No longer the organizer of the SF PHP Meetup

Author Michael Tougeron on July 14, 2008

Posted under Events, opinion and tagged with

Edit: This issue was resolved a few days later.

For the past nine months I have been organizing the San Francisco PHP Meetup group. During this time I was always under the impression that when the official organizer of the group resigned that the group would transfer to me so that I could continue running the group. Unfortunately this weekend the previous organizer resigned and did not transfer the group. Because he did not nominate a successor the organizer position became open for grabs for anyone. That’s right, for whatever reason, feels that it is better to go to a first-come, first-served system rather than giving the assistant organizers a chance to run the meetup first. ๐Ÿ™ I’m sure you can tell where this is headed…

So when the group became open on Saturday someone else, Rana Singh, was able to take ownership of the group before I could. Initially I thought it was just a misunderstanding. I thought that perhaps he thought it was I who resigned not Julian. I definitely couldn’t fault him for thinking that, could I? So for the next 24 hours I attempted to contact him and straighten the situation out. To my overwhelming surprise, it was not a misunderstanding. He purposefully and willingly took ownership of the group and did not think there was anything wrong with not setting things to how they should have been. I was absolutely shocked that someone who had no involvement with the group for the last year could take over the group. As I talked with Rana over the phone Sunday night i could not believe the things that he was telling me. First I had a problem with how he told me he would be able to take the group to a level that I could not. This from someone who’s other groups cannot manage to have more than 20 people attend. Second, he wanted me to continue to setup and run the groups for him! I think that is that point where I started to feel insulted and taken advantage of.

After the first 24 hours of frustration I decided to contact several of the meetup members in hope of soliciting their support in explaining the mistake in the situation. Rather than have an open discussion of the matter, Rana choose to disable group emailing and replied to people’s complaints/concerns in a way that implied he was in the right because other people misunderstood the situation too! This seemed like very week reasoning to me (as well as to a few others in the discussion).ย  After almost a full day of heated discussion, I decided that it just was not worth it. I did not want to continue down this negative path. My hopes of Rana realizing the bad form of what he did slowly dwindled. Rather than continue to create more frustration and divide, I decided to not pursue the disagreement any farther.

This was my response:

I did a lot of thinking about this on my way home tonight and I’ve come to a decision. It is not one that I’m happy with but it one I can live with. I appreciate everyone’s support in this matter but I’ve decided to not pursue this conversation any farther. This started by what I thought was a simple misunderstanding and has since escalated into something that I do not want. Rana, I thought that after hearing the thoughts and support of the various members of this meetup you would reconsider you decision on what to do about this meetup. At this point I believe if you were going to change your mind you would have done so by now. I don’t want to continue to beat a dead horse and continue down this path of frustration. This group has always been about making the PHP community better and I’ve supported that fully. I’ve realized that by continuing this disagreement I am going against that principal and I would be creating additional frustrations and divisions. I do not want that.

That being said, Rana, I wish you the best of luck with this meetup group. Unfortunately I will not be able to support you as an assistant-organizer. I feel cheated out of something I worked very hard on and cannot in good conscience support this type of behavior. I cannot support someone who would think there is nothing wrong with what has happened here, ignored the wishes of the community and who has placed restrictions on the open communication of the group.

Thank you very much to each of you who took time out of your busy schedules to participate in this discuss and express your support of me. I truly appreciate it and value your friendships. Chris, thank you for your help with mediating this disagreement. It could not have been easy for you and I appreciate your patience and willingness to work with all parties involved.

The last nine months have been a time of immense joy for me. I have enjoyed the group and the lively discussions and even the occasional rants. Yes Terry, I’m talking about you and your thoughts about Ruby on Rails. ๐Ÿ™‚ With this group I’ve felt a sense of belonging and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together. I’m particularly pleased how with each of your support (especially you Terry) we were able to take a small group of people (<10) and turning it into something much larger. Having 75-100 techie/programmers meet monthly to discuss their passions and to learn new things has never ceased to amaze me. Programmers tend to not be the most extroverted people I know. I have learned a lot from the speakers and other group members as well as made some good friends. Don’t worry, I definitely plan on keeping in touch.

As I am not able to communicate to the group as a whole, if you could pass on my well wishes to the group and/or the individuals you know I would appreciate it.

Thank you again for all of your support,

Posted under Events, opinion

This post was written by Michael Tougeron on July 14, 2008



  1. Okay, so I am the SF PHP Meetup Organizer September 7, 2008 3:10 pm
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