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Rethink events section #207

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tfausak opened this Issue Aug 2, 2018 · 21 comments

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tfausak commented Aug 2, 2018

Events have extremely bad engagement. For example, this is MailChimp's link overlay from issue 117:

screen shot 2018-08-01 at 10 09 01 pm

This makes sense to me: If someone is looking for a Haskell event to go to, their not going to search through Haskell Weekly for it. If someone isn't aware of a Haskell event in their area, it's unlikely that they'll make the connection thanks to Haskell Weekly.

I like that events give a sense of the overall Haskell community, but I'm not interested in continuing to spend the time on such a low impact section. (At least not in their current form; see #179.) If someone else is interested in taking over the section, I would support that. Otherwise I will remove it.

@tfausak tfausak added the enhancement label Aug 2, 2018

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tfausak commented Aug 2, 2018

Honestly a link to meetup.com is probably better than what I've got now. This is where I pull events from anyway: https://www.meetup.com/find/events/?keywords=haskell&radius=Infinity.

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Carloon commented Aug 2, 2018

I like seeing what goes on around the world. But I don't really use it. I can't volunteer to maintain it.

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chreekat commented Aug 2, 2018

Well, I'm only going to click on events near me. I expect others to do likewise. At the same time, I carefully scan the list every time, hoping to see something near me, or something that seems worth traveling for.

What are you optimizing for, exactly? :)

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chreekat commented Aug 2, 2018

To make my main point, I actually prefer getting info about events through Weekly for the same reason I like getting Weekly: I don't have to go trolling the web for news. I appreciate it either way!

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supermario commented Aug 2, 2018

Same as @chreekat here – I like scanning through the events, it's newsworthy to me that they are happening even if they're too far to attend. And sometimes – they're not!

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manuel-uberti commented Aug 2, 2018

Same as @chreekat and @supermario. I find the Events section useful and I'm always reading it to find if there is an event I could go to.

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tfausak commented Aug 4, 2018

Thanks for the feedback! It's useful for me to hear how people use the events section. I want to take a second to answer this question because I think it will help explain my point of view:

What are you optimizing for, exactly?

Overall with Haskell Weekly I am trying to optimize for maximum engagement (that is, opens and clicks) with minimum effort (my time spent). This is why I bother with curating the links and selecting featured articles rather than automating the entire thing like Awesome Haskell or Planet Haskell; I believe that curated links improve engagement and they only cost me about an hour of my time each week.

Specifically with regards to events, I want to show that Haskell has a healthy presence in physical meeting spaces throughout the world. I do this by going through the Meetup link I posted above and looking for the most popular event on each day. If there are several popular events, I try to choose ones from different places. Picking seven events from New York isn't as compelling to me as picking seven events from all around the globe.

This is time consuming because I have to click through to each event in order to understand what it's about and where it's happening. Often times I almost have to investigate the meetup organization as well. I do this because it filters out events like (to pick an arbitrary example) Be a Python icon in Machine Learning algorithms, which isn't related to Haskell at all but stuffs it in as a keyword anyway.

On the other hand, this filtering process also filters out events like SeaHUG's Category Theory for Programmers Part 3 simply because it's not the most popular event on that day. Based on your responses, it seems like I should be including that event (and many others!) to increase the chances of anyone seeing something nearby to them.

I think a solution that could make everyone happier would be to increase the amount of automation on my end as well as decreasing the amount of curation. Meetup provides an API for finding upcoming events, which I could use to produce a raw list of Haskell events in the next week or so. I could scan that list to remove obviously irrelevant events and then call it a day. How does that sound to y'all?

Edited to add: For my own purposes, this is what an API call to Meetup might look like: https://api.meetup.com/find/upcoming_events?key=...&text=haskell&radius=global&order=time&start_date_range=2018-08-09T00:00:00&end_date_range=2018-08-17T00:00:00.

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manuel-uberti commented Aug 5, 2018

The Meetup API sounds like a reasonable solution to me.

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tfausak commented Aug 5, 2018

I wrote a script for querying this information and returning it in the format that I use for Haskell Weekly. I've got to say, I like the results! It shows more events and includes more information about each event. Plus only one or two of the events would need to be pruned.

I think this is a good solution and I'll try it out for the upcoming issue. Thanks for your feedback so far!

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tfausak commented Aug 6, 2018

Oops, I meant to link to the script and its output: https://gist.github.com/tfausak/c275143017f8ab4999a4f36ea82cfce6

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chreekat commented Aug 6, 2018

Oh yeah, that looks great!

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manuel-uberti commented Aug 6, 2018

Fantastic indeed

@tfausak tfausak self-assigned this Aug 9, 2018

@tfausak tfausak closed this in 74a43bd Aug 9, 2018

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ad-si commented Aug 9, 2018

@tfausak Can you maybe change the formatting and show the location first, because if the location isn't relevant I don't need to read the rest. Also maybe a table layout would be more suited!?

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tfausak commented Aug 9, 2018

I am definitely in favor of changing the formatting to make it easier to read. However I think that a table would be too cramped given the available space and amount of information. For example:

Date Location Meetup Group
Thursday, August 9 Raleigh, NC, USA Raleigh Haskell Meetup (hack . yack)
Thursday, August 9 Las Vegas, NV, USA Las Vegas Functional Programming User Group Functional Programming Meetup
Thursday, August 9 Madison, WI Madhackers hack night

It's not the worst thing in the world here on GitHub, but many people read Haskell Weekly on a mobile device. How about something like this?

I'm not crazy about the high density of links because I think it makes it harder to read. So maybe that could be slimmed down too?

🤷‍♂️

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manuel-uberti commented Aug 9, 2018

Less links is better. Also, I agree with the location as one of the first thing of every entry.

I am no fan of tables though. Bullet points are easier on the eye, especially on the phone.

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ad-si commented Aug 9, 2018

Haha, I received the notification mail on my smartphone and the table looked pretty good 😅.
Mobile devices tend to be quite large nowadays 😉.

If that's a no-go for you the less linky version looks good as well.
However you should reverse the order of the location. E.g. "USA, NC, Raleigh" instead of "Raleigh, NC, USA". Makes it easier to visually parse.

Also I'd be in favor of a more numerical date format. E.g. "2018-08-09, Thu".
Feels much easier to read, but maybe that's just me because I'm so used to the format as I use it everywhere. This would also ensure that the date section always has the same length and so it would be easier to parse the locations, as they would always be at the same position as well.

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chreekat commented Aug 9, 2018

I could bikeshed on date and location format as well, but I'll restrain myself. :) @tfausak your last example, with one link per event, is pretty good.

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tfausak commented Aug 9, 2018

I'm going to reopen this because I think it's clear this was a step in the right direction but the formatting/presentation can be better.

@tfausak tfausak reopened this Aug 9, 2018

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tfausak commented Aug 16, 2018

Issue 120 went out with short event descriptions and only one link per event. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but I'm also willing to keep iterating on the design. What do y'all think?

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manuel-uberti commented Aug 18, 2018

The events section with the date and the location in front is much clearer now.

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tfausak commented Aug 20, 2018

Thanks for the feedback, y'all! I'm going to close this now, but please feel free to open an issue if you think the events (or anything else) in Haskell Weekly can be better!

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