[Semibug] Meeting location
semibug15 at wayne47.com
Thu Nov 5 13:24:35 EST 2015
I've been at the initial meetings of several local Unix user groups
including SEMISLUG, michigan!/usr/group, YAUG, and semibug (the
2000 incarnation). Based on this experience I have a few comments:
The location of the first few organizational meetings are not
critical, they serve to form a basic outline of the group.
With current tools, most of this could be done online but it
is likely that (even a brief) face to face of the organizers
would be benefecial. Organizational meetings need not have a
The group should have a "focus". Michael Lucas tends to focus
on the presentations. Semislug always allocated a significant
amount of meeting time to social interaction (starting with the
"welcome and abuse of new members") and presentations were
secondary. Different people attend for different reasons.
Once a date/time and location is picked, it's CRUCIAL that it
remain consistant over a long time (as in years). People will
schedule that evening and come to the regular place, even if
they fail to read the reminder email. Avoid Friday nights, people
tend to be busy. Consider holidays and meeting dates of other
user groups when picking the schedule. ISTR that the preference
of meeting dates from best to worst went:
Over the first few years, michigan!/usr/group met at restaurants
that served food and had a room so that meetings could start
earlier. Semislug found that attendance increased if the meetings
were held at a location that served beer. Places that charged
for soft drink refills tended to be frowned upon. Cover charges
drive people away fast.
Royal Oak is well located but is actively hostile to cars (it's
really rough to find free parking, which is a large detriment
to newer attendees). Birmingham has the same problem (ruling out
Google). Libraries are great if the plan is to concentrate on
the presentation, they tend not to help much with the social
aspect. (The Troy library is right at 16 & I-75). Heading to the
bar after the meeting, while acceptable, means that many people
will not make the transition.
Having said all that, I did promise Michael Lucas the last time
I saw him that I would look for possibilities. I need to do some
digging through ancient email and it's been a busy week.
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