The Fellowship group in Frankfurt exists for about five years now. After the first few meetings, we renamed the group into Rhein/Main as nobody actually lived in Frankfurt. We kept meeting in Frankfurt as it was the most central place for all of us, though.
For those interested, we kept the minutes of each meeting in the fellowship calendar and have them neatly listed on our group page using the neat PageList feature in MoinMoin.
We had many interesting discussions over the years and I met with many interesting people. Sometimes, though, I was sitting there alone and on top of that left Europe for seven months in 2009/2010, some regular visitors moved away and I became father of two kids. Thus, the meetings came to a halt. Well, there was a halfhearted attempt to revive them in 2012, but they didn’t actually come back until March 2013.
This was triggered by a community event organized by the LUG in Frankfurt. They invited any IT related user group in the area to meet and get to know each other at FUXCon. We participated in the organization and had a booth to present FSFE and the Fellowship there. My hope was that through this specific action, more people would become active and the plan did work!
Right after the event in June, the participation dropped again. Something had to be done.
I mentioned already that almost nobody actually lived in Frankfurt, so, out of curiosity, I checked with the fellowship coordinators and asked for the number of fellows in certain zip code areas in the Rhine/Main area. I got proof that the majority of the fellows live around Frankfurt, not in it. The commute is always a barrier for the participants, so we thought we just go where the Fellows are and started the experiment to have every second meeting somewhere else around Frankfurt:
To boost the motivation to take the burden of commuting to Frankfurt, we announce a topic for a talk for those meetings.
Some say it is important to have a fixed schedule and a fixed location to make the meetings more predictable, but we’ll give it a try nevertheless. Besides, the meetings in Frankfurt stay fixed, they just occur every other month instead of every month now