Local User Groups Distribution?

marktfrey's picture

So we've been talking about creating a [Non-g.d.o.] site for DrupalPGH for a while now, and the idea of creating a distribution to share with other local user groups would seem to fulfill that need, give us an interesting topic to discuss and build, and create a tool for other user groups. Question is, what should such a distro look like? Are other user groups interested in such a thing? I know many groups have non-g.d.o. sites, the content and functionality seems to vary quite a bit.

G.d.o. is definitely a great place for discussion, support, events, and job postings, and should continue to be the primary venue for this type of interaction. To my thinking, a local group distribution should augment g.d.o. by providing things that it doesn't, and evangelizing Drupal to the local community in a way that may encourage non-users to join the Drupal community.

A couple of things I'd like to see:

  1. A content repository for stuff generated by local groups (video, slide decks, etc.), attached to their event(s), with some categorization and/or user feedback
  2. A forward-facing welcome for non-users to learn more about Drupal and/or participate in the community (marketing)
  3. Event promotion and calendar. Events should live at g.d.o. but be promoted on the group's site, possibly with additional marketing
  4. A local marketplace or directory of Drupal service providers. Some rules governing what constitutes 'local' may need to be established.
  5. Generally useful tools for user group admins.

    Not sure what admin tools, if any, would be useful for most groups. Submission templates for project showcases and presentation topics come to mind. Also, We market on g.d.o., meetup.org, twitter, and sometimes craigslist -- many folks sign up in one place or another, or don't sign up at all, so I use counts from the previous few meetings to guess at how much space and/or pizza we'll need. It'd be nice to have some sort of sign-in or headcount to be used at the meetups.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, and for such a thing to be useful it'd need to be broadly applicable. Is this something other user groups would be interested in? Are other groups doing anything similar already? Thoughts and/or suggestions on features/strategy?



RobW's picture

Ah Mark, I was typing this up too and you beat me to it.

I think the key points to making this distribution successful are:

Managing overlap with GDO. As you said, we don't want to cause confusion about where to seek out or post content, or create a service that members of the Drupal community won't use because GDO does it better. But content like events may be similar, or even duplicate GDO, while serving different purposes and especially different audiences. I think it would also be useful to examine to what extent, how, and when the site should funnel people to the local group's page on GDO.

Identifying three or four pieces of core functionality, and refining and developing them in depth. Instead of trying to be many things to many groups, I would like to see this distribution be very successful out of the box at providing a small number of specific services. Looking at Drupal PGH, I would say these would be:

  • organizing a knowledge base of meetup presentations,
  • acting as a portal and introduction for new local users,
  • and creating a directory to connect local Drupal talent with prospective clients and each other.

A tool with a focused scope is both usable and understandable, and I think something we should concentrate on. But what the specific functionality/services should be are up for debate. Discuss, discuss!

work force

nitrosx's picture


I will be available to do some coding if needed.


So there's been plenty of

RobW's picture

So there's been plenty of time for this to percolate. Let's make it happen.

In order to move forward we need to define our core workgroup -- people who are willing and interested in putting a couple hours per week into collaboration, decision making, production, and managing tasks for those who are interested in small chunks of expertise contribution (drush script, js dev, etc.) -- and start getting some work done. Aside from myself, I seem to remember Mark, Nathan, David, Max, and possibly Lin were interested. What do you think, friends? Still in?

Let's get those of us interested together, review the legacy material form the first dPGH site attempt, and nail down the foundational specifics of the distro: purpose, functionality, general IA, and scope. I'd like to do this before the Tuesday meetup so we can present our decisions for review and validation. After this we can create a project roadmap, split off into our areas of expertise, and start building.

My upcoming schedule is pretty fluid. Saturday during the day, Sunday day or evening, and Monday before 4 and after 8 are all doable. Maybe a venue in the East End, Espresso A Mano in Lawrenceville, or my (large) living room in Friendship.



Gregsim's picture

Hi Rob,

I am interested in joining your group, but not completely sure where I can contribute. If you want a lurker, who is willing to help where I can, please let me know where and when you are meeting.

I am trying to replace my church web site (zioncc.org) with a Drupal version (zioncc.us). I still have a lot to learn.


I'm in...

marktfrey's picture

... but meeting this weekend will be tough. I may be able to get together monday night if others are free.

I'm in... not sure how much I

nitrosx's picture

I'm in... not sure how much I can devote to this project, but I'm in.
Meeting this weekend or this coming week is going to be hard, but I can the following week on tuesday, thursday and friday night.
During the day, I'm at work, but I'm available by skype unless I'm in a meeting.

Maybe we can start to talk next week after the meeting?

See you all next tuesday

Well, before the social

RobW's picture

Well, before the social meetup didn't work out, but no big deal. Some interesting things were mentioned on tues, including Lullabot's video distro (http://www.lullabot.com/articles/videola-iptv-drupal), and the actual process of recording and archiving presentations, which is probably a good thing to consider while designing/building/IA-ing our distro.

As for meeting, it's pretty up in the air right now. I'd like to meet next week if possible. Any preferences?

might be able to do tuesday,

nitrosx's picture

might be able to do tuesday, thursday or friday night. I need to verify with the boss.
If we would like to do skype, I'm pretty free except for wednesday.


