SPUG: Next meeting?

Ken Meyer kmeyer at blarg.net
Tue Nov 8 09:47:52 PST 2005

No, you don't HAVE TO go to Portland for a "Perl fix".  What you , or any
other like-minded individuals, need to do is to take some real
responsibility for creating whatever meeting environment that you would like
to see.  That means asking direct questions about who could and would attend
meetings wherever and whenever, and then doing the shoe-leather research to
find suitable locations that will support whatever format that you would
like to see for the gathering.

Speculative talk is fine for creating discussion about the most desirable
types and implementations of activities, but sooner or later, the energy put
into implied bitching about why SOMEONE ELSE is not doing the work needs to
be channeled into specific, positive efforts to create events that may be
supported by the Perl community.  I do appreciate that it is more difficult
for new arrivals to the area to understand the history, the culture and the
potential logistics for such an event, but maybe that is over-ridden by the
opportunity to apply fresh approaches, based on previous experience

My experience with recent SPUG meetings is that they have been very sparsely
attended; and the physical environment at Amazon, while incorporating
arguably the most incredible views of the terrain existing in a town that
has plenty of them, has been somewhat awkward due to security requirements.
And, there is always the possibility that a "critical mass" of people who
will reliably attend and put in the effort to create user group meetings
does not currently exist.

For some reason or other, there seems to be a very disappointing lack of
support for most xNIX UG's in town right now (except for the Mac folks).
The BSD group has previously suspended meeting operations.  The Unix group,
SeaSLUG, recently held a session on "the future of the order", but seems to
have determined to slog on for the present.  The Federal Way LUG is a
teeny-tiny operation; and even the previously very active and well-organized
TacLUG (they actually elect officers) has fallen into the doldrums -- though
it may be undergoing a revival under "new management".   I have been running
GSLUG with less and less support from the community, and am just about to
throw in the towel and put organization of the group's activities up for
grabs, as I have threatened to do for some time now.

Many of these groups typically seem to be sustained by the efforts of one or
two people.  For SPUG, Tim Maher did the work for FIVE years.  Andy Sweger
has attempted to pick up the ball, but small attendance and no real help
tends to burn one out, especially if one does not have an incentive based on
the creation of business or "connections" for one's own enterprises.

Running a group such as this is not by any means "rocket science"; but there
are numerous details that take time to execute, and some pretty big deals
like finding a suitable place to meet.  When meeting dates loom and there is
no speaker, one's own priorities have to take the back seat; and when the
turn-out does not indicate a widespread appreciation of the effort and
sacrifice that has been required, the progress to burn-out is accelerated,
especially as one's own deferred obligations begin to make their demands
more and more stridently.

The best antidote, IMHO, is to have a number of helping hands involved to
share the burden -- not just in the grudging, "Well, I'm really busy, but I
SUPPOSE that I could help THIS MONTH..." sort of offers that one gets, as if
one was being offered a personal favor rather than mutual assistance to
achieve goals desired by everyone. And, frankly, it is more work to break-in
a person to run a single meeting than it is to do it oneself, and the events
risk being "sub-optimal" until the producer has achieved some education by

A  real commitment is necessary to support the organization for a
substantial period -- at least six months, but better to be a year, as most
formal officer positions are set-up to be.  I urge you out there to make
real efforts to "give back to the community".  There are many benefits to
yourself as well as to the others who participate, and the potential to
accrue great personal satisfaction is really there.

Of course, Andy must be engaged in this conversation, to coordinate his
experience with any new initiatives and to acknowledge his position as the
current de facto "supreme organizer".  Perhaps Tim would also be willing to
provide some consultation, if he does not perceive a danger of being
"sucked-in" to the detriment of his nascent career as a book author.

Ken Meyer

PS  Just prior to launching this missive, I note a couple of very
encouraging offers incoming on the list.  I applaud those sentiments; but
I'm still going to send this one.  There's a good way to go to get back to
Perl Prosperity in this town.


-----Original Message-----

From: spug-list-bounces at pm.org [mailto:spug-list-bounces at pm.org]On
Behalf Of jerry gay
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 7:17 AM
To: David Robins
Cc: spug-list at pm.org

Subject: Re: SPUG: Next meeting?

On 11/8/05, David Robins <spug at i4031.net> wrote:

> Looks like the thread on SPUG meeting revival petered out.  This is sad

indeed, sad it is. I find it particularly sad because I offered to
give a talk, and nobody responded to my offer--neither affirmative or
negative. as I mentioned, *it would be my first talk* at a Perl group.
the lack of response is quite discouraging. so discouraging, in fact,
that I've contacted Portland's Perl group about joining them for a
meeting. there's a social gathering tomorrow, and I just may drive
5hrs round trip for it. am I crazy?

> Are there any concrete plans for more meetings (I waited for the TBD for
> last one announced to be resolved, but alas)?  Or do I have to hop in my
> trusty time machine and go back to October 18, 2005 like
> http://seattleperl.org says?

I don't think you'd be happy when you got there and realized that the
October meeting had been cancelled. has there been a meeting since
Stas Bekman visited in August? (I forget, at the moment.); do we need
to bring him back in order to have another?

> Are there not enough people?  Is there no further interest, or is everyone
> just too busy?  Do we not have a place to meet?

i *cannot* provide a place for a technical meet, but i can and will
attend a social gathering any time possible. so, why don't we do a
social meet next tuesday--i'll be there. i'm willing to meet downtown,
or on the east side, whereever is convenient for everybody.

from the website duane set up: http://www.communitywalk.com/map/438#
(user: spug, pass: spugger) it seems most folks work downtown, between
90 and 520. anyone have a favorite bar or *gack* coffee shop? i don't
have one to suggest, since i haven't enjoyed a night out at a downtown
bar since i moved here in march.

somebody? anybody? please join me and hopefully david for a social
meeting a week from today. do i really need to go to portland to get
my fix?


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