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Should we start an independent players association?
Yes, great idea lets do it based on the proposal above. 57%  57%  [ 21 ]
Yes, but some major changes to the proposal. 24%  24%  [ 9 ]
No, it would have be very different to the above proposal. 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
No, it's simply not viable 16%  16%  [ 6 ]
Total votes : 37
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PostPosted: 31 May 2012, 13:02 
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We know that our national associations are supposed to represent us, but the simple fact is that for most players they don't. The individuals running the associations are often not to blame, as they are often severely underfunded, or restricted in what they can do for other reasons.
The ITTF does not represent us either as they're only there for the Elite, so there's really no-one that represents players like us, and we have no direct vote or say in anything that happens to out sport. By 'us' I refer to the grass-root and amateur/club players, who are the prime source of new Elite players, but have no vote or say in things that affects our sport.

What would be involved in starting our own player's association, perhaps called the ITTPA - International TT Player's Association?

Purpose:
Our purpose would be to represent players worldwide, where every player can have a vote on issues that affects our sport. We can discuss and vote on issues which we (the players) feel are not in the interest of our game, and then decide how we can best address these issues.

What can it do?
Well until we build up numbers, we have no real power, but we do have the power of the 'press'. If there are decisions made at any level that are clearly not in the interest of our sport (in the majority of the opinion of our members), we can start campaigns to inform players worldwide of these issues, and publicise the issues illustrating why the decisions are unfair or not in the interest of our sport. The bigger we get, the more noise we can make, and the more likely we'll be able to influence decision, or influence those people that will vote on these decisions.

How do we start?
Forming our own association would start off small but can grow quickly as we're international and we have the internet at our disposal. Some players will be keen to join because they're unhappy with current issues and feel powerless and frustrated since they can't do anything about it. Other may need some incentives to join, or perhaps need some convincing of the value that such an association can provide for our sport.
As we grow we might be able to get some funding to grow even bigger, and eventually have significant influence. If we grow big enough in time, we may even become a rival for the ITTF :o :o :o .... you never know! 8) ;) :lol:

Who will run it?
To start with it will be a committee of people that help shape the association, and define what the roles and targets are. As these will be unpaid positions, it will be for people that are obviously motivated by the passion for our sport, or are frustrated because they cannot influence our sport.
I certainly hope we can get some influencial people aboard that have many years of experience in TT in many areas, and shares their experience in how we can make this work.
Eventually these position should be voted for and elected by the members, so that every individual member has a vote on who will best represent their views. This also ensures that the committee members remain honest and unbiasses, or they'll likely be voted out the next election.

How will we decide on issues?
Minor issues that are raised by any member will be discussed among the committee members first. All important issues should be raised and voted upon by all the members, and the different points of views can be presented either by the individuals or via one of the members on the committe, before the vote is carried out.

How will we be different to current associations?
Well the big difference is
1. Every individual has the right to raise issues, instead of having to go through many layers of red tape and hope your issue gets through.
2. Every individual will get to vote on the major issues that effect our sport, and make their arguments to others as to why they should vote one way or another.
3. Committee members will be votes in by the actual members, instead of voted in by current committee or board members, which keeps them honest, and ensures that if they lose the plot and no longer serve the interests of their members, they will be voted out.

I know this idea is not new and has been discussed on the few occasions, but I thought I'd start a new thread and hopefully get some new ideas, point out hurdles to overcome, or reasons why this is not viable.
I won't deny that the latest ITTF decision about the new balls has motivated me to write this, but I don't want to form an association just to tackle this, but I'm proposing a more general association that tackles any issues like this one, and other at different levels. Everything above is obviously just a suggestion at this point, so everything is open to discussion.

Please share you thought, or tell me I'm just dreaming... :lol: :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: 31 May 2012, 13:51 
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Grand Idea, and a big plan, and definitely some thought being put into it, great stuff.

We have to think with a clear logical head if we want this to be something that isn't just a pipe dream. Consequently what we need (even initially) are:

Numbers
Press Support
Public Support
Dedicated Core initiators
A Mission statement and a CLEAR set of goals, rather than just to fight the ITTF.

and of course some sort of legal backing, because the ITTF are big fans of suing the pants off those that go against their wishes.

With all of the above, this would be a rip roaring success. I have a few ideas about the best way to build a foundation for this sort of thing, but would like to see if this turns into a slop fight first...

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PostPosted: 31 May 2012, 15:45 
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It wouldn't be the first time an international organisation has built itself a player based competition due to not being in touch with the sport itself.

