[python-uk] Python UK user groups / website / coordination

Nicholas Tollervey ntoll at ntoll.org
Wed Aug 4 13:41:46 CEST 2010

I'm with Tim: +1 many thanks to Zeth for this (and apologies for outing
us ;-)


On Wed, 2010-08-04 at 12:27 +0100, Zeth wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> Originally I was starting with just the people that turned up to the
> local user group SIG at EuroPython. However, since Nicholas has outed
> us, here is an outline of where we are. Basically, we are talking
> among people who want to be actually be an organiser of a local Python
> User Group (PUG).
> I organised a slot in the EuroPython programme which was attended by
> people from around the world, not just the UK. Everyone talked about
> their group or their wish for a group and we all shared what we had
> been trying to do. Afterwards a group of UK people moved to the
> weatherspoons. I was going to feedback the main points at the closing
> ceremony but there was confusion with the lightning talks organiser
> who overran by an hour and 20 mins and so the closing ceremony went a
> bit mental. The lightning talks were very good though!
> Python local user groups in the UK
> --------------------------------------------
> The 2006 idea was to make 11 UK PUGs - at least one for each English
> region plus Wales and Scotland. (Northern Ireland is both part of
> Python Ireland and the PyConUK so we would let those in Northern
> Ireland work out how they want to do it).
> As things get more successful, each of the 11 group can have branches
> or more local meetings, so for example. We start with:
> Cambridge and East Anglia Python User Group
> Then the first branch might meet in Cambridge and another might start
> up in Norwich. Various branches could grow up and die off with the 12
> group middle layer staying alive. Different branches could have
> different levels of organisation. Cambridge might have a fully fledged
> technical meet, while in Lowestoft they might just have a beer and an
> ice-cream together on the pier (are there any Python Programmers in
> Lowestoft?).
> At the 2010 SIG, people seemed to agree that this was still a good idea.
> Talk Swaps
> --------------
> One idea from the SIG meeting was to prepare a new talk for your own
> PUG, then give that talk at other PUGs. This could help seed new PUGs,
> and help keep existing ones going. We tried to work out the
> practicality of that.
> We talked about how to reduce the costs before we incur them. We can
> feed speakers ourselves. If the trip requires staying overnight, we
> can sleep in each other's houses. However, travel by second class
> train or coach could still be £50 or more.
> Most PUGs would not hold any money as a deliberate way to avoid
> creating a bureaucratic overhead to running the group. So we thought
> about asking the PSF, or the EuroPython Society, or the proposed new
> European PSF branch, to handle the expenses for us. If we raise any
> money ourselves we could pay it upstream to cover these costs.
> One suggestion was to have a jobs board to cover these costs.
> Discussion has already started on this thread about that. Where
> Nicholas wrote "We might be able to support the costs of running the
> site", the speaker swaps are the only thing that we have suggested to
> do that could cost money. The site itself does not cost us any money
> at the moment, since Clocksoft generously allow us to put the site on
> one of their servers.
> If anyone has any other ideas for how to cover these traveling
> expenses, please do share them.
> Local User Group SIG IRC Meeting - 19th August at 7.30pm
> ----------------------------------------------
> This is the first time I have used doodle, so I am not an expert. But
> I think I have to myself add email addresses to it, I can't seem to
> find an option for making it completely open. If someone can tell me
> how, that would be helpful for next time.
> Anyway this time, lets forget adding more people to doodle and just go
> for 19th August at 7.30pm (as long as it does not clash with a local
> Python group!). The meeting will last approx 1 hour and I will
> circulate an agenda nearer the time.
> The meeting is for people who are involved in helping to organise a
> local user group or want to be.
> After that meeting, if we want we can use ways to discuss among
> ourselves without making too much noise on python-uk (e.g. people that
> run Linux groups use the lugmasters list to cut down on noise for
> people that don't care and just find those discussions annoying).
> However, this email list is pretty low-traffic anyway, so we can use
> it until other subscribers on this list rise up and tell us off for
> making too much noise.
> Website
> ----------
> I want to get beyond talking about websites since there is a lot more
> important things to running a local user group than the website, but
> here is an outline of what we are up to.
> I did the first version of python.me.uk during PyConUK 2007 and many
> people gave lots of different ideas, all useful and positive, although
> obviously in different directions.
> While some people say, 'just use a mailing list' or 'just use meetup'
> or 'just use X', I decided that this was not a good approach. As well
> as being fragmentary, as proved by Rob Cowie's posts in this thread,
> he did not know the magic solution (dig through the wiki) for finding
> the right site. When you talk about people who may be new to Python
> (as well as perhaps new to open source software projects like Python
> altogether), then requiring people to use certain systems acts as a
> barrier.
> For example. while old Unix-fans like myself love mailing lists, many
> people who started using computers in the 2000s find them obscure and
> confusing (look how many Linux user group mailing lists have a
> recurring thread about top-posting vs bottom posting).
> During EuroPython 2010, a couple of us did some work coding a new
> version of python.me.uk based on the ideas I have been given. This is
> in process and we hope to have things ready for the IRC meeting.
> Pinax is a content management system (based on Django) that is already
> aimed at social groups such as a local Python group, so the features
> we want are already there: profiles, calendar, photos, tribes,
> locations and so on.
> The Pinax site is up and functioning to some extent but still needs a
> little templating work before we launch it. If anyone wants to help,
> we need more graphics and CSS work rather than Python coding now.
> Basically, each local group (in internal Pinax terms 'a tribe') can
> have their own theme (colours, mascot etc), and subdomain, for
> example:
> http://wm.python.me.uk/
> However, behind the scenes it all goes into one integrated calender
> and so on. If someone moves to another part of the country, they do
> not need to make a new login, they just change a few checkboxes which
> user groups (tribes) they are subscribed to.
> Also behind the scenes we can do a lot of automated updates to social
> networking sites etc, so when an event is added it updates twitter,
> facebook and so on. We can also do mailing list munging so that old
> Unix fans can ignore there is a website at all and just access the
> whole system via a mailing list.
> Each group's admin does not need to know Django, they just login to
> the website and use the web based admin. Groups can start up, grow and
> die off, and it will all be tracked on the site.
> I don't really care if you hate Django/Pinax and want me to use
> Turbogears or a wiki or some proprietary cloud. Pinax is off the shelf
> and easy to use and we have the people to do it. Getting stuck on
> arguing over the website is a dead end. Lets use our efforts to get
> the groups up and running.
> Anyway, I hope the meeting time of 19th August at 7.30pm suits
> everyone. If you cannot make it please send your thoughts to this
> thread or if you want to give your thoughts in private then send it to
> me.
> Best Wishes,
> Zeth
> _______________________________________________
> python-uk mailing list
> python-uk at python.org
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-uk

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