[kwlug-disc] Desired Meeting Location Characteristics [Was Re: New locations brainstorming]

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Wed Dec 16 16:58:38 EST 2009

Long, below, but relevant, and important, I think.

Raul Suarez wrote, On 12/16/2009 3:26 PM:
> I asked at Manulife but my request was declined as I am the only
> Manulifer in the group.
> --- On Wed, 12/9/09, Paul Nijjar <paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca> wrote:
>> From: Paul Nijjar <paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca> Subject: [kwlug-disc]
>> New locations brainstorming To: kwlug-disc at kwlug.org Received:
>> Wednesday, December 9, 2009, 10:26 AM As some of you know, we
>> have likely lost the Heuther as a meeting location.

Darcy Casselman wrote, On 12/16/2009 2:19 PM:
 > I did a little asking around, and it doesn't sound like the Children's
 > Museum is much more attractive than our other options.
 > ---------- Forwarded message ----------
 > From: Leigh-Anne Quinn <lquinn at thechildrensmuseum.ca>
 > Date: Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 10:59 AM
 > Subject: RE: Pricing on monthly community room rentals
 > Typically we rent our rooms out for $50 per hour however we could
 > look at a discount if you were going to use the space each Monday.

Speaking of (new) meeting locations, perhaps it would help if we 
discussed the characteristics of what we'd like to see. Perhaps Santa 
will be good to kwlug this year.

Overall I liked the Huether. I would be happy to go back there. I 
parked at the Waterloo Public Library for free and walked two short 
blocks. I liked not having to go anywhere to grab a bite (not that I 
was able to during our time thus far at the Huether). I liked the 
nicer furniture - it lent a more professional air to the group 
(apologies to the Working Centre - which lends a community/inclusive 
feel to the group).

My guess is that we as a group didn't meet the expectations of our 
host. [I do not wish to debate the episode in this thread. Start a new 
one, if you must.] e.g. Perhaps we didn't go downstairs and stay 
together as a group, whomever stayed, to make any incoming revenue as 
a result of our meetings more readily visible. Perhaps we didn't 
reinforce the need to patronize our hosts strongly enough at each and 
every meeting.

Wherever we go, we're going to need to manage and meet the 
expectations of our hosts, particularly if the space is free. I'll 
guess, if the space is free, we'll have to show that we are of 
interest to their other patrons - show that we are relevant to the 
community within which that free space sits. And kwlug will have to 
change to some extent. Of course, too great a change would be 
unwelcome by kwlug and the candidate site rejected.

For example, I could see where the 1st half hour of a meeting would 
change to a "tips & tricks" type format - what I would call 'Show & 
Tell.' i.e. Hook in newly attracted members of the community in which 
we start meeting - show them why we are relevant and of interest to 
them. Before a longer presentation on what is likely to be a more 
advanced topic.

	To my mind, such really isn't any different than what we do 
informally now. What's in the news? Upcoming events? New release of a 
distro/app? Any announcements? Anyone want to bring something up? 
What's the FLOSS Fund for this month. What the topic is next month? 
Upcoming meeting topics and FLOSS fund candidates - and the need for 
candidates and presenters if that is the case. Please sign meeting 
attendance (so our hosts can see their space is being well used). 
Directions to any after meeting gossip location people can go to, if 
they feel so inclined. Making more formal what we already do. And 
perhaps add a quick 3 minute demo of that nifty firefox add-on. To 
fill the first half hour. Or something.

We also need to know what sort of meeting space we'd like to see. 
Which is what I'd like to open for discussion in this thread.

Some thoughts to seed the discussion:
- cost of entry must be absolutely free.
- reasonably nearby parking of sufficient size must be free.
- on a main bus route.
- big enough, for, say, 40 people, on average.
- chairs, perhaps some tables for those with laptops, screen
- reasonably quiet. Working Centre noise is what drove us to look for 
alternative sites. Huether was bearable, with the doors closed, but a 
sound system seems de rigeur.
- preferable, but we seem to manage if the site doesn't have them to 
hand: projector, some form of sound system (unless the space is small 
and quiet enough to not need them.) Best if even Khalid doesn't need a 
microphone. Khalid ... come on down! And let me say, again, thank you 
so very much for your presentations and your time. Please present as 
often as you feel inclined and able to so.
   - whiteboard? Meeting signs to direct people? One of those giant 
pads of paper and stand?
- would be nice if larger, alternate on-site space were available (by 
pre-arrangement) for the better attended topics, e.g. MythTV.
- would be nice if there was space on-site to grab a bite, rather than 
having to go elsewhere. Such would also probably facilitate our 'ask 
your neighbour' recommendation. [Would space, but no restaurant, be 
OK? e.g. Beginning of meeting, find out who wants pizza, people chip 
in $5, and we have Domino's deliver at 9:00 PM?]
- I'd prefer to be in K-W, and living in Waterloo, not the heck the 
other side of Kitchener. Personally.
- Free internet access present. Of some reasonable speed. We have 
shown that we can largely do without, at the Working Centre, but I 
don't think people really want to. Too many netbooks are present such 
that, I think, given two relatively equal choices - one with access, 
one without, the internet location will be chosen, hands down. Even if 
only for the presenters - to be able to show us the web site of 
whatever they're presenting on.
- not at the Universities - aside from the cost of parking, I think we 
collide with similar groups already on campus, and have a slightly 
different direction than kwlug. [Nothing prevents people from 
attending both.] kwlug seems focused upon 'downtown everyman', not 
academia. No offense to anyone.

There's another aspect that I think we should also discuss - in 
essence, 'professionalism' vs. community. Manulife would have been a 
fantastic place to meet (thanks for inquiring Raul), probably a really 
nice setting and environment. But, perhaps, off-putting to some? On 
the other hand, the Working Centre, given its raison d'etre, is 
inherently visible and welcome to newcomers. Not as stark as a 
gymnasium, but probably not as swank as Manulife. Does the kwlug 
community have a preference or leaning towards one side or the other?

I'm hoping to start a discussion here of what kwlug would like. So 
that what we want, and what potential hosts might need, both get met.

What did I get wrong above? What did I miss?

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