Separate issue to the organisation of it but I assume one of the main goals would be a slight modification to the equipment rules to achive a true 50-50 balance between defensive and offensive players where there is no clear advantage to either at all levels of play this last part in bold being the most important

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PostPosted: 31 May 2012, 16:54 
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Seems like a big plan, My thinking (out loud) its how would you/we the organisation be able to recruit, spread information, given then most table tennis apart from the USA is based around some kind of weekly interclub/league system or in a social way. I would expect most players would say "get lost" and the venue holder will kick someone out If they thought some different group was out to recruit and change the ways things are.
I think not all Countries are not unhappy with their organisations, so we can't have the same approach with all Countries, In NZ I can ring the President of NZTTA up and be facebook friends :lol: , I recently sent him a moan about ratings here lol

I do agree on the concept of having more say, but how do you tackle the logistics and communication, and who will listen and if for example this collective of players voted in majority to ban long pimples, or wanted a 42mm ball, or to have no pimple players under 18, will some say this isn't right because you wanted a different outcome or will every thing be right because the majority said .....

I would like to think having more relaxed rules for social players is the right approach but others will have their own agenders / hobbyhorses and will others who didn't join or vote care

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PostPosted: 31 May 2012, 17:29 
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Maybe we could start small among OOAK community. Let's have a well written objective to get the support of players around the globe. Then after that influence other table tennis sites.
Let us try to unite with other table tennis bloggers around the world first. Internet is a powerful weapon.

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PostPosted: 31 May 2012, 17:50 
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Thanks for the feedback guys!

Yes I also think we need to start small, have a well defined plan, and take one step at the time. :up: :up: :up:

I thought it was worthwhile to start this thread to highlight exactly what the difficulties are, so that we can tackle them one by one.

Having a concise plan with well defined and achievable goals is key to get support and make us look professional.

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PostPosted: 31 May 2012, 23:53 
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Quote:
Please share you thought, or tell me I'm just dreaming...
You're dreaming.

Now there's nothing wrong with dreaming. It's good to dream and I applaud raising this for discussion. I know that I can be negative and hold a contrary opinion to others, but I'm prepared to risk a little criticism. Let me tell you why I voted "No".

1. How many members does this forum have? How many will be prepared to vote in favour of this proposal? I'll come back in a month's time and, if more than 10% of the total membership has voted "Yes", then I'll change my vote.

But... if we can't get even 10% of our passionate TT members on board, how realistic is it to think that we might develop a membership large enough to have any influence in world TT?

2. To the best of my knowledge, there is not a single major sport in the world which is focussed on the "grass-roots" players. It's fine to suggest that the "ITTPA" would listen to and be guided by "the grass-root and amateur/club players" but it's simply not the way things get done. All major sports are focussed on their elite athletes and teams. Rule changes and sport development are all aimed at the elite. Why? Because the general public never has and never will be interested in watching 2 basement players playing "ping pong" anymore than they would watch two overweight guys run a half-marathon or some local over-50s playing weekend football. The interest is in the elite and the money follows.

3. Fabulous idea for everyone to have a say, but the reality is that not everyone would be happy with that. As rodderz points out, democracy always means some are winners and some are losers. Even if every TT player on the planet had a say on every single issue, there will always be those whose wishes are overlooked. If 51% vote "Yes", then 49% will be unhappy and will immediately begin complaining about not being heard.

4. This new model is nothing more than the old model dressed up in long pimples. For example,
Quote:
How will we decide on issues?
Minor issues that are raised by any member will be discussed among the committee members first. All important issues should be raised and voted upon by all the members, and the different points of views can be presented either by the individuals or via one of the members on the committe, before the vote is carried out.
Of course, you could just substitute "Board of Directors" for "the committee members". :lol:
As Orwell put it: All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. From the outset, committee members will know that they are "more equal" than the very "grass-roots" members they claim to represent. Regardless of how idealistic and well-intentioned people are, the truth is that they will put their own interests ahead of others. An immediate example is "I assume one of the main goals would be a slight modification to the equipment rules to achive a true 50-50 balance between defensive and offensive players". When 90% of all players are offensive players, such a goal is self-interest and not a reflection of the views of the majority of grass-roots players who "have no vote or say in things that affects our sport".

In the final analysis, it's great to dream, but when we wake up we still live in a world where TT is a major sport in only a few countries. While I believe TT is a fantastic game worthy of everyone's interest, the truth is I live in a country where people think kicking and catching an egg-shaped ball is far more fascinating; in the USA millions play ping pong in their basements but far, far more passionately believe that American "football" is a real sport (much to my bewilderment); in India millions upon millions of small boys grow up dreaming of bowling leg spin or playing matchless off-drives, and would laugh at any suggestion that TT would be a better pursuit; and in Ireland people are far, far more passionate about their Guinness than they are about any sport - even hurling is really only a warm up activity for the serious business of drinking more Guinness (sensible people, the Irish).

