I can say from my perspective - we do need official open source Association with support from Magento.
Maybe not for meet ups and even local conferences, we do it on our own anyway. But when it comes to large community projects, it's a must. Just to name few from my personal experience:
- existing market education (bringing new developers to ecosystem) like University programs I started in Poland
- exploring new markets that are not profitable from commercial point of view - like my projects in African countries
All those projects needs solid funding at some point (it's expensive and time consuming). They don't bring direct and immediate ROI to single company or even Magento, but it's important in long term perspective and Magento is the main commercial beneficiary.
I think the topic started here is really interesting. When you want to do something, the first question should be why. However, it feels as if the MA in its earliest stage (Magento, SmithBucklin) already answered this for itself, before actually the community was involved. This also points out that - from the start - there is a difference between MA and the community, while actually they are meant to be more or less the same.
Wouldn't it be a good idea to back to the beginning and have a first definition of why a MA is needed? Because of the presence of event organizers during all meetings so far and because of the link between MMA and MA (that everybody seems to make and/or take for granted), it is fair to say that one of the reasons why the MA was suggested in the first place was to re-structure the event organization. But the main reactions that come from the community itself is that it is not necessarily required to change anything to the events - all problems might sort themselves out.
Back to the drawing board?
@daim2k5 I would start with these two posts from Sherrie about What and Why
Then I would look at what the Drupal Association (And other associations do)
The Drupal Association is dedicated to fostering and supporting the Drupal software project, the community and its growth. We help the Drupal community with funding, infrastructure, education, promotion, distribution and online collaboration at Drupal.org.
Now pretend we replace some words
"We help the Magento community with funding, infrastructure, education, promotion, distribution and online collaboration at Magento.org"
Thanks Brent, also don't forget to look at the typo3 https://typo3.org/project/association/.
Maybe nobody can give my (at this point) a answer for my question. After Ben's blogpost i'm more then disappointed with the "start"