Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordinate lodges have a website?

Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by cemab4y, Jan 18, 2012.

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Should Grand Lodges force lodges to have a website?

  1. Yes.

    10.7%
  2. No

    89.3%
  1. Ashlar

    Ashlar Registered User

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    You truly confuse me . I have read on various forums where you complain that a Grand Lodge should not dictate who and how a Mason contacts outside jurisdictions , I have read were you complain that a Grand Lodge should not dictate how many lodges a Mason may affiliate with , along with a few other things . But here you are "applauding" a Grand Lodge that has forced it's will on it's subordinate lodges by mandating each lodge have it's own web site ?

    Suppose these Grand Lodge jurisdictions who allow alcohol in the lodge mandated that all lodges will be DRY . You would blow a gasket . Suppose all Grand Lodges mandated that no Mason is allowed to hold dual/plural memberships ? You would blow up Masonic forums complaining . But because it is something you agree with , you are all for it , you applaud it ?

    Subordinate lodges know their wants and needs , not the Grand Lodge nor you . My lodge is thriving and growing and , me oh my , we do not have a web site nor a FB account .
     
  2. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    The future is indeed now. I simply would prefer that the Grand Lodge offer some educational program, possibly in a warden's retreat format, that would help the smaller, less technical lodges bridge the gap to the future. For instance, I'm concerned about domain ownership. To often websites are lost to the eons due to the loss, whether through death, lack of interest, or simply change of location to a single brother of a lodge. I hope this can be addressed in a logical way. It happens too often.

    And no, there are no options to Grand Lodge laws. As slow as they oft times are to enact, I don't fear they would reach too far afield of the local lodges wishes.

    This is a very timely discussion topic.
     
  3. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Several lodge web sites in my area were last updated some time in 1999. To make matters worse, they are on FortuneCity. It would be wise for a continuity-based approach to be adopted, as has been suggested.
     
  4. MikeMay

    MikeMay Premium Member

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    I wouldn't want to see a lodge "forced" to do something it may not have the expertise/funds available to do well. At the same time however I would "LIKE" to see a website for each lodge, but not a "cookie-cut" basic site that looks like it came from the late 90's on Netscape's composer. (for those old enough to remember those)
     
  5. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    You truly confuse me . I have read on various forums where you complain that a Grand Lodge should not dictate who and how a Mason contacts outside jurisdictions , I have read were you complain that a Grand Lodge should not dictate how many lodges a Mason may affiliate with , along with a few other things . But here you are "applauding" a Grand Lodge that has forced it's will on it's subordinate lodges by mandating each lodge have it's own web site ?

    ===I do not mean to confuse anyone. There are some things that some Grand Lodges are doing, which are unnecessary and outdated. These need to be changed. Some Grand Lodges permit individual masons to belong to only one lodge. 150 years ago, this made sense, but in our modern, mobile world, it is obsolete. Restricting individual Masons from getting advice from Masons from other jurisdictions is also obsolete.

    The Grand Lodge of Ohio, did NOT "force its will" on the subordinate lodges of Ohio. The Lodges of Ohio, voted in Grand Session, to require that all lodges in Ohio obtain a webpage. The vote was not unanimous. But all lodges who are chartered by the GL of Ohio, are required to follow the regulations of the GL. If they do not wish to follow these regulations, then any lodge which finds a regulation that they cannot follow, must turn in their charter.

    Suppose these Grand Lodge jurisdictions who allow alcohol in the lodge mandated that all lodges will be DRY . You would blow a gasket . Suppose all Grand Lodges mandated that no Mason is allowed to hold dual/plural memberships ? You would blow up Masonic forums complaining . But because it is something you agree with , you are all for it , you applaud it ?

    ==If a Grand Lodge, through their democratic process chooses to ban alcohol, that is their affair. I think it is silly and outdated, but Grand Lodges have the right to run their Grand Lodges as they see fit.

    Some Grand Lodges forbid dual/plural memberships. That is their right. I disagree with this policy, but there it is.

    And you are right. If a Grand Lodge passes a regulation that is necessary, and I agree with, then I will applaud it. Some Grand Lodges are making the changes necessary to deal with the 21st Century, and the internet age. They SHOULD be applauded and imitated. When a lodge does something that is idiotic, they should be condemned.




