about how to split the profits from good outcome.

If insurance companies can offer various levels to choose from, then the AGA could offer a menu also.

==================================================

Also, please note that this is an attempt to allow the AGA to precisely define what its contributions will be. As I observed in this post, viewtopic.php?p=74679#p74679, there has not yet been a clear definition of what the AGA intends to contribute.

===================================================

Lastly, implicit in this idea is the belief that the AGA should not get compensated by a tap for things that is does for the improvement of American go generally. It should only be able to ask for compensation from individuals when it makes a specific contribution to a particular person. All of the effort spent developing a pro system and making connections with foreign organizations and the mind games benefit American go in general, and should be paid for by dues from the membership at large.

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 Post subject: Re: Tap?
Post #46 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:45 pm 
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BTW, for those who didn't see my report, the board authorized a tap not greater than 30% at the November meeting. The exact details we left to the president, with the expectation that he will be soliciting comments from those potentially affected before implementing it (meaning, Joaz, that if you feel strongly, you might consider emailing your thoughts to him).

Not in that report: some people are extremely unhappy about this. A special meeting (to review this issue) has been requested, and will happen as soon as it can be scheduled.

So, if you really hate this, it would be a good time to contact one of your region's board members.

Conversely, if you approve or are neutral, it would also be a good time. IIRC, unhappy people give feedback some 10 times more often than happy people.

EDIT: Either way, it might be a good time to thank your board member for volunteering.

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 Post subject: Re: Tap? Let the player choose
Post #47 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:05 pm 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
Let the player choose prior to the tournament. Does he want AGA backing for that specific tournament or not? And to what level? The AGA could have a choice of options, much like insurance companies do now.


This seems more like a subsidy of weak players. Any players capable of winning significant money would immediately opt out, leaving the AGA to foot the bill for the weaker players.

In some cases (e.g. the Chunlan and the Sport Accord mentioned above) the AGA support was simply securing the invitation to the tournament. That effort has a cost, and it should be at least partially (or potentially) offset by the players who benefit.

Flipping it around, who should foot the bill for the AGA's lobbying and diplomacy efforts aimed at securing invitations to international tournaments that have nontrivial prizes? I have seen one suggestion that there should be a sizable entry fee for the qualifying tournament, which is certainly another reasonable option.


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Post #48 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:36 pm 
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pwaldron wrote:
Joaz Banbeck wrote:
Let the player choose prior to the tournament. Does he want AGA backing for that specific tournament or not? And to what level? The AGA could have a choice of options, much like insurance companies do now.


This seems more like a subsidy of weak players. Any players capable of winning significant money would immediately opt out, leaving the AGA to foot the bill for the weaker players.
...


You seem to be assuming that the AGA would offer the same menu to everyone. I didn't say that.

Again, the insurance industry offers the guide to how it works: better drivers are offered a menu of better deals, worst drivers a menu of lesser deals. The AGA can offer better deals to better players.

As I said before, the tap idea is reverse insurance.

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Post #49 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:49 pm 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
pwaldron wrote:
Joaz Banbeck wrote:
Let the player choose prior to the tournament. Does he want AGA backing for that specific tournament or not? And to what level? The AGA could have a choice of options, much like insurance companies do now.


This seems more like a subsidy of weak players. Any players capable of winning significant money would immediately opt out, leaving the AGA to foot the bill for the weaker players.
...


You seem to be assuming that the AGA would offer the same menu to everyone. I didn't say that.

Again, the insurance industry offers the guide to how it works: better drivers are offered a menu of better deals, worst drivers a menu of lesser deals. The AGA can offer better deals to better players.

As I said before, the tap idea is reverse insurance.


I don't really understand. Once you get to the tournament, the organisers take care of you. The AGA doesn't do anything at that point. The AGA was the organisation that got you the invite in the first place.

30% seems a bit large to me... but maybe they've just thrown in the number as a bargaining point, so that when the objections come in, they can go down to a more reasonable figure.

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Post #50 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:56 pm 
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The 30% is a max. The president is currently planning a 20% tap.

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Post #51 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:01 pm 
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daniel_the_smith wrote:
The 30% is a max. The president is currently planning a 20% tap.


Dude, you've just blown his whole bargaining position :batman:

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Post #52 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:09 pm 
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I just wanted to commend Daniel for his excellent post on the AGA home page. I think the board is responding to this in a very professional way. Having open and public statements available goes a long way towards defusing this situation, in my opinion. In fact, everything I have seen from a number of AGA folks has been very constructive. I personally feel that the board is considering all of these options very carefully, and they will have my support whichever way this ends up going. People don't always agree, and forging consensus where possible, and a majority vote where not, is still a good way to run an organization. So my thanks to all the board members, and the President, for engaging with these issues.


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Post #53 Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:32 pm 
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Javaness2 wrote:
daniel_the_smith wrote:
The 30% is a max. The president is currently planning a 20% tap.


Dude, you've just blown his whole bargaining position :batman:



And you just revealed that he is willing to bargain. :lol:

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Post #54 Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:43 am 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
Javaness2 wrote:
daniel_the_smith wrote:
The 30% is a max. The president is currently planning a 20% tap.


Dude, you've just blown his whole bargaining position :batman:



And you just revealed that he is willing to bargain. :lol:


I am confident these comments are off base. There is no "negotiation". The AGA can do this, if people do not like it (which, would be me to some extent) they do not have to compete for trips (which would not be me unless ALOT of people refuse to participate.

The Board has authorized the President to move forward and gather input with the intention of establishing a tap. The amount of that tap is to be determined by membership input. The Board has mandated that it be no more than 30%, the President is thinking 20%, but discussions could adjust that position upward (but not more than 30%) or lower.

