Update: It was a pleasure to meet Alan Houser. He was professional and cheerful, and listened attentively, even as people dumped their frustrations with STC on his head for two hours.
Attending the dinner meetup was myself, Andy Gural, Everett Larsen, Manny Gordon, Poppy Quintal, and Susan Armstrong.
Alan commented that we have caught the attention of the mothership. In particular, he was impressed by the resurgence of interest and enthusiasm here in Montreal, and he wondered aloud about how STC could capture even a small part of that excitement and energy in its own operations.
Alan took notes throughout our meeting. I do hope he came away with something useful. We discussed the high membership fees, the lack of communication about STC’s finances, the sense that chapters are no longer important to STC, and the value (or lack thereof, depending on where you stand) that STC brings to the community of technical writers.
I challenged Alan to think about STC’s problems as structural, to consider the possibility that, in order to survive, STC may have to become an entirely different kind of entity. Regardless of our feelings about STC’s performance over the last several years, I think the tech writing community would be poorer if it disappeared.
If you’ve been reading the comments on this site and on STC-Montreal.org, you’ll know that Alan is in town today, and wanted to touch base with us. Anyone who wishes to join in the discussion is welcome to come. I’ll be there between 6:00 and 6:30.