Frequently Asked Questions

Have you got some questions about Geek.Zone? Here are some of the ones we get asked most regularly.

This is quite a long list, so use Ctrl and F, or and F on a Mac, to search the page.

Contents

About Geek.Zone

What is Geek.Zone?

Like the famous wood sealant, we do exactly what we say on the tin – Geek.Zone is the zone for geeks! We help awesome, geeky people find other awesome, geeky people. We are building a community of likeminded nerds and together we learn, play games, watch anime, build code and more. There is always something happening so get involved!

When was Geek.Zone founded?

November 2013

Is Geek.Zone connected to [name of other organisation]?

We are affiliated with several fantastic organisations.

Who is Geek.Zone for?

Geek.Zone is here to build a community of geeks. That means all geeks, whether you are just discovering your inner nerd or whether you are already a Jedi Master.

How do I attend online Geek.Zone events?

All our online events are held via our Discord. We find the desktop version works better than the mobile or web version.

Why does Geek.Zone not do more on social media?

We are shy geeks, OK? We aren’t very good at that sort of thing! LOL! We would be tremendously grateful of some assistance in this area, so please volunteer today.

What is Geek.Zone/01?

Geek.Zone/01 will be our first physical community space – coming soon! Find out more at Geek.Zone/01.

I follow Geek.Zone on [name of social media site], does that mean I am a member?

No – thanks for the follow though!

Geek.Zone membership costs £1 + a suggested donation of £30 per year and is available at Geek.Zone/Join.

Money is tight for me, is there another way I can join Geek.Zone other than paying money?

In extenuating circumstances, the Trustees will absolutely accept the membership fee in other forms, such as volunteering. Select a time to discuss this with James, our chair.

If you can afford to support your Geek.Zone, please do so generously. This allows us to continue to support those who cannot.

What do I get with my membership?

An amazing geeky community! All the member benefits are explained at Geek.Zone/Join.

Is Geek.Zone incorporated?

Geek.Zone is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

Why is Geek.Zone a charity?

The Geek.Zone community decided that charity status would be the best route for us because this would allow us to reach more awesome geeks! We are a community of geeks, so we want to connect all of the geeks, nerds and everyone in between. Charity status also ensures that our priority is, and always will be, our community, not profit.

Our underlying charitable object is the promotion of lifelong mental wellbeing, as having a great community around you is one of the key factors in a healthy, happy life. This does not mean that Geek.Zone is just for people with disabilities or mental health difficulties – we are here for every geek. After all, almost everyone will experience mental health problems at some stage in their life, so let’s help each other together. We were founded to bring the geek communities together and that is what we continue to do.

Why does Geek.Zone not advertise its charity status more?

While it is clearly great that we hold such recognition, charity status is not a “raison d’etre”, it is a legal structure. Our primary priority is our community, so everything else is there to support this community. We don’t hide the fact that we are charity, we just want the first message new people see to be that “Geek.Zone is a great community”.

Is Geek.Zone a business?

Yes and no. A charity is legally a type of corporation, so in that sense Geek.Zone is technically a business. Unlike a typical business, however, we do not have shareholders and our sole priority is our community; people not profit.

How to…

How do I join the Geek.Zone discord server?

Follow the invite button at Geek.Zone/Discord. We find the desktop version works better than the mobile or web version.

Tech

What project is Geek.Zone working on right now?

Our main project is Geek.Zone/Web, a platform that will allow all Geek.Zone members to do everything they need as a Geek.Zone member. Once this project is a bit more mature, we will also start working on a mobile native version.

What tech stack does Geek.Zone use?

Geek.Zone/Web is being built using the following tools.

  • Backend
    • Python using the Django framework
    • PostgreSQL
  • Front end
    • Tailwind CSS framework
  • Infrastructure
    • AWS
    • Azure
    • Kubernetes
    • Terraform
  • CI/CD
    • GitHub
    • CircleCI
    • GitHub Actions

…and, of course, coffee. Lots of coffee.

Volunteering

What is the “onboarding” process?

We try not to make things too formal, so getting up and running is quite straight forward.

  1. Select a time to meet with James to answer any questions not covered here.
  2. Join Geek.Zone – just £1 + donation per year. Please ensure that you tick the appropriate volunteering box.
  3. Come to a Geek.Zone event to get to know the Geek.Zone community and why we do what we do
  4. Select a time to meet with James to get all set up

Does Geek.Zone do DevOps?

Yes, we try to follow the DevOps principles in everything we do, not just software development or infrastructure operations. We,

  • Focus on the needs of the Geek.Zone community, as well as our individual members.
  • Automate everything, or as much as possible.
  • Embrace failure – if you learned from it, it’s not a failure.
  • Collaborate across borders – we try not to create team silos.
  • Flourish in the open – everything we do is open source.

