Talk:Meetup/London

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Location of the London Meetup[edit]

  • Not attending due to the pro-Brexit organization this event continues to patronise; Wikimeets should be held in neutral venues, not politically controversial unsafe spaces. Weatherspoons is deliberately promoting FakeNews, and the CEO is an active promoter of disgustingly misleading information in support of a chaotic no deal Brexit, refer to the Weatherspoon Manifesto. (talk) 11:47, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
    Please help us to find another venue where the beer is less than £4.00 per pint. --Redrose64 (talk; at English Wikipedia) 22:56, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
If getting the cheapest booze in Britain is the only important criteria, then those that have this as their goal in life could try sitting on the benches outside the nearest Tesco Metro, and having the super benefit of cider for under £2/litre and the bonus of best quality European beer for £3/litre. Due to their xenophobic pro-NoDealBrexit "strategy", European drinks are now banned from Weatherspoons. The rest of us that are more interested in Wikimedia projects rather than alcohol, could meet in the safe space of any of the many thousands of women friendly, LGBT+ friendly, non-English friendly, no-Brexit politics London cafe with free WiFi. Perhaps one that sells fresh ground Italian coffee and French or Viennese traditional patisserie. -- (talk) 13:47, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I have to say I rather agree with here. It's really unrealistic to demand that any venue used will have been for less than £4. The only company that cheap is Wetherspoons, so demanding cheap beer as the main criteria naturally will reduce the possible places to 'a branch of Wetherspoons'. What with the added xenophobia Mr Martin is introducing by banning all European wines, I'm also reluctant to come to another event here. There are many other places with good wifi, alcohol and wheelchair access. For example:
- Bars in this list like Timber Yard (Old Street/covent garden).
- The Royal Festival Hall
- The Google Campus (not totally sure about alcohol in this case) - see this list.
- Near Waterloo there's also bars like Scooter Cafe and The Steam Engine pub.
I think that this move to another venue, which is clearly needed, is more of a case of will than anything else. If people really want to find another venue, then they will. But what I worry is that the group is missing out on lots of other people who could come because people are unwilling to change the habit of a lifetime. I personally think that the most problematic thing about the current venue is that it is not encouraging women to attend. I recently saw an email thread where someone in Oxford inquired about Wikipedia meetups, but then refused to go to the Oxford one which is also held in a Wetherspoons, I think. So I think the group really has to make a decision about this, and think outside of the box if necessary. However, if the number one Red Line obstructing a deal is the need for very cheap beer, then I think that we're really facing a No Deal scenario, and the group is facing a disastrous cliff edge. :)--Jwslubbock (talk) 13:09, 22 January 2019 (UTC)

As discussed previously, the essential requirements for a London meetup are a venue that is:

  • Large enough and with enough available space to cater for the number of people we get
  • Flexible enough to cope with a group that changes from 2-3 people to 30 people and back again over the course of the event
  • Quiet enough (volume) so that people can have a conversation
  • Centrally located and within easy reach of at least one station
  • Accessible
  • Family friendly
  • Open on a Sunday lunchtime, afternoon and evening every month.

Highly desirable requirements are:

  • Serves food of at least reasonable quality at reasonable prices
  • Serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at reasonable prices, ideally a wide selection of both
  • Free wifi

On all of the occasions this has been discussed, not one person has been able to suggest any non-Weatherpsoons venue that meets all the essential criteria, let alone the desirable ones too. The only pubs other than the Penderel's Oak that I know of that comes close are a Weatherspoons in Acton, a Weatherspoons in Woolwich and an (I think) independent pub in Hackney - none of which are easily accessible to people from other parts of London, let alone those who come from further afield. Looking at the ones you mention: The Timber Yard makes no mention of food and drink prices but implies that we would need to book a room for £50 for the volume of people we attract; The Royal Festival Hall bar in my experience is crowded and noisy (I think it's expensive too, but I'm less certain of that); the Google campus appears to be for members only and I'm uncertain about food or alcohol; Scooter Bar is uniformly described as "little" and it appears to have an inflexible layout designed for couples and small groups. The Steam Engine Pub's website doesn't give me enough information to say whether it is suitable or not, it would need somebody familiar with the London meetups to visit and report back. This isn't to say that there is one, but until somebody actually finds one (not just a theoretical one, or one you've heard of that might be alright when there ins't football on TV) you will never get consensus to change the venue. To continue the analogy with the EU - It's up to those who want to leave to formulate a plan for doing so and until you can convince me that the alternative is at least as good as what we have now then I'm going to vote remain. Thryduulf (talk: meta · en.wp · wikidata) 00:23, 30 January 2019 (UTC)

