Sketchnote Hangout has been going for over two amazing years, 35 individual hangouts, 17 sketchnote-a-long’s, and loads of community resources such as visual dictionary, warm-up task, 365 sketchnote challenge, and top sketchnote resources, which can all be found on www.sketchnotehangout.com. Maintaining the activities of Sketchnote Hangout takes a lot of time, energy, and passion, something I am more than happy to put in. However, over the last 3-4 months, I have watched with great sadness as participation in Sketchnote Hangout has declined. I have said from the beginning that Sketchnote Hangout would exist if it was relevant to, useful to and required by the sketchnote community. You may wonder why I question this? I will be brief…
- 20% last minute dropout: Sketchnote Hangout has a 12-hour cancellation policy, usually on the hour a surge of up to 25% of attendees drop out. This is a large number to recover. I will usually get up extra early on Sketchnote Hangout days (due to time differences) to ensure invites are sent to waitlist individuals as fast as possible.
- 35-45% will not turn up: although Sketchnote Hangout has a cancellation policy, it has become common practice for a large portion of attendees to sign-up for a hangout and not turn up. Additionally, these individuals will not send an email, direct message or comment before, during, or after the hangout to apologise. This means that others on the waitlist cannot attend. It also means that the hangouts, which have a capacity of 25 people, are poorly attended. This is quite upsetting for facilitators and the host given the time and effort put into organising each hangout.
- Potential facilitators agreeing to give a hangout and canceling shortly before advertising the hangout on Eventbrite or before the hangout itself, meaning that a replacement cannot be found. This is highly distressing and upsetting for the host.
- Lack of engagement with resources and activities: Sketchnote Hangout provides a lot of resources and engagement has been extremely low in recent months. These resources take time and effort to maintain thus I wonder if they are required.
- Constructive feedback vs unhelpful critique: in recent months it has become common for attendees and non-attendees to send the organisers extremely rude (borderline harassing) messages about the organisation of Sketchnote Hangout. I am open to constructive feedback, in fact, I encourage it, but going out of your way to make the organiser feel awful is not constructive or helpful.
The purpose of this open letter is to highlight my thinking and the issues facing Sketchnote Hangout and whether it will continue. It is a community project, it is a free community project, it is up to the community if it continues. I have opened the comments section on this post so to you that openly give a response, if you would prefer to respond privately please do send a message to via email or via Twitter @SN_Hangout.