Discourse Events Plugin

Recently there were a few discussions (e.g., one initiated by some good ideas of @prnc at the Scicloj organizing team) about how we schedule community events, and what tools we use for that.

Some ideas that were raised were using websites such as Meetup and Eventbrite, or using a more manual way: Clojureverse annoucement + registration through a web form + manually adding people to a calendar event.

One thing we ran across was Discourse Calendar Plugin:

(edit: the Events Plugin is also relevant – discussed below)

Looks like it could be a nice way to schedule events in the cool & comfortable environment of Clojureverse here.

Any thoughts about it?

(fixed the link, thanks @prnc)

I’m all for this. Perhaps with a little effort we could provide an alternative to meetup.com for announcing events and managing RSVPs.

We’ll get this plugin setup and see how well it works for us and others. If there is anything else that people feel they need for clojuverse to be a viable alternative for managing their meetups then do speak up and we can see if we can address those needs.

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(edit: see the recommendation at this conversation below to actually try the Events Plugin)

Thanks to the quick & kind help of @plexus and the encouragement of @maxxcan & @prnc, we can now create events in Clojureverse.

Here is an example
https://clojureverse.org/t/test-event/

Note you can mark your participation and also add it to your calendar (try clicking the ... symbol).

See this post for instructions on using this plugin to create your own events:

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(edit: fixed link)

The Events Plugin seems to provide a more complete experience (compared to the calendar plugin used above) with respect to the details that we care for. For example:

  • The Add Event button (that appears when you create a topic) and the Add to Calendar button (that appears when you view a topic with an event) are easier to find.
  • The default event that is added to your calendar is more informative (e.g., contains a link to the original post).
  • Topics with events show the event detail in their titles when viewed on the main Clojureverse page.

Here is an example event created with the Events Plugin.

So, I’d recommend trying that.

One important thing we have not figured out yet is the ability to add some information to the calendar invite (e.g., video meeting link), that would be hidden in the Clojureverse post.

Recently, @prnc tried including a Zoom link (actually a bit.ly shortened URL) in a Clojureverse post, and we did not experience any problems such as unwanted visitors.

(I think that is the main concern when sharing a link to public events – the risk that the whole internet will hear about it and join your meeting – it did happen in the past when we tweeted a link and was actually terrifying.)

So, it might be just fine to share Zoom links here, at least if these are not links that you use very often.

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An events tool is not only about organising events for the existing (that’s the relatively easy bit)

There was one simple reason for using meetup.com when I started the London Clojurians site:

To enable people to find our events and community

So meetup.com is about reach (in much the same reason that Clojure was designed to run on the JVM)

Previously events were run on Eventbrite, which received a modest attendance. However, unless you knew about the London Clojurians community, it was not easy to find. SkillsMatter events also helped at that time

We did a lot of cross promotion in related London communities, which helped. I was also lucky enough to be in a position where I could do talks for other communities, which did make some impact and bring people in.

But still, when I went to speak at many communities, no one knew London Clojurians existed.

So when considering the tools to use for a community events, I suggest consideration of who the audience is, i.e. for the existing community or for a wider audience.

The audience consideration should help frame the decision as to what tool (or tools) to use.

Organising events is relatively easy, reaching an audience is much more involved (unless it’s cat videos on YouTube)

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Maybe it’s the moment that we don’t use Zoom anymore and use better options like Jitsi. Jitsi have Jitsi moderated meetings that it is a feature that lets you book a meeting URL in advance where you are the only moderator. With this options the people can´t entry on chat without admin permission https://moderated.jitsi.net/
With Jitsi you haven’t to use a specific app, only the browser.

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@jr0cket thanks, I think you’re so right – visibility should be a consideration (and London Clojurians are a huge inspiration here, of course).

Based on what @jr0cket said about visibility are we now thinking that it would be best to use meetup.com?

@ethanmiller this is not new information – it was one of the considerations mentioned in our conversation a couple of days ago at the Scicloj organizing team, alongside other considerations, regarding problems we had with Meetup (it is a bit out-of-scope to discuss that under this topic here).

As far as I understand, we decided to explore relevant Clojureverse plugins, as they seemed to potentially make sense for some of our use cases at Scicloj. So that is why I configured and compared the plugins today, hoping to try them out for events in the coming days.

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Meetup does provide reach, we also observed this with Emacs Berlin. But it’s not free, which can be an issue for small/casual/one-off events. Each group will have to decide for themselves which platforms they want to leverage, we’re just providing another option.

Only relying on meetup.com for your marketing is also a bit lazy, if you want a successful event you’ll have to actively reach out to groups and individuals, and possibly curate your own channels like a twitter account or mailing list.

I think having the option here will be especially valuable for one-off things where you just want something you can link to where people can also RSVP. You’ll still have to do appropriate promotion if you want to reach more people than the core clojure community that hangs out here, but at least you’ll have a single place on the web to point people at.

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