<<Part of the reason discussions may move off list is its settings. Unless you hit "reply all", it just goes to the person you're responding to. I'm re-sending this as it originally went as just a reply to Jess>>

 

I'll weigh in as a lurker. Besides being Scope editor for a period in 2007-2008, I've been a less-than-active ASC member. (It's tangential to where my career has headed but I keep my membership to keep my hand in.)

However, given my experience in other membership bodies, Jess hits the nail on the head in my opinion: things consistently run out of steam because of lack of (voluntary) resources. 

We perennially suffer from a lack of critical mass in Australia - comparable organisations charging comparable fees in bigger ponds such as the US and UK can afford to have more paid staff because of economies of scale. Given the size of the membership base in Australia, organisations such as ASC would probably need to charge something closer to 10x the current amount to make much of a difference to staffing resources. 

Volunteers also come and go. In my experience, you can get an energetic core of people together and things can go well for maybe 2-3 years, but then the group burns out. Again because of a small membership base, there's not always the people willing and able to step into replace them.

I don't know what the solution is, and some people are arguing the whole membership model is broken anyway http://www.smsonline.net.au/pages/membership-is-dead.html

My point is, we need to be realistic about the context we are working in, and the tyrannies of scale and distance we work under here in Australia.

 

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Regan Forrest

regan@reganforrest.com