Opening up the Forum to previous Members

Hi Generator! and @Forum-Committee !

I want to open up the forum to previous members. my reasoning for this is that there are a lot of people who are not current members, but are still active in the community. There were people who were subscribed to the Google group, but as a result of moving people here- don’t have the same kind of access to the forum that they once did.

I propose that we open the ability to join this forum to others- via allowing people to sign up directly (without SSO- that will take further consideration). People would have to be verified to join, but ultimately that’s not a hard system to create (I believe Discourse already handles this?).

What are people’s thoughts? There are definitely some things to consider here- but it’s worth mentioning i’m not advocating for it being a public forum- merely for previous members of our community who didn’t leave in poor fashion.

// Robin

I’m 100% for opening the forum up to the public.

The current membership access is in a frighteningly broken state. There are paying Generator members who do not have access to the forum. There are paying Generator members who’s keycards still don’t allow them access to the building. IMO, this is flat out unacceptable. Taking care of the existing membership’s basic needs should be Generator’s top priority. Without doing so, more people will eventually just give up and leave.

Beyond that… what are we hiding? Don’t we want to attract and inspire non-members to become part of Generator? What better way to do that than show them what we’re making and what inspires us? We should involve them in a conversation. The forum has the highest potential to accomplish this with an absolutely insignificant cost. I just don’t see the downside.

This already came up at the first CNC orientation. How do we share valuable information as a group so that we can learn from each other’s progress and experiences? First thought… the Forum! Only, some members still can’t access the forum and we had 2 non-members attending the orientation. Half of the group walked away that night with no answer.

We NEED the diversity that non-members have to offer. They’re the only ones who can truly see things with fresh eyes. Generator should be thrilled to allow anyone to be part of the discussion for free. Not only will it support Generator’s goals of serving the community, but it very well may be the easiest way to boost the membership.

I agree - opening the forum is really important. One approach might be to start by opening it to former members and non-members who have taken classes/trainings.

Maybe this could also be the time to open it to other affinity groups in the state - woodturners, jewelers, model railroad fans, or places like Yestermorrow, the VT woodworking school.

Thanks for thinking about this.

totally agree with that. i think what i am worried about is merely validating people as existing in real life- preferably everyone who joins is in fact at least a vermont maker. I’m not sure how to moderate that evidence exactly. I’m not sure if that’s really a real problem to be worried about, but i am in favor of this.

Keeping the learning robust, diverse and interesting is a must. I think that Discourse is designed for this and we are taking the next steps toward using a forum to grow an online community.

What Mike speaks to is that the existing community makes me think. Our lives are digital now and we can focus on what Interests people share through technology. More sharing leads to more sharing.

I am 100% behind this inclusion if we can follow community guidelines and grow our Generator collaborations in keeping with our Mission.

About collaborations. Track and have a goal. Generator has seen an increase of 20 % in collaborative ventures. Collaborations over the last year were due to our online community and include X_number of Vermont Makers who previously were members.

Also how do we attract more women voices who enjoy joining conversations?

Many thanks to everyone keeping it running and evolving.