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Chris Greene
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 12/04/05

Loc: Dark Sky, Idaho
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: Philler]
      #6103438 - 09/27/13 02:06 AM

I was a member of a local club on and off a few times but when I was in a lull on astronomy and my membership lapsed, no one ever contacted me about renewing.

Then, at an event a couple years ago, I ran into the club president and asked about rejoining. He took my info and that was the last time I heard from him.

I'm fortunate to live under pretty dark rural skies so a dark site is not needed for me and the club meets once a month at the college if I want to go.

But I like what Edwin said above about CN being a great online club and I love participating here with people from all over with all levels of interest.


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Skylook123
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: Chris Greene]
      #6103458 - 09/27/13 02:43 AM

Chris, sometimes voting with your feet is the only way to get the point across.

At my club's Board of Directors' meetings, our first agenda item is Member Feedback followed by membership status - totals, comings, goings, contacts with soon to expire memberships. We meet the week after the regular club meeting and we try to engage members before and after the meeting and catch whatever the undercurrent or commentary is made. But that's just us. If you make an honest effort to be a player, and don't get the interest returned, I see no problem with moving on. Life's too short to push big rocks up tall hills.


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Chris Greene
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 12/04/05

Loc: Dark Sky, Idaho
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: Skylook123]
      #6103504 - 09/27/13 04:10 AM

Well, at least my Rotary club likes me.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: Chris Greene]
      #6103961 - 09/27/13 11:17 AM

Quote:

I'm fortunate to live under pretty dark rural skies so a dark site is not needed for me and the club meets once a month at the college if I want to go.

But I like what Edwin said above about CN being a great online club and I love participating here with people from all over with all levels of interest.




Same here. Actually my observatory has darker skies than the club's meeting place at another member's observatory. I quit the club, as it was about a 60 mile roundtrip, and I don't drive during the dark hours, as the highway I travel, is a high hazzard area for hitting deer.

I find CN to more than fulfill any club needs, and actually is the ultimate astro club!


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DavidNealMinnick
sage
*****

Reged: 03/06/06

Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: Philler]
      #6104278 - 09/27/13 01:45 PM

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." - Groucho Marx

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scopefreak
scholastic sledgehammer
****

Reged: 04/14/04

Loc: Mayslick KY
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: DavidNealMinnick]
      #6104547 - 09/27/13 04:39 PM

I wish I could find a club out here in eastern KY. I really miss being a member of an active club like the BBAA back in Va Beach VA and the NAS in Norfolk VA.

I am in the process of starting a club. I have a contact at the local college and he is the astronomy professor. We are hoping to get some radio air time to talk about the up coming comet. Maybe that will get a few folks interested in coming out to the free observing sessions we have been doing in the college parking lot.

One can only hope.......


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Undermidnight
BEOTS "Tweener Cup" winner
*****

Reged: 05/25/04

Loc: Untermitternacht
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: scopefreak]
      #6104563 - 09/27/13 04:49 PM

I have been a member in our local astronomical society now for about 14 years. I was welcomed early on which was nice. I became an officer back in 2006 and have had every office except secretary since then. When I was president, I always tried to seek out new members and help them feel welcome. I am happy to say that I am not the only one who does this and we have a lot of active new members in the club.

One of our new members have recently started a Facebook page for us that is helping our reach.

We have had our share of incidents in the past, but thankfully, the club is healthy and continues on.

Jason


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maknewtnut
Member
*****

Reged: 10/08/06

Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: Philler]
      #6107270 - 09/29/13 11:26 AM

The OP's post and subsequent discussion on the matter has struck a chord with me. I've been in 2 clubs (due to a move, then return to the original area) since 1996. My first involvement did expose me to like minded folks that I learned much from, as well as enjoying the fellowship. The flip side is that it only took a year or two to recognize my preferences in the hobby. That led to the realization that satisfying those interests was not going to be accomplished solely via club functions.

