BIM - Club Creation & Organisation
How BIM Was Formed & Runs - A FAQ (= Frequently Asked Question)
from people interested in starting new BSD geographicly oriented
Periodically there were emailed questions from people interested
in starting new BSD geographicly oriented user groups, on how BIM was formed & runs.
This page intends to be more comprehensive than further short time contrained individual replies could be.
There are many other BSD Clubs too,
best to also consult them for a variety of experiences.
Anything else people remind or ask
I can add/amend later.
1996 One of us (Ernst) got use of a permanently Internet connected server at a
BSD-friendly ISP (BSn). An old & small shoe box size Sun, but
sufficient to build a web site & mail list on. Newer 386 type machines
came later from donors. All admin'd by
Julian. (Ernst remembers the history other way round, first
an Intel then a Sun, whatever :-)
The tendency of a minority to want us to register with the authorities
as a formal club was resisted (formal registration of clubs with
authorities is more common in Germany than Britain, but even in
Germany, the majority of clubs (Verein) are not registered). Not
registering saved us defining who we were or what we were. It saved
us charging a membership fee to cover an annual club registration
fee (& setting aside possible initial registration & certain club
de-registration fees (leviable on any German club that ceases).
Which saved us the admin hastle of administering & collecting fees,
& debating level of fees, who should be a member, at what point people
should be told to pay or leave!, what the benefits would be,
who should get a discount, what to
do with fees, who was responsible for holding money. Debate on who took
which formal post was not necessary. No membership fees helps to
avoid scaring off newcomers. People can seamlessly graduate from being
a casual stammtisch drinker to becoming a significant contributing member.
We arrange events to avoid being just BSD monthly drinkers; often
events are part planned during the monthly stammtisch.
Some wanted a fixed monthly location. That was avoided. (Years
back there was a regular BSD stammtisch in Munich, it met at the
same place each month, then died.) We have a vote where we'll meet,
so A sees B voting & thinks: Oh good, if B's going I'll go too, &
talk about XYY technology perhaps. We don't get stuck always eating
Bavarian, or Greek or pizza or whatever. People need to join our
mail list to know where we will meet, (in which case they see our
other not just drinking local activities on mail list), or they
need to ask their friends each month (in which case again, there's
an entree to discuss more of what else BIM is & does), either way,
it raises interest & provides variety, rather than being a group
of just drinkers at the same perhaps eventally rather boring location.
We have no formal structure. Responsibility was spun off for anything
as soon as it could be. (I've see another club where a minority
do too much for a club, & then want club compliance to their
wishes, an example to avoid if possible) it's best to try to spread work thin & wide. BIM has sub web pages & organisers for stammtisch
& leaflet & systems etc run by as many others as possible. Hopefully
more will step forward & take on new events & responsibilities.
Creating & running a club is a balancing act: enough focus from founders
to create it & give it direction, sufficient freedom for others to contribute
& influence as it grows. Encouragment of others to help contribute.
Ensuring newcomers are welcomed at first event, attempting to
introduce them to people with similar BSD topical interests.
Everyone who contributes work, machinery, infrastucture etc should
be credited on a web page & thanked personaly :-)