Nobody has to convince you, it is not a question of what you want to believe. This is a pro Brexit unsafe space. Those of us who do not want to support Tim Martin's fake news campaign will not be there. -- (talk) 07:49, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
If you want to start an alternative meet then no you don't need to convince me or anyone else of anything. If you want to move the existing meet then you do need to convince those people who currently attend it that an alternative would be at least equally as good (just because a space is better for you personally doesn't mean it is suitable for everybody - I would be excluded by a venue without step-free access for example and there are several people who would be excluded by a crowded venue). Both options are equally valid, but you need to be clear about what you are trying. Thryduulf (talk: meta · en.wp · wikidata) 09:21, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm thinking we should create a central discussion about this, as it gets mentioned every couple of months, and then forgotten about. Maybe Talk:Meetup/London would be a good place to centralise the venue discussion? FWIW, I agree that Wikimedia is NPOV whereas Wetherspoons are not, would be open to another pub venue if possible. Joseph2302 (talk) 13:57, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you Joseph, I moved it here as you suggested as it was overwhelming the sign-up page. Philafrenzy (talk) 06:32, 31 January 2019 (UTC)

I'm absolutely positive that the people who serve us drinks and cook the food in the pub are not hardcore Brexiteers and would wince at some of the drivel Tim Martin comes up with. This conversation reminds me of an old episode of Have I Got News For You, where Louise Mensch made some comment around "those people were protesting against captalism, then had a coffee in Starbucks!", and Ian Hislop retorting that, "we're not going to return to bartering in the stone age!" Some of my best friends voted leave (although they pretty much universally condemn the present implementation of it) and people who voted leave because they wanted £350m a week extra on the NHS should not be condemned for being thick. Fae, would it placate you if I turned up with a roll of "Bollocks to Brexit" stickers? Ritchie333 (talk) 17:26, 31 January 2019 (UTC)

