[CLUG-chat] [CLUG-announce] Upcoming CLUG Talk: What can CLUG do for you?

Jonathan Carter (highvoltage) jonathan at clug.org.za
Wed Aug 5 15:04:59 SAST 2009

Jonathan Hitchcock wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 1:40 PM, Jonathan Carter
> (highvoltage)<jonathan at clug.org.za> wrote:
>> we're quite gentle when newcomers ask questions on the -tech list,
>> even when they start breaking the rules.
> Are we?  Are we really?
> I think CLUG has a worse reputation for list-rule-nazism than most
> other communities in South Africa.  Alleviating this might also
> alleviate the impression of technical elitism that y'all are talking
> about.

There have been some cases where some members have responded apaulingly
to newcommers. I won't deny that. The clug-work list is actually very
bad, although I don't think it's just list-rule-nazism that causes it.

Could we perhaps get people involved and make an active effort to make
the CLUG lists more welcomming to first-time posters? Historically we
haven't liked lots of unnecessary traffic (such as me-too posts), but
perhaps we should encourage new users to introduce themselves to
clug-chat when they join and encourage existing members to welcome them.
It might sound a bit lame but I think it can have a positive effect on
someone who joins. Having 10 positive responses and 1 negative response
is a big difference from having 0 positive responses and 1 negative
response on a list.

>> Perhaps we can do things like mark how technical or how complex the
>> subject matter of a CLUG talk is when it's announced so that users who
>> are specifically interested in introductory-level talks can spot them
>> easier.
> But when we've had entry-level talks, they don't work either.  I know
> this, because I've given some of them.  What often happens is that the
> talk itself is fairly easy, but the regular CLUG old boy's club sits
> at the front and heckles and chats and discusses, and any newcomers
> who might be at the talk sit cowering at the back, scared to
> participate because they don't understand half of the discussion or
> the in-jokes and heckling.  In other words, the high-level attendees
> turn entry-level talks into high-level talks.

I've given a talk on "Ubuntu and its derivatives" a while back, mostly
to satisfy a load of requests for beginner-level talks that we've had at
the time. None of the people who requested the more beginner-level
content attended the talk though, it ended up being more of the
hecklers. On the subject of the "hecklers", I don't think they're all
that bad, and I quite enjoy them. They make the talks so much more
interesting by contributing. You've done it as well before like at the
bash customization talk. Although I do admit there's different levels of
heckling, perhaps people should just take note of their tone and how
they contribute to the talk.

> I think the real problem lies with the idea of "talks", which seems a
> little flawed.  You can't *really* learn too much in an hour on a
> Tuesday night, and anything you can learn, you could have got from
> Google anyway.  Real value would be gained from demonstrations, or
> workshops - those are things that Google and mailing lists cannot
> provide.  However, they're much more difficult to organise, and
> require much more commitment to attend.  For example, ubuntu-za's
> Saturday packaging jams were very valuable, but did require the
> sacrifice of a Saturday.  I do think it's a good idea to look into
> this, though, but maybe on a less frequent basis - once a month or
> whatever?

Yep, I fully agree. I've wondered into the Apple stores in Europe
beforer where they do lots of little demos where people can drop by and
attend just how they feel like it. Some talks occur regularly daily or
weekly and other more special ones are set out on the schedule. That's
quite cool, but it's not ideal for CLUG since we don't really have the
kind of premises or resources to do that. I wonder how well weekend
events would work. People are very busy so weekday nights are difficult
for some. Then again, people have so little time for themselves, do they
really want to sacrifice their precious weekend time away from their
families, etc? I think it's worth trying out some weekend things, and at
any rate, we should probably experiment with the current ways a bit
since it is showing age.


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