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Thread: Continuation of "IRC Meetings" thread

  1. #1
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    Continuation of "IRC Meetings" thread

    I apologize for sending that first email and sparking the discussion in the mailing list. It should have been started here on the forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Younkins
    Citing dismal attendance and overall noninterest, some team members are motioning to end monthly IRC meetings.

    I am in opposition to this because physical meetings have a small radius, and I strongly believe we need to reach out to all of Maryland, which we can do through IRC. Meeting attendance is dropping, and we need to strengthen our community!

    I'm worried about how little this team accomplishes as a whole. People from all over Maryland can help with events, the wiki, and the soon-to-be-live website. We need to bring these people out and gain some support!

    IRC meetings do not need to take long. If we begin promptly we will usually only need 30 mins to an hour of talk time. Is 7PM on the first Wednesday of every month inconvenient for people? If so, suggest another time during the first week of the month.

    I hope some people that don't/can't attend the physical meetings will speak up and we can bring regular IRC meetings back into the team.

    Let's talk about it.

    Craig Younkins
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Rhoderick
    I agree. We shouldn't end the meetings as a result of a lack of
    participation, we need to increase participation. Like Craig has pointed
    out, we shouldn't forget that this team is statewide. It is not a Columbia
    or Baltimore team. In order to function as a statewide team, we have to make
    the team available to all Marylanders. In fact, I'd be more willing to get
    rid of PHYSICAL meetings before I'd get rid of the IRC meetings. There's no
    reason we can't do both, however, so long as the physical meetings are
    transcribed so that everyone can follow what's being discussed.

    Before we try to increase participation, we should first set out some goals.
    As I've mentioned before, I have little interest in install fests and I
    think they're a poor use of our resources, so for my part, I propose that
    our team should spend more time on creating a buzz around Ubuntu. After all,
    we're not just doing this so we can get together to hack away at some
    troublesome machines, we're doing this because we believe in Ubuntu and we
    believe in FOSS. Therefore, I believe that we need to have more
    public-oriented events that are open to a wider audience. It's all about the
    buzz. Not to mention I think install fests unfairly characterize Ubuntu as
    difficult to install. In case you haven't noticed, install fests are
    preaching to choir: only the most troublesome of machines end up at these
    things.

    Also, I think the install fests and our obsessive focus on them are
    potentially what's causing the problem with participation. At some of the
    meetings I attended, I noticed people would much rather talk about Ubuntu
    and FOSS than sit around troubleshooting. That's understandable, and I think
    we should encourage group discussion and meetings around Ubuntu. I truly
    think we should FIRST be an Ubuntu enthusiasts group and SECOND a technical
    support group. We can develop our membership and our goals much better if we
    give people a REASON to attend the meetings.

    I think the meeting in Frederick is potentially a great step in the right
    direction. I for one vote that we move away from this tech support paradigm
    and try our hand as an enthusiasts group. I think people would be much more
    likely to participate if they got something out of it, even if that is as
    simple as an hour of social interaction with like-minded people. Trying to
    crack the whip at our members about helping out at install fests is a poor
    way to build group morale and enthusiasm. Ubuntu draws people together, so
    let's focus on people, not on technology, and I think everything else will
    naturally fall into place.

    Anyway, that's my piece.

    -- Josh
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    > I am in opposition to this because physical meetings have a small radius,
    > and I strongly believe we need to reach out to all of Maryland, which we can
    > do through IRC. Meeting attendance is dropping, and we need to *strengthen
    > our community!*

    +1 from a new member in Brunswick. Columbia is a bit over an hour
    from me, and I find it much more convenient to attend the IRC
    meetings. One thing I wonder: Would the IRC meetings be more
    effective if they were shortened, held more often, and had a fixed
    agenda?
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    > I think the meeting in Frederick is potentially a great step in the right
    > direction. I for one vote that we move away from this tech support paradigm
    > and try our hand as an enthusiasts group. I think people would be much more
    > likely to participate if they got something out of it, even if that is as
    > simple as an hour of social interaction with like-minded people. Trying to
    > crack the whip at our members about helping out at install fests is a poor
    > way to build group morale and enthusiasm. Ubuntu draws people together, so
    > let's focus on people, not on technology, and I think everything else will
    > naturally fall into place.

