As prejudice has it, as geeks we are all probably not very eager to meet other humans. However with social distancing approaching worldwide I do think we should facilitate some kind of virtual interaction.
Personally, I can say that I do have a need for that.
So how about we organize some kind of regular get together, virtual of course, where we chat about stuff and show each other some cool demos? We’d arrange a regular time, and get together via some screen sharing/video conferencing service. And we plan a little bit about the topics in advance, but use it more or less as a virtual coffee break.
The tools I use are Google Meet and Zoom. Zoom may be more reliable however it requires a client, so people may prefer Google Meet. One can simply schedule a recurring event from Google Calendar and select the option for “Hangout Meet”. Then one could invite people. Anyone with the link to the meeting can request to join, but the creator of the meeting must be present to allow them to enter, I think.
I think with Zoom you can use the option to allow people to enter the meeting even if the host is not yet there.
Everyone can join directly using the link, without a calendar invitation, but if someone wants the calendar invitation for having a regular reminder I can send to them. If the number increases a lot I can stop doing that, but so far we have 1 person invited (Jos)
Would each meetup have a free agenda where everyone could talk about anything?
Would a “core theme” be specified for each (or just some) meetup? (some free agenda time is always necessary)
Will these meetups be recorded and the recording made available somewhere?
Maybe not all meetups, but those where some specific subject is to be discussed?
If the participants want it to be recorded I could record it easily and then share it with the people interested. My concern here is that participants could want to share things not precisely confidential but perhaps not exactly public, like showing internal demos. In that case, I imagine participants would not want the meetings to be recorded.
In my opinion would be best not to record the meetings, so that everyone can feel more relaxed. If the participants decide otherwise for me recording is just clicking a button in the zoom interface.