Manchester Speculative Fiction

Important Announcement: Twice-Monthly Meetings

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Our previous meeting on the 8th June was a huge success with 14 attendees, the highest number of people we’ve had to a single meeting so far. That’s great!

But it’s impractical.

We ran wildly over time and several attendees mentioned afterwards that they felt their feedback was rushed. Luckily not all 14 attendees offered feedback, or we would have had to drop the last couple of pieces from the meeting altogether.

No doubt this would have been very frustrating for everyone involved and would have probably caused a knock-on over-subscription to the following month’s meeting.

We need to change something.

As you all know, we currently offer open membership (with no attendance fees). We already cap the number of pieces of work being discussed per meeting, but this doesn’t stop the number of people attending each meeting from increasing to potentially unmanageable levels.

As you may also be aware, there’s a handful of dedicated group members who have been with the group for a long time who have been instrumental in establishing the group and making it what it is today. We’ve loosely called these people the ‘regulars‘.

An easy solution to the over-attendance would be to close membership, and of course it would make sense for the ‘regulars’ to get first dibs on available places.

We’re not going to do that!

Well, not quite. You see we’re in a predicament. We love new members joining our group; they introduce a refreshing new perspective to meetings and of course several of our ‘regulars’ started out as new members in the first place.

You see, we need new members. We don’t want to close membership, although a closed membership would allow us to more effectively manage our time. So we’re going to do both at once!

We’re happy to announce that, effective immediately, we will be running twice-monthly meetings, one with an open membership and one with a closed membership. Each meeting will have its own DropBox. Only ‘regulars’ will attend the closed meetings and joining the ‘regulars’ is by (extremely rare and occasional) invite only. This will reduce the load on the open meetings, giving everyone a little more breathing space.

To summarise:

Many of the ‘regulars’ will attend both meetings. Some of the ‘regulars’ might submit work for both meetings (at least the prolific ones might do – I don’t how they manage it, but I suspect caffeine and a lack of sleep is involved).

This system has the advantage that we split the group between two meetings, there isn’t a headache over managing who attends which one, but we will continue to mix as a whole group.

“How do I join the ‘regulars’?”

That could take a very, very long time. Perhaps never. There needs to be a free space and we haven’t decided how many people we’re going to cap closed membership at yet.

“Can you add my name to the waiting list to join the ‘regulars’?”

No. There isn’t a waiting list. It won’t work like that. If – and that’s a very big ‘IF’ – we get a free space, we will look at all the recent attendees at the open meetings and we will pick the best fit for the closed group. We will not pick whoever has attended the most.

So that’s it. All we can do now is wait and see if this works. Thanks for your continued support!

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