[kwlug-disc] consider an alternative to monthly presentations ...

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Thu May 6 13:31:43 EDT 2010


On Thu, May 06, 2010 at 10:46:03AM -0700, Raul Suarez wrote:
> Good observations:
> 
> - Agree that not everything is a presentation.

> We currently "somehow" organically decide what goes into a
> presentation. I have no complaints for most (if not all) of the
> meetings I've attended

SPOILER THAT RAUL SHOULD IGNORE: "somehow" == "I volunteer to give
this presentation and have the energy to put it together!" 

That may seem like a dumb way to choose presentations, but I think it
has lots of merit: it guarantees that at least one person (the
presenter) cares enough about the topic to put together the
presentation. Usually it means that at least one other person is
interested enough to say "that would make a great presentation!"
Thanks to our friend the normal distribution, that means there is a
pretty good chance that other people in the LUG will find it at least
moderately interesting as well. (Yes, you can game that system by
breaking independence assumptions, but as far as I can tell people are 
not doing so.) 

I think people should totally feel free to put content online. But
there is lots of content online -- I have to trawl through technical
articles on the web nearly every day at work. I am a totally biased
sample, but I like talks a lot. 

I agree that not everything needs to be a presentation, and that the
current "somehow" leaves some gaps in the kinds of presentations and
activities the LUG should cover. At the same time we are in a
fortunate position where we don't have to awkwardly look at each other
every month wondering whether we will have a presentation topic for
the next meeting. 

I think I react a bit to this: 

> >   IMHO, the monthly meetings should be reserved for
> > things for which there is *clear* value for everyone to be
> > in the same place and, yes, there are certainly things that
> > qualify.  but in lots of cases, it would be far more
> > time-effective to simply supply the answer online
> > somewhere.

This gets at Raul's point, but I think it is hard and energy-consuming
to determine whether there is clear value for everyone to be in the
same place. 

It would be way more time-effective for us all to stay at home and
surf the internet for answers to our particular technical problems
independently, if our metric was in solving specific problems or
diving deeply into specific technologies. But I don't think that is
the right metric for a LUG. I think a LUG is good at getting people
with shared interests in the same physical space (whether at Zekes or
in the meeting location), they are good at introducing technologies
and problems, and they are good for making us feel less alone in the
face of an uncaring, unfeeling universe. 

Uh oh. Now I think I may be starting to agree with Rob. I had better
stop while I'm ahead. Suffice to say that I personally welcome anybody
who would like to offer presentations that keep standards and quality
high. I also welcome people adding content and tutorials to kwlug.org,
but I don't think that is our competitive advantage. 

- Paul





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