CSG Reorganization

[From Bill Powers (2004.07.31.0845 MDT)]
I would like to propose to the membership of the CSG, and to everyone
else who is on CSGnet, a new structure for the Control Systems Group. We
have passed our 20th anniversery with our 20th consecutive annual
meeting, and now I think we have to evolve. IAACT has already taken steps
in this direction, which is to decentralize and spread both authority and
responsibility more widely in the group; I but follow their
For its whole existence I have been the de facto leader of the
CSG, appealed to as an authority and deferred to as a guru, and in
general put into roles that suit me only in a few limited ways. I do know
a lot about PCT; that’s my claim to fame. But others are coming to know
just as much, and soon there will be those who know more and different
things, and for me to sit up here as king of the hill is becoming less
and less appropriate. I think we should do something about that now, and
not wait to be forced into it, as will inevitably happen in a group as
self-determined as ours.

At this year’s CSG meeting, the point was raised once again about the
size of the meeting. There was some hand-wringing about the fact that the
group has not grown appreciably in numbers, but there was also
recognition that expansion into a very large group would remove much of
the charm of our meetings. So there’s a real conflict between retaining
the family feeling that has always been there in the CSG, and wanting the
world to know more about PCT. And I murmered, as I have murmered before,
that the answer is probably not in expanding the group, but in creating
more groups of similar size, each of which can experience the same sense
of manageable togetherness.

So now, waking up to my own words and the example of IAACT, I am going to
propose doing that in all seriousness. We do not need a bigger CSG, but a
North, South, East, and West USACSG, to go with the DeutscheCSG and the
BritCSG and quite probably a rather large OZ-CSG if I guess right, as
well what could be come a most potent ChinaCSG (or ZhongCSG).

Each of these groups can have its own annual meetings, or preferably more
frequent meetings since costs will be lower, and representatives from
those groups can convene every year to trade experiences, discoveries,
and ideas. The best thing about this is that people in different regions
can go about proseletyzing and recruiting and inviting people in, among
people they know and people who can actually be close enough to form new
families of CSGers that work just like the old CSG. The CSG can expand
greatly without getting any larger. And the basis for a journal (launched
at the meeting but still in the planning stage) will become more
realistic, with more people to contribute and share the work.

What this will take, of course, is a set of people willing to try hard to
create the regional groups and make them big enough to be both
interesting and self-sustaining, but not bigger than that. But in keeping
with the new decentralization idea, with that I open the subject to


Bill P.