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The Dallas-Plano Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › 2013 and Meetup Locations

2013 and Meetup Locations

Plano, TX
Post #: 48
There's been some really good commentary and discussion of where meetups for this group are. Meetup scheduling was only passed to me a mere 5 months ago with no real guidelines. Since I was just starting out, I began with a methodological practice of merely taking the usual range of our group and doing a North-to-South transit down the extent of the range. As we neared the holidays, which restaurants are open on December 25 (Christmas day) were pretty rare as I was calling around, so I targeted a restaurant that was both open and a member request (First Chinese BBQ).

Unfortunately, as that became a target in the North-to-South walk, that did bunch a bit too many toward the North end of the range (although that does match those few responses that were made to a Poll I put up last April). This is a good reminder to please go respond to the poll for preferred regions:

POLL: Dallas/Plano Atheists Preferred Region

We're starting a new year and I thought I'd adopt some new methods since some of the discussion has some really good points. Some of the notable points are:

  • Some members are much more range-limited than others (for a wide variety of reasons)
  • Availability can be limited by the calendar, such as some are only available every-other week (which means if we were to merely alternate North/South and there is also a geographical limit, that could mean their availability never matches the schedule).

I really want to hear some input from others, but taking into account some of the discussion i'm really thinking about doing a North-to-South walk of the range, but split it so we have 2 in the more northerly region and then 2 in the more southerly region. From in-person chat, LBJ (I-635) is roughly the dividing point between the North and South. That should help with both regional and temporal availability. Unfortunately, there are probably other variables that I need to consider, so I really want some comments and replies to this discussion so we can make it more likely all can join us.

In case you haven't seen it in my other messages and discussion posts, here's the link to the map showing past locations for the last 8+ years:

Map of D/PA Meetup Locations

To go along with that, some of the other variables that go into location choice are:

  • Non-smoking (that's a pretty hard limit)
  • Can seat parties of 20 or more (since that is a common number for our group), and will do split checks
  • Cuisine type (Tex-Mex, Chinese, Thai, Sushi, Cajun, American, German, etc., I try to keep a variation going to keep things interesting)
  • Food type (vegetables, meat, dairy, etc. There are a wide variety of diets in the group due to both necessity and choice, and some places are heavier to one side than the other. Also, we do go to some places that just cannot cater to all needs some weeks [See Veggie Garden, Kalachanji's, and Dunston's Steak House as exmples closer to the ends of the spectrum)
  • Price (From less to mid, we never do more expensive places but we can always schedule a non-Tuesday special outing if someone wants to have some of the group visit a place special)
  • Trasit (We have quite a few places along the rail and bus lines, but transit in Dallas being what it is some places really do require more personal vehicles for convenient access. To help with those, in the past some have arranged car-pooling to some places via the event-related comments)
  • Counter-service versus sit-down (this also plays into price and style, but can also affect the dynamics of the evening)

So, that's history and planned methodology, but it's also an entreaty to comment and challenge. What have I forgotten? Also, have you filled out the region poll and have you submitted a "Suggested" meetup location?
Douglas T. H.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 9
Well Philip, first thanks for leading the group. My wife and I will probably only attend if the meeting is in Plano and is at a sit down resturant. Other than those two requirements we are open to food types, and prices. On the 31st I will undergo bladder cancer surgery and prostate rotorooting so will probably not be coming in January. Good Luck and thanks for asking our opinions. Doug
A former member
Post #: 7
This strikes me as a difficult situation. I can't come up with something that will satisfy all criteria, but the following are some general ideas of mine:

-Have more official or unofficial non-Tuesday meetups (Wednesday works for me)

-Consider meeting at the private residences of whomever expresses willingness to host; this may open up the number of possible locations and allow for more customization

-Split the group into regional chapters and allow them to meet in their respective regions

-Try and schedule meetups within walking distance of DART rail lines

-Create a Working Class Atheists Meetup which will meet only in conveniently-placed and -priced establishments and will have more meeting time flexibility. I favor this solution most of all. It bothers me to split the membership in this way, but it would be of great personal benefit to me

David L.
user 16177271
Dallas, TX
Post #: 3
-Have more official or unofficial non-Tuesday meetups (Wednesday works for me)

More weekend meets would be good. I haven't been able to attend one in about a year because I work evening shift. It's unfortunate that all meetup groups seem to only want to do things on weekday evenings or weekend mornings.
Plano, TX
Post #: 49
I really liked how we used to regularly have a large outing at the Main Event (Pool, Laser Tag, Bowling), but they changed their pricing to remove a really nice deal they had on Sundays.