No.
If anything that demonstrates why it's not an appropriately welcoming and neutral venue for a wikimeet.
The Wetherspoons pro-Brexit campaign is synonymous with fake news, and it is a company position not just that of Tim Martin as an individual. As Wikimedians we are committed to the fair presentation and access to factual information for everyone on the planet. Supporting a company that invests in, and promotes, fake news, by choosing to spend our money there, is hypocrisy. -- (talk) 17:52, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
If I boycotted every business which had questionable policies or practices then I couldn't buy anything from anyone. I would also be permanently out of work. --Redrose64 (talk; at English Wikipedia) 20:55, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
Do you draw the line at anything, or do you just never care who is abused or damaged by the products or services you buy? -- (talk) 12:37, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
Are there any ethically-clean organisations? Many claim to be: and then get exposed. I don't have time to invesigate everybody. --Redrose64 (talk; at English Wikipedia) 14:27, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia is a neutral organisation. Refusing to meet in a particular place because it is allegedly a pro Brexit unsafe space would be the very opposite of neutrality. The Penderel's Oak ticks all the boxes we need for a Meetup, and I would Oppose any proposal to move to alternatives unless they were also sufficiently central, quiet, cheap, happy to let us occupy a whole section of the pub without buying that much, and accessible, as the PO is. Amakuru (talk) 10:44, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I feel the opposite way to Amakuru. Wikipedia/Wikimedia is a neutral organisation. But Wetherspoons is the only pub chain I know that prints a magazine, the front page of which is almost always politically POV. And that POV bias is on almost every table. Regardless of people's personal political opinions, going to a pub which pushes its POV agenda is questionable. If we could find another suitable (per most of the requirements above) pub, we should at least try that in my opinion. Joseph2302 (talk) 13:41, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
  • In terms of the options suggested, [1] are mostly coffee bars, so not sure how much they'd appeal to the current attendees (including myself). [2] similar, maybe some of those could work. RFH is expensive and not much space every time I've been there. As a venue, Wetherspoons works well because it has a range of food/drink options so people can eat/drink as much/little as they want (including they're happy if some people buy almost nothing). And whilst we want to encourage new people, we also don't want to disenfranchise the current regulars. Joseph2302 (talk) 13:47, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I don’t think we should be selecting venues purely on the basis of the owner's politics, particularly when they have a perfect right to express their view and others to rebut it, as they have. Where does it stop? What about abortion, gay marriage, animal rights and other controversial topics? Are we to assess venues according to their stance on those issues? How will we know? Does it make a difference if they keep their opinions to themselves or speak up? What is our view on these topics anyway? There are more than a few Brexiteers at the meetup and since we spend a lot of time arguing I suspect there are many similar cleavages amongst our ranks on other controversial topics. Philafrenzy (talk) 12:07, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
    This is not "the owner's politics", it is Wetherspoons' politics which they have actively defended as an organization.
    Tim Martin's trip around 100 Wetherspoons pubs is supported by Wetherspoons, Google it. The idea that these events are for any healthy discussion is laughable, this is a pure radical No Deal Brexit propaganda campaign.
    Here's a quote from the Irish Examiner this week:
    "The pub was packed with men mostly, quite a lot of them with pints. Some local Lib Dems (Liberal Democrats) came to ambush and disrupt it somewhat, and it all got very, very testy, with people on the brink of violence on occasion.
    "It was quite a thing to see. I've never seen people go hammer and tongs on trade tariffs before they have even had lunch. It was a bit much, but it was fascinating."
    "... It's quite male quite testosteroney sentiments I guess I felt quite uncomfortable in that pub.
    You may personally feel happy having a wikimeet in venue that has been deliberately turned into a testosterony propaganda machine, with No Deal propaganda on every table, but don't put a "Wikimedia" label on it, that would be misuse of our brand.
    P.S. Factcheck: Tim Martin is not "the owner", he is the CEO and holds a quarter share of Wetherspoons. -- (talk) 12:28, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
  • It's interesting to look back at the earliest London meetups where it appears that a variety of venues were tried:
    London 1 - St James's Park (cafe), The Lord Moon of the Mall (pub), Wagamama (restaurant)
    London 2 - Penderel's Oak
    London 3 - The Cock Tavern, Great Portland Street. That's a Samuel Smith pub and note that they have a civility policy!
    London 4 - Archery Tavern, Bayswater (now closed)
It would be good to try some other places again but I agree that we should hold onto the current venue as the primary core unless and until there's clearly a better choice. To explore alternatives, it would be sensible to start with them as extras, as happened at the first event. This coming Sunday, 10 February 2019, I propose to start at Pearl Liang near Paddington at noon. It's the Chinese New Year and dim sum snacks would be thematic. It's best to book, so get in touch if you want to join me and my partner. After brunch, we will move onto Chinatown, where the new year will be celebrated, and the main meeting in Holborn. Andrew D. (talk) 18:24, 4 February 2019 (UTC)

Alternatives[edit]

I'm thinking aloud here, but since we have London and Oxford meets, has anyone thought about an Ashford one? The Glass House is about 5-10 minutes' walk from Ashford International station (35 minutes from St Pancras), round the corner from the bus station and several car parks (that are free on Sundays), does a very nice Curious IPA (yum), other beers, wines, coffees and food, and runs other social activities (such as kid's pantomimes and art workshops). Last week, I was chatting to a guy in there about the pros and cons of C programming, so we probably fit right in! And it's nothing to do with Wetherspoons at all. ClemRutter, do you fancy checking it out and getting a second opinion? Ritchie333 (talk) 17:47, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

More meetups are good and you don't need anybody's permission to organise one. You just need a venue, a date and publicity (Redrose64 is good at organising the on-wiki side of that). If you don't have a banner then WMUK should be able to lend you one (pinging User:Jwslubbock for confirmation) - these can help newcomers spot you. Thryduulf (talk: meta · en.wp · wikidata) 15:44, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

June Meetup?[edit]

Just wondering, is there going to be a June (virtual) London meetup on 14 June? The monthly page for it is usually up by now, but I didn't know if we were being superceded by the UK-wide WMF meetup? Pinging the regular organisers: @WereSpielChequers and The wub: Joseph2302 (talk) 16:25, 3 June 2020 (UTC)

@Joseph2302: Sorry for the late creation, wasn't sure if I would be able to host on 14 June but have now confirmed that I can. Just created the page at Meetup/London/155, mass pinged everyone who attended the last two, and will go set up a watchlist notice on en.wikipedia now. the wub "?!" 13:12, 6 June 2020 (UTC)