    Subordinate lodges know their wants and needs , not the Grand Lodge nor you . My lodge is thriving and growing and , me oh my , we do not have a web site nor a FB account .

    ==I tend to agree, that subordinate lodges generally know their own wants and needs, to some degree. And I would love to see SOME "devolution", of power from Grand Lodges, to subordinate lodges.

    BUT- Since all subordinate lodges derive their charters, and their ability to operate, from their Grand Lodges, there are many cases, where the Grand Lodges must be in charge.

    And, since all regulations promulgated by a Grand Lodge, are initiated and developed by subordinate lodges, and enacted in their Grand Communications, and since all Subordinate lodges have agreed IN ADVANCE to follow these regulations, then this is how it must be.

    If ANY subordinate lodge finds the regulations promulgated by a Grand Lodge to be at variance with their desires, then such lodges should turn in their charters, and cease to operate.

    My home state of Kentucky has required (through the democratic process) that all subordinate lodges use only computer software and accounting practices, which have been approved in advance by the Grand Lodge. This is necessary and proper. If there is an audit, or a lodge is unable to operate , or closes down, the Grand Lodge can step in immediately, and run the financial aspects of the lodge. If every lodge in the state had their own system, it would be chaos.

    My home state of Kentucky has mandated that 18-year old men be permitted to petition the Craft. Not all lodges were happy with this development. Some were furious. But the majority of subordinate lodges passed the regulation, and all lodges must "suck it up".
     
  6. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    Honestly, I think the Grand Lodge website should just give each lodge a space for its meeting times, calendar of events, photos, etc on its own website and that is the "official" lodge site. It keeps order and provides the necessities of the website. The lodges would then have the option to have a personal site of their own if they choose, but mandate that the "official" site is the GL hosted "page". I dunno, sounds like it would work. Heck, the "lodge locator" function of the GL sites already provides a good portion of this functionality. Would be pretty easy to implement IMO.
     
  7. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    Easy, yes. Practical, no.

    I've developed sites for a number of years, and there has been a major shift towards local search results...especially with mobile search outpacing desktop now. If someone is searching for Freemasonry, we want them to be able to find their local Lodge.

    The biggest problem is, most Lodge sites are very sub par and those who develop them aren't always tech savvy enough to keep up with SEO to maximize their site's potential. I would imagine its a budget concern for most Lodges, so sites are maintained on a volunteer basis instead of paying a pro to do it.

    Sent From My Freemasonry Pro App
     
  8. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    Unless a practical way to link the local search to the web site page could be achieved. My initial thought would be to create domain names for each lodge to attach to the local results that forward to the GL "lodge page". Something like that. Again, it's an administrative nightmare unless a suitable automated process could be laid down. Realistically, the decision has to be made to force lodges to adopt higher quality sites, take over the duties via something similar to a centralized solution, or just be content with the hodgepodge we currently have and hope for the best. No solution is real great it would seem although I'm sure given enough time the problem will iron itself out as more tech savvy members fill lodges perhaps.
     
  9. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    Most Grand Lodges need to focus on their own GeoCities-class websites. Thankfully the GLoTX revamped theirs a few years ago and have been steadily improving it.

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  10. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    I have seen some excellent lodge webpages. I have seen many bad web pages. The quality of lodge webpages varies. I get a little ill, when I see a webpage, and there is an event advertised that occured two years ago.

    Sadly, I believe that it is better to have no webpage, than a bad webpage.

    This is the reason why Grand Lodges should have an office of "grand Webmaster", and a committee of tech-savvy masons, who can advise and guide individual lodges, in all aspects of internet policy and page development.

    The Grand Lodge of New York, has a roster of web "standards", which every subordinate lodge must follow. This is an excellent idea, because it ensure uniformity of websites, and also makes certain that no lodge (nor the Grand Lodge) is exposed to any legal liability nor conflict of interest.
     
  11. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    When I was initiated in 2008 I proposed developing a Lodge website and the Brethren didn't know what to do. They scrambled for the GL Bylaws like it was something unheard of. A couple of months later we had one but the effect was minimal. We've had more success on social networking than anything.

