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Subject: Multiple, Separate Meetup Groups in one region: Good or bad idea? rss

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Victor The Geek
United States
Harrisburg area
Pennsylvania
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Question:
Should a given area have more than one Meetup.com page?

I'm hoping to get the BGG opinion on this matter. Let me know your thoughts.

Details:
My local gaming scene (Harrisburg, PA) has a bunch of Meetup.com gaming groups. I'm not talking about events in different areas/cities, I'm talking about separate Meetup.com/GameGroupTitle pages. A couple groups are run by stores and a couple groups are run by gamers (I run one of them). Even before there were so many groups, I've felt that this area is fragmented and no one was trying to unite the area. I started my own group because the one group that did exist starting charging dues. It's a little bit harder to grow the community when you're charging people to join.

Why do I care:
I'm a bit of a gaming evangelist. I love seeing new people join the hobby and I think that some gamers don't realize that there are other people around them that play games as well. To promote the hobby, I believe that a local gaming scene should unite together. By having multiple Meetup.com groups running in the exact same area, it creates a division of gamers. Also, new possible members can become confused about which group to join and/or confused about why there are so many groups. I'm now deciding to reach out to the other groups to talk about merging them. Here are some thoughts I have on having one group vs multiple groups.

Reasons to have one group:
• New people can become confused by all the different groups. Which one should they join? Why are there so many?
• Separate groups can create cliques.
• If one group exists and is NOT run by a store, the group won't appear to be biased towards 1 store.
• Separate groups split the amount of people viewing events. By having a single Meetup group, all eyes are focused on one list of events.
• Cross posting events on different groups doesn't give a quick view of the RSVP list. Many times, people are more willing to attend an event when they see that others are attending. By splitting the RSVP list, it appears there's fewer attendance.


Reasons to have separate groups:
• Individual groups are a marketing tool for stores because it “features” their events.
• If all the groups combine, the laundry list of different events could make the calendar look cluttered.

EDIT
On page 2 I post a short video to dispel some of the confusion about what I'm talking about. I'll leave my original text above for new readers.
 
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Eric Engelmann
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Derwood
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I think there are about 60 board game and RPG related meetup groups within 50 miles of my home. While there is a lot of overlap, they have a different physical locations, meeting times, and demographics. Some gamers have transport issues which limit them to walkable/bikeable venues, some to public transit, and some to easy and free parking. Some (such as myself) want to play with "serious" gamers, while others want to drink beer and meet new people, where short, light social games are preferred, so table changes are more frequent. One I like focusses on good food and wine in their elegant home while gaming.

So, variety is great!
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J C Lawrence
United States
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Additional reason: specialisation.

Sure, if all the groups are all unplanned open-gaming then they are all fracts of the same concept and it mostly comes down to personality politics and fashion. But that's not the only approach. Some groups may tie to planned plays of key game titles (eg Go, the 18xx, TCG/LCGss, OCS wargames, etc) or tourneys or venue-specific values (store promotions, food, speakers, etc) and as such have differentiated and specialised.
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Cardboard Hustle
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Sharonville
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I don't know where you live, but any moderately sized city can definitely handle multiple groups. For example I wouldn't drive the 25 minutes to the west side of town, when I can just go to a downtown group in 5 minutes.

I'm not clear on how you plan to dissolve the old groups into a single group. What are you going to tell the leadership when you contact them? Why would they agree to the change?

For example, I have a game group that has been meeting for over two years now. It's a tight group, we have fun. If someone called and told me my group needed fold and merge with another group...for reasons, I would tell them to take a hike. I would probably use colorful language describing my relationship with that persons mother too.

That said. You are welcome to try, but brace yourself for some push back.
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Cardboard Hustle
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clearclaw wrote:
Some groups may tie to planned plays of key game titles (eg Go, the 18xx, TCG/LCGss, OCS wargames, etc) or tourneys or venue-specific values (store promotions, food, speakers, etc) and as such have differentiated and specialised.


I didn't even consider this, but yeah. A group that plays CAH is different than an Agricola group is different from a 18xx group is different from a Arkham Horror group, ect..
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Chris Aylott
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We have several overlapping groups around San Marcos, TX -- lots of groups to the north in Austin, at least one to the south in New Braunfels, even a Facebook-based group next door in Lockhart.

