Responding to the blueprint "Enabling local subteams"
Daniel Holbach started us off with this brief description: "In the Ubuntu community we have teams of contributors on the country, state and city level and mixtures of these. It'd be good for us to find out what we can do to enable them in an organised fashion."
A variety of responses have been raised to the notion of carrying out activity below the state/province level. It is appropriate to talk about the experience that Ubuntu Ohio has had with that. In our currently diminished state I am looking at the potential disbanding of at least some of our sub-state groups.
Ohio is the 17th largest state in the United States with a mixture of urban, suburban, and rural populations. We are home to a variety of Metropolitan Statistical Areas as defined by the US Department of Commerce's Census Bureau. As leader, I find myself within the Ashtabula Micropolitan Statistical Area which is coterminous with the boundaries of Ashtabula County. Some of our Metropolitan Statistical Areas overlap into Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana as noted by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services here: http://ohiolmi.com/maps/MapofMSAs2000.htm .
Our sub-state groups were not based on those areas, though. Ohio is a land where you'll trip over the various public and private institutions of higher learning that are scattered throughout the state. Akron is home to the University of Akron. Butler County is home to Miami University of Ohio. Cleveland is home to institutions like Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and renowned teaching hospitals. Dayton is home to Wright State University and the private University of Dayton. Lima has University of Northwestern Ohio, James A. Rhodes State College, and the Lima Campus of The Ohio State University. There was a group in Columbus which was not only home to the Governor and General Assembly but also to The Ohio State University, Columbus State Community College, Ohio Dominican University, and Capital University Law School.
It is great to have students involved in active. Preserving that is hard. Keeping them within Ohio is even harder with our economy. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services notes that retail salespersons, cashiers, registered nurses, waiters and waitresses, laborers, office clerks, and fast food workers are the sorts of positions that will see the most openings in the state looking toward 2020 as noted at http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/file.asp?id=2250&type=application/pdf. We do not have a business climate to keep the sub-state groups intact if they're student based.
While our sub-state groups were active, there was no interchange laterally between them that we could find. We tried at the state level to encourage this. We tried to highlight things at the state level as well. The groups slowly drifted away as they felt increasingly alienated from the mainstream of mainline Ubuntu due to changes like Unity that were disagreed with. After attempts made at census work, some folks from our sub-state groups now participate happily within Debian's structures and I continue to wish them well. I myself am a Xubuntu user and the Council which precede my assumption of responsibility as sole leader also had users of the flavors leading.
Thanks to a python script contributed by an Ubuntu Member within the LoCo, the currently identified Ubuntu Members within Ohio according to Launchpad are mrsangeld, skellat, jpeddicord, digitalvectorz, jamesgifford, cheri703, unit193. When we last did a map-pinning exercise, there are more members to the LoCo besides these people but they are extremely spread out across the state of Ohio. Right now I am waiting for John Freed (tnseditor) to finish school so as to see what he does with the Lima group and I will be subtly encouraging him to start the process of seeking Ubuntu Membership.
Purportedly we have a membership exceeding four hundred. We've gone through a couple exercises to see if those are "digital ghosts" or if they are real people. We've still got a bit less than 50% of the team subscribed to the mailing list and average about 20 people idling in the IRC channel.
As for starting new groups at the sub-state level, I don't see that happening here in the next 6-12 months. Right now our goal is to boost participation and find things for folks to get excited about. Due to the US being the ultimate edge case with Ubuntu Phone since the main supported phones are GSM, interest has been lackluster in the state due to the dominance in some areas of this state by CDMA providers Sprint and Verizon where GSM providers AT&T and T-Mobile provide weak to no signal. Others have sought levels of input that do not mesh well with the current stance of Ubuntu and the flavors which has resulted in them bidding farewell for either the significant upstream project or for other adventures. Currently the coding challenge being discussed has not aroused interest even when mentioned on IRC.
For us in the bellwether state, this currently is not a solution that addresses any known issue. A revitalizing spark and/or mission would be far more helpful for the LoCos to have instead. A coding challenge is one facet to that. Other facets such as increased evangelization, customizing -default-settings at the LoCo for distributing non-LTS discs/USB keys, and more should also be considered before we go into talking of removing boundaries.