Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day Sixty-Three

Seven years ago, I was an Area Governor for Toastmasters. In that role, we’d get monthly reports showing how well the clubs in our area were doing in membership and progress in the Distinguished Club Program – it seemed like it would make sense to consolidate the two reports, but they came from different parts of the Toastmasters website, so it couldn’t be done. My reaction: “that’s just a small matter of programming”, and I sat down and did it.

The rest of the District 4 leadership liked what I’d done and encouraged me to keep doing it – and to automate more and more of the reports that the District needed. I was willing, and kept writing code, eventually joining the Webmaster team and then, when District 101 was carved out of District 4, I became the District 101 Webmaster and Statistician. And my code kept growing.

Today, I had to look at some of the oldest code that’s still running. When I wrote it, I made an assumption that, if I asked Toastmasters for a complete list of clubs in the District, I would get a complete list of clubs in the District. Silly me.

Apparently, it’s possible for a club to ask to be kept hidden from “find a club near you” search. But that also means that the club is excluded from the list of clubs in the District. A hidden club DOES show up in other reports, and that led to some inconsistencies.

I plan to solve the problem by adding hidden clubs to my table of active clubs when I build it so that the rest of my code doesn’t have to deal with the problem. I think I’ve figured out what I need to do, but the code that builds the table is old and cranky with lots of places where I’ve had to patch around other weird things Toastmasters has done over the years. Maybe I can simplify the whole thing instead of adding yet another layer of spackle – but that’s tomorrow’s problem.