BCB 5 over BCB 4 – What can be better

I’ve been on the Barcamp mailing list and I’ve been following the “post barcamp” discussion. While Barcamp itself was successful, this being the biggest Barcamp ever, in the world; there was discontentment and a longing for improvement in the next iteration of the event (which by the way has been tentatively scheduled for November of this year)

Issues I identified which could have been better or should be next time (This is my opinion and open for discussion)

Main points

  • Too many tracks, too little time. The sheer number of collectives was overwhelming.
  • Too many newbies, not enough interaction
  • Giving tees on day 2 was a good idea
  • Entry fees goes against barcamp philosophy (already agreed upon)

How/what we should change:

Change in facilities

  • Have fewer projectors. Allocate them only who really need it
  • Let anyone initiate a discussion. But to make a formal announcement, the initiator needs at least 5 participants(including or excluding the initiator. That’s a no point). Otherwise they can still have the discussion but no formal announcement (via sms)
  • In addition to collective charts, have a couple of impromptu talk/discussion charts. Slight conflict with the previous point. Need to resolve that. If we have these, have them in more replications so that participants don’t have to go from one end to the other to check the posters
  • Preferably, try to get the rooms/auditorium closer to each other as compared to bcb4

Possible alleviations

  • Don’t prefer to have formal talks by one speaker. Encourage discussions
  • But do keep a few slots for formal talks; ‘presentation’ if you want to call it. Call for presentation ppt in advance to filter/approve and pass the presentations and then assign the formal presentation slots. Some might argue that it is against the spirit of barcamp. My opinion is that it’s a barcamp. We can add a limited number of those to mix up types of interaction. There are no formal rules. Let’s define for our convenience
  • Noticed that a couple of collectives were trying to be too organized so time management was an issue
  • A lot of of talks were talks. And not discussions as it should have been. Demos, prod launches are exceptions
  • Educate collective leaders on how to lead more effectively. Encourage more BOFs(birds of a feather)
  • Stress on participants that those who are a part of one collective can attend other talks and they don’t necessarily have to sit through all talks to attend just one talk

Lastly, my pics from BCB4 have been uploaded to a Flickr Set.


  1. Pramod Biligiri August 2, 2007

    I really enjoyed Day 1 though I woke up too late to make it for Day 2.

    I too felt there were too many things going on at one time and spread far apart. A 2-3 hour hackfest during the day instead of the night maybe? Perhaps lovers of different languages/frameworks can use their tool of choice and later compare outputs – we could have had Flex, Silverlight devs compete this time considering both Adobe and MS were there.

    I think if the number of people cross 300, you’ll end up in a FOSS.IN situation. Smaller and more informal, the better.

    To avoid “talks”, set up a panel of 2-3 people to instead “discuss” the talk. Once they set the conversational tone, ppl will feel it easier to pitch in with questions, comments. With a projector and one guy on a monologue, it becomes a classroom. It happened with the “Integrated Code generation” talk in the Java track.

  2. AJ August 2, 2007

    I agree with you on most points.. The hackfest will depend on the participants and someone will have to organize it. It was scheduled for day one but was canceled due to weather.

    The point of Barcamp is not limiting of people. We cannot and should not. But what we should try is for much higher interaction and participation.

    And lastly, I completely agree with the talks. That is one of the points I’ve tried to stress on in the post :)

  3. Piyush Gupta August 2, 2007

    Good to see someone else also bringing awareness about the improvements that the Barcamp needs.

    I also appreciate your to the point talks. I take this from you.

    I was also thinking like the Blogger’s group, it will also be a good idea to form Bangalore XYZ groups based on other collectives (of course the ones which doesn’t exist). This way a better plan to for remaining un-planned can be worked out.

    I observed that the Blogger’s collective was the most efficient one in terms of information dissemination as the speakers & lead guys knew each other beforehand and had better understanding.

    However, it is just a thought, may be people reading your blog can comment on its pros & cons.

  4. Manikandan August 3, 2007

    Is there any way i could get to know of when the next barcamp will be held?Missed out on this one since i came to know of it at the last minute.If you could mention some mailing list or something,it will be greatly appreciated.

  5. AJ August 3, 2007

    Hi Manikandan,
    You can either watch the barcamp wiki @ http://barcampbangalore.org/wiki/Main_Page
    And/Or subscribe to the Yahoo groups @ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bangalore_barcamp/

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