    I would recommend having a facebook, Google + and twitter page. Mirror the content. Oh yeah, be sure to form an Internet Committee so reports are made and someone is held accountable to update the pages.
     
  12. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    I know the feeling! In 1989, I proposed that my lodge get a telephone answering machine. Some of the membership did not see why the lodge needed one. After some months of study, the lodge finally permitted one to be installed.
     
  13. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    LOL...Hadn't thought about GeoCities websites in a long time! I've seen some lodges who use "free" web hosting services that run ads, and saw ads for a strip club on a Masonic site. Lovely.

    I gambled and took the "easier to get forgiveness than permission" route and put up a Lodge website without asking anyone. Then I showed them what I'd done. I subsequently had to get Grand Lodge approval of what I'd done, but that was no problem, and it's been up ever since.
     
  14. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    The "effectiveness" of a lodge website, varies all over the map. Some lodges get 70% or more of their new petitioners, from internet inquiries. Some lodges get very few inquiries from the 'net.

    I guess it depends on a variety of factors: the quality of the website, the amount of interent "penetration" in the community, the demographics of the local population, etc.

    There is no easy answer, and there is no "magic bullet", when it comes to Freemasonry and the internet. Some lodges benefit greatly from having an internet presence, some benefit less.

    And I agree, that some grand Lodge websites are awful. I have seen some GL websites that are little more than a "rah-rah-rah" for the Grand Officers, and offer no information to anyone about how to locate a lodge or obtain a petition.
     
  15. Zack

    Zack Registered User

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    I'd be interested in which lodges get this much interest from the internet. I'd like to see their websites and see what they have done differently.
     
  16. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    Here is one, Columbia lodge 285, Arlington VA (suburban Washington DC)

    Here is the website:

    http://www.columbia285.org/

    -----------------------------------------

    I visit this lodge frequently. For some years, this lodge has gotten many new inquiries and petitioners, from their website. (And the excellent website of the Grand Lodge of Virginia).

    Arlington VA is an affluent community in suburban Washington DC. Fairfax County VA is called "the internet capital of the world", because there are more internet servers in Fairfax, than in any other county of the USA.

    The internet "penetration" of northern VA is very high. Whenever there is a program about the Masons on Discovery channel or history channel, there is a "spike" in the number of hits that internet pages receive.

    You may wish to contact Columbia lodge yourself, and ask them for advice and guidance. They will be glad to assist you.
     
  17. Tx4ever

    Tx4ever Registered User

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    I am secretary for a small lodge in Texas, Our lodge has no phone, computer, printer ,or internet , is anyone else in the same boat?
     
  18. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    You can see the website for my lodge in my signature below. Our website has existed in various forms for more than three years now and I don't believe we've ever had anyone petition us because of our website. Going online has helped our attendance somewhat but the increase is more likely due to our Facebook presence than our website.

    Then again, our website may be terrible, I'm a bit biased. I do like the website for Columbia lodge however, it's sleek and simple.
     
  19. Brother JC

    Brother JC Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    Completely off-topic, but I remember being able to walk from McLean to Vienna and rarely leaving the woods. I suppose there are few trees left now.
     
  20. Bro Darren

    Bro Darren Premium Member

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    Re: Should Grand Lodges mandate that all subordina

    I asked our Lodges secretary about bringing the concept of a Lodge website to the attention of the General Purpose Committee and I was asked to attend due to my many years in working on a range of sites. I was invited to attend the December meeting and everyone voted in favor of us having our own site and I have been slowly working on the layout. I decided to go with WordPress due to the multi level contributor options as this will enable different members to update the calendar, write blog articles and what not. I have it hosted under my own domain for now until we purchase the lodges domain in Feb (next committee meeting). I still have some work to do with fonts, graphics and content but feel free to take a look http://www.d4rr3n.com/

    Our Grand Lodge went all out on their site and the new one looks amazing http://www.freemasonsvic.net.au/ and they are including a small section for each lodge for the basic's (Map, Address, Contacts) and with small history behind each lodge http://www.freemasonsvic.net.au/profile/x/x/baxter-lodge.
     

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