By Sheldon Greaves
Over the last couple of weeks we have announced the unfortunate news that due to a number of factors, CSL is being defunded and essentially ceasing normal operations. The 501(c)(3) status for CSL will continue until the annual fees come up again in May, at which point the plan is to let the status expire quietly.
However, over the last week or so some of our members have approached me both via email and on the CSL Facebook Group asking about how we might revive or reconfigure the organization to keep some part of it going. It is now clear that CSL will continue in some form or other. This is a breakdown of where things are at present.
The web site has, obviously, not had the same level of postings over the last couple of weeks, but we have seen some interest on the part of some members to take up the pen, as it were, and add their voices to this blog. I am absolutely delighted by this and hope to see it take hold. Also, we have found a home for the website thanks to CSL member Matthew Dearing, who will host it on his server space. In addition, some of you who were members of the Society for Amateur Scientists may recall that when that organization folded in 2010, the web site and all those thousands of newsletter articles gradually disappeared. Well, rejoice! Soon after SAS ceased operations, someone made a copy of the web site and we are going to restore the E-Bulletin and The Citizen Scientist newsletters. This will make for an even better resource that just the blog as it stands now. I will also work with Matthew and whomever else wants to participate to see what other features we can add to the site.
The CSL website built up a pretty solid web presence over the years, so if you are looking for a place to blog about science that has a ready-made audience numbering in the thousands and occasionally ten-thousands per month, contact us at info[at]citizenscientistsleague dot com.
Our weekly newsletter went out to about 3,500 email addresses, and that's a resource we can continue to develop and use. CSL also has a twitter feed, somewhat neglected, and a couple of other venues that could stand some refurbishing and reviving. We'll be working to try to automate this as much as possible.
There are several ideas for long-term projects that we've batted around over the last couple of years. There seems to be some interest in attempting to fund some of them via kickstarter campaigns or other crowd-sourced funding options. That discussion has been taking place on the Facebook page, but we welcome your thoughts in the comment section below as well.
George Hrabovsky recently pointed out to me that CSL can reorganize itself as an "unincorporated association" which also gives it some of the benefits of a nonprofit organization. I will be researching this a little more intently in the next few days to find out what the implications are, but one immediate benefit is that the cost of doing this is... zero. More on this as it happens.
I am quite gratified to see the support for a new CSL over the last week or so. Now that I no longer have CSL as a job, now more than ever CSL is your organization. As we bring new bloggers on board and start tinkering with new projects and ideas, I am looking forward to seeing what might come out of this new combination of circumstances.
Let's get started!