What do I do if I need help?

At Geek.Zone, we do our best to avoid corporate BS, so we will never micromanage you. This gives you the freedom to get on with things as you wish, but we also do not want you to feel abandoned! If you ever need any help,

Do I need to ask for permission before I proceed with something?

No! We trust you to use your best judgement, so if you think something should be discussed with others on your team, then throw a message in your team Discord channel, otherwise, crack on.

How are tasks assigned?

Most of our tasks are in Trello, while the Dev team uses GitHub issues.

  • If you see a task that you like the look of,
    • if is currently unassigned, assign it to yourself and go for it.
    • if it is currently assigned, ask the assignee in the ticket if they need a hand
  • If you have found something that is not already logged, create a ticket and go for it.
  • If you would like some suggestions for which tickets would be good for you to have a go at, ask James.

What do I do if something is starting to annoy me?

Let us know! We are eager to better support you by fixing issues before they become a problem for you. Please just select a time to meet with James.

How much time do I need to dedicate?

It is entirely up to you – we do not make any demands on you as you are a volunteer! Making demands on your time and then not paying you would be disrespectful in our opinion, so we encourage you to share as much of your time as you are able.

What do I do if I can no longer fulfil my tasks?

We fully understand, life happens and that’s ok! All we ask is that if you are not going to be able to do something, please just let your team or team leader know. That way, everyone is clear about what needs to be done and we are not left with “Zombie” tasks; ones where we are not sure whether they are being worked on or not.

What level of English proficiency do I need?

Geek.Zone is open to everyone and has no specific language requirements. Most of our members speak English, so being able to do that too is helpful.

If, like many, you are interested in volunteering with Geek.Zone to develop your experience so that you can get a job, most British employers require at least B1 English proficiency.

You must prove you can read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

GOV.UK, Skilled Worker visa: Knowledge of English

Most jobs are more reliant on your interpersonal and communication skills than some might think, so by targeting the C1 or C2 level, you could really improve your chances of getting the job you are looking for. EFSet provides a free language skill assessment and certificate, which can be displayed on your LinkedIn.

We will help you as much as we can too! We have several members who learned English as a second language and who would be happy to give you some pointers.

Do I need to already be proficient in the area I wish to volunteer in?

No! While some knowledge is clearly advantageous, we will help you learn more about the field by giving you real-world requirements that will be used in a real-world organisation. We will also teach you wherever possible.

Do I need to be a Geek.Zone member to be a volunteer?

Yes, though Geek.Zone membership costs just £1+donation each year. That’s available at Geek.Zone/Join.

The Dev team will gladly accept forked PRs from non-members, however members get direct commit access.

What management style do you use?

We are highly anti-micromanagement, so will allow you the room to get on with tasks unimpeded. Equally, we don’t want you to feel unsupported, so do ask lots of questions – there is no silly question! You can also select a time to chat with our chair for any reason.

Do I need to be in a particular location?

No! While we do have many in-person events that you will enjoy if you are near one of our Districts, most of our voluntary tasks can be done entirely remotely. Your team will ensure that you have access to the tools to allow you to track all the resources you need.

Do I need to do tasks at particular times?

No! We have structured our voluntary tasks to be primarily asynchronous. Most teams do have a weekly voice/video chat on Discord, though these are not obligatory.

How does stuff get done at Geek.Zone?

We try to have a heavy bias toward asynchronous communication. This does not mean that nobody is allowed to have a phone call, however we try to, for example, communicate via tickets wherever possible. Take a look at the GitLab article “Embracing asynchronous communication“.

Will I be reminded to do tasks?

No. We do not micromanage you in any way and we respect your time as a volunteer, so all aspects of volunteering at Geek.Zone are done on an entirely self-starter basis. Simultaneously, we do not want you to feel abandoned, so whenever you have questions, please do either

Can I claim expenses?

Geek.Zone will pay for certain reasonable expenses, though we prefer to pay directly than make you spend time out of pocket. Please speak to a Trustee to discuss before the expenses are incurred.

Will Geek.Zone provide a professional reference?

Yes, our Chairperson will gladly provide you with a reference or recommendation that reflects your dedication to the project.

Is there any possibility of future employment with Geek.Zone?

Potentially. We cannot make any promises yet, however we do plan to employ members in the future. Volunteering now will help us to get there sooner!

What support will I receive?

Your team will be on hand via Discord, so drop them a message in your team channel and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Additionally, from a pastoral perspective, our Chair is eager to ensure that you are happy and to resolve issues before they become problems. You can select a time to meet at your convenience. If you have a more urgent question, you can always call us.

Something else

If we have missed your question, please email [email protected] and we will include it posthaste!

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