    I don't think we should get rid of installfests, but I definitely
    agree there's alot of other outreach that could be done. One thing
    I'd like to try is setting up an Ubuntu table to hand out free CDs at
    Brunswick's First Friday event. The next one might be a bit close
    (March 7th), but if I could get the team's help I think it might be a
    good outreach opportunity.

    And I'll definitely be there this Wednsday at the Frederick meeting.

    - Rich
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Frain
    So here's what I'm hearing in this thread.

    The IRC chats should continue. That's great, but if no one attends, do they
    happen? I can say from my point is that I tend to forget to log in for them,
    or do not have time to. It's not a matter that it's not on my calendar, it's
    a factor of simply 7pm coming and going without a thought about the chat.
    The few that I have actually gotten in on it has been the same people for
    the most part that attend the physical meetings.

    Another thing I see is wanting to do more enthusiast type activities. What
    do you picture being done at these? Is it simply an Ubuntu Users gathering
    such as we did for the Gutsy release or do you want to work a presentation
    into this? From discussions we've had on the upcoming install fest and this
    thread I do have a first thought on a topic. Either we do the 'Why Ubuntu?'
    presentation or a 'New Life For Your Old PC!' type of presentation. This
    leads to a when and where discussion.

    Then the question about the First Friday thing. What would a table involve?
    Is this an event that people would want to stop and ask about a computer
    operating system? March 7th is a little quick for this suggestion in
    particular due to the fact that we have the Install Fest the next day.

    As for the the install fests, this is something that members seem to want to
    do. I don't feel that we are cracking a whip in this direction, but it is
    something that we get people wanting to help with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Kemp
    At least on my part, Non-participation does not imply a lack of
    interest. It is a direct result of some nasty work
    backlogs at my work that leave me unable and unwilling to sit in front
    of a screen after a few hours over of overtime over a 6-week period.

    Let alone drive to Howard County from Frederick/Carroll county.

    Also, at work IRC outgoing is firewalled (and I haven't set up SSH to
    my home machine.)

    Nay on the motion to discontinue IRC meetings. I will attempt to be
    there more often now that things have subsided somewhat.

    --BK
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    > The IRC chats should continue. That's great, but if no one attends, do they
    > happen? I can say from my point is that I tend to forget to log in for them,
    > or do not have time to. It's not a matter that it's not on my calendar, it's
    > a factor of simply 7pm coming and going without a thought about the chat.

    Do you think it would help to shorten the IRC meetings and make them
    happen more often? It looks like NY's LoCo team has an IRC meeting
    once every two weeks. Having the meeting more frequently might
    encourage more participation/reinforce the habit .

    >
    > Another thing I see is wanting to do more enthusiast type activities. What
    > do you picture being done at these? Is it simply an Ubuntu Users gathering
    > such as we did for the Gutsy release or do you want to work a presentation
    > into this? From discussions we've had on the upcoming install fest and this
    > thread I do have a first thought on a topic. Either we do the 'Why Ubuntu?'
    > presentation or a 'New Life For Your Old PC!' type of presentation. This
    > leads to a when and where discussion.

    Both I'd say, but definitely more advocacy. Presentations to college
    ACM groups, computer fairs, etc.

    > Then the question about the First Friday thing.

    Yeah, I think I spoke too soon on this one. I made some phone calls
    this morning, participation is closed to all but businesses on Main
    St. So never-mind

    - Rich
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Rhoderick
    > The IRC chats should continue. That's great, but if no one attends, do
    > they
    > happen? I can say from my point is that I tend to forget to log in for
    > them,
    > or do not have time to. It's not a matter that it's not on my calendar,
    > it's
    > a factor of simply 7pm coming and going without a thought about the chat.
    > The few that I have actually gotten in on it has been the same people for
    > the most part that attend the physical meetings.


    I don't think it's reasonable to cancel the IRC meetings because you forget
    them. Maybe we can send out e-mail reminders or send SMS messages prior to
    the meeting or something. Or even a phone tree.

    I've been unable to make the physical meetings. I don't get home from work
    until around 6pm most nights, and then I'd have to leave immediately to make
    it to Columbia by 7pm. That means I wouldn't get a chance to eat, shower, or
    do anything until I get home around 10pm. For me, that's a tight schedule,
    especially considering that I work full-time and I'm a student. My point is
    that without the IRC meetings, I would have no way of meeting with the team.
    Getting rid of the IRC meetings would be a quaint way of telling me that I'm
    not worth the effort... as well anyone else who happens to live too far away
    to commute to physical meetings. I did some search of other LoCos to find
    out how they manage these, and most have IRC meetings far more regularly
    than physical meetings.