Not wanting to step on toes, I started a Yahoo group (with inspiration provided by Atilla Danko having done something similar) with the hopes it might be an avenue to find others in the area to share common interests and experiences with. It didn't work for well for me, but never forget that there are always more astronomers in any area than a local club's membership might lead one to believe.

Neither of the clubs I was a member of owned a dark sky site or much in mutually owned equipment. IMO, that's no way to gauge a club. The second one I joined after moving to Idaho (IFAS) proved to me it's really about people. We actually got out and observed together at multiple dark sky sites, as well as hosting public outreach events. IMO, the former makes the latter 'worth it'.

After returning to first club I had joined, I've come to the same realization I had years ago. The first time around I was a little disappointed that the few times we held private observing sessions, a vast majority would begin to leave around 10pm. This time around, there are no dark sky events at all! An agenda of lectures and in-town public events is fine and dandy, and I enjoy them. Still, I find myself feeling noticeably let down by the overall experience.

No matter what the method(s) employed, seek out others. When you find them, it's worth it.


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: maknewtnut]
      #6109805 - 09/30/13 06:50 PM

Astronomy clubs have their place, but I doubt that even a simple majority of amateurs belong to them at any given time. Human nature being what it is, one can tire of even those with similar interests after a while, especially when one considers the reasons most people join clubs in general: it is usually to benefit themselves in some way, not to be of service to others.

For those of us who are helpful and giving by nature, membership in any such organization can result in a not-inconsiderable drain of time and expertise, especially considering the social skills of many amateurs, which are often sadly lacking; once it becomes known that a member has a skill that is in demand, or a willingness to be of assistance in other ways, the demands placed upon them by the rest of the membership often become unreasonable. It's been my experience that there are usually one or two "spark plugs" in any given club, along with a small number of individuals who do the vast majority of the work; the remaining membership usually consists of users, losers and space cadets whose main priority is themselves.

After far too much time essentially wasted in and on clubs, I am convinced that amateur astronomy is an avocation best enjoyed in a solitary manner, or with very carefully selected friends.

Fred


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Philler
sage


Reged: 07/15/13

Loc: Kansas, USA
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6110296 - 09/30/13 11:18 PM

Quote:

Astronomy clubs have their place, but I doubt that even a simple majority of amateurs belong to them at any given time. Human nature being what it is, one can tire of even those with similar interests after a while, especially when one considers the reasons most people join clubs in general: it is usually to benefit themselves in some way, not to be of service to others.

For those of us who are helpful and giving by nature, membership in any such organization can result in a not-inconsiderable drain of time and expertise, especially considering the social skills of many amateurs, which are often sadly lacking; once it becomes known that a member has a skill that is in demand, or a willingness to be of assistance in other ways, the demands placed upon them by the rest of the membership often become unreasonable. It's been my experience that there are usually one or two "spark plugs" in any given club, along with a small number of individuals who do the vast majority of the work; the remaining membership usually consists of users, losers and space cadets whose main priority is themselves.

After far too much time essentially wasted in and on clubs, I am convinced that amateur astronomy is an avocation best enjoyed in a solitary manner, or with very carefully selected friends.

Fred




I think you hit it right in your last sentence, Fred. Many people, like me, got into this hobby because we had a passion to explore the night sky. As we began to get a pretty good knowledge of the night sky and the equipment we maybe moved into binoculars and then later a telescope. But we also needed a good dark sky place and one that we felt safe and comfortable using--one that anyone, male or female, could feel safe using. And in my opinion, this is one of the most important things that a club should offer to members: a reasonably good, safe dark site on private property.
I, like a lot of others, got into this hobby for the "scoping" aspect of it--the fun of exploring the skies, the challenge of finding DSOs, planets, etc. It is kind of like hunting and fishing, they can both be exciting adventures, whether alone or in the company of friends. I'll admit it, I got into this hobby and stay in this hobby for selfish reasons, not to teach the world or for altruistic reasons. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy sharing my knowledge or assisting others who ask my help as in learning the sky. Indeed, this hobby is best alone or with like minded friends.
Clear skies.

