[clug] The harsh realities of CLUG (Interim Summary)

Paul Wayper paulway at mabula.net
Tue Jun 14 05:19:38 MDT 2011

Hash: SHA1

On 06/14/2011 07:31 AM, Adam Baxter wrote:
> On a different point, I set up a wiki at one point for CLUG, which
> generated some discussion, but not much else. Maybe the website isn't
> really an issue?

That's actually a perfect example of the problem.

What happened there was that people were complaining about the website not
being up to date.  You came in and said "well, I can set up this technical
solution, and we can all contribute to it".  And people didn't flock to it and
start writing content and updating the web site.  After all, it wasn't
actually the website, it was just an adjunct to it.  Because fundamentally the
technical solution didn't make people care about putting content on the wiki.

Now, on the one hand we can lower the barriers to contribution - wikis are
pretty easy but I think we had some problems with registering.  And on the
other hand we can make it more meaningful to contribute - allowing people to
edit the website, or publicly celebrating those who contribute or something.

But I suspect that a lot of those kinds of things are missing the fundamental
point: as far as I can see, people see CLUG as a kind of self-organising thing
that pretty much runs itself.  They don't feel that they have to contribute to
actually running evenings - and my guess is that's because they either already
come along to meetings and see that as basically OK, or they're on the email
list and they already get from that whatever they want.

There are people who contribute to meetings: people who give talks, people who
greet newcomers, people who ask interesting questions, people like Bob and
Steve who open up and close up and make the place available, people who
volunteer to drive to pick up the pizza.  I suspect that the people that come
along to meetings and feel like contributing are already doing so.

And because the email list membership is huge and contains so many people that
don't come to CLUG meetings that the population that do can be considered a
statistical anomaly, asking for help running the meetings on the list is akin
to walking into Garema Place with a megaphone and asking for people to sign up
for an expedition to free-climb Integral Crack at Booroomba Rocks before
lunch: you may find a few seasoned rock-climbers in the milling throng but few
even of them are likely to say "hey, yeah, I've got nothing better to do right

There are also people who contribute in various ways - Tony Breeds, Steve
Walsh, and Andrew Pollock come to mind - to the running of the CLUG website
and its appurtenances that even I never see.  I appreciate what they do to
keep the site running.  I would laud them more if I knew more about what they
were doing.

The lesson here is simple: Technical solutions to social problems do not often

I'm happy to hear from anyone that wants to assist in running the meetings or
wants to contribute to CLUG, in any way.

Have fun,

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