Building User Communities (long)

From: Tony Duell <>
Date: Fri Jul 4 20:24:15 1997

> I am facing a similar situation in the Atari community. I have to admit

The HP calculator community (just about the only main-ish-stream one that I am
involved with) has much the same problem. People tend not to join user groups,
alas, any more. They expect to buy pre-packaged solutions, and if they don't
work they expect the manufacturer to fix it. The idea of experimenting, of going
a little further, seems to have died out.


> had built up in the club. There are lots of PC user groups, but none with
> the character of ABACUS. (How many clubs have a Land Rover owner, a waffle
> collector, and a 76 year old newsletter editor?)

Why on earth do you need to edit a 76 year old newsletter? What's it stored
on - Wheatstone Telegraph Tape? (Sorry, couldn't resist).

And I guess the answer to your question is 'About as many as calculator clubs
with a PERQ fanatic and a classic car enthusiast as members, and a Polish
chairman' :-)

> But, we've not done much about getting new members (either PC or ST). Your
> message has gotten me thinking, though. Every now and then I get a call
> from someone who's got an ST for sale, and I have to tell them there's just
> not much market for them here. Perhaps we could set something up to get
> those machines into the hands of someone who could use them and is otherwise
> unable to afford them. (Goodness knows we've got enough kids with no $
> around here!)

An idea. Sell them the machines cheaply, and then allow them to attend your club
meetings for (say) one year free of charge. Having been involved with many user
clubs, I realise that the membership money does go to good use, and that it
costs a lot of money to produce and print the newsletter. But a lot of people
don't see it that way. It costs nothing extra to have a few extra people at
meetings, and (a) they will get support for their new toy (thus keeping it
running) and (b) may find how useful the club is and will thus join.

> The biggest hurdle facing the general public in putting older computers to
> work is the lack of support. (P.S., Cliff Stoll is an idiot sometimes.)

Absolutely. And for that reason, expecting a new user to start on a classic
computer is (IMHO) totally unrealistic.

> Uncle Roger "There is pleasure pure in being mad

Received on Fri Jul 04 1997 - 20:24:15 BST

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