[Linux-aus] Membership Team update - results of recent survey and key insights

Kathy Reid kathy at kathyreid.id.au
Sun Apr 24 17:12:43 AEST 2016

Thanks Paul, really appreciate you taking the time to provide feedback.

> There is a significant preconception at work here which doesn't seem 
> to have been discussed on the list (at least not that I can recall).  
> The preconception is: increasing the number of hits on the Linux 
> Australia web site is an important goal.  (Or perhaps more accurately: 
> increasing the frequency at which members use the site.)  The purpose 
> of my email is to question whether that is an important goal, and, if 
> the answer is affirmative, understand and quantify/qualify why.

Sure, it's a fair question. Increasing the frequency of visits, or the 
'stickiness' of visits to linux.org.au is not a goal in an of itself. 
However, it's part of a broader goal to increase engagement with the 
organisation - across all our digital channels, events and touchpoints. 
That engagement encompasses elements as broad as;

- greater engagement through our Twitter channel - @linuxaustralia - to 
grow recognition and understanding of LA's events and activities
- greater engagement through our mailing lists - such as this one - to 
ensure that the views and voices of our members are heard
- greater engagement through the linux.org.au website - again to grow 
recognition of what we do, and encourage others to be involved, but also 
promote things like Grants, and provide information on open source.
- greater engagement on platforms such as IRC

> My main reason for questioning this is: I don't like seeing good 
> people invest substantial effort on a commendable project and then 
> feel frustrated when they didn't make the impact they had hoped.  
> We're a volunteer organisation, and I value the time that all our 
> volunteers contribute.
Agreed. We have limited resources - let's apply them effectively.

> Here are a few questions to flesh out what I'm getting at:
>   * What end does increasing the frequency of member views on the site
>     serve?
>   * Would the content provided by a new LA web site fill a gap that is
>     not already well-served by other sites?
>   * If so, what sort of content would that be?
>   * Would this be sufficiently appealing/useful to members to increase
>     the frequency of their visits?
>   * Are there other ways to engage LA members which might be more
>     effective/efficient in terms of money, time, and effort?
>   * What does member engagement of a successful software freedom
>     lobbying/support organisation look like?

So, I think I've answered some of this broadly above, but I would like 
to tackle the content questions. Part of the recent survey was intended 
to highlight what specific content our members wanted to see on the new 
linux.org.au site. In short, yes, there is content that the LA site 
needs to provide (or aggregate) that is not provided on other sites, for 
instance information on up and coming open source events, information on 
the activities of LA and information on LUGs. I can't answer whether 
this content would be appealing to members - but the survey was intended 
to help provide guidance on what content would be valued.

The question around whether there are other ways to engage LA members 
that might be more effective is a good one. At the end of the day 
though, our web presence is really a central hub for directing 
interested parties to the right touchpoint - whether that be social 
media, to a LUG, to the mailing lists and so on - so it should be 

In measuring member engagement, I see two primary metrics - quantity and 
quality. Quantity deals with the number of members engaged - followers, 
visits to the web page, subscribers to mailing lists and so on. Quality 
is very different and speaks to the depth, or action taken with 
engagement, such as the number of people debating a thread, or the 
number of people signing up for an event.

Read more of this here - 

> Speaking for myself, there are a few reasons why I don't visit the 
> site regularly:
>  1. LCA and elections only happen once a year, and I know the general
>     time of year when that will happen, so I don't really need the
>     site much between February & September (...ish).
>  2. There's no obvious RSS feed - at least, there's no reference to
>     "feed", "atom", or "rss" on the front page.
>  3. I already have too much information coming into my life, through
>     email, IRC, RSS, Twitter, etc., and if it were just general Linux
>     news and aggregation of people's blogs, I probably wouldn't find a
>     reason to add the site to my list of monitored feeds.  I'm a busy
>     person, employed by a Linux company with a broad reach, and
>     reasonably well-informed about the industry.  From my perspective,
>     it takes a fairly special web site to get me to come back
>     regularly.  Thinking about various other organisations which I
>     support (financially or otherwise), endorse, or appreciate, I
>     don't visit their web sites very much at all, and I don't
>     necessarily see this as a big problem.
> Fixing #2 is probably the only one which would increase the frequency 
> at which I visit the site, and it may not do so for very long.
> If creating a new web site is something our volunteers want to do 
> anyway, then go for it!  But I think there may be other possibilities 
> we should be exploring (at least in parallel) given the investment 
> which this effort will require.

With respect, you're probably not the sort of person we're trying to 
reach with the website. You're already actively engaged, knowledgeable 
about Linux - and a Linux Australia member who knows about LCAs, knows 
about Council elections and when they're held. The website helps to 
address the pipeline issue we have by making more people aware of Linux 
Australia, our events, our projects, and the benefits of free 
membership. In user experience design, we'd refer to this as 'personas' 
- understanding different segments of your user base in order to provide 
the right information to them at the right time. Our website probably 
needs to be tailored to the 'prospective member' persona - the sort of 
person who's interested in LA but isn't sure where to start.

Again, really appreciate your feedback - I think it will help to focus 
our efforts.

Kind regards,
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