Many of the good folks here at Everything2 have in the past arranged to meet in person for fun and frolic at events we like to refer to as "gatherings". These gatherings are a great way to form lasting bonds with plenty of intelligent, creative, funny people and they hardly ever end in bloodshed (the exception thus far being this one. Oh, and this one too. And wasn't Dem Bones killed at a gathering? Hmm. Maybe they aren't that great an idea after all.)

Okay, so if you like the sight of blood, you might be interested in getting together a gathering of noders in your area. Here are some useful Things to Know and Do along the way:

  1. The Everything People Registry
    First of all, how do you even find out which noders live in your area? That's where this little baby comes in handy. Browse to your country, region, state (if applicable) and city to see which noders have added writeups indicating their residence there. This is how you assemble your initial list of folks to invite.
  2. The Invitation /msg
    Now that you have a list of potential victims, it's time to see if anyone is interested in attending your soiree.
  3. Compose a /msg like "Would you be interested in a Townsville E2 get-together in a month or so? Please /msg me, or e-mail me at fool@doomed.com!" Then highlight and copy it. Go down the list of names, sending your message to each one. As an alternative, you could go to each one's homenode and paste your message into the blab! box there.

  4. The Wait
    Now you sit and wait for someone to answer. This could take a while--some of these people don't log in every day, they may have lots of /msgs to wade through, and of course they have to decide whether they are inclined to meet their fellow noders face to face.
  5. The Great And Evil Plan
    Once a sufficient number of people have shown an interest (my arbitrary number was four), start making concrete plans with them. What dates and times will everybody be available? What sorts of things do they like to do? What types of venues will be necessary or desirable to make fun happen? Will this take place at someone's house? Does anyone in town have guest beds, couches, or floors for traveling noders to crash on?
  6. If you're planning a night on the town, start making lists of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, purveyors of karaoke, and other sites where fun could be generated, along with their addresses, phone numbers, and directions. Try to keep the list confined to spots where the prices are reasonable -- odds are there will be a few starving students in the group.

    I highly recommend finding a spot where people can drink and talk without having to shout. Generally speaking, noders and alcohol go together like Roninspoon and grievous bodily harm, and they'll likely want to celebrate this gathering of the tribe by hoisting a few.

    They also tend to like karaoke. I speak from experience when I say that you do NOT want to be caught unprepared if the subject arises. It's hard as hell to find a venue at the spur of the moment, so research this beforehand no matter how unlikely a prospect you think it will be.

    Once you're pretty sure you know where you want this thing to take place, I suggest going there and finding out things like "Will they actually be open on that date?", "Is there public parking available?", "Is there anything on the menu Vegans can eat?", and "Where is the restroom?". When the Great Day comes, you'll be a walking encyclopedia when it comes to this place.

  7. The Announcement Node
    Now that you have a basic guest list and some idea of what you'll be doing, create a node to announce it. If this is the first-ever gathering in your area, a title like "The Townsville E2 Gathering" will be sufficient. As these events mount up, you begin to get more distinctive titles like "The Townsville E2 St. Swithin's Day Beer Fest and Cockfight". The writeup should contain everything you know so far about the What, Who, Where, When, How, and Why of the event. Leave some room for suggestions as more people sign on.
  8. Your whole point in making this node is to advertise the event, and that's hard to do if it's just going to immediately sink into the nodegel. Ask one of the gods to add your node to the News for Noders section. This puts the node in a spot on the front page that gets a lot of attention, and it also ensures that the node will get included in e-mail updates that many noders receive daily.

    As people accept via e-mail, writeup, and /msg, add their names to the list of attendees on the node along with any notes that might be helpful (like "not sure", "arriving late", "will join by phone", or "will house guests"). Also use this space for activity/location updates. You may wish to include the addresses of event-related Websites -- for example, many restaurants post their menus online as well as maps.

  9. Keeping In Touch
    Yes, it's weird giving your phone number out to twenty or so people you've never met, but as the organizer you'll need to give them some way to get in touch with you on the day of the event. If the party is mobile and you don't have a cell phone, see if one of the local attendees will agree to be the point of contact. Otherwise, give people a list if the places you'll be and the phone numbers thereof.
  10. The Day of Reckoning
    Wake up, crawl out of bed and over to your computer, log on to E2 and put a BIG-ASS notice right at the top of your announcement node that TODAY IS THE DAY. Check back occasionally to see if there are last-minute e-mails or /msgs. It might be worthy at this time to put in an E2 Deletion Request on the "response" writeups under that node. They aren't necessary and you'll want that space later for the debriefings.
  11. After that, it's time to party on, Wayne! Try to forget that everyone there is mentally rehearsing what they're going to write about you once it's over.

  12. The Aftermath
    Once the attendees have slouched homewards, it's time for everyone to tell their stories. There is absolutely no reason for your announcement node to stand as is unless you somehow managed to turn it into a deathless work of Art, so once the editors have cleared away the responses it'll make a fine space for writeups about the occasion. Read E2 FAQ: Gathering and Aftermath Nodes for more info.

Good luck, have fun, and WATCH OUT FOR DEER!

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