Thurs and fri evening would

RobW's picture

Thurs and fri evening would work for me, But Tuesday I'm booked. Skype or or irc is an option but I'd like to get together in person somewhere with a whiteboard or huge notepad for brainstorming.

One if the reasons we need a meeting

RobW's picture

As I'm going over the IA from the last site push, making notes and revising, I'm seeing that a lot of what needs to be discussed is the admin workflow for the Drupal Pgh group itself.

In order to maximize the professionalism and usefulness of the project I think there needs to be a degree of curation, things like an approval process for events and an admin-involved workflow for creation of presentation content. Any admin workflow needs to be built around how Drupal PGH works outside of the website, and will probably end up solidifying and defining some aspects of what it means to be involved in the group as an organizer/admin.

I know we put a lot of pressure on our organizers >>cough!Mark<<, but these are the types of decisions that need input and feedback from people who have been involved and who plan on being involved in the future at this level.


marktfrey's picture

I'd like to be involved in the meeting. Super-busy this weekend, sometime mid-end-ish of next week should be fine. I'm free wed and friday evening and friday earlier-in-the-day as well.

I just realized that I'm

RobW's picture

I just realized that I'm hosting an event at my house next Friday, so that won't work for me. I'm free Wed and Thurs, but Max is out Wed. Maybe push it back farther, sometime the weekend of the 21st?

week of 21st

eli-f's picture

if we decide to push the meeting back, I can make Tuesday 1/24 and Thursday 1/26.

Both days work for me, but

nitrosx's picture

Both days work for me, but after 8.30pm.

What about the weekend?

RobW's picture

Mark and I are free on Saturday and most of Sunday.

what time?

nitrosx's picture

what time?

Hey folks, Great to see this

greggles's picture

Hey folks,

Great to see this idea. I think there is a lot of complementary value in having a site separate from groups.drupal.org for a local meetup and I appreciate that you're considering what features to duplicate (or not) in the sites.

One other thing to consider is that g.d.o needs more helpers, so if you see ways to improve this site and want to work on it, let me know. We use an issue queue to coordinate most work.

Thanks for stopping in,

RobW's picture

Thanks for stopping in, Greggles. We're definitely trying to balance g.d.o.'s functionality as a repository for local information with our distro -- the simple breakdown as it stands is:


Forum, including support questions, polls, etc.

Local Groups Distro

Intro to the local organization
Presentation archive
Member listings, marketplace

Crossover we're working on managing

Intro to Drupal (crossover with drupal.org)

I read through the first page of the g.d.o. issue queue, and it looks like there are some nice improvements being worked on, mostly iterative small to medium scale changes. I remember Prairie Initiative was working on a complete overhaul of collaboration on drupal.org, I think the issue queue mostly -- is there anything significant like that planned for g.d.o.? I'd like to make sure that we're not only providing something useful on release, but something in line with the future of g.d.o. as well.

Intro to the local

greggles's picture
  • Intro to the local organization
    Obviously a separate site has to have this regardless.

  • Presentation archive
    If you have videos or slides or notes, this could become a really valuable resource. Why not make this a new node type on the site that allows uploading files (pdf, ppt, key, etc.) and then it would expose people from across the site to this resource. We could then have "favorite resources" etc.

These two are probably best left to a separate site:

  • Member listings, marketplace
  • Sponsorship

Sounds like a great idea.

Mark said in another

linclark's picture

Mark said in another thread:

...or moving the date if there's consensus on when.

Which gave me a feature idea for the local distro... let each user specify which days during the month they have other engagements (1st Mondays, 2nd Thursdays, whatever). This would make figuring out the best day of the month for meetups much easier. And people could edit their monthly availability as new things pop up, so if the optimal day for the whole group shifts over time, the group can discuss and choose a new day of the month.

That's a great idea, Lin.

RobW's picture

That's a great idea, Lin. I'll work that into the IA this weekend.

Meeting time chosen!

RobW's picture

T his Sunday morning, 10am at Espresso A Mano in lower Lawrenceville.

We'll be going over general IA, functionality, feature/use case split between the distro and g.d.o., and future Drupal PGH admin workflow and responsibilities.

We all have busy schedules -- I hope no one feels left out, but I had to pull the trigger to get the project moving. If you let me know by Friday we can massage the time an hour in either direction if it makes it possible for someone to attend.

--- [Edit] ---

Respond if you want to attend so I can round up suitable seating at A Mano.

can't make it

eli-f's picture

thanks for setting this up, but I cannot make it.

Mark thanks for organizing

nitrosx's picture


thanks for organizing the meeting, but most likely I will not be able to attend.
Please let me know how I can help.



RobW's picture

Just to keep everyone in the loop, this is moving forward (just like the dPGH branding), but slowly because of my personal workload.

I've had some opportunities to talk about the concept, method, and workflow for our instance of the distro with some friends in related industries, and gotten some really good feedback. The IA/workflow document is at about 50%, and I'm aiming to have it ready for review at the March meeting.


MrMaksimize's picture

We have been chatting about this in Chicago so thought I'd give this a little bump.

And also how / where I can help out :)