Edited by Philler (10/01/13 02:54 AM)


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David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6110513 - 10/01/13 02:19 AM Attachment (15 downloads)

Quote:

Astronomy clubs have their place, but I doubt that even a simple majority of amateurs belong to them at any given time. Human nature being what it is, one can tire of even those with similar interests after a while, especially when one considers the reasons most people join clubs in general: it is usually to benefit themselves in some way, not to be of service to others.

For those of us who are helpful and giving by nature, membership in any such organization can result in a not-inconsiderable drain of time and expertise, especially considering the social skills of many amateurs, which are often sadly lacking; once it becomes known that a member has a skill that is in demand, or a willingness to be of assistance in other ways, the demands placed upon them by the rest of the membership often become unreasonable. It's been my experience that there are usually one or two "spark plugs" in any given club, along with a small number of individuals who do the vast majority of the work; the remaining membership usually consists of users, losers and space cadets whose main priority is themselves.

After far too much time essentially wasted in and on clubs, I am convinced that amateur astronomy is an avocation best enjoyed in a solitary manner, or with very carefully selected friends.

Fred




I can't agree at all with these statements (especially the blatant misuse of the stereotypical terms "losers", "users", and "space cadets whose main priority is themselves", when referring to club members). Most people who join a good astronomy club are *none* of these things. One thing I had badly wanted when I first got into amateur astronomy as a youngster was a group of people I could share the experience with. It took several years (and a driver's license), but I eventually found that group (Prairie Astronomy Club) about 40 miles away, and have been a member ever since (about 41 years). The group was just a bunch of regular people who enjoyed going out at night and viewing things. Even when I am at the Nebraska Star Party interacting with people from all over the U.S., I still reserve at least one night with a group of PAC members to view with them, as due to my work schedule, I don't get to attend many of the regular monthly club star parties much anymore (see the picture below). Also, that astronomy club from its earliest days in the mid 1960's was involved in community outreach way before it became more popular among many mainstream astronomy clubs, so I got in on that aspect of the hobby early-on. Sharing the sky with those in the general public became immensely rewarding and not at all "draining". To this day, I still really enjoy those times when I can take my scope out to a public event and show others the wonders that float far above their heads. Eventually, I got tapped into doing this on a more regular and formal basis with a local public observatory, but I still go out on my own sometimes with a few non-club people to show them the sky. I don't object even when a few non-amateurs come by and want to have a look (it got me an article about one of those times published in Sky and Telescope too). I also enjoy the company of at least one other club member when observing, as it helps keep me focused on the sky and observing, rather than the dark loneliness of a rural location at night. Some people just aren't "club" people, and for them, observing alone is OK. However, one of the best things that ever happened to me in this wonderful hobby was when I finally joined the Prairie Astronomy Club. It made all the difference in the world. Clear skies to you.


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: David Knisely]
      #6111046 - 10/01/13 11:42 AM

Quote:


I can't agree at all with these statements (especially the blatant misuse of the stereotypical terms "losers", "users", and "space cadets whose main priority is themselves", when referring to club members). Most people who join a good astronomy club are *none* of these things.




I don't believe that I misused those terms, for stereotypical though they may be (I did not think that an exhaustive list of all the species and subspecies would be necessary ), the descriptions given nonethelessless accurately reflect my lifetime experience with many of the denizens of astronomy clubs in the Northeast; perhaps similar organizations in Nebraska and environs are composed of finer stock. Such would not surprise me in the least, as I've always found Midwesterners much to my liking as individuals.


Quote:

One thing I had badly wanted when I first got into amateur astronomy as a youngster was a group of people I could share the experience with.




And therein, I believe, lies the crux of the matter. From the time I began observing at a tender age, I found that stargazing en solitaire suited me perfectly well; at most, the presence of a family member or close friend or two sufficed for companionship. Indeed, I found the presence of a multitude disconcerting, and seemingly at odds with the business at hand. "Different strokes for different folks", as the saying goes...

