IGDA Board Elections are upon us, and Scott Macmillan of Boston Post Mortem has put together an invaluable guide to this year's list of candidates. I strongly encourage all IGDA members to closely examine the supplementary material presented on Scott's page alongside the formal candidate statements on the IGDA site. Once you feel confident that you are fully equipped to make an informed decision, please be sure to vote before the deadline of February 28th.
In previous years, voting for the IGDA Board has involved a fair amount of guesswork, as members have typically been faced with scant data on which to base their decisions apart from the modicum of information provided by each candidate's brief statement and bio. Precautions such as vetting the candidates were unheard of, since most of the people who actually cared about the outcome of the elections were busy trying to rouse enough votes from the rest of the association's membership to achieve a quorum.
But the landscape has changed over the past couple of years, largely owing to a few seismic shifts that have resulted from a one-two punch of recent controversies.
I will not recount these incidents here. Suffice to say, even the most charitable appraisal of the IGDA's current reputation within the larger development community would have to acknowledge that the organization is currently faced with a credibility deficit. I have been an avid supporter and advocate of the IGDA for a long time, and yet I must admit that some of the issues that have plagued the organization of late have been disheartening enough to cause me to reconsider my once favorable outlook regarding the IGDA's merit.
Ultimately, however, I emerged from my soul-searching with an abiding belief that the IGDA still has a great deal of worth, and I believe that it remains a vital organization with a great deal of potential value to offer developers. Through the IGDA, I have met some of the most amazing, talented, dedicated, and inspirational people I have ever known -- and I believe it would be a shame to allow the exceptional actions of a discredited minority to distort our perceptions of the very real, tangible contributions being made by the rest of the passionate and hard-working folks that comprise the true heart and soul of the IGDA's membership.
This is undoubtedly a crucial year for the IGDA, and the necessity of remaining credible and relevant in the eyes of the development community is far from a trivial challenge. My sincere hope is that the increased scrutiny that the IGDA is currently receiving will prove to be a catalyst for some useful reforms, and will continue to energize the more apathetic pockets of the organization's membership into becoming actively engaged in influencing policy. The IGDA is not one person, it is all of us -- pariahs and paragons alike. If we are dissatisfied with the direction in which the organization is heading, we can channel that energy through a conduit of action to help shape the organization into the image we desire. Your next chance to make a difference is right before you.