February 8th 2013 Meeting report

The meeting was dedicated to a detailed discussion on the web site [the previous version] and what to do about it. Keeping an updated website is especially important to bringing in new people. In this meeting someone new showed up and said that they had looked at the website about a year ago and didn’t come to a meeting because of the inactivity and expected that there would be no one there. When he checked the site a few weeks ago he saw that there was an update, (even though it was only a copy  of the data from the meeting page) and decided to come. He was very enthusiastic to meet other propulsion enthusiasts. I myself hesitated to come to my first meeting because of inactivity on the website and the lack of a response to an email. But I wanted to meet people who wanted to build rockets (the engines too not just the air frames) bad enough to not care if that meant traveling the long distance to find nothing, so I gave it a try and went. To my surprise I found people there.


I didn’t write down specifics but some of the stuff we converd on during our discussion of the site are creating a forum that is at least partly visible to the public. Changing the format of the main age to be more like a blog with an easier way to do updates. We want to keep a members section with the intent of it helping to bring in due paying members. But this actually takes content. Right now the only thing there I would find worth paying for is a few Newsletters. Since we don’t even have the entire index there and we are not generating new issues, I don’t how much incentive that would actually be. We may also want to make a few News letter or articles from them public to show more of what the RRS is all about.  However there were concerns that this may give people the expectation for new issues which we are currently not doing. We also wanted to get something like paypal to make taking membership dues more easily. Since there were no volunteers at the time Frank [Secretary] is going to look into finding someone. I don’t know if that meant an RRS member or a professional.


I decided that I think one of us just needs to go and do it. So I’ve decided to give web design a try. I’m going to give a go at working with word press. It’s a open source website Content Management Service. It can work with forums and member sections if we want them . Apparently 20% or so of all new websites use it. Supposedly you don’t need to know how to code to make a website. If that’s true and if learning to use it is easy enough I’ll volunteer to do the website. I’m thinking long term manageability not just the effort level required on my part, the easier to learn and use, the easier it will be for someone new to pick up the torch. This has so far been the major challenge with the web site. If I fail we’ll have to keep looking for another solution, but it’s supposedly easy. I’ve also created a youtube, facebook, and twiter accounts. I’ve also set up a Drop Box folder. I’ll put out an update once I actually put some content on them, right now there is nothing there.


On another note I’ve been wanting to start working on resurrecting the RRS newsletter and I tried discussing using what email addresses we have to send out messages to ask if anyone has content to contribute. They agreed with my sentiments but expressed concerned about privacy issues. I do not understand this. These people gave the RRS their emails. Why would they do that if not to receive emails from the RRS. We can do this without revealing email addresses to everyone, and even if we couldn’t I still don’t see the problem. Everyone gets buckets of unwanted spam emails ever day. Welcome to the internet. They also expressed concerns about the list not matching current memberships. While getting a current membership database is very important. I think that concern is irrelevant in this particular context.


-Richard Garcia

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