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Meetup strategies and tools



Open thread for discussing strategies around how to most efficiently organize meetups. I noticed the other day which I found pretty interesting so I’m posting it here in case anyone else has any thoughts?

I’m tagging this bay-area-wikisalon but it’s really meta - applicable to local meetups in general.

I noticed this in particular:

Should I ask for RSVPs, so I know how many people are coming? No. Probably don’t bother, it never works.

You might get a couple of RSVPs, or more for an especially popular meetup, but most people seem to like to be able to decide day-of whether they’re going to come. Asking for RSVPs might dissuade people from coming on the day-of, unless you preface it with “BUT COME ANYWAY EVEN IF YOU DON’T.” It probably won’t hurt to ask for RSVPs, if you do add such a preface, but don’t expect much out of it. RSVPs are usually poorly correlated with attendance.

Another strategy is to say “I’m going to be at the location from X-Y PM, guaranteed,” and hang out the entire time to see if anyone shows up. This way you catch people even if they show up very, very late - which does happen, in our experience. This is more useful if you have very low attendance, or you’re starting a new meetup and are not sure what to expect from possible attendees.

Overall, I think that there’s still additional tooling / automation that could be built to streamline online meetups. We’re managing trello, group, geonotices, mailing lists using google sheets, with room to try others. It becomes unwieldly and tedious. handles a bunch of social media accounts at once. I’ve had in our list of tasks for a while but it isn’t getting done by me anytime soon.


Email with calendar link

One trick that we still aren’t using as consistently as I’d like: if we attach a .ics file to our invite emails, most mail clients will allow you to click to create a calendar event. It looks something like this in Gmail classic:

Looks like the new Gmail is broken tho.


I think a usable calendar (that provides ics feeds) would be a terrific thing. I’ve attempted scraping from Meta (for things using the {{event}} template) but there are still lots of issues with that.

For my local meetup, we use a Google calendar, and make it public on our landing page

As far as getting people to turn up, we’re not having much luck. We have a good core of regulars who have been coming for up to ten years, but that’s only half a dozen people really and we rarely get anyone new showing up for more than one or two meetups.


Nice guide, thanks!

I like the suggestion to have a meta meetup at least once a year. For the Bay Area meetups at least, it’s hard to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of particular styles because every-other-month is infrequent enough to introduce a few other variables. If we do hold a meta meetup this year, what about doing it outside of the regular Wiki Salon schedule?

It becomes unwieldly and tedious.

Agreed. I’d like to simplify. At the very least, I think we should consolidate the SF Meetup pages on Meta Wiki and English Wikipedia!