Let’s get organised!

The tldr; version:

  • I’m writing a survey for Indiemeet participants and would like your input;
  • I’d like us to formalise how we organise stuff a bit better and use an online tool such as Asana to help people better coordinate together.

It’s coming to the end of the year, and the time we tend to have our annual review. I’m kicking that off a little earlier this year because I think we need to make a couple of bigger-than-usual decisions. Attendance has been low this year, but more than that we’ve lost a great many organisers who ideally we need to replace – and if we can’t replace them then I think we need to consider doing slightly less.

Over the next few days, I hope to have a survey ready that I’m going to try and get as many people – regulars, irregulars and even people who have never come – to take part. On the more fun side, this is to revive the Indie Darling Awards (we haven’t kept very good records so this seems like a cheaty way to do it). On the more organisational side, I’d like to explore a few changes in format that might help to entice new people. It would also be helpful to have an idea about our demographics (I’m thinking, pragmatically, geography rather than anything else, although I’m open to widening its scope if people think that would be helpful).

Resisting the temptation to get dragged into the debate right now, does anyone have any ideas for how we might do things differently that I could include in the survey? Note – this is not an invitation for people to bemoan the current processes, but for new ideas.

Secondly, I’d like us to get a teensy bit more organised. I’m very conscious of the fact that I’ve turned up to a few events this year where I didn’t think I was the organiser but if I didn’t do it, no one else would have. We’ve talked in the past about ensuring as many people as possible do the pitching; currently we’re in the situation where we’re lucky if we have more than one person willing to do it.

I’d like us to get to the point where we have a named host for every meetup, so it’s always clear to first timers who they should be looking for and who should be the point of contact for the venue, etc. If we can’t find a named host for every meetup, we probably shouldn’t be holding that meetup.

In addition, I’d like to have a named coordinator for each of the three regular meetups we hold (Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays). This used to be the case (with thanks to Piers, Richard, Sti, Tom and Helen), but I don’t think we currently have one for any of our regular events. Again, if we can’t find people willing to do that for each regular meetup, I think we should consider dropping one or more of our┬áregular meetups.

The role of the coordinator is to ensure that the venues are booked, that the event pages are posted (currently on Facebook and Meetup) and to ensure that each meetup has a host (either themselves or someone else). In other words, it is mostly the stuff that needs to be done that isn’t on the days themselves.

Notwithstanding the fact that I’ll continue to struggle to attend more than half the events themselves, I’m willing to be the coordinator for the Saturday event, but we’d need someone or some people to be the coordinator for the Tuesday and Wednesday meetups.

Before I ask people to sign up as hosts and coordinators however, does this sound like a constructive way forward?

Finally, I’ve been looking at the plethora of online organising tools out there to find one that would suit us. Thus far, I’ve narrowed it down to Asana and Trello, with Asana my favoured option. But do people have any other suggestions? Or do you think it’s a terrible idea and we should continue to try to coordinate everything via email and chatting at meetups?

In case it isn’t already clear, your comments on this are very much appreciated. Please add them below.

James Graham

James is a gamer based in London, UK. He has been roleplaying since being inspired by the film Monsters and Mazes aged 8, back in 1982, possibly missing the point. He is a regular organiser at the London Indie RPG Meetup and has been participating in the group since December 2012.

4 Comments

  1. Hi James,

    Thanks, I’m glad you’re doing this. I do think we need to try some new things.

    For the last year or two, I’ve found pitching a bit of a strain. It was great in the early days, when Indiemeet attendees were basically all on the same page. But, recently, I’ve found I never know who I’m going to get. So, where Indiemeet used to be a low pressure place to try out new games, it now feels a bit more like a convention, where, if you pitch, you’re expected to entertain the group. That’s why I stopped pitching and, recently, why I haven’t been coming.

    When I attended SandCon, there was an alternative pitching system, in which GMs put session proposals on a whiteboard and everyone put their name next to the thing they were interested in. They left it there for 15 minutes or so, until the groups came together (it was a bit more complex than that, but those were the basics). One key difference was GMs could subtly withdraw their game, if it wasn’t filling up or they weren’t feeling it, which encouraged people to try tentative pitches.

    So, yeah, I’d be interested in new ways of organising games, including Asana and Trello and including that one. I think we should try a few things out and see what sticks.

    Here’s a specific question to ask in the survey: I wonder if we should stop being on Meetup. I feel that Meetup’s changed in tone a bit: we often get people happening by for an afternoon and I find that difficult, especially if there’s a language barrier. (I’m struggling to find the right way to phrase this. I do want to make new people feel welcome. But the balance has changed and I feel that people who find us through Meetup can be a bit difficult to fit into games.)

    I do think Indiemeet does something important that I’d like to keep happening. I hope we can find a way to change it around and keep it going.

    • Thanks for your comments, Graham.

      I’m quite open to new pitching systems personally, and am willing to start dragging my whiteboard down again. That was definitely going to be on the survey. I’ll investigate SandCon.

      I had Asana or Trello in mind for the organising rather than pitching, but maybe we should consider that as well? The only downside is that it would favour the online early birds who know how to work the system.

      In terms of Meetup, I do know what you mean and this misunderstanding about what the group is for seems to be increasing (I can think of two specific recent examples). I wonder if the problem is not so much Meetup as much as the need for us to better define ourselves? I’ve been thinking a lot about that as well recently. I don’t think it will end up on the survey, but I am thinking of giving our blurb a refresh to address the whole “what kind of games do we play?” question.

      As for the question of whether we should abandon Meetup, I’ll be asking about all the platforms, so that should address it.

      • Right, yes, I misunderstood. I wouldn’t necessarily think we should organise games on Asana/Trello, although I do wonder whether some early organising on Facebook is worth trying. People might come if a particular game is on.

        Happy to tell you about SandCon. I don’t think they wrote the organising system down anywhere. It basically goes like this: you put your name next to a game. If it’s oversubscribed, you randomly pick who gets to play.

        And I’m all in favour of defining ourselves. Although I do think it also might be about Meetup itself. I wonder whether people just scan Meetup, when they’re in town for a day and want something to do, and end up with us, because they’re games and they sound fun. And I wonder whether we’re really what they want.

  2. For selfish reasons I would be interested in trying Asana.

    I have had a lot of work and personal things clashing with Indiemeet this year, last year I was able to attend virtually everything. I’ve met more new people this year than previously but I think it is nice to have a mix of familiar faces because over time you can play differently with people you’ve built trust with.

    I’d be happy to volunteer to help with the midweeks but I haven’t been able to make enough this year to say that I’d be able to do all of them. Perhaps I could just take Wednesdays?

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