In the programming community, user groups form support networks for people interested in certain topics. They are a great place to increase your skills and network with other programmers. User groups are informal and their structure varies from group to group. Anyone can form their own group and set their own rules and schedule.

Ruby User Groups

If you want to get together with other Ruby programmers, a local user group may be just the thing. Ruby user groups are entirely devoted to Ruby. They typically feature monthly meetings, a mailing list, a Web site, and if you are lucky, frequent hacking sessions (meetings devoted to giving people a chance to write Ruby code).

Ruby user groups can be found on at least three different Web sites:

The Ruby Garden Wiki
The Ruby Garden Wiki contains the master list of all Ruby User Groups. This is the first place you should look for a group near you. (If your group is not listed here, you’re missing out!)
Rubyholic Group List
Rubyholic is the new kid in the user group arena. It features a large listing of Ruby groups and a brief amount of information about each one. The site is much like a wiki in that it can be edited by anyone.
Ruby Meetup Groups
A substantial number of Ruby User Groups have chosen to make Meetup their home. Meetup provides a number of tools for user groups, including: private forums, a place for announcements, automated meeting reminders, and a nice RSVP system.

Organizing Your Own Group

If you are interested in forming your own group, be sure to find out if there is already a Ruby user group in your area. Larger meetings are usually much more fun, so starting your own group may not be the best option if there is already one nearby. There is a nice mailing list on Google groups called Ruby Brigades for people interested in finding out what other user groups are doing.