Now this is not to say that I've never enjoyed being a member of an astronomy club; I actually enjoyed participating in them at various times over the decades. However, what has caused me to swear off such organizations has been my low tolerance level for individuals who, while often quite intelligent, are socially inept to the point of not bathing regularly, and who are sometimes almost offensively obsessive. These became legion in many of the groups I frequented years ago, and often took leadership positions in the organization, with fairly predictable results: membership rolls diminishing, projects uncompleted, general rancor and drama, etc. After several abortive attempts to reconcile myself to this situation (which seemed to present itself in every club I investigated), I retired from the battlefield, so to speak.

Fred


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6111085 - 10/01/13 12:05 PM

Quote:

the remaining membership usually consists of users, losers and space cadets whose main priority is themselves.





I don't consider anyone wishing to share that great hobby to be in this catagory!
Not everyone that joins clubs are comfortable being in the leadership or assistance roles; rather simply wanting to share this wonderful hobby with like-minded individuals. This certainly does not make them "users, losers & space cadets".

A club has many different roles to play; each individual should take the role that they feel most comfortable with; even if that makes this appear as "main priority is themselves" to a few; I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. After all, this hobby should be focused on fun, not being forced into roles that would be uncomfortable.


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6111146 - 10/01/13 12:36 PM

Quote:

Quote:

the remaining membership usually consists of users, losers and space cadets whose main priority is themselves.





I don't consider anyone wishing to share that great hobby to be in this category!




Well, they do exist, as I've certainly encountered more than my fair share of them.

Quote:

Not everyone that joins clubs are comfortable being in the leadership or assistance roles; rather simply wanting to share this wonderful hobby with like-minded individuals. This certainly does not make them "users, losers & space cadets".




I'm not talking about normal, well-adjusted individuals here; I thought that would be obvious from the context.

Quote:

A club has many different roles to play; each individual should take the role that they feel most comfortable with; even if that makes this appear as "main priority is themselves" to a few; I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. After all, this hobby should be focused on fun, not being forced into roles that would be uncomfortable.




If the role an individual "fits into" is that of a selfish status-seeker or one who uses other people for his or her convenience, or a humorless martinet whose main objective is influence and control, then I would posit that there is indeed something wrong with it. As for forcing anyone into a role, well, that simply isn't going to happen in a purely voluntary setting like an astronomy club, is it? No, people choose the roles that they are most indeed most comfortable with, but the point I'm trying to get across is that such roles as they choose are, by their very nature, often detrimental to organized activity.

Fred


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6111158 - 10/01/13 12:47 PM

Quote:

Well, they do exist, as I've certainly encountered more than my fair share of them.




Perhaps you can share what makes someone in this hobby as a user, loser, or space cadet? Everyone has their own way to enjoy the hobby; if it doesn't fit into what someone else feels is not the right way; who are we to say that they are users, losers?

Anyone new in this hobby started out as "users", as we rely on others to assist us, until we can fly on our own. That's what makes CN so special, as we don't stereotype others that don't fit into our mold.


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6111265 - 10/01/13 01:52 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Well, they do exist, as I've certainly encountered more than my fair share of them.




Perhaps you can share what makes someone in this hobby as a user, loser, or space cadet?




I'd be glad to, Carol.

---------------------------

User: one who takes advantage of the good nature and generosity of another, with little or no intent to reciprocate.

Characteristics: always requesting help, but never offering help when it is within their capacity to do so.

Example: "I broke my finder/drive motor/mirror cell/etc., an you look at it it for me?" "Sure, it just needs XYZ, I'll take care of it for you.". Next month: "Can you help out this weekend? We're cleaning up around the observatory." "Sorry, I'm too busy this weekend." Month after that: "I need an eyepiece, anyone have one they could sell me cheap?" "Sure thing, buddy!" Month after that: "the club's having a public observing session on X, can you bring your scope (ed.:with cheap eyepiece!) that night?" "Nah, I'm not interested"... ad infinitum, ad nauseum...

