Doc vs. Ryan

Look, if you want to have the conference equivalent of a kegger, fine. Oh, snap!

I think Doc’s most relevant point in this post can be summed up by something I heard George McGovern say to a heckler at his talk last month. “We need to be careful that we don’t become fanatics” he said, “because when we become fanatics we become blind to possibilties.” In other words, attacking Mashup Camp for selling out or whatever ignores that it was actually a hybrid event. Instead of a pure strain of BarCamp or “big conference” genes, it had a little of both. That’s not a failure, it’s…well, it’s a mashup. Not to mention a sign that the camp gene has begun infecting other hosts. The impure strain is likely to have wider influence in the long run anyway, as conference organizers start incorporating more audience participation and ad hoc groups and whatnot into their plans. And that’s a good thing, right?

Well, sure. But Ryan has some excellent points too, and to focus on the tone rather than the substance of his post isn’t any more fair than my pulling one particularly scornful sentence and leading this post with it. There was a pointed lack of attribution for the organizational ideas, both in interviews with the media and at the event itself. It had organizational bloat, meaning it took much longer and cost much more than has been proven necessary. It was trademarked, which is especially rich given the subject of the camp. The limitations on size made it exclusive, which was unnecessary, counterproductive and (unintentionally) elitist. And it should be pointed out that Ryan never once attacked David Berlind personally, something that those who have commented on his post could learn from.

So what do we take away from all this? Just the usual lesson: the best way to get links is still talking shit.

Update: Ryan has a pretty awesome reply to all this.

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4 responses to “Doc vs. Ryan

  1. “the best way to get links is still talking shit.”

    I need links. 😀

  2. As they say at Slashdot, Score 5: Insightful.

  3. Just reading through all of this finally – very good contribution and important points Alicia. Everyone seems so fixated on only one way of doing things – it is that sort of stuck in the box thinking that is what got the conference people to where they are at.

    So far with BrainJams, every event has been somewhat different – the stated intention is to try different formats and see what works…

  4. Pingback: On unconferencing and snark jumping | Edward O’Connor

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