Sunday, July 08, 2012

Leaving IEEE

I was a member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers for ten years, joining as a student member in my early days at the University of Waterloo. I enjoyed my days as a student member, taking advantage of student paper nights, and getting involved with the local student society. During my Masters degree, I was lucky enough to attend a few IEEE conferences, and even published in a few of them. Overall, I felt that

However, after several years in industry, it's not quite as useful. I'm not publishing, nor attending (IEEE) conferences. The very concept of magazines and journals seems dated in an era of RSS, Reddit, and open access. Combine that with a very underwater mortgage, a family to support, and much higher membership fees, and the membership value proposition becomes hard to justify.

But what killed me more than anything - the spam. Neverending spam. I think the most offensive was the IEEE-affiliate life insurance - clearly not even tangentially related to the IEEE, yet I'm getting shredder food every month. Next on my list, the IEEE Communications Society. I don't do communications. I'll probably never do communications. I haven't the slightest interest in the topic, nor have I ever expressed such an interest. Still, they sending me every last call for papers, nag me regularly to subscribe to their content, and steadfastly refuse to honor my unsubscribes.

Finally, I had enough, and let my membership lapse at the end of 2011. This was just the beginning of the spam, with nearly a dozen different offers, warnings, requests and complaints trying to encourage me to renew. Not entirely unexpected, but what really got me was when they opened a support incident at "my request" in their support system, simply to further spam me through their ticket system. Every new email further reinforces how right I was to disassociate with this organization.

IEEE, you are supposed to be the premier professional organization for modern engineers, not an affiliate marketing business. Shame on you.