Interesting conversation! Thanks to everyone…
The IAA has been averaging a bit less than 1200 members a year. A few of these are complementary members (like key people in the ATF, and other ammunition associations around the world) and almost all of these get the eJournal. We have over 1000 members who subscribe to the print journal and a bit more than 200 who get the eJournal, including those who get the eJournal in addition to the print Journal. The print journal is clearly preferred by most of our members, and they are willing to pay more for it.
To some of the broader questions that were raised. The IAA is incorporated as a tax-exempt 501C7 (Social Organization) under US Federal Law, and that status requires approval by the Internal Revenue Service and annual reports to the IRS. The 501C7 status, the only category we qualify for, requires that our reason for existence it to provide services to our members. If we wanted to be an advocacy organization or a political action organization, those are different types of 501 organizations with different requirements. There are limits on the income we can make from non-members (and such income is taxable) and to the services we can provide to non-members. In fact, our services to non-members must directly result in improved services to members. We can operate this Forum because it provides a research tool for IAA members that would otherwise not be available. The IAA website had had ONLY TWO reasons for existence since the day it was established. First, to encourage membership in the IAA which directly benefits members, and second, to encourage the study and collecting of ammunition, which also benefits members in a wide variety of ways. Each year in our IRS submission we have to report on the past years activities and how they benefit members of the organization.
The List of Headstamp Codes on the IAA website was originally created as an INTRODUCTION to identification to interest people in cartridge collecting, not as a definitive tool for identification. If it had been the second, it would not have qualified as a member service since it is equally available to non-members. I would like to see this list updated, and the software was developed by a member to allow it to be expanded to include shotshells, rimfire, large caliber, etc, but nobody, or group, has offered to take on this effort within the current purpose of the list.
Notice that the content of the public access part of the website includes articles that are “Introduction to …” for exactly the same reason.
I applaud Aaron and his effort to put up a members-only section to the website, because it will allow us to expand services to our members-which is what we are chartered under law to do. In doing this we cannot forget the basic purpose of the website (and the Forum) which is to gain new members for the IAA and to encourage research and collecting of ammunition.
There are a lot of people on the IAA Forum who are not IAA members, and we welcome you. You bring a lot of benefit to the Forum and to the cartridge research conducted by IAA members, including my own. We wish you were all IAA members, but you each have good reasons for your choices. It is interesting that some of the fine articles in the IAA journal are written by non-IAA members, usually because they are non-English speakers, but want their research to appear in a first class Journal and the IAA Journal meets that criteria.
I have no problem with a Wiki like database on the website, but not as a replacement for the current headstamp code list, which requires validation and authentication of the data, but rather as a source for new information that may find it’s way into the headstamp code list after authentication, or perhaps into a more definitive information in the members-only portion of the website.
All these are great ideas, the problem is that they all take time, and usually lots of time by a team of people. Cartridgecorner has offered to help, and I have written him separately. Lots of people, including me, come to the website with great ideas, but run out of time to establish and maintain the material. We need to scope what we do to match the resources to sustain the things we build.
Many of the IAA members understand this because it has been discussed in the Journal, but I wanted to make sure everyone understands what the IAA is doing and why. Or, at least what I think the IAA is doing and why!!!
Thanks again for the great comments.