[affs-project] ideas etc

Kirsten Naylor wildduck at wildduck.org.uk
Thu Sep 9 02:46:24 BST 2004

On Wed, 2023-09-08 at 23:56, MJ Ray wrote:
> On 2023-09-08 10:30:33 +0100 adam at thebowery.co.uk wrote:
> > Personally it looks to me like October 2003 was a real success when 
> > you count
> > the number of new members over the amount of days.
> 13 new members for a 2-day fair with 4-figure attendances each day 
> doesn't seem much to me. However, I wrote "Doesn't really seem enough 
> data to read much into and there are a lot of effects combined there" 
> and I stand by that. 

Maybe 13 new members isn't a large percentage of attendees but it is
significantly greater than 0.  It is a good achievement to sign up *any*
new members, I know you are trying to get the most new members for your
pound when it comes to stand expenses etc (hence your "how to run a
stand" link hints) but since AFFS is all volunteers working *together*
there is not a lot you can do about it beyond making recommendations, so
you should try not to get too worked up about it.  Either AFFS can
afford a stand, in which case as many volunteers as possible go along
with jolly smiles and do their best without necessarily getting
pathological about it; or AFFS can't afford a stand or doesn't think it
is worth the expense to get a stand, in which case we don't even get the
opportunity to sign up new people or make anyone aware of the
> I hold a first class honours degree in this 
> stuff, 

also apparently a first class honours degree in showing off and being
> have given statistics conference papers and am waiting for my 
> thesis on short ugly time series to be examined (must follow that up 
> again). Please either point out the flaw in my reasoning or get a 
> second opinion from someone at least as qualified. I'm pretty sure 
> that you won't get many people recommending inferring much from four 
> unevenly-spaced integer time series observations with average modulus 
> 8.5 and multiple aliased factors.

make that being extremely cryptic
> Even if using school-level stats, it illustrates why you're SOL. The 
> members per day for the 3 other events gives estimates for the 
> population mean 2.28 and SD 4.63 (use a calculator if you can't 
> remember how to work them out). Assuming normal random distribution 
> and some other stuff (actually violated here anyway, but let's wave 
> our hands a lot), you would expect 90% of observations to be within 
> 2*SD of the mean. So, Oct 2003 still looks likely to be from the same 
> population, as far as we can tell.

and also actively trying to make everyone else feel stupid.  
Is this what you are trying to say: by comparing the number of new
members of AFFS to the number of people attending the entire show,
statistically we got a similar number of new members in October 2003 to
the number of new members obtained at the other three shows?  (Yes, or
no with a clear explanation, will suffice.)
> Oct 2003 really wasn't fun for me. It wasn't a success on balance IMO: 
> we ran out of key items too early, couldn't replace them (someone had 
> given out the originals of photocopies, for example) and simply didn't 
> have others to start with; I ran around like a headless chicken trying 
> to make sure materials weren't just dumped after the fair; and so on. 

You really didn't need to run around like a headless chicken.  Either
you wanted to do the things you did, in which case you have no right to
moan about it later; or you didn't, in which case you were well within
your rights as a volunteer to merely say to somebody else "I notice this
needs doing, and I think it ought to be do because of X reason, but I
can't do it myself, would you mind helping out" and then leaving
everyone else to take care of it if they think it is important enough.  
> However, there was no definition of success to compare against, so 

Well, it was hardly a failure.  Everyone else seemed to have a good
time, we got new members, we handed out loads of leaflets, stuff got
sold, no-one got sick or died and the end of the world did not come to
> I suggested many possible improvements to look into and I give big 
> thanks to those who have acted on them. It is frustrating that AFFS 
> seems unwilling to do so.

That's the thing, you're frustrated that not all your suggestions are
taken on board.  But there's no reason why all your personal suggestions
should be acted on, just as there's no reason why anyone's suggestions
should be acted on, and it is no reason to get worked up, since you
can't do anything about it.
> Stand staff are very important. Indeed, good stand staff can make a 
> terrible stand work (like you and Kirsty did) and bad staff can make a 
> good stand fail.

With AFFS the stand staff are volunteering their time and good will.  If
they suck, it really is tough luck.  It's not like it's a business where
the manager can fire the stand staff for being crap.  Everyone does
their best, and if that's not good enough, you just have to be grateful
that they showed up at all.  It's the luck of the draw and out of
anyone's control.  At least, that's the case at the moment.
> Quoting from "Countdown to exhibiting" by Declan Gane in 
> September 2004's Overseas Trade: "Set out your objectives and design 
> your stand accordingly. Some 80 per cent of stand success is down to 
> staff, so choose staff who want to be there, 

I don't think there are any unwilling AFFS stand volunteers
> train them on presentation skills

Not applicable really without putting people off
> brief them on company objectives. 

Fair enough.  Just have some committee member who says to everyone "can
you do this please" and "can you do that please" so that everyone has an
idea of what they're doing.
> They need to be enthusiastic and engage with visitors."

Can't expect everyone to be able to do this.
> > Hmmmmn, your asking me to trust marketing people? If anything from my 
> > experience of people who are successful in marketing they quite often 
> > do 
> > things
> > at the last minute without any firm plan and just see what works on 
> > the day.
> Far be it from me to question your experience.

said in a disparaging manner :P
> I only had three types of leaflet (and not many of two of them) and I 
> needed to be elsewhere in London for work that morning. I returned as 
> soon as I could, rescheduling work. I believe that's more than most 
> people would do. 

As I said before, either you wanted to do it or you didn't.  If you
wanted to, you can't be a martyr about it now.  If you didn't, you need
to remember that you aren't actually forced at gunpoint to do anything. 
You're a volunteer, same as everybody.  
Kirsten Naylor
"May owls nest in the cracks of your walls"
 - Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet VII

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