Terry Lambert tlambert2 at
Thu Nov 13 03:31:02 PST 2003

Dan Langille wrote:
> On 11 Nov 2003 at 13:58, Michael W. Oliver wrote:
> > Hi folks, just wanted to drop this in for those of you who weren't aware
> > of it:
> >
> >
> >
> > If you are so inclined, please sign up and get BSD Meetup's going in
> > your local area.
> I went there.  It seems you cannot set the date/time for a meetup.
> It is fixed.  I also could not find a way to nominate another
> location.
> We already have a group that meets in Ottawa and we want to point the
> time/location to our pub.  I don't think that can be done.

I think the point is to get as many FreeBSD people away from their
computers at the same time as possible, in order to make it easy
to send out worms.  8-) 8-).

Seriously, I think it's because the intent is to establish a day a
month as a Schelling point around which you can build a community.

That said, there are a number of serious problems with the UI.  The
number one problem is that you can't know until after you've told
it your zipcode that there's "not enough people in your area".  It
does this based on zip code and county, and it seems to expect that
no one lives adjacent to a county border, and that all meeting
places are in the exact center of the county, and that all states
have a county density similar to Montanna, so you'd never, ever want
to drive to an adjacent meeting place instead, if yours had "not
enough people in your area".

A better UI would put the number of people involved in each of the
location listings in the nasty JavaScript window, at least in a
set of parenthesis.

Another UI issues is that you can't get a sorted of only the ones
that are populated meetup places (to pick one you know is going to
take place).

Similarly, since such a list doesn't exist, there's no way that you
can get a version of it that's sorted by number of attendees (the
time I'm willing to spend driving is proportional to the number of
people I know will be attending).

The explicit registration is a little annoying, as well; personally,
I think the eInvite web sites handle this type of thing a lot better,
even though, admittedly, they aren't trying to federate the people
like the people are trying.  Even so, it doesn't seem to
me that it would be that computationally intensive to deal with it
by email address alone.

I'm not really asking for proximity mapping, or "my zip code is XXX,
show me all instances within 50 miles of this zip code", or "plot on
a map the density vs. location using standard "more dots per attendee"
type graphical notation", or "plot on a map in my state or in my
general area and surrounding counties the density vs. location", or
anything... though those would make the thing a lot more useful, too.

All in all, I'm very unlikely to sign up for this thing without some
preindication that (a) I won't be allowed to play if I don't, and (b)
that doing so will get me into a location in what I consider to be
"my area"/"a reasonable distance".  So, at least IMO, the implementation
is really, really lacking.

-- Terry

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