It seems to work out all right. Meetup makes it easy to keep up with and sort through the different groups, and I keep a weather eye out to make sure my group doesn't inadvertently schedule an event on top of a big event run by another group. My observation is that people find the groups that best fit their exact location and schedule and pay attention to those.

(I also travel a bit for work, and Meetup is so convenient that I keep up memberships in places like London that I'm likely to pass through. It's fun to see what they're up to and to know I can find a game night going when and if I'm in town.)
 
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Victor The Geek
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Harrisburg area
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I think there's some confusion about the "different" groups.

My current Meetup page has one off events and recurring events that are miles apart. There are events/"groups" that are 30 miles away from the game night I personally run on Friday nights. It's one meetup pages that posts a bunch of different "groups" or events across the whole area. As in, you can view 1 meetup page and see all the different events going on in the whole area. Why pay for a meetup page for a single event/venue?

Quote:
For example I wouldn't drive the 25 minutes to the west side of town, when I can just go to a downtown group in 5 minutes.


My Meetup page posts both events. Why have separate Meetup Groups for events that close?
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Michael Theiss
United States
College Station
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We have separate groups:
-type of game
-short games
-long games
-party games
-what time can people show up
-what day can people show up
-people per game
-people + more tables
-...


It really depends on the people. I like 4-5 and to play long games, and some times as many people as I can play with and short games.
It really depends on how I feel.

I do not conform
 
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George Louie
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Alexandria
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I think the OP is seeing a problem, when there is NOT actually a problem. There is no Overarching Meetup Authority that can make people combine groups, and nor should there be. Its silly to think you can tell people who, when and where they have to play. You're dealing with adults here, they have free will and can go play any place they like.

And even if you could dictate where they play, what would you do to those game groups that aren't using meetup.com? kick down their doors, drag them from their homes and make them play with others??

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Victor The Geek
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clearclaw wrote:
Additional reason: specialisation.

Sure, if all the groups are all unplanned open-gaming then they are all fracts of the same concept and it mostly comes down to personality politics and fashion. But that's not the only approach. Some groups may tie to planned plays of key game titles (eg Go, the 18xx, TCG/LCGss, OCS wargames, etc) or tourneys or venue-specific values (store promotions, food, speakers, etc) and as such have differentiated and specialised.


Each event can list the details on it's event post. There's no need for a completely separate Meetup page. One page that lists all the events in the area.
 
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Victor The Geek
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glouie wrote:
I think the OP is seeing a problem, when there is NOT actually a problem. There is no Overarching Meetup Authority that can make people combine groups, and nor should there be. Its silly to think you can tell people who, when and where they have to play. You're dealing with adults here, they have free will and can go play any place they like.

And even if you could dictate where they play, what would you do to those game groups that aren't using meetup.com? kick down their doors, drag them from their homes and make them play with others??



You're post doesn't make any sense to this situation.
- I don't think that Meetup should force groups to combine.
- I'm NOT dictating where they play. They continue to play exactly where they are. Where would I tell them to go play at? Each event host continues to do their normal thing. The difference is that there is 1 place to see all the possible events in an area.
 
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Cardboard Hustle
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So this is strictly an administrative move? All these groups post their times on a single Meetup listing and someone becomes the "Listing Overlord"?
 
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Victor The Geek
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acedaryl1 wrote:
So this is strictly an administrative move? All these groups post their times on a single Meetup listing and someone becomes the "Listing Overlord"?


You've almost got the right idea. The "Listing Overlord" is not accurate. Any member of my group that hosts an event can become an Event Organizer. They can post their own events and take care of the details. I definitely do NOT want to be in charge of posting every event.

This is 1 Meetup listing that shows all the events in the whole area (the area is like a 1 hour radius from Harrisburg, PA).
 
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Chris Aylott
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San Marcos
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A metalist could be handy -- and so very nineties! -- but that might be better accomplished with a Wordpress site.

There are widgets that can hook up to meetup groups (might need a group owner's code for that, been a while since I set up mine) and each group could have its own page describing it and linking to the meetup group itself.

