Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Use this forum to discuss issues that are not found in any of the other clerk and stake technology specialist forums.
RossEvans
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Re: Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Postby RossEvans » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:01 pm

russellhltn wrote:I think I'm winning you over to my side. ;)

Only to the extent that I agree the drafting is confusing. (Actually, I think the whole rollout of this new Meetinghouse Technology Policy has been handled rather clumsily all along. And this example is hardly the first confusing policy language ever promulgated in the tech area.)

But I am not at all persuaded that the way to resolve the inartful language is to declare that only Church-created software is allowed for use on Church computers. I just don't think leaders are supposed to consume CSV files -- properly exported, by design, from MLS or lds.org -- without any external software whatsoever. And I don't think we are supposed to ignore the second half of Section 3.11, which references "approved" software, or the RKATS policy language that explains what is approved.

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aebrown
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Re: Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Postby aebrown » Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:20 pm

RossEvans wrote:But I am not at all persuaded that the way to resolve the inartful language is to declare that only Church-created software is allowed for use on Church computers.

No one has ever said that. I suggested that one possible interpretation of 3.11 with 4.9.3 is that only Church-created software was allowed to access membership data. But no one has ever come close to saying that third-party software could not be used on Church computers for any purpose whatsoever.

RossEvans
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Re: Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Postby RossEvans » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:08 am

aebrown wrote:
RossEvans wrote:But I am not at all persuaded that the way to resolve the inartful language is to declare that only Church-created software is allowed for use on Church computers.

No one has ever said that. I suggested that one possible interpretation of 3.11 with 4.9.3 is that only Church-created software was allowed to access membership data. But no one has ever come close to saying that third-party software could not be used on Church computers for any purpose whatsoever.


I left out the modifier "for membership data" in the above comment because I thought the context was understood among us by now. That was also my meaning.

(FWIW Section 3.11 does not specifically refer to membership data; it merely defines a term. It does happen that the only use of the defined term "third-party software" I can find within the Meetinghouse Technology Policy document is in Section 4.9.3. The term is used elsewhere in RKATS in a generalized context. The second half of 3.11 -- which russellhltn says we must ignore also refers to a generalized situation: "or is not approved for use on Church computers.")

Parsing 3.11, russellhltn says here:
The problem is the word "or". It means everything not created by the church is third-party. "Or" can not subtract from that list. It can only add to it. It also makes the rest of the sentence pointless ...


So in any case, with respect to membership data, you both are saying that one possible interpretation is that only Church-created software can access membership data. (russellhltn goes further, and argues that is the only possible interpretation.) I continue to reject that reading, because it leads to the nonsensical case that leaders can -- by design -- export membership data as CSV files from MLS and lds.org, but are then prohibited from reading those files in any software at all on the clerk's computer! That reading also requires us to ignore entirely the second part of Section 3.11, referring to "approved" software, even though there is a separate policy section elsewhere in RKATS that handily explains what software is approved. I cannot believe that was the authors' intent, however poorly they drafted Section 3.11's language.

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Re: Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Postby russellhltn » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:42 am

RossEvans wrote:So in any case, with respect to membership data, you both are saying that one possible interpretation is that only Church-created software can access membership data. (russellhltn goes further, and argues that is the only possible interpretation.) I continue to reject that reading, because it leads to the nonsensical case that leaders can -- by design -- export membership data as CSV files from MLS and lds.org, but are then prohibited from reading those files in any software at all on the clerk's computer!

Considering that this updated document is less then a week old, what would you expect to happen? I think we'll find out in the months ahead if that was the intent or not.
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RossEvans
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Re: Ward Boundary Maps Detail

Postby RossEvans » Mon Jun 30, 2014 11:52 am

russellhltn wrote:
RossEvans wrote:So in any case, with respect to membership data, you both are saying that one possible interpretation is that only Church-created software can access membership data. (russellhltn goes further, and argues that is the only possible interpretation.) I continue to reject that reading, because it leads to the nonsensical case that leaders can -- by design -- export membership data as CSV files from MLS and lds.org, but are then prohibited from reading those files in any software at all on the clerk's computer!

Considering that this updated document is less then a week old, what would you expect to happen? I think we'll find out in the months ahead if that was the intent or not.


I can't see how the update of the past week affected this particular issue at all. The effect of that update, so far as I can tell, was to add the phrase "whether obtained from within or outside of a meetinghouse" to Section 4.9.3. I think that includes, for example, data downloaded from lds.org, as well as data exported from MLS.

But while that modification affects the scope of where the data comes from, it has nothing to do with where storing the data is prohibited -- in "third-party software" on meetinghouse computers. The confusing language occurs in Section 3.11, defining that particular term of art -- language that has not changed one jot or tittle since the Meetinghouse Technology Policy was promulgated in January 2014, although the section has been renumbered from the original 3.10. So the issue you raise parsing the "or" conjunction in that definition section has persisted that long. (And you have been insisting since then that this policy constitutes a draconian crackdown on what software is allowed to be used locally for membership content.)

Probably the only reason this "third-party software" matter has not caused major issues for local unit leaders is that, due to the stealth rollout of the policy, few outside a tiny subset of this forum are even aware that the policy exists. Most who have read it, I suspect, adopt the same commonsense reading that I do, and continue to do whatever they have been doing with whatever non-Church software they have installed.

As for what I "expect to happen," I have no clue about what CHQ will do, or even if anyone there is aware of the issues you raise about the wording of Section 3.11. For my part, I expect to do nothing unless there is further clarification. We changed our processes in our unit to conform with the "cloud" restrictions in Section 4.9.4 some time ago, but I don't think we have made any changes to how data is handled on the clerk's computer due to the 2014 "third-party software" policy in Section 4.9.3. I still am not persuaded that we have to, because under the best commonsense reading of the language our software is compliant.

I called to our bishop's and stake's attention the existence of the new policy five months ago. We have been through a membership audit since then, and I know of no direction to stop putting membership information into external software installed on our unit computer, so long as confidential data is still protected per the handbook. We will just keep magnifying our callings.


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