-----------------------

Loser: one who joins an astronomy club in a quest for, err, "romance". Can also describe those who mix their "habits", such as drug use or alcoholism, with club activities, as well as chronic complainers who have a talent for bringing down the mood of everyone around them.

Characteristics: puts the moves on anything in a skirt. Usually disappears after the available pool of tender companionship rejects him (it's almost always a "him"). May become offended when others refuse to partake of whatever intoxicants he is proffering. Will regale anyone within earshot of all the (perfectly good) telescopes he claims to have endless problems with, or the minute flecks of dust in his (also perfectly good) eyepieces.

Example: A "Will you go out with me?" propositioned to every single female club member, even those who are married or of advanced years. "The trouble with you people is, you don't know how to have a good time!" This last is often spoken after spilling half a beer down someone's OTA. "Did you see the (tiny, practically invisible) sleek on the dewshield of my new Questar/A-P/Takahashi? It's outrageous that they let it leave the factory in that condition!"

--------------------------

Space cadet: an individual who has a very unhealthy obsession with science-fiction and space-related matters, and tends to live, for the most part, in a fantasy world of starships and light sabers; These are not normal science-fiction fans (which many fine amateurs are, of course), by any means.

Characteristics: Often possesses remarkable social ineptitude, making communication when discussing anything other than areas of their specific interest somewhat problematic. Attending to personal hygiene sometimes rates rather low on this individual's scale of importance. May attend star parties wearing a complete Federation uniform (command gold, of course).

Example: "NASA needs to build an elevator to the Moon." Etcetera, etcetera...

--------------------------



Quote:

Everyone has their own way to enjoy the hobby; if it doesn't fit into what someone else feels is not the right way; who are we to say that they are users, losers?




People can do what they want; however, certain things are anathema to some of us; I've listed some of my personal dislikes above. We all make personal judgments about people, that's just part of being human.

Quote:

Anyone new in this hobby started out as "users", as we rely on others to assist us, until we can fly on our own. That's what makes CN so special, as we don't stereotype others that don't fit into our mold.




No, not everyone starts out as a user; see my definition of "user" above. For example, the books and telescopes I relied upon as a beginner were paid for with a paper route. Users are those getting a free ride off the backs of others.

I will agree that CN is special, but part of that specialness is that it pretty much disappears from my life when I turn off the computer; in the non-virtual world, users and their ilk don't tend to be so accommodating,

Fred


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: amicus sidera]
      #6111308 - 10/01/13 02:06 PM

All I can say is, with individuals you just described; I'm certainly glad I live where I do; even though I'm sure individuals such as this is a very small percentage of any club's memberships.

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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6111328 - 10/01/13 02:14 PM

Carol, I long to live out where you live, in the West; I've traveled all over this country, and I can say with assurance that I'm a fish out of water here in New Jersey; I have much more in common, in every respect, with folks from the West and Midwest than the area here, which I grew up in... it has become unrecognizable to me.

Fred


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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: scopefreak]
      #6111486 - 10/01/13 04:03 PM

Quote:

I wish I could find a club out here in eastern KY. I really miss being a member of an active club like the BBAA back in Va Beach VA and the NAS in Norfolk VA.

I am in the process of starting a club. I have a contact at the local college and he is the astronomy professor. We are hoping to get some radio air time to talk about the up coming comet. Maybe that will get a few folks interested in coming out to the free observing sessions we have been doing in the college parking lot.

One can only hope.......




Wish you where closer to Lexington, our club needs some new blood to get things going.

Dean


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mountain monk
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/06/09

Loc: Grand Teton National Park
Re: my negative experience in an Astronomy club new [Re: DeanS]
      #6116429 - 10/04/13 12:35 AM

Hummm... I have a doctorate in dealing with losers, users, and space cadets, but I did not find that such terms applied to members of my local astronomy club. They are intelligent, helpful, and civil. The reason I attend only once or so a year is that I found their interests too technical for me, and, like Carol, the drive home was simply too dangerous. CN is my astronomy club. I doubt that any local club can match the expertise here.

Dark skies.

Jack


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