System was launched six months ago but that was a limited release. It’s been publicised more in the last two months.
The lack of take up is interesting in itself. CAMRA has over 180,000 members but only about 2,000 of those are what we call active members. They are involved in the branches and run the organisation locally. Centrally, there is an elected team of about 15 members (volunteers) - the national executive - a kind of board. There are then about 20-30 central teams populated by volunteers (typically from that 2,000 subset above) and finally there are about 40 paid staff members which do the day to day operational stuff.
Ever since I’ve been a member of the organisation, there has been a “them and us” mentality between CAMRA centrally and the active members in the branches. I’ve always seen forums as part of the solution but this fell on death ears. But one new member of the national executive has an IT background and revitalised the forums - hence Discourse.
So a medium has been put in place to improve communication and debate between CAMRA centrally and the branches. So why aren’t the branches flocking to use the system??
I do have a small theory. In life, one often puts an argument forward as to why you don’t do something. You propose a blocker. Said blocker is then removed but the problem remains. Relationships can be like this sometimes - “You’re really lazy and unfit, that’s why we’re falling out”. So you make the effort to exercise and get fitter but the relationship still falters because actually that wasn’t the real problem.
My theory is that CAMRA centrally not communicating is partially a false reason - it’s put in the way of the real reason people don’t want to engage, debate, resolve etc. is because they’re tired, jaded and actually don’t want to change (as often happens as you get older). Hence the revitalisation project I mentioned above.
So people criticising and not rushing to use the forums is displacement activity to prevent the real problem coming to the fore - one just can’t be bothered.
Hence my reason for saying the problems here are soft and not entirely the platform. It could be that we had implemented the worlds best forum system in the world (sorry Jeff, Discourse 'aint it yet) and the same problems would have occurred.