    Another thing I see is wanting to do more enthusiast type activities. What
    > do you picture being done at these? Is it simply an Ubuntu Users gathering
    > such as we did for the Gutsy release or do you want to work a presentation
    > into this? From discussions we've had on the upcoming install fest and
    > this
    > thread I do have a first thought on a topic. Either we do the 'Why
    > Ubuntu?'
    > presentation or a 'New Life For Your Old PC!' type of presentation. This
    > leads to a when and where discussion.


    Sure, we could do a number of things. As I mentioned above, I've been doing
    some research on other LoCos and there are a variety of things we could do.
    Some are physical, others are internet-based. We can discuss these in
    upcoming meetings or in the forums. I've been planning to start a thread
    about this for a while now but I wanted to gather my thoughts first.

    As for the the install fests, this is something that members seem to want to
    > do. I don't feel that we are cracking a whip in this direction, but it is
    > something that we get people wanting to help with.
    >

    I don't want to sound like an install fest hater, but I think it's critical
    that we first acknowledge our target audience. Who are we trying to reach?
    How are we most likely to reach them? If you think about this for a few
    seconds, you'll realize that install fests are not the way to reach our
    target audience. The people we're trying to reach don't even know what an
    install fest is, and those who DO know what they are probably don't need to
    attend one unless they have a particularly troublesome computer. So what
    we're left with is an event (mostly planned, managed, and executed by Craig
    and John) that takes up all of our time. Besides, Ubuntu is easy to install,
    right? Why are we spending so much time INSTALLING it? Let's spread Ubuntu.
    Let's talk about it. Let's show it to people. Let's popularize it. Let's
    work on it and make it better. Have you seen the new LoCo initiative? I
    don't have a link at the moment, but Jono is pushing for LoCos to start
    doing bug-squashing and documentation.

    Frankly, I think we'd get more exposure by walking around the mall while
    wearing Ubuntu T-shirts than doing 20 install fests. So, yes, the team may
    enjoy doing install fests, but that doesn't mean that they should monopolize
    our time and effort. Poor Craig is ripping out his hair trying to pull these
    things together. If everyone is so interested in them, why aren't more
    people stepping up to help out?

    -- Josh
    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Leininger
    I also think that a heads-up reminder email, the day of the IRC meeting
    is a good idea. I plumb forgot about the last one.

    As I said before, I'm in (schedule permitting) for the presentations. I
    agree with Josh that install-fests largely miss the point, although I
    realize that among our group there are guys who are drawn to that. Fair
    enough. Install fests don't bother me until they begin to take up all
    the attention of the group, and then I find myself losing interest.

    Line up presentation venues, and point me in the right direction. That
    sort of thing generates interested bodies, and interested bodies keep
    LoCos going. We've already worked out, for the most part, the
    presentation itself. More polish will come with more iterations. (And,
    Vista drums up interest for our cause, or something like what we offer.)

    -J.

  2. #2
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    Re: Continuation of "IRC Meetings" thread

    Some thoughts.

    Excuse any missed words or blunt conclusions. I'm addled a bit from being sick with...something.

    I like the idea of more frequent meetings, but I'm concerned we may not have enough to talk about.

    I'm big on the idea of a reminder email for them as well; it's not hard to sign into IRC but I need to know that it's happening otherwise my schedule tends to take over.

    As for presentations, I wish I had more time to create but I may be able to present someone else's presentation or at least help out in giving it.

    See you tomorrow, unless I get supercontagious, in which case I'll spare you all.

  3. #3
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    Re: Continuation of "IRC Meetings" thread

    Do you guys not use calendars? I dunno, it seems rather simple to me. I use google calendar and have email alerts.

    While this hasn't been widely publicized yet, you can find a public calendar with our events here.

  4. #4
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    Re: Continuation of "IRC Meetings" thread

    Because it looks like I may have given Josh and others the wrong impression I think I need to clairify something here.

    I am not opposed to continuing IRC chats, My forgetting about them is the reason that I tend to miss them. I do use a calendar, but it's a matter of remembering once I get home.

    I just don't want to schedule IRC chats if no one is going to be there on the chance that new users are going to show up wondering where everyone is.

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