An Atlanta friend is asking me a good question. While I have thoughts, I thought the NASAGA collective wisdom would have some good advice for him.
I am one of the co-organizers of the Atlanta XXXXX Group and, like many user groups, we use Meetup.com (http://meetup.atlantaphp.org) to help with organizing meetings.
Like pretty much everyone else on Meetup, we get:
It seems in North America an RSVP is thought of only as a placeholder in the calendar, and not as a commitment. In Europe, RSVPs are much more accurate indicators of who will show up.
The Meetup.com RSVP system is our best (only) way to estimate how many will turn out for a meeting, but it is not great; especially when trying to advise a sponsor how much food to bring.
I think a good way to get better RSVP accuracy would be to turn the process into some kind of game that provides an incentive for good behavior (following through after RSVP, or canceling an RSVP before the event), and a disincentive for bad behavor (no shows). We'd also like to encourage people to RSVP ahead of time instead of just showing up.
The thing is, I want to encourage the good behavior without making it look like we are punishing bad behavior.
What thoughts do you have? Thanks,