Processes and Requirements for Forming US-RSE Affinity Groups


This document proposes a set of processes and requirements for forming groups within US-RSE. It was produced as part of the first community building workshop.

The Group Management Working Group (GMWG) is a working group responsible for further developing the process proposed here, reviewing proposals for new groups, maintaining lists of active groups, providing newly-established groups with infrastructure, and fostering communication between coordinators, leads, and the Steering Committee. The GMWG also reserves the right to report groups that violate the US-RSE’s Code of Conduct or are no longer aligned with the US-RSE mission to the Steering Committee. The GMWG can be contacted via the #wg-group-management Slack channel.

What is an Affinity Group?

An affinity group is a set of people linked by a common interest or purpose. Affinity groups have fewer formal requirements than working groups (next section) and can serve as a bridge to form future working groups. Affinity groups may be affiliated with other organizations, e.g., a Women in HPC affinity group, to foster connections across groups.

How to Form a New Group

There are two requirements for forming a new affinity group:

  1. Uniqueness. The interest or purpose should not duplicate an existing group.
  2. Two coordinators. The purpose of requiring two coordinators, in addition to sharing the work of keeping the group active, is to build in redundancy, so that groups can persist when one coordinator needs to transition out of the position and search for a replacement is ongoing. If one of the coordinators leaves the group, the group must find a new coordinator to take their place. If group members are not willing to take on coordination and two coordinators cannot be identified, then the group will become inactive.

Once these two requirements are satisfied, the interested US-RSE member should fill out the appropriate webform. This will be reviewed by the GMWG.

Process after Forming

New affinity groups will be:

  • Added to the active Affinity Groups list on the US-RSE website
  • Supplied a:
    • Slack channel
    • Other offerings as appropriate (e.g., user group, webpage, GitHub repository, Google Drive folder)
      • NOTE: If you’d like to make a webpage, you are encouraged to use the template.

Naming Conventions

For consistency and discoverability, short-hand names for groups should follow the convention ag-{something}.

This naming convention should be used consistently wherever possible: Slack groups, Slack tags, Google groups, Google Drive folders, etc. The exception is when referring to the group in written prose, in which case the full name should be used.

Maintaining a Group in Active Status

For an affinity group to remain active:

  1. The group should meet or engage regularly, so that they fulfill their purpose of creating an opportunity for a community to talk.
  2. There must be at least two coordinators. If one coordinator leaves the group, then another must be found so that there are at least two. Affinity groups with fewer than two coordinators will become inactive.


If you have feedback, please contact GMWG via the #wg-group-management Slack channel.