[Usergroups] RE: Welcome to the "Usergroups" mailing list

Chris Calloway cbc at unc.edu
Mon Nov 6 14:53:52 UTC 2006

Chris Emery wrote:
> What would be the next step? My Director was thinking a charter for the
> organization. 

Do you need a charter to meet? If not, I would recommend against it. The 
looser your organization, the better. Chartering your group could tie it 
to CPCC rather than Charlotte. And why charter a group which hasn't met 
yet to solicit the input of the people who would participate.

Take a look at the archived of this group for this month:


and see my post about "Shotgun Rules for BAD Meetings."

The less hierarchical and formalized your group is, the more people will 
feel inclined that their participation is required rather than 
controlled. Also, spending time on charters, officers, elections, blah, 
blah is not what you really want to spend your time on. You want to 
spend it on Python and meeting other Python people.

People have to feel empowered to participate. If someone has to ask 
herself, "Does the charter allow me to organize a boot camp?," or "Would 
the board give me permission to present at this meeting?," or "Would the 
secretary publish my weekend sprint announcement?," then there is too 
much permission getting and not enough acting like adults going on.

I think a best next step is start making a list of all the people you 
can find who are interested. You can find these people on the IT email 
lists of CPCC, UNCC, and other local user groups, especially the local 
Linux user group, sysadmins group, webcritters lists, etc.. Call up 
every IT consulting firm in town. Create a listserv. Get those people on 
it. Get them to refer other people they know. Grow the list of participants.

Then pick a meeting time and place and announce it on your listserv. Ask 
key people to make ten minute presentations on what they are doing with 

Be sure and take lots of pictures at your first meeting. Also, escrow 
the presentation slides if any with a USB key. Because your next step 
will be a Plone site. But you can worry about that later if you'd like.

> Also, I am still having an internal debate about whether Plone should be
> a primary focus or not (Python Users Group vs. Python-Plone Users
> Group). 

This is just my personal opinion. I know in certain geographic places, 
people have good or historical reasons to feel differently. But it 
always puzzled me to see community divided into separate Plone and 
Python user groups in the same geographic area. If you are a Plonista, 
you need a Python Users Group. Pythoneers may not necessarily need 
Plone, however. But meeting should never be so monolithic that one 
presentation dominates. Meetings should have lots of little 
presentations on what several people are doing. Four or five ten minute 
talks does a meeting good. Some about Python, some about Plone, some 
about Zope, some about whatever people are doing with Python.

I think the "ZPUG" model from DC and the Triangle (Zope and Python Users 
Group) works really well for including as many people as possible. Even 
some of the non-Ploners in my group have been inspired by all the Plone 
activity to show what they are doing with Twisted, Django, and 
TurboGears. This has benefitted all of us because it puts WSGI on our 
mutual radar. The cross-fertilization has been good.


Chris Calloway
office: 332 Chapman Hall   phone: (919) 962-4323
mail: Campus Box #3300, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27599

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