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New Tapuz User Group Meeting in Israel (and is it really needed?)

Looks like there's another .NET user group being born in Israel these days - The Tapuz .NET Prgramming Forum User Group.  (click the link for the official announcement and instructions on how to get there). Heck, I'd just call it "The Tapuzer Group" ..:)


 The group meets on May 29th at the Microsoft Facility in Ra'anana. I'll be there, just to see this energized group of people who in real life I haven't really had a chance to meet at any of the other .NET user groups or seminars or MS conferences out there.


The guy leading this effort is none other than new MVP Justin Angel, who's been one of the most active members on the Tapuz .NET Forum.


Personally, I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, I think it's great to see a community that has existed solely "on paper" meet finally, and actually getting together to discuss topics and goals for themselves. Community is a great thing and I believe that doing things together leads to a great sense of friendship and learning.


On the other hand, that user group will be added to an already very large number of .NET-related user groups here in Israel. off the top of my hat I can think of the VB User group, the C/C++/C# user group, the Security User Group, the .NET Architects user group, Embedded and Mobile group, and I know of one other attempt at creating what is some sort of a "Development Manager User group". That's not mentioning 8 or more other groups related to MS technology. Each of these meets monthly, at some other day of the month.


What's the problem with that, you may ask?

All these communities mean there's a lot to learn and lots of people to meet, isn't it? well. here's the thing. Israel is a very small place. 98% of these user groups meet in the center, near or in Ra'anana.

If I wanted to attend all of these meetings (which I usually do), I'd at least one day of each week getting out of work early to be there by 17:00. Some weeks this means two days during that week.


The average developer usually does not allow himself such long-standing privileges as going "home" early 4-8 days a week. SO the essentially need to choose which group they'd like to get to. That's still not a bad situation since right now, most of the groups are very divided in topics. But once you have 4-5 .NET related groups (My Agile group deals a lot with .NET technologies since that's what the crowd is interested in these day) you can't help but overstep each other's bounds.


Having the same amount of people distributed over a larger amount of user groups just means less people in each meeting, smaller and more divided communities and more effort spent on organizing these things than to just get together and learn the same topics in less groups.


Another issue is the amount of able presenters in Israel. Let's face it - we're a very small puddle, where everyone knows everyone else. I see the same set of speakers at *all* the .NET user groups, basically in a sort of rotation (me included). It's very rare to see a fresh face speaking at a user group. I wish it was different, but it's not. I'd like to see the Tapuz community integrated into *existing* communities rather than spending time with its own self. I bet there are people there who cold be presenting at the various .NET user groups, bringing new blood into the mix, a fresh face, and some fresh topics.


Instead, anyone who wants to hear or see something different will have to try and find a way to make *yet another* date where they get off work early, just so they won't miss the next interesting lecture from someone they haven’t gotten to hear before.


That's a sad state of affairs, and i believe that although Justin is doing a good thing, he could have done an even better one by arranging the Tapuz group to meet at one of the existing .NET user groups and use that group as a podium to discuss the various interesting topics they have (and they do!)


Last but not least, if you're thinking that me owning a user group is somehow to do with my faint objection to the new one, you're wrong. I'd object just the same regardless.


All that being said, I've already mentioned that I’m planning to attend the Tapuz meeting. I wouldn’t want to miss any interesting tidbits..



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