Anyway, worth thinking about if you're looking to provide a one-stop community information resource.
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Kathleen Nugent
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Tamworth
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Victor, I think you have a great idea. I'm a snowbird and play games in Mesa, AZ, during the winter. I used to check several different MeetUp sites for their calendars and the type of games they'd be playing. But most of those groups have now combined. As you say, there's only one calendar and one site to check.

The game events can have their own titles; e.g, "Party Games at Qdoba," "18XX Game Day," "All Day Euro Strategy Games," etc. The first name listed along the right edge of the MeetUp page is the organizer of that event (usually). People become familiar with the type of game each organizer wants to get to the table. And often people who will be attending write comments suggesting games to be played and asking for others to join them.

I wonder if you'll get the games stores to participate, but I think you can convince the other home and restaurant MeetUps to join together. Who's going to turn down a chance to save money on MeetUp fees?

Good luck! I hope it happens.
 
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Victor The Geek
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caylott wrote:
A metalist could be handy -- and so very nineties! -- but that might be better accomplished with a Wordpress site.

There are widgets that can hook up to meetup groups (might need a group owner's code for that, been a while since I set up mine) and each group could have its own page describing it and linking to the meetup group itself.

Anyway, worth thinking about if you're looking to provide a one-stop community information resource.


Ahhh... Definitely good to know! The whole idea is to create a "one-stop community information resource". A place to see everything going on.
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Tony C
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If you're a member in those groups, your front page on meetup should show you all the upcoming events.
I'm fine with multiple groups, if there's a population to support them. I have seen some groups fold after six months with thirteen members, but in this area, there are multiple gaming groups and they're all pretty vibrant.
There's certainly a lot of crossover in the membership, but for me, they are distinct.
I know Group A is more likely to play Agricola, Group B may bring the kids to play Castle Panic, Group C will play CAH and party games, while group D is open to dice chucking Ameritrash and Group E is open to whatever people bring. Plus I'm in multiple non-gaming groups, that have game nights.
If a store or company wants to run a Meetup for the events at their store, I'm fine with that, as long as their event postings are honest.

Join 'em all, go to the events that sound like fun to you.
 
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Victor The Geek
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dtcarson wrote:

I know Group A is more likely to play Agricola, Group B may bring the kids to play Castle Panic, Group C will play CAH and party games, while group D is open to dice chucking Ameritrash and Group E is open to whatever people bring.


I think this concept is the breakdown of communication on this thread. It must work this way in many areas.
Group A = Euros
Group B = Light Games
Group C = Party Games
Group D = Ameritrash

I'm talking about
Group A =
- Game night in town A on Wednesday is playing euro games
- Game night in town B on Wednesday is playing train games
- Game night in town C on Friday is playing whatever
- Game day in town A at store 1 on Saturday is playing Magic

The actual Meetup "Group", as in www.Meetup.com/GameGroupNameHere, posts all the events of every gaming group in the whole area. One stop shop for all events.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Campbell
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VictorTheGeek wrote:
Each event can list the details on it's event post. There's no need for a completely separate Meetup page. One page that lists all the events in the area.


Sure there is: communities of mind and focus. As a minor for-instance, I'm not interested in euros, wargames, combinatorial games, party games or role-playing games and as such would get little if any value from a more global game event or game event listing. Why would I care? The main things that a larger context would provide are noise, distraction and a lack of focus -- none of which are actually valuable to me.
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Cool User
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The main reason I wouldn't want all possible gaming venues listed in one convenient place: it makes it way too easy for that guy (you know, the obnoxious/smelly/rude one who doesn't have a life outside of gaming) to come to every...single...event. The one who, in a perfect world, would be banned from attending, but no one has the guts to do it, so he (or she) continues to make life miserable for everyone.

That guy is much more likely to drive off new gamers than having separate meet-up groups. The more segmented the calendar, the better.
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Tony C
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Will there be one "Organizer" for the Meetup/GameGroupNameHere or will anyone who previously would have been a Host or an Organizer in the separate Meetup groups be Organizers? Who will be posting the actual events on the group, or updating the calendar?
Either way sounds inefficient - I sure would not want to be the person who has to post all the events for Mon night game, Tues night game, Wed night game, etc - UNLESS it is an "Every Monday Night" type thing, where I set up one recurring event.

Are these at stores, or at people's houses?

