Novel ideas for meetups?


#1

I’ve been thinking about what other kinds of events we could do at the Boston Meetup beyond the “people talking at a podium” model. So far, we’ve been offering some tutorials, which has been reasonably successful, but I’m curious what other kinds of events have proven successful.

I was contemplating some kind of “hack night”, though I wasn’t sure what was the best way to organize it. I could imagine trying to assembling a list of issues (either on Rust itself or perhaps community projects) and trying to fix them.

I’d also like to find a way for people to come with their own projects. I flirted with the idea of an “office hours” sort of thing, where people can just come with projects they are working on and get help. The idea would be that the more experienced Rust coders would sort of wander around answering questions, primarily. Not sure if this really makes any sense.

Anyway, I’m mostly coming hat in hand here, I’d love some advice on what kinds of events to organize, what has worked for other people, etc. Thanks!


#2

With respect to “hack night”, I agree that bounty sessions would probably be very productive and a good use of the person-to-person interaction. People show up, collaboratively come up with a list of issues big and small, and commit to solving those issues either by the time the meeting is over or after. It’s a great way to get quality networking done, offers real opportunities for tutoring that isn’t forced or arbitrary, and affects the community globally, rather than just the people attending the meet up.

A good side effect of this is that whatever you or anyone else comes up with for organizing a “list of issues” is reusable and useful infrastructure.

As for “office hours”, I actually have a different idea that capitalizes on the podium model. I think that in a very internet savvy community like Rust’s, no one is going to wait till a meet up to have their questions answered in person when stack overflow, the forum, and the subreddit all exist. Rather, I think people who have their problems submitted somewhere online and are solved by one mentor or many people can opt in to have their problem be a case-study that is presented at the meet up. Such case specific walkthroughs are usually interesting to a wide range of people, and this is especially helpful to newer users of the language who might not know that they even had a question until they see the situation! As you said, experts walking around asking the less experienced doesn’t actually work all that well.

If these are documented well enough, then we get the added effect of accumulating over time a large collection of example problems and solutions (that might even be indexed by topic), as well as incremental improvement or discussion on previous problems, which is far less likely to happen with a question that is marked “solved” on some medium. Such a compendium of code is also a very good companion to RustByExample, but that is sort of extraneous to meetups.


#3

I think this would be super-cool. I’m not in the Boston area, but if I was I would totally drop by. There have been several times I’ve wanted to find a version of a Rust meet-up with space for “I’m trying to sort out this type of (typically design) issue; help? :D”.

When I’ve done stuff like this in the past, it has seemed to work well to give folks a chance at the beginning to pitch some stuff (e.g., maybe a few 3-5mins talks against 1-2 slides saying what you are trying to do, what you are stuck on, why it would be cool to work out) and then folks vote with their feet (working in small groups, or just doing their own thing if they want).


#4

Sorry, what specifically do you think would be super-cool?


#5

Rust Berlin has a bi-weekly hack and learn as the default meetup and only does talks on an irregular basis. It’s simple to set up (you just need room and desks) and usually very rewarding. It usually has an intro-track as well.

Also, my Elasticsearch usergroup used to have an intro course next to the main talk for people that only ever heard the name of the product. This avoids people not attending because they cannot follow the talk.

Other things include “special interest” meetups (e.g. Rust for embedded, once the Tessel devices are finished cough).


#6

A combination HackNight / people come with their own problems thing. Intro Rust is probably largely about seeing what sort of things are going on, setting things up, etc, but “intermediate Rust” starts to be a lot more about “hey this pattern isn’t working; what should I do?” which watching a sequence of talks about different crates isn’t really going to help. This shouldn’t replace the intro events that show folks that there is something cool here, but it might help those folks “stick” when they start hitting their heads.