There has been a lot of noise over the last few weeks since it was announced that due to financial constraints related to canceling the in-person Summit due to COVID-19, PASS would cease to exist as of January 15, 2021.
My initial response was Sadness; I knew when the decision was made (and basically had to be made) to move Summit from in-person to all-virtual that there would be repercussions, especially financial ones. I have never been on the Board or anything like that, but I have always paid enough attention to be aware that a majority of the funding that kept our no-membership-fee organization going came from Summit registrations, and you can't charge in-person experience fees for a virtual conference. I have been to a half dozen Summits over the years, presenting twice, presented at numerous SQL Saturdays, and been a part of I-don't-know-how-many in-person and virtual user groups. The first thing through my mind was that all of that was...gone.
The more I read, the more I felt Anger and Disgust; over the years there has been an ongoing conflict within the SQL Server community regarding the operations of PASS and its management company Christianson & Company (C&C). There have been numerous snipes back and forth on whether C&C did a good job, did they cost too much money, did they care about the community, etc. etc. etc. I have always stayed out of these discussions, but also always been annoyed how some people couldn't make the distinction between the workings of the organization and the volunteers that make things work. At times I have seen people on the PASS Executive Board and other volunteers attacked because of one decision or another, and it just isn't right. Even if a certain person participated in a decision (or made it individually themselves) there is no reason to attack someone who is giving personally of their time. I have met many of the people who have served as PASS leadership over the years, and while they have varying personalities they have all been dedicated to supporting the organization for little personal gain, not back-room power-playing, and I salute them.
So now what? What should we feel now?
Database Professionals Virtual Meetup Group - 1,453 members - Meets Biweekly https://www.meetup.com/dbavug/
DBA Fundamentals Group - 877 members - Meets Weekly
There are many regional/local groups on Meetup as well; I gathered this list by spending some time searching Meetup for SQL and Azure content and then checking the groups to see if they have regular meetings. All of the groups listed here meet at least monthly and have regular meetings scheduled. I found many groups that had hundreds of people listed as members but if they didn't have anything scheduled I didn't include them.
Let me know if you find other treasure troves of information to share, and hope this helps!