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BIM - Club Creation & Organisation

How BIM Was Formed & Runs - A FAQ (= Frequently Asked Question) from people interested in starting new BSD geographicly oriented user groups.

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.
  • 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 :-)
Anything else people remind or ask me of, I can add/amend later.

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