PASS and User Groups

  • What is the future of user groups, with or without PASS

  • My initial thoughts here are the PASS does relatively little for the user groups, and the community at large directly. The trade here, as I see it, is that PASS gives a conference admission to the UG organizers, which gives them incentive to keep the group moving. Indirectly, then, PASS supports local groups.

    We could include some of their support of SQL Saturday here as well.

    I think UGs may continue without PASS, but fewer of them, as fewer of the organizers might find this useful without the incentive. I'd like to think this is a minority of groups.


  • You have hit the nail on the head - without conference admission to the UG organizers to PASS Summit, there is very little to none incentive to stay with PASS. It would be really interesting to see how many groups are going to stay after Virtual PASS Summit, since now UG organizers need to pay for their admission.

  • PASS UGs in the UK and Ireland have pretty much all moved to Meetup now and a lot of them are not PASS affiliated any more. SQL Saturdays are very rare relative to independent data events such as Data in Devon, Data and Gravy, Data:Scotland, Data Relay, Data Ceili and (of course) SQL Bits.

    The community can survive perfectly well without PASS. And it is frustrating when some people seem to assume that the SQL community is synonomous with PASS or that the community needs some sort of organising structure to it. It is not up to the community to respect PASS, it is up to PASS to prove it's continued value to the community.

    From my perspective, the non-PASS affiliated events in the UK/Ireland are more exciting and diverse and fresh. They are also growing their numbers. SQL Saturdays has served us very well, and I salute it's contribution. (High five Steve!) Some of the events above are certainly building on the SQL Saturday format. Many of the organisers are ex-SQL Saturday organisers. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. Let's continue to evolve and iterate on the format to keep improving.

    However, PASS has been very clear about it's priorities with respect to SQL Saturday's in recent years. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that my local events matter a lot more to me than a big event thousands of miles away. With this in mind, frankly, as long as PASS cares more about Summit than it does about supporting our local events, I'm significantly less interested in it.

    I don't necessarily love or hate PASS. It simply doesn't feel that relevant to me any more.

  • As a former UG leader and a speaker, I ran the user group more because it was fun to learn and meet other speakers.  Getting free admission to PASS was a nice perk, but it still needed flights and hotels which can get expensive too.

    For me running the user group was more about the networking and learning than about getting perks out of it.  I paid for the location I rented out of my own pocket (it was cheap - $15 per hours and I only did 10 presentations per year at 3 hours per presentation so we had time to discuss afterwards and I had time to set up). Unfortunately, interest slowly dwindled out and I had too many cases where I was the only one attending which is not good when you have a live presenter coming on site (or remote).

    I understand that conferences such as PASS cost money to organize and get set up and some people get funding to attend from their employer to attend.  But the cost for those who are not getting funding externally (ie paying out of pocket), it can get quite expensive to attend.

    With PASS going virtual, you lose the networking aspect which is one of my favorite parts.  Learning is good, but sitting down with speakers (and non-speakers) at PASS and just talking about stuff (SQL or otherwise) is nice.  Plus when you meet mew people at PASS (or SQL Saturday), it is nice going back and meeting new and old friends!

    Virtual events are nice, but there are already a LOT of free virtual events you can attend, so I do not see as much benefit in attending PASS Summit this year.  SQL Saturday's though I am hoping to attend again once the pandemic is over and hopefully speaking at an event again sometime soon!

    The above is all just my opinion on what you should do. 
    As with all advice you find on a random internet forum - you shouldn't blindly follow it.  Always test on a test server to see if there is negative side effects before making changes to live!
    I recommend you NEVER run "random code" you found online on any system you care about UNLESS you understand and can verify the code OR you don't care if the code trashes your system.

  • I second alex.yates here => #sqlfamily != #passcommunity!

    PASS/C&C single focus on selling PASS Summit tickets pushed away many organizers. Many community events exist in spite of PASS and not because of PASS.

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