I think that having a single group host/post all that will add a great deal of micromanagement and "middleman" to it, unless the Organizer/s are in control of all the events or the events are in a defined,m regular schedule.
You say you don't want to post every event - but don't you have to assign someone as Host, who can then manage that event? Or are all group members automatically Hosts, and can post whatever events they want, whenever they want?

I can't get on Meetup right now but the last time I looked, I thought the functionality you're looking for pretty much exists - on the home page, I can look at upcoming events in My groups, or in My area, or Suggested for me.

Even apart from that, I'm also in a couple Facebook gaming groups and an email list. Communications are fragmented, I don't think there will ever be such a thing as true one stop shopping.

Can there be too many Meetup groups? Yes, of course - we don't need one for 3 Player Co-op games, and one for 4-player Dexterity games, etc. But in my experience the groups that are too diffuse, or specific, either die out or merge into one of the more successful ones.

And you may have people in one group that have conflicts, for whatever reason, with people in another group, so they would never join that group or go to an event.

Having multiple groups, since the membership would not be 100% overlapping, also allows for more people to get into events that they like - if I were in one group that even had 75% of the total membership of the other groups, I'd probably never get to an event (in fact, that has somewhat happened - I'm in some groups that are just so darn big now that I don't even try to get into most events.)

I think the best way to evangelize is to do exactly that. Cross pollinate within suitable groups with suitable people. "Hey, I played X with you at Hometown Fun Stuff Group's game night; you should check out Hometown Gaming Group." And sometimes, I have chosen NOT to say that, because I wanted a group Away from Person X, as long as that lasted.
 
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J C Lawrence
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VictorTheGeek wrote:
The actual Meetup "Group", as in www.Meetup.com/GameGroupNameHere, posts all the events of every gaming group in the whole area. One stop shop for all events.


So a global calendar. Sure, go do that. If people find it useful they'll list on the global calendar. If they don't, they won't. Either way, the market will decide.
 
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Mike
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My area has several different gaming groups. There's some overlap but there are a lot of people who just participate in one group.

I have no problem with this. If there are people I like playing with in one group, I've told them about other groups and invited them. But I don't mind if people choose to be "exclusive".

The biggest advantage to me is a practical one. The reality of life is that groups rise and fall. The first group I used to meet with was based around a local store. The owner ended up closing the store. If that had been the only group in the area, the group would have ended with the store's closing. But as it happened, I was already participating in a second group which had no connection to the store, so when the first group broke up I just increased my participation with the second group. And I still do this: while I have one group I regard as my primary group, I still meet up with other groups. If my primary group breaks up, I have back ups.

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baker mouse
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VictorTheGeek wrote:
dtcarson wrote:

I know Group A is more likely to play Agricola, Group B may bring the kids to play Castle Panic, Group C will play CAH and party games, while group D is open to dice chucking Ameritrash and Group E is open to whatever people bring.


I think this concept is the breakdown of communication on this thread. It must work this way in many areas.
Group A = Euros
Group B = Light Games
Group C = Party Games
Group D = Ameritrash

I'm talking about
Group A =
- Game night in town A on Wednesday is playing euro games
- Game night in town B on Wednesday is playing train games
- Game night in town C on Friday is playing whatever
- Game day in town A at store 1 on Saturday is playing Magic

The actual Meetup "Group", as in www.Meetup.com/GameGroupNameHere, posts all the events of every gaming group in the whole area. One stop shop for all events.


Sounds like you are trying to get everyone to "cross pollinate" (well that's what meetup groups I am involved in call it) it's where seperate groups post events on each others main pages in order to promote the event further and reach out to potential new members.

My guess is Store based groups would be cool with the idea, but I would first Private message the owners of the groups and get their permission before copying their events onto your calendar.
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Cris Whetstone
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I think you do raise some legitimate concerns but they are not solely about Meetup style groups. Those types of issues would still be there without Meetup.com.

The only real issue I would see is if there is significant overlap between the membership and style of gatherings between multiple groups. At that point the organizers and/or leaders of those groups should consider a merger in order to help less serious, plugged in people and most importantly new people so that they can find something without having to wonder which group is right for them. A central group offering many people options helps new people more than several groups when new people wouldn't even know what they wanted.
 
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