I'll be back at the end of June to see if I need to change my vote. ;)

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PostPosted: 01 Jun 2012, 00:31 
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SuperHappyFunSlider wrote:
Grand Idea, and a big plan, and definitely some thought being put into it, great stuff.

We have to think with a clear logical head if we want this to be something that isn't just a pipe dream. Consequently what we need (even initially) are:

Numbers
Press Support
Public Support
Dedicated Core initiators
A Mission statement and a CLEAR set of goals, rather than just to fight the ITTF.

and of course some sort of legal backing, because the ITTF are big fans of suing the pants off those that go against their wishes.

With all of the above, this would be a rip roaring success. I have a few ideas about the best way to build a foundation for this sort of thing, but would like to see if this turns into a slop fight first...


perhaps the most important part is what has been bolded....

its a grand idea,....


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PostPosted: 01 Jun 2012, 03:20 
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Sounds like a big hill to climb, but I favor the idea in general.

Are there precedents to follow among any other sports?

 

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PostPosted: 01 Jun 2012, 04:24 
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It's true that decisions made by the ITTF are not necessarily in the best interests of the sport and also that the interests of the vast majority of amateur table tennis players are unrepresented.

In the final analysis, I think it basically all boils down to equipment. All problems would be solved if the new ITTPA rules would:

1) Require the use of the current celluloid ball that has been in use for 100 years

2) Give players back the freedom to use any rubber they wish with no testing

At the ITTF level they can play any restrictive, hybrid version of the game they want and no one would care, but please preserve the integrity of the sport for the masses who want to play REAL table tennis without all the red tape.

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PostPosted: 01 Jun 2012, 07:37 
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I too have voted no. There is a sort of precedent for what you are doing.

There is a hardbat movement ( and maybe even a sandpaper one as well), I believe primarily in the US. It seems to have fairly well defined rules that try to take the game back in time to prior to sandwich rubber, I suspect (so don't flame me for this opinion) mainly so that members can relive a bygone era when the US had world champions in the sport. Why don't you just affiliate with that movement and set up hardbat leagues and tournaments?

Hardbat equipment rules are almost a subset of ITTF rules except that hardbat allows some pimple rubbers that ITTF doesn't.

I can see that a lot of the proponents of this idea want to level the playing field equipment wise, & everyone conforming to the rules of hardbat in your own league & tournaments would certainly do that.

In the US there are occasional hardbat events at "normal" tournaments, but my impression is that some person or organisation stumps up a sponsorship for those events to occur. See also my "reliving a bygone era" opinion previously.

As for myself, I will continue to play by the ITTF rules and hone my retrieving skills to beat all those players who take offense at my defense.

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PostPosted: 01 Jun 2012, 08:21 
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Wanting to maintain spin in the game has nothing to do with hardbat or sandpaper.

The new .6mm larger, less spinny ball will pretty much be the last nail in the coffin for long pips players and defenders. This is just the latest in a long series of rules changes designed to try to eliminate defensive play from table tennis and the ITTF has conned a lot of people into buying the idea that topspin attacking is progress and the "modern game" and defending is obsolete.

I'm sure a lot of conventional topspin players will be saying "good riddance" to the eradication of defenders.

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PostPosted: 01 Jun 2012, 08:42 
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Haggisv, I am very impressed by your proposal. Let me add a few ideas.

To give every player the right to vote is a great step forward, but we should discuss the possibility of creating a federation to avoid that some countries get a sort of automatic majority, like China. To me, it should go like that: if a rule change has been proposed, every individual player (member) should have right to vote. Then, if the 3/4 majority of the players in the country vote for the proposition, then it should be considered "yes" of the country. And then to get passed the proposition should get "yes" from the 3/4 majority of countries. So we would have a direct voting and a federal structure at the same time.

Of course, the voting should be open and all the lists with names and results should be published on the internet and be available for everyone to check the counting. Thus manipulations or fraud could be avoided.

The same goes for vote on personalities, like Board and Committees members etc.

Then I would suggest we go 10 years back in the past and start with the rules from those times.


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PostPosted: 01 Jun 2012, 08:55 
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Smartguy wrote:
To give every player the right to vote is a great step forward, but we should discuss the possibility of creating a federation to avoid that some countries get a sort of automatic majority, like China. To me, it should go like that: if a rule change has been proposed, every individual player (member) should have right to vote. Then, if the 3/4 majority of the players in the country vote for the proposition, then it should be considered "yes" of the country. And then to get passed the proposition should get "yes" from the 3/4 majority of countries. So we would have a direct voting and a federal structure at the same time.

Of course, the voting should be open and all the lists with names and results should be published on the internet and be available for everyone to check the counting. Thus manipulations or fraud could be avoided.

Great thinking, I agree completely, thank you Smartguy! :up: :up: :up:

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PostPosted: 01 Jun 2012, 09:12 
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Tassie52 wrote:
Quote:
Please share you thought, or tell me I'm just dreaming...
You're dreaming.

