I agree with you. Meetup.com is great, and I don't think there's any
reason to displace it. However the majority of people out there who
want to learn Ruby and Rails and are struggling cannot get a group
bigger than 2 or 3 people because they're not geographically near a
city. Budapest is coming up on 2 million people, so meetup.com
great for you. I live in a city of about 120,000 people and it's too
small to hold a club here (I know, I tried 3 times over the last 4
years!), so I drive 40 minutes east towards Vancouver where there are
more people. I use meetup.com
as well, but even so I don't think our
group will grow beyond 4 or 5 people at its core.
I can't imagine how frustrating it is for people in towns with only a
couple thousand people. Getting two people connected in areas like
that, or working towards creative ways to connect people over the web
I think is a noble and important goal.
There's just something about being in the same room with another
person that gets stripped out when meeting over the Internet. Maybe
it because over 80% of our communication is non-verbal, and for
newbies learning Ruby, Rails, or any difficult technical material that
extra bit of communication make the difference between "getting it"
and not being able to comprehend stuff in a tangible way.