North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Parameters for NTOS "Officially Sponsoring" Social Events

Parameters for NTOS "Officially Sponsoring" Social Events

Old Toad
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 756
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Chad just made an invitation on another thread for a karaoke night at http://aynrand.meetup...­ I am glad to see his invitation, and I hope some of our members see it in time to join him tonight.

I would like to take the opportunity presented by Chad's invitation to discuss how best to use the NTOS platform to organize events.

Initially, I note that the Meetup.com platform we use for organizing NTOS provides us with four ways to help organize events and communicate with and among our members:

1. Calendar;
2. Broadcast E-Mail;
3. Message-Board Posting; and
4. Direct Member-Member E-Mail.

Meetup's platform allows the Organizers to have exclusive control of the calendar and e-mail broadcasts. Any member may make a message-board post and may make a direct e-mail to another member, one at a time, which is tedius. (Also, any member may control his Meetup account to selectively allow or not allow other members to e-mail him.)

In my thinking on this so far on various issues, I consider that "officially sponsoring" an event boils down to mean calendaring or broadcast e-mailing to the group. I do not think that a message-board post or direct member-to-member e-mail is "officially sponsored" by NTOS. Regarding message-board posting, NTOS offers our members a forum for discussion (within the bounds of our participation terms as stated on the "About" page). Regarding direct member-to-member e-mails, the Organizers of NTOS have little control over those, but if I received any complaints (which I never have), the most we could do is expel an offending member from NTOS and our remaining members who may have been offended could go to their individual Meetup accounts and change the setting to prevent e-mails from those on Meetup who are not also NTOS members.

So far, I have come up with an explanation for the types of things I think NTOS should not sponsor (i.e., organize, calendar, or e-mail announce) on our "About" page, under the heading "Bylaws" and subheading "Organizing Standards" at http://aynrand.meetup...­

But within the organizational structure we have established so far for NTOS, what events should NTOS "officially sponsor"? I have two related concerns in this regard. One is that our NTOS events should be successful, i.e., more than a couple people should be sufficiently interested to RSVP and participate. The other is that we should not overload our members with too many e-mail announcements for events that may have appeal to only a very few of our members. Whenever I send out too many broadcast e-mails, I know because I promptly loose one or two members.

Any comments or suggestions?
Chad Henson
user 4136954
Savoy, IL
Post #: 13
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I think you and I have had this discussion privately a couple of times (related to a certain hunting trip that will remain nameless), but I'll throw out my position to see if there are any responses:

1. There should be three categories: sponsored events (NTOS Calender and e-mails), acceptable events (Message board, select private e-mails through meetup), and things we won't touch with a 10-foot pole.

2. The purpose of sponsored events should be Objectivism-related or group-related. This means that general social events that do not require particular skills or narrow interests unrelated to Objectivism are perfectly acceptable, while activities that only appeal to a narrow segment of our group (e.g. karaoke) are best relegated to the second category. The social events at the Ranch are good social events. If Cordair had an exhibit in Dallas, that would be a good philosophy-related event.

3. No sponsored event should be bad for our reputation. For example, we should not sponsor trips to strip clubs, even though a case could (possibly) be made that exotic dancing is psychologically healthy and artistic.

4. As long as it involves members of the group and is unlikely to reflect poorly on our organization, people should be free to use the message board to communicate their desire to meet group members for different activities. This should be clearly labeled to avoid wasting anyone's time.
Old Toad
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 761
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Hi Chad,

Thank you for your post. You make some good points.

I do want to help our members find each other to do things they like together, even if it is just a few members and not necessarily particularly related to Objectivism. I think that is helpful to building friendships and connections among our members.

The limitation of our members just using the message board for this, however, is that I do not know how many of our members regularly check our message board. Pushing out a broadcast e-mail is more likely to get some response, especially on short notice, yet lots of such e-mails may be annoying.

One idea I have been thinking of is trying to put together more specific contact lists, but I would need help with organizing such lists.
Scott Connery
Scott_Connery
Dallas, TX
Post #: 65
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4. As long as it involves members of the group and is unlikely to reflect poorly on our organization, people should be free to use the message board to communicate their desire to meet group members for different activities. This should be clearly labeled to avoid wasting anyone's time.


I agree with your whole post, but I would like to add one little bit to this point. I think the criteria should be events that philosophically reflect poorly to a substantial number of Objectivists or potential Objectivists. I'm not particularly worried about events that will make us look bad to Baptists, Communists, Freegans, or Greenpeace. Obviously or mere existence is offensive to all of these groups, so I don't think we should go out of our way to cater to their whims.
Old Toad
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 763
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Hi Scott,

I made a slight edit to our "About" page to take your thought more fully into account, including that we are concerned with those who are newly and constructively interested in Objectivism. Of course, this does not require agreement with Objectivism, especially because people new to Objectivism may know very little about it. But as you point out, we should not be concerned with those who do not have any constructive interest.

My purpose in raising this discussion is looking to the future regarding calendaring and e-mailing to promote events. I welcome all requests for events and activities but have to make some judgment about how to help promote them without too much e-mail traffic. We will also soon be facing scheduling conflicts as we grow and can support a more active calendar.

In just 3 years we have grown to 200 members. Our active members are building personal friendships and desires to share activities they enjoy. Imagine when we grow to 500 members -- and beyond!
A former member
Post #: 3
Is it possible to create categories for the message boards so that we may keep philosophical discussions separate from event announcements?
Old Toad
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 775
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Is it possible to create categories for the message boards so that we may keep philosophical discussions separate from event announcements?


Hi Josh,

Meetup's platform has many useful tools for organizing events, which is its strength, but it's message-board tools are rather weak. So the short answer is "no." I also gather that Meetup does not plan to expand the message-board functionalities in favor of broadcast e-mail lists, which is a format I elected against as we had already long-before started with Meetup's earlier message-board format.

Someday, we may be able to afford to build a more sophisticated website and software platform, but for starting up it is very difficult to compete with Meetup's price for all the functionality that it does have.
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