Now there's nothing wrong with dreaming. It's good to dream and I applaud raising this for discussion. I know that I can be negative and hold a contrary opinion to others, but I'm prepared to risk a little criticism. Let me tell you why I voted "No".

1. How many members does this forum have? How many will be prepared to vote in favour of this proposal? I'll come back in a month's time and, if more than 10% of the total membership has voted "Yes", then I'll change my vote.

But... if we can't get even 10% of our passionate TT members on board, how realistic is it to think that we might develop a membership large enough to have any influence in world TT?

2. To the best of my knowledge, there is not a single major sport in the world which is focussed on the "grass-roots" players. It's fine to suggest that the "ITTPA" would listen to and be guided by "the grass-root and amateur/club players" but it's simply not the way things get done. All major sports are focussed on their elite athletes and teams. Rule changes and sport development are all aimed at the elite. Why? Because the general public never has and never will be interested in watching 2 basement players playing "ping pong" anymore than they would watch two overweight guys run a half-marathon or some local over-50s playing weekend football. The interest is in the elite and the money follows.

3. Fabulous idea for everyone to have a say, but the reality is that not everyone would be happy with that. As rodderz points out, democracy always means some are winners and some are losers. Even if every TT player on the planet had a say on every single issue, there will always be those whose wishes are overlooked. If 51% vote "Yes", then 49% will be unhappy and will immediately begin complaining about not being heard.

4. This new model is nothing more than the old model dressed up in long pimples. For example,
Quote:
How will we decide on issues?
Minor issues that are raised by any member will be discussed among the committee members first. All important issues should be raised and voted upon by all the members, and the different points of views can be presented either by the individuals or via one of the members on the committe, before the vote is carried out.
Of course, you could just substitute "Board of Directors" for "the committee members". :lol:
As Orwell put it: All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. From the outset, committee members will know that they are "more equal" than the very "grass-roots" members they claim to represent. Regardless of how idealistic and well-intentioned people are, the truth is that they will put their own interests ahead of others. An immediate example is "I assume one of the main goals would be a slight modification to the equipment rules to achive a true 50-50 balance between defensive and offensive players". When 90% of all players are offensive players, such a goal is self-interest and not a reflection of the views of the majority of grass-roots players who "have no vote or say in things that affects our sport".

In the final analysis, it's great to dream, but when we wake up we still live in a world where TT is a major sport in only a few countries. While I believe TT is a fantastic game worthy of everyone's interest, the truth is I live in a country where people think kicking and catching an egg-shaped ball is far more fascinating; in the USA millions play ping pong in their basements but far, far more passionately believe that American "football" is a real sport (much to my bewilderment); in India millions upon millions of small boys grow up dreaming of bowling leg spin or playing matchless off-drives, and would laugh at any suggestion that TT would be a better pursuit; and in Ireland people are far, far more passionate about their Guinness than they are about any sport - even hurling is really only a warm up activity for the serious business of drinking more Guinness (sensible people, the Irish).

I'll be back at the end of June to see if I need to change my vote. ;)


Tassie52, I do really appreciate the thought you've put into your post, and you obviously do have a good grasp on how things work in this world, but your posts focusses very much on what cannot be done and why the goals (which have not even been set yet) cannot be achieved.

If everyone would go away and come back after a month, to see how many supporters we had gained, how successful do you think we will become? While your comments are valuable, if you could put your great mind to thinking about what goals ARE achievable, and how we CAN make a difference, I think are chances will be a lot better!

A few point about your post:
1. This is NOT about OOAK forum and it's members, even though I'm hoping our members can help with suggestions on how to set things up. it's certianly my aim to go well beyond just the members of our forum. But before we go further and try and gain more support, we need to form some of the key goals and structure of the organisation, or else we'll not be taken seriously.

2. Just because others have not done this (and I don't know if anyone has), it does not mean it cannot be done. Other sports may not have the issues we have anyway.

3. I don't know why you're bringing long pimples into this... it's not about a specific issue. Sure, there will always be minority groups that can easily be voted down in a democratic vote. But at least in this association they will have a say and can put their arguments forwards for everyone to hear.

4. Yes it's naive to think that there would not be some bias or possibly even some level of corruption, as this is unfortunately human nature. This is why it's vital to make all processes 100% transparent, and allow all members to vote for both the issues at hand and the members or the board.

Lets focus on building a body that can be influencial and address some of the current issues that affect our sport...we need to take one step and the time, and set achievable goals one at the time.

So please, if we can re-focus this threads on what goals can be achieved, and how we can achieve them, and also help build the basis of an organisation that will be transparent and continues to represent the players and the interests of our sport, then I think we have a chance of biulding something useful that can make a difference.

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