Comments: Respecting Open Space

Hey Mary,

Great points - and you are right, controlling BarCamp organization almost always ends disasterously (we've seen it a couple of times).

Hey...could you refer to the specific BarCamp you are addressing here instead of refering to BarCamp as a whole (as it is not associated with Open Space generally)?



Posted by Tara 'Miss Rogue' Hunt at June 27, 2006 01:51 AM

Hi Tara, I didn't really want to be too specific about the Bar Camp that people later said failed. I didn't want to pin too much on those folks and here's why:

The Identity Workshop at Harvard was told in advance that what they were doing was causing problems in attendees understanding of the event and their Open Space day generally. These events are very dependant on attendees for success. That is unlike that particular BarCamp that was later said to have "failed", where that organizer had little information about how to make things right ahead of time. The Identity Conference organizers did have that information, and still chose to do things that had the effect of sabotaging the success of an Open Space type of day.

That's why I named the second group. They had fair warning in advance. The first did not.

But both top down conference organizers tried to have some sort of camp, or Open Space day, tacked onto their conferences, and poorly supported them, by imposing top down rules instead of understanding what these other kinds of events require and supporting them well in ways tailored to how these events are different from traditional conferences.

And if people say the days failed, well, my reaction is, you the traditional conference organizer failed to grasp what a Bar Camp is, or what an Open Space is, and it was your lack of support and understanding that caused the failure.

The other issue is, after that particular Bar Camp, people associated with it went around saying BarCamp generally is a failure. And I disagreed with that as well and told them. But again, without proper education and advanced warning, it feels unfair to call them out on it publicly. But I have told them privately that they have completely misunderstood. The failure was not the BarCamp style, but rather that single, ill-supported BarCamp they decided to hold.


Posted by Mary Hodder at June 27, 2006 07:41 AM