Arranging meeting – How and why (a reason to exist)

Attending: Tony, Les, Ollie, Aaron, Joe and Mike. (Nearly forgot James.)

Continuation of the discussion started on the mailing list about how to organise meetings.

The main points. Discussed but not yet agreed.
If an invite system is to be used, it would need to be a ‘blanket’ invite to everybody on a list.

We do not want to accidentally leave someone off and have them think there is no meeting or worse, that they have not been invited because we do not want them to come.

People should be able to join and leave the list themselves, so we do not have to allocate someone to construct the list.

Anyone on the list should be able to instigate an invite if they want a meeting to happen. This takes the burden off one person always having to remember to do it.

A method of cancelling should exist if there is no response to an invite.

A couple of us felt that the existing mailing list could handle this. It has been the one stable thing that has always been there since the group formed in 2004, while various other options we have tried have been and gone.

Currently, we get apologies on the list from people who are not going to attend. This does not give any indication of who is going to attend, or if there is even going to be a meeting.

Switch this around. An invite goes out, people respond to say they are attending and the meeting happens. No response and the invite is cancelled.
It may need fine tuning, but it covers the points discussed.

NOTE..  The above has not been agreed. There are plenty of other options available.

The second part, was the suggestion that we should make it known what was going to happen each meeting. This generated another discussion.

Main points. Again, not yet agreed.

Most felt that the current ad-hoc, laid back system works well. Trying to add structure was not seen as a positive move.

Currently, this means that we do not advertise what we are going to be doing, and people just turn up and get on with whatever they want to do.

However, it was suggested that the facility should be there to organise sessions if members want them.
Previous examples of this working well were mentioned :- Jon put on a Python tutorial for beginners, which stretched across several weeks, and was well received. Jon also did a video editing tutorial, again well received.  When we recorded a video of a computer being dismantled and reassembled, that was one of the best attended meeting we have had:-

Another point.

It appears that the group has evolved into what was described as a ‘gentlemans club’,  meaning that it is becoming a closed entity just for our own private use. “our” meaning the core members who regularly turn up.

Given that a user group is about the members that attend, and what they want, does the above ‘gentlemans club’ description mean that we are stagnating,? OR

Does it mean that because this is happening by default, we have a good setup, and this is actually what the active members want? 

I have heard from other groups who have driven up numbers, only to become unmanageable, and unsustainable as a large group, and subsequently split into smaller sub groups.

The LUG is a small group, is that what we want, or should we try to increase numbers?

Suggestions came up about things we could do to increase numbers, but again, it was not agreed that we should do any of the following:

Promoting the Makerspace.

Install fests.
to coincide with the new release of Ubuntu/mint. This is also a good time to promote the light distros to replaced the expiring XP.

repair fests (restart parties)

I guess it all resolves down to our reason for existing as a group.
We have no mission statement or objectives. What is driving us, where are we going, will we know if or when we arrive?

Reading through all this again, there are a lot of questions, and it seems like the easiest option is to ignore it all, and wait to see what happens 🙂

But is that the best option?

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