Talk me out of starting an R User Group

Hey there!
Soooo... I've been wanting to join an R User Group.
The problem: there are none in my area (Jacksonville, FL).
The solution: why don't I start one?


  • I already got myself trapped in starting another user group (Power BI User Group), where I'm currently the sole founder and the only admin and (for the most part) the only speaker
  • I don't particularly enjoy organizing things like events (I can deliver the message and can speak at events, just not fond of the organization thing)
  • I may be slightly overcommitted at this point (managerial position at work + family + other things like gym and, you know, life)

So why asking?
I still want to do it.

Anyone who has experience running an R User Group - talk me out of it. Or encourage me to do this.



There might still be good reasons for local R User Groups (e.g. local networking), but if you really want reasons to not do something you've already said you wouldn't enjoy doing:

  1. For coding help and general conversation, there are already vibrant online communities (e.g. and
  2. For 'holistic' views of the R world, there are already great conferences/meetings/workshops (e.g. useR! and RStudio::conf).
  3. For introductions and articles about specific packages/tools/techniques, there are a ton of blog posts (e.g. on R-bloggers).
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While there isn't an R User Group, it looks like there are a few data science meetups in the area. Maybe try to go to a few and see if anyone there is interested in a R specific meetup.

If you decide to start JRUG (pronounced drug), try to do it with a couple partners. In addition to meetups and people from industry, there might be some grad students or professors from nearby universities willing to contribute.

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More resources:

this slack:

some "don't"s by @stephlocke :


I would love to start a r User Group in Jacksonville. I have another user group I run for alteryx and I'm in desperate need of connecting with other R Developers in JAX. Let me know if you started anything if not we could partner up if you wanted to or I can go alone no problem. Connect with me at Joshua at Joshua Burkhow dot com


Hello! I am new to Jacksonville and have been looking for an R group to get involved with. I went to a data science meetup, which was fun, but the discussion wasn't technical in nature, about R, or very applicable to me. It would be awesome if there were an R user group in Jacksonville. :slight_smile:

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Hi @Camillearianne Camille! We have connected with you during the conference, right? Would you be interested in helping getting such group off the ground?

Hey @DataEnthusiast Joshua! I haven't started anything yet, but I'm willing to! I also run another meetup here in Jacksonville, and therefore looking for some help with an R meetup, as otherwise it would be too much...
I'll send you an email.

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Hi Taraas,

That sounds fun! I am not really sure what that involves, but I would love to help with anything I can. My email is


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I am a big fan of meetups. I have participated in them, organized a few and helped out a few others. I have always felt that meetupa need a critical mass of attendees and a long enough runway of speakers to get off the ground. The first question is an unknown, but if you can get 10 to 25 people to consistantly show up for a meetup that should be good enough. The runway is having the next two or three speakers lined up and posted so that people plan to be in there in advance. I recommend meetups be at least monthly. If you can pull those things off it is worth trying to start a group and once it gets rolling as long as you don't stop or pause it should just keep going.

The trap we've found in a mid -sized city (~2 mil) is that while there are a lot of people who want turn up, there are FAR fewer who are willing to help out and create content. Sounds like you had that issue with the PBIUG.

Last year we changed from a speaking/workshop event to running the sessions as hacks, where you just bring a laptop and hang out - Now that was nice and low maintenance, but as an organiser you end up just helping people install RStudio over and over again. And then there always seems to be people that show up without a laptop expecting a talk, despite clear instructions to the contrary.

We decided that was again not as much fun as we'd like... so for our first session of this year we're running it as a reading group. We put up a couple of blog posts on web scraping a month ago and we're going to discuss the approach and code in the session, followed by a 'let's try outselves' hack, time permitting. I can let you know how that goes in a few days.

TLDR: With a small population of useRs it's been a struggle to find a sustainable user group meeting format.


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