More on moving forward

I still can’t shake the feeling that we are going ‘downhill’ as a group, so I dredged up some stuff from the archives. Quite old now, but probably still relevant.

“Many communities don’t take a particularly organised approach to projects, which can kill motivation. If there’s one thing that can cause a community to struggle, it’s a sense that nothing happens or gets done.”

The above quote struck a chord at the time, and still does.

We have already discussed a robot project, but did not get as far as how we would organise/collaborate on it.
We still have the wiki, with just the MythTV project on it from the last formal attempt at collaboration. It only ‘sort of’ worked.

In my last post I noted that some of the past events we put on had been quite popular, but they have been few and far between. Should we do more of these?

We all have different interests and skill sets, and I started to wonder if there might be a better way to bring it all together somehow. Some of us use Twitter or Facebook or G+ or ………..

Instead of making more work for ourselves by forcing ourselves into a collaborative project, perhaps we should try to utilise what what we already do, and showcase it somewhere.

For example, last week, Les posted pictures of his robot on Twitter, I posted schematics of a logic probe, Ollie posted on G+ and Tony has a blog. Les also described taking a scanner apart for robot parts.
Perhaps we should  ‘curate’ the appropriate  posts onto an open wiki or similar, where people could participate if they wanted to.
A project could evolve organically if it was popular enough for people to want to join in. Even if joining in meant asking questions, rather than actual input.

I realise that we are all busy, but if we make it really easy (or better still, automatic) for these tweets/G+’s…etc to end up on some platform of our choice it is more likely to happen.
It would also be a better showcase for the activities that we do than the rather bland and generalised blog posts I have been doing lately.

The related archive stuff follows:

This is in answer to a question Graham Morrison posed in
Linux Format, issue 138,December 2010 (page 14)
How do you organise your LUG meetings?

“Our regular Saturday meetings are organised to benefit those who are attending.

To facilitate this, our mailing list is (can be) used to suggest topics/projects in advance. Hardware, software, notes and any other facilities and requirements can then be organised and in place on the Saturday selected by the requesting attendees.

The Saturday meetings are also advertised on our website/Facebook page as “open house/drop in” to encourage new members.

These pages also suggest that potential visitors can follow us on the mailing list, Twitter, or Facebook, to get a feel of what to expect before visiting, and also find out what is being covered.

This system enables potential new members to suggest a topic, then turn up when it is covered, or to watch for a topic of interest and visit then.

Each meeting is written up on the website, usually within a week of taking place.

Our regular Saturday morning meetings could be considered as social events covering Linux topics on request, and the level/scope/direction is driven by participating members.

Several members actively advocate Linux, and organise or get involved with more ambitious events which would be beyond the scope of our regular Saturday meetings.” (See projects tab for details).


This is a brief summary of an article which appeared in the July (2010) edition of Linux Format magazine.

Called ‘Building your own community,’ written by Jono Bacon the Ubuntu community manager, and author of ‘the art of community’.
This 6 page spread adds a lot more substance to a previous article in the Linux Format magazine (issue 109 Sept 2008 page 14) about attracting more members to the LUG.

A LUG needs:
A place to communicate -> Mailing list

A place to collaborate -> wiki

A place to present the group on line -> website

Two pages are dedicated to implementing these three points. Then moving on to a page about project coordination and management.

I thought the following quote deserved serious attention.

“Many communities don’t take a particularly organised approach to projects, which can kill motivation. If there’s one thing that can cause a community to struggle, it’s a sense that nothing happens or gets done.”

Formalise and document projects.

*The objective
A goal or set of goals that you want to achieve. Summarised into one sentence.

*Success criteria
A clear statement to indicate how success will look when achieved.

*Required actions
The set of steps required to achieve the objective.

Regularly revisit the project documentation and check off completed items, to get an impression of progress and success.

generating some Buzz.
Finally a page about spreading the word and generating some Buzz.
Twitter, facebook and blogger get a mention along with podcasts, local radio, magazine articles, banners/buttons and posters/flyers.

This article starting on page 52 is well worth reading, and is available along with other back issues of Linux Format.

Linux Format issue 116 March 2009 (page 60)

Spice up your LUG.
This is a 4 page spread by Graham Morrison with many helpful points. Including a LUG checklist.

1 Put someone in charge of the website and keep it up to date.
2 Have a few people to make decisions and make someone the single point of contact.
3Consider meeting at the weekend.
4 Forge a relationship with a close LUG
5 Forge a relationship with a distant LUG
6 Hold an event, such as an install fest.
7 Get in touch with local IT Businesses.
8 Keep us informed of any developments.

We have ‘tackled’ all these points.

Linux Format issue 109 Sept 2008 (page 14)

“They (LUG) need a kind of open-house policy where new members can turn up without feeling intimidated. It doesn’t need to be every month either, once a year would be better than never at all”.

When PC Recycler first took over the running of the Blackpool LUG, on offer as a meeting venue was a room with ten internet connected computers.

Also available were most of the back issues of Linux format, and a Library of books.

But the ‘build it and they will come’ theory did not work in this case. After 18 months of no interest, these facilities were withdrawn and provided to another organisation who use the facilities on a regular basis.:-

But times move on, and LUG meetings restarted in a replacement computer suite which is also used by the Blackpool computer club. 

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