Featured User Group: Escapism UK

Matt Kuliani | 9 Jun 2010 16:00
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Awhile ago, I heard about a group of users from the UK getting together for a day or two of fun; the only thing that tied them together was the friendship and discussions from The Escapist. This group then formed the Escapism UK user group and has ballooned into 91 current members. As the first and largest online-to-real life group of users from The Escapist, it's very fitting that they are featured this week.

I asked their founder and admins about the group:
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  1. Why was the Escapism UK user group founded?

    sky14kemea:
    Escapism UK was founded last year, when the User Groups were becoming more popular. I thought it would be a good idea if we had one, so it would be easier for people to get information about it without having to dig up the old thread all the time.
    Plus this way, anyone interested can join and chat to others beforehand. (v ^-^)v

    Cpt_Oblivious:
    Mostly for ease of access to those who want to attend Escapism UK and also to have a place to chat and plan for all those interested. It's easy to get hold of people too.

    Revelo:
    It was founded to help all the people who went to Escapism UK in 2009 and who want to come this year keep in touch and keep organized. We decided to take advantage of the group functions since it seemed like a good idea and quite easy to keep everyone organized. Plus by posting info and updates on it it means no-one is going to be confused as to what goes on.

    The Red Spy:
    This group was originally formed around July of '09, I wasn't on the site at the time, but it still fills the same role of distributing information with more ease than bumping a thread on the forum every other day. Also, as Sky has said, it's a good place for those who are interested in joining a UK meet can join and get their queries answered before they commit.

  2. What kind of activities are available for the group members?

    sky14kemea:
    I'd say the main activity is the weekend meetups we organize. Although they can still chat and have random fun in the User Group chat. :D

    Cpt_Oblivious:
    It's mostly the now annual Escapism Meet-up. Though a few of us also make plans to meet separately from that. The main purpose is for the UK Escapists to chat and meet in the offline world.

    Revelo:
    The big weekend meetup in the summer! ^_^ Although also to keep in touch with everyone as well.

    The Red Spy:
    The main focus is the annual meets, but that doesn't stop any member making their own experience and inviting members to join. Other than that, you'd find oodles of random/comical posts, and occasionally something meaningful :P

  3. What do you think new group members could gain from joining the group?

    sky14kemea:
    They could hopefully gain an insight to what the weekends would be like, what we'd be planning to do during those times, and what sorta people we all are. (^ 'w')^

    Cpt_Oblivious:
    Well if they come to the event, they'll hopefully gain some new friends and some fun memories, but if not then it's a place to chat, as I said.

    Revelo:
    Well it allows them to ask questions and get a response quickly, it also enables them to keep updated easily and be a part of a very active group of people.

    The Red Spy:
    Besides a chance to go out and spend a good day with like-minded Escapists? I quite honestly can't answer that without sounding preposterously cliché, but you'll get what you look for. I found that it was a good chance to get involved in the Escapist community, I had just joined and knew no one on the site, I inquired if I could join and here I am. You could look for a good friend or two, a good time, or simply something to do, there's no reason to feel blanched if you want something specific or just wish to join on a whim, because something will find you if you're open to suggestions and willing to say yes.

  4. What sets your group apart from other social user groups?

    sky14kemea:
    The awesome people! (I kid, there are lots of awesome people and groups out there too. =P)
    Probably the chance to meet up with other Escapists in real life. It's a pretty rare thing for most online forums, since people usually live so far away. I think it brings the community a little closer together too.

    Cpt_Oblivious:
    We do stuff in the big, scary offline world. In groups, of course. Safety in numbers y'know?

    Revelo:
    Because we have all met up in real life and we have a strong sense of community and friendship. Everyone here is friends and we all look out for each other. Plus it has helped show that forum meetups are possible and this means it helps set The Escapist apart from other websites.

    The Red Spy:
    I can't give a fair view, the Escapism group is my only haunt, and the only one I could give such genuine interest and continued enthusiasm. Where other groups generally end at the conversation marker, this group will give you and other members a chance to interact outside of your computer, face-to-face. Don't get me wrong, this group does have its conversation & chat, but so few other groups can indeed result in such positive outcomes, by bringing online friends together in the name of simply having a laugh, perhaps a drink and an opportunity to meet people you would otherwise not have known.

  5. If you could improve one aspect of the User Group area, what would you improve?

    sky14kemea:
    Hmm ... Maybe a feature that sends Admins a PM when new members join. Since my group is Open To All, sometimes I don't know whether someone new has joined up, so I can't welcome them or anything. D:

    Cpt_Oblivious:
    I'd agree with Sky. Knowing when someone joins or leaves would be very useful.

    Revelo:
    I'd say we need PM's automatically sent whenever the main page is updated so people remember to check rather than going back through tons of posts to see what happened.

    The Red Spy:
    It is rather hard to discern who is a new member and who has been lurking for a good while. A message to each admin would suffice, between us we could decide who would welcome the new member (instead of five messages overwhelming them.

  6. Anything else you would like to add?

    sky14kemea:
    Strrrrawberrrrries (^@o@)^

    Cpt_Oblivious:
    Strrrrawberrrrries ...

    Revelo:
    Um, Live Long and Prosper Escapist! =D

    The Red Spy:
    Whether it would suit other usergroups to the same extent, I don't know, but it would benefit users if there was a gallery option where users could view pics related to the group; in this case it would be pictures of groups on meets, designs for shirts (Something we're currently deciding on for the 2010 Escapism trip), and other graphics which are associated with the group.
    Even if there was a limitation on pictures which could be posted, or limited to admins posting, it would still be handy in conveying what the group is about to new members, or plain-old reminiscing.

If you would like to nominate a user group for an upcoming Featured User Group, feel free to let me (that is, Kuliani) know through a PM!

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