I think it would be great if we could start up either something like that or just a weekend food/bar outing, but some of the bar outings in particular had such spotty attendance they were cancelled leaving mostly just the well-attended Tuesday dinners. [The previous outings to the smoky or beer-only places left some of us out. I'm pretty certain there would be enough of us wanting to have a weekend evening at some place with a well stocked wine cellar to make that doable.]

That's an area where I'd suggest everyone start both checking and adding to the "Suggested" meetups for the group and if there's at least 3 "Yes" RSVPs for an event, I'll make sure and move it to the main calendar. [Sorry, that's one of the standard practices I've written about in various events before but forgot to include in the above scheduling philosophies.]

The other thing I forgot to add is that your RSVPs really do matter! There are some places where they need to do a little prep ahead of time making sure there is space set aside for us or even staffing if we're upwards of 25 or 30 as we occasionally have had in the past.
Plano, TX
Post #: 50
And I've just implemented the North/South split scheduling as mentioned above. It may take me a few iterations to get the practice down since it does make it more tricky needing to juggle more of the balls at the same time with respect to the requirements (I have to do multiple passes through the list rather than just the single-pass to make sure we're not getting too many of the same cuisine-type, style, etc on subsequent weeks).

For the map I used in planning, see:

Keith K.
user 12906323
Dallas, TX
Post #: 13
It is a shame that only 9 people responded to Philip's request of APR 2012 to indicate where they wanted to meet. Some have indicated that they want a day other than Tues. So, would the following work?

The first month of each calender quarter meet on Tues; the second month meet on Wed; and the third month meet on Thur. The first year have the first two meetups of a month North or central. Have the last two or three meetups of the month South or central. The second year flip the North and South.

Simple. Would it please anybody?

And once again thanks to Philip for doing a great job!
A former member
Post #: 8
I think Keith's idea ought to be implemented. Could someone please remind me where to post meetup suggestions?

With regard to the desire of some in this organization to hold meetings in a place well-stocked with wine, I say that this is a classic example of the class differences which exist in the group. I don't believe I'm driving a wedge here. I believe the wedge already exists. The working class atheists, in my opinion, ought to deal with it on its terms, and not deny its existence.

I, who am of limited means, don't particularly care about the menu selection of the meeting place. I'm primarily looking for some positive human contact, including stimulating discussion.
Melanie C.
user 12012545
Dallas, TX
Post #: 13
Sorry Keith, your suggestion sounds good on paper but I think it's going to be more confusing. Organizing a group of atheists already gets the "herding cats" label often enough. :D

We have all acknowledged that Philip is doing a fantastic job organizing the Tuesday night meetups, and I would agree. Having alternate meetups is a great idea but a lot more work. If anyone wants to host an alternate meetup, whether it's a potluck, meeting at a place that doesn't include wine, includes a hookah bar, or you want to do a movie night a your place, etc, step up, let me know the specifics via meetup message, and I will make you a host and put it on the calendar. In in other words, be the change that you want.
A former member
Post #: 9
We have all acknowledged that Philip is doing a fantastic job organizing the Tuesday night meetups, and I would agree. Having alternate meetups is a great idea but a lot more work. If anyone wants to host an alternate meetup, whether it's a potluck, meeting at a place that doesn't include wine, includes a hookah bar, or you want to do a movie night a your place, etc, step up, let me know the specifics via meetup message, and I will make you a host and put it on the calendar. In in other words, be the change that you want.

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