It all started in 1996 when Allan Trick sent the following e-mail messages to the (now defunct) St. Louis Internet Users Group.
(Note: Yes, the old-school monospace formatting is intentional.)
Date: Mon, 04 Nov 1996 17:19:08 -0600
To: Members of the St. Louis Internet Users Group
From: "T. Allan Trick"
Subject: STL Web developer group forming
A group of Webmasters and Web developers in the St. Louis area have been talking about forming a local user group that could provide us with a forum to talk with each other in person once in a while. As far as we know, no such group has already been formed. (If it HAS, someone tell me; we probably don't need two groups!)
If you are involved with HTML coding, CGI programming, Web site design and maintenance, or any other aspects in the Web development and management arena, please reply to this message and let me know. When we feel there are enough people who might be interested, we will announce the first meeting and get everyone together.
The intent is not to get too formal: no dues, incorporation, or any of that. It will operate kind of like a listserv, except that we'll exchange our comments and questions with each other in person instead of through our computers!
To be an active member, you will be expected to contribute something to the group when there is a need -- a meeting site, postage (if we have to do a mailing--though that seems unlikely since we all have email), refreshments -- whatever.
I hope to be at the STL IUG meeting tomorrow night to make this announcement and invite participants for the Web group. So if you're going to be at the meeting, you will already know about this! But either way, please email me so I can keep track of the level of interest in this group.
If this interests you and you reply, let me know if you've got a suggestion for a name for our group!
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Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 13:14:08 -0600 (CST)
From: Allan Trick
To: Distribution List
Subject: STL WWW Developers Group Survey
Thank you for responding to the recent call for parties interested in forming a St. Louis area user group of professionals involved in Web development. The group will be composed of individuals with skills related to web design, interface development, web programming, database development, art direction, publishing, etc. We are getting close to announcing when and where our first meeting will be, but before we do, could you please answer a few questions?
1. MEETING TOPICS
Assuming the group is filling a need for local Web professionals to get together on a regular basis to hear guest speakers talk about topics of interest to us, I'd like to give you a chance to tell me what the hot topics would be for you right now. Give me two or three which would be helpful to you if we could get someone with the appropriate expertise to share with us. This is just to get us going and to be sure that the topics selected appeal to a majority of our members. (If you would like to do a meeting yourself, or you know someone you think would make a good presenter, please let me know.)
2. MEETING LOCATIONS
My idea was for our meetings to be hosted by members who have the space that could handle our number (there are about 50 of you right now). So this question has two parts:
a. Can you host a meeting (not more than one a year)?
b. Whether or not you can host a meeting, where are you located? I'd like to know the distribution of our members so that sites chosen for meetings are as convenient as possible to the most people.
3. MEMBERSHIP MAKEUP
It would also be very helpful to know more about you, our "charter members"! Even if you already told me something about what you do in your first message, could you please repeat that information in your reply? Let me know what type of work you have done on the Web (or intranet). If you want to give me URL's of your work, that'd be fine, or just describe the kinds of things you have done. What are your strengths? What would you like to learn more about? (This might be a repetition of meeting topics you'd like to see.) If you have a resume in text form and want to just include that in your reply, that would be OK too.
I am not going to do anything with this information except use it to help determine who our members are and what they want out of the group. I know what *I* want -- as a webmaster for a 1200-student school, I need to build my own skill set as quickly as I can to keep up with the strong demand for everything web-related. But I also have learned a few things which I would be glad to share with others whom I may be able to help. I am not planning on releasing any information you may send in your replies without talking to the group first. That is, if you all decide you want to share the information you submit, perhaps an online directory could be put up on the Web page to be provided for the group's benefit. But this will be decided by the group either in our meetings or on the listserv we hope to start soon.
Please just reply to this message, leaving the subject line intact, so my email program can filter the replies and keep them together. If there's anything I didn't ask which you would like to talk about, or if you have something else you can share with the group, let me know.
It looks like early December will be the soonest we can get together for our first meeting. But please reply as soon as you can. The more we know about you and what your needs are, the better job we can do as a group. We'll talk again soon!
Allan Trick Webmaster, Web developer 314-434-2100 x3222