Posted on October 1st, 2008 by Neil Crosby. Filed under Blog Posts.
This weekend was BarCamp London 5 (I know, this is the third post on the subject, but keep with me on this) at Ebay’s office in Richmond. It was a great weekend, with some very high quality talks. In fact, I don’t think I went to a single session that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy.
As with all the London-based BarCamps that have occurred so far, this one was heavily oversubscribed. When signup opened, tickets vanished in the blink of an eye and plenty of people were upset that they hadn’t managed to get a place. Eagerness to be involved was so high that the first ever BarCamp London Spillover was organised as a one day event to let some of the people who had wanted to be there have their own mini event.
Then the day of BarCamp London 5 came, and a lot of people who had managed to get tickets didn’t bother showing up. Anecdotally, between 40 and 75 people just didn’t come. If those people had handed back their tickets prior to the event that could have let a lot of the people who went to Spillover come to the main event. Not turning up is just not cricket. Part of the fun of a BarCamp is the diverse number of people who attend and contribute to the event. Not turning up just dilutes that horribly.
I’m not the only person who feels this way. In fact, chatting to people over the weekend it was a common theme. Various people were mentioned who have done this on more than one occasion, and the general feeling seemed to be that something should be done about this trend before it continues. Maybe that would involve naming and shaming. Maybe a blacklist to stop no-showers from signing up during the first couple of rounds of tickets for the next BarCamp? Maybe charging a nominal fee to attend, like BathCamp did, would be a way to make sure people turned up? I don’t know what the answer is, but I really don’t want this trend to continue.
What I do need to applaud the organisers of BarCamp London 5 for though was the large number of newbie tickets. New people and diversity are the lifeblood of BarCamps, so it was fantastic seeing them going the extra mile to bring new people in. Likewise, the sponsors were great and a special “shout out” has to go to MyMuesli who provided some awesome custom muesli for breakfast on the Sunday morning which seemed to go down incredibly well.
I had a great time at BarCamp London 5, and I look forward to the next one. The only thing that could make it better would be if everyone turned up next time!
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