[Smaug] it's official, Mondays suck

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue, 8 Oct 2002 11:31:58 -0700

Quoting Karsten Wade (phig@phig.org):

> So, we are in the unenviable position of choosing:
> 1) Move to another night, same location
> 2) Move to a new location, same night
> 3) {Move,Not move}, during day

I would guess that 1) is the least troublesome.  Here are the usual LUG
pitfalls on this issue:

#1.  If you try to decide this on (e.g.) a Monday night at a physical
meeting, results will be biased towards the needs of those whose
schedules can accomodate Monday-night physical meetings.  At the risk of
hammering this point into the ground, I keep seeing LUGs making this 
really wretched statistical error:  "We asked during a 2nd Thursday 
meeting which night people wanted to hold future meetings -- and the
consensus seemed to be that most people liked 2nd Thursdays."  Because
of course those who can't make 2nd Thursdays weren't there to speak.

#2.  When a LUG tries to decide these things on a mailing list,
discussion tends to consist of some people airing what they don't want
("I can't make Wednesdays; I have classes") and a couple of suggestions
that don't really take into account what nearby competing events might
be at the same time.  Then nothing happens, because there never was 
a decision algorithm, just a forum for discussion.  Or one person takes
unilateral action, and all those whose for whatever reason don't like
the change, or maybe even if they do, flame him for being a dictator.

#3.  LUGs that change meeting date/time or location too frequently tend 
to shrink.  There will always be people who never got the word (or got
the word but forgot) and rely on old information.  Most of them you'll
never know of, because, well, they didn't make it.  Instead, they
shlepped down to an empty room, did _not_ see a sign saying "We're sorry
you made the trip, but we've moved", and conclude that the group must no
longer exist.  Subsequently, when they see reference on the Web to that 
group, they think "Oh, that's that group that doesn't exist any more."

Of course, sometimes you _have_ to change date/time or location.  This 
seems to be one of those.  I tried to make the one change that doesn't
risk problem #3, moving to an _overlapping_ time slot.  (Those who
didn't get the word would still make _part_ of the meeting, and thus
get informed.)

LUGs that _must_ change meeting date/time should nonetheless try not to
do so on less than one meeting's notice.  Changing it after one meeting
and before the next one greatly increases the likelihood of people 
showing up at the old time/place based on outdated information.

Weekday _daytime_ meetings?  So much for people with jobs.  No, I don't
think that works.

So, I guess we're now going to go through process #2.  I gather that 
nobody has an overall better meeting venue than 99 Bottles (e.g.,
several people being able to be accomodated in Karsten's house is
generous, but Smaug needs to be able to fit a couple dozen at least),
and an overlapping meeting time is no longer feasible (at least not
during football season, however long that is).  So, no Mondays.  SlugLUG
currently has events on Saturdays.  Could SC locals please post the
specific date formulas of competing events we want to avoid (e.g., 2nd
Thursdays)?  No doubt, people will also post that they don't want
Wednesdays because they have classes, but this will be noted as a
single-person problem.  (Some Sillycon Valley events might also be worth
avoiding conflicts with.  You guys be the judge.)

> A cafe of the right ambiance would be nice.  Jahva house still open?

Questions are a start, but require follow-up.  You wouldn't want
us to do all the machinery of moving the meeting, only to find out "Oh,
we close at 7 PM those nights" or "Oh, we have folk singing that night."

Anyone who suggests a location/date/time should know that it needs
investigation to make _sure_ it's reliably available and open on the
suggested evening, open sufficiently to the public, allows minors, has
enough capacity, isn't too noisy, isn't too expensive, is reachable by
public transit and car (& has parking), and isn't way the hell and gone
out in the country.  And get the exact street address & cross street.
Suggestions without that investigation are easy to make, but not capable
of being evaluated.  Usually, that means getting up from your terminal,
_going_ there, checking out what it's like, and asking relevant
questions of the staff members/employees.

Cheers,            There are only 10 types of people in this world -- 
Rick Moen          those who understand binary arithmetic and those who don't.