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Post #55 Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:08 pm 
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Quote:
Hi, Everyone,

Attached is a request for comments on our proposed "tap"/fee on prizes/playing fees in international tournaments.

This is being mailed to all members rated 5.0 and up (including foreign members: your opinions would be welcome, too!), all chapters, and AGA leaders. If anyone has been missed, it has not been intentional.

No decision has been made on whether to move ahead on this proposal or not: much will depend upon your input.

Please send me your comments by 31 January?

Thanks!

Allan



Quote:
Proposed AGA “Tap” or “Fee” on International Tournament Prizes/Playing Compensation

As many of you know, we have been considering assessing a “tap” or “fee” on players’ prizes or game payments in international tournaments. The issue was submitted to the Policy and Governance Committee for comments; a summary of their responses is below. The issue also
was discussed at the last Assembly meeting, without extensive comment or consensus.

The AGA Board, at its November meeting, authorized the President to assess up to a 30% fee, AFTER considering public comments and reporting back to the Board.

This is to ask you for your comments on the following proposal:

The AGA would assess a 20% fee on players’ prizes or game payments, from players representing the U.S. in international tournaments. The fee would apply to total prizes/compensation in any one tournament of $1,000-$2,000 (open question) or greater. The fee would apply only if the AGA does not receive sponsor funds for general AGA use.

Rationale: The AGA has worked hard to secure invitations to international tournaments for many years. The AGA also has been working to increase the number of tournaments we get invited to, with some success. We also will be looking for sponsors for new international
tournaments in the U.S. Our future development and growth depends upon promoting Go in the U.S., increasing services to the chapters, adding tournaments to our schedule, supporting our pros and strong players, sending teams to international events, such as the World Mind
Sports Games, and so on. Even after generous contributions, we spent about $27,000 from reserves to send our team to the first World Mind Sports Games. If the games return, we will want to invest in our team again.

Given the needs and our current limited budget, we think that it is reasonable to ask the pros and strong players who receive the opportunity for international competition to pay a little back to the AGA. Thus, this proposal.

Please send your comments to President@usgo.org by 31 January? Many thanks.

Allan

Policy and Governance Committee Comments

O I think 10% on top of any government taxes should be plenty.

O I think this is a bad idea for a number of reasons. We can take a lesson from our big brethren in the Chess world. They are facing the same issues of member retention and financing.

http://www.chessville.com/editorials/In ... inello.htm

AFAIK, the USCF makes no attempt to impose such a fee on its professional players, which still hasn't prevented bad relationships and acrimony over the balance of amateur and professional support.As a fund-raiser, it doesn't add enough to make a big difference. As an irritant to our meager handful of US professionals, it may be significant. They can easily tell the AGA to go jump in a lake. They don't need us; we need them.

O I think we're putting the emphasis in the wrong place. If you want to compensate for the value the organization is putting into choosing representatives, then charge ENTRY fees for people to participate in qualifying tournaments. That pays directly for the work the organization puts into the tournaments. Then let people enjoy their winnings.

Pulling money out of winnings that are already diminished by taxes just adds insult to injury that we have so small a prize pool available for this game. When we have truly impressive prize pools or so many tournaments that there's enough money to go around comfortably,
then the organization should consider skimming off its due, not before.

O "Tax" on the prize money is a traditional idea and a common practice in Asian Go organizations. Although I think "AGA service fee" is a better name for it in our case.

O But isn't it also true that the Asian Go associations provide more services than we do to the pros? It's kind of a chicken-and-egg problem. If we want to charge money, we have to provide service in return; but if we don't have resources, we can't.

O Unfortunately, I think on balance it's negative if we try to impose it by fiat as AGA board policy. It might fly eventually if it were discussed with the pros one-on-one over time, in the light of building support for an American pro system. But we'd have to have some kind of plan for that worked out first.

O The critical point is that in that situation, the strong players (professionals that is) support the system. Not without some degree of irritation, but also not with any sense that they are being exploited beyond reason. It is a rare person indeed who thinks they get their
money's worth from taxes, or are adequately paid for their work. But both are accepted as the cost of getting on with life.

While we don't want to copy the Asian approaches exactly, there are elements well worthy of emulation. The buy in of the group in question, seems paramount to me.

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Post #56 Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:20 pm 
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It sounds like the majority of comments from the Policy and Governance Committee were negative, yet the board authorized a go ahead? I'm confused.


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Post #57 Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:25 pm 
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I've actually had no opinion on the Tap up to now... but I think now I might prefer the suggestion of an entry fee instead of a tap. There are pros and cons to consider, obviously (and I haven't yet thought them all though, myself).

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Post #58 Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:38 pm 
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I'm coming down strongly in favour of the tap. Last year professionals, notably Feng Yun, lobbied heavily against the AGA's ten-game rule as a qualification requirement, arguing that they didn't want to have to play free teaching games with amateurs. So now we have a situation where professionals and strong amateurs get automatically invited to qualifying tournaments, likely win, pick up cash overseas and never give anything back to the AGA along the way. On the other hand, the AGA incurs expenses (all too often paid out of volunteers' pockets) making these events happen; overseas diplomacy isn't cheap.

To me that's not acceptable and this is a great way of rebalancing the scales. Otherwise I'd say that the AGA should get out of the business entirely and leave the strong players to fend for themselves.

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Post #59 Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:37 pm 
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xed_over wrote:
It sounds like the majority of comments from the Policy and Governance Committee were negative, yet the board authorized a go ahead? I'm confused.


My recollection could be hazy (as I missed your comment until now), but I don't recall seeing those comments until after the board had voted.

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Post #60 Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:52 pm 
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The minutes from the last year or so are now available. ( http://www.usgo.org/board-minutes ). Paul Celmer just became my favorite board member after I read his comment in the 11-27-11 minutes saying that the tap was "un-American".


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