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Re: [Fsfe-uk] AFFS strategy (Was: Beyond bitching...)

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] AFFS strategy (Was: Beyond bitching...)
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 16:43:57 +0100

On Wed, 2005-06-29 at 16:25 +0100, Graham Seaman wrote:
> Flaming aside, I'm now getting quite puzzled. I'd understand a
> 'membership organization' as being one run by its members.

Yup; in our case, we elect an annual ctte, but there are other ways of
doing it. We're setup pretty much as a traditional voluntary org.

> Who I assumed were on this mailing list (even if permanently lurking).

Ah, that's probably where I'd differ - this mailing list is about free
software in the UK; it's not run or managed by the AFFS, nor is its
subscribership the membership. So, although I imagine we have a fair
number of members on this list, I wouldn't consider communication on
this list to be communication with our members.

> Are there actually large numbers of members not on the list?  If so,
> shouldn't the first step in improving communication and levels of
> involvement be to try to get them to join the list?

I don't know what percentage of subscribers are members, but I'm not
sure it's terribly high - conversely, I suspect that a good proportion
of our members aren't even lurking here. 

We've always used the newsletter as a primary means of communication,
which is why we upped it to being monthly rather than quarterly as it
was. Should we encourage people to join the mailing list? We could
probably do more to publicise this list (even though it's not the/an
AFFS list), I'm not totally sure people would subscribe. I guess it's
worth a go, though :) 

The other way - which I think Mark was suggesting - is that we make our
newsletter more widely available to people who aren't members. We did
agree to put them on the website after a period of time (which we
haven't yet done, but are in the process of doing), but I'm not sure
that's the answer. It would need to be making it available at the time
it was published - they become less relevant afterwards.

> > Some people are put off by the politics. 
> I hadn't noticed much politics at all on here (unless you mean the
> personal kind ;-)

Now now :)

I'm actually harking back to talking to people at Expos here, but there
certainly is a class of person who won't touch AFFS because of
"politics". Now, I'm pretty sure this isn't much to do with AFFS per se
- if there is a general disdain, it's for the FSF and we're seen as
being "one of them" - which is why I'm not sure there's much we could do
about it even if we wanted to.

> Both seem to get quoted more by the media than the AFFS. Maybe two
> things that could  be done are to look at the type of activities other
> such groups undertake (apart from the obvious pan-european ones, as with
> patents), and to make it clearer  on the AFFS website that we actually
> are one of a larger set of organisations, and not just local.

Looking at what others are doing is a great idea, actually. Certainly,
we used to get more press than we do now - and that's down to one thing,
enough time to nurture relationships with journos. When we've done it,
we've been good at it, and we still have a variety of different journo

I think, in a way, this goes back to having some specific focus around
which to build activity - it's that activity that the press wants to
report, everything flows from that. 

Thanks Graham,


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