Re: [bloggercon-iv] Re: The Unconference Format
- But when everyone runs off and blogs the discussion or the panel, the
power dynamic shifts away from the "panel of experts" model. The DL still
frames the start of the discussion, true. But I like the idea of keeping
in mind that the conversation is like a blog. Mailing lists tend to
thread in ways that aren't very helpful for cross-talk, while blogs have a
lot more linking between different discussion threads or strands. Or at
least the potential for it.
Come to think of it, why don't we all have tags on our mailing list
emails? That would be quite useful!
On Wed, 21 Jun 2006, stephenjbuckley wrote:
> Dear Dave,
> It seems to me that your "Unconference format" is a face-to-face
> version of a email-listserv (aka email-group or "yahoogroup") with
> the Moderator acting as your "discussion leader".
> And when you mentioned, earlier, on your blog about about how
> frustrating it is, at a "panel discussion", for the audience to react
> with comments after the panelists are espousing, I thought, Gee,
> that's how *I* feel when I read someone's *blog*.
> Oh sure, I can comment on something the blogger said, but the format
> is geared toward the blogger, just as it is when you get to ask the
> guest lecturer a question. The resulting "discussion" always begins
> in reaction to the blogger.
> However, IMHO, an email-group (like this yahoogroup, of course) is
> much closer to this more egalitarian "Unconference format" that you
> describe than the format of a blog.
> I see a blog as a journal, with its "comments" as letters-to-the-
> editor. And that's okay, for the purpose of journalism.
> But if you want "user-centered technology" to emerge, then I believe
> that you and I are using it right now in this yahoogroup.
> So maybe there should be a cross-breed. I would be willing to pay to
> be able to replace the ads on Yahoogroups with GoogleAds.
> Stephen Buckley
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Dave Winer" <dave.winer@...>
> > BloggerCon is an unusual conference. We don't have speakers, panels
> > an audience. We do have discussions and sessions, and each session
> > a discussion leader.
> > ***The discussion leader
> > Think of the discussion leader as a reporter who is creating a story
> > with quotes from the people in the room. So, instead of having a
> > with an audience we just have people. We feel this more accurately
> > reflects what's going on. It's not uncommon for the audience at a
> > conference to have more expertise than the people who are speaking.
> > The discussion leader is also the editor, so if he or she feels
> that a
> > point has been made they must move on to the next point quickly. No
> > droning, no filibusters, no repeating an idea over and over.
> > The discussion leader can also call on people, so stay awake, you
> > might be the next person to speak! ;->
> > ***Think of it as a weblog
> > Think of the conference as if it were a weblog. At the beginning of
> > each session, the leader talks between five and fifteen minutes to
> > introduce the idea and some of the people in the room. Then she'll
> > point to someone else. She may ask a couple of questions to get them
> > going, then she'll point to someone else, then someone else, then
> > a comment, ask a question, etc. Each person talks for two to three
> > minutes. Long enough to make a point. About the time someone would
> > take if they called into a radio talk show.
> > We have a limited amount of time, and a group of participants whose
> > time is valuable. The leader's job is to make sure the show stays
> > interesting, even captivating. If it gets boring people will go out
> > the hall and schmooze, or focus their attention on the IRC channel,
> > read their email, or whatever. So the leader's job is to keep it
> > moving. Sometimes this means cutting people off.
> > ***How to prepare
> > Since every person in a session is considered an equal participant,
> > everyone should prepare at least a little. Think about the subject,
> > read the comments on the BloggerCon site. Follow weblogs from other
> > people who are paticipating. Think about what you want to get out of
> > the session, and what questions you wish to raise, and what
> > information or points of view you'd like to get from the session.
> > ***Everyone is a journalist
> > BloggerCon is an unusual conference in that almost everyone
> > participating writes publicly. So we assume that everyone present
> is a
> > journalist. Every badge is a press badge.
> > ***On the record
> > All conversations, whether to the entire room or one-to-one, unless
> > otherwise stated, clearly and up front, are on the record and for
> > attribution. You do not need to ask permission to quote something
> > hear at BloggerCon. Of course you may ask for permission to quote,
> > you may choose not to quote things you hear.
> > ***It's a user's conference
> > Where I come from, the technology world, most conferences are
> > around the vendors.
> > This is not like those conferences. Here, vendors are welcome, and
> > hope they will help by sponsoring a party, dinner or brunch, but
> > participate mainly by listening.
> > Most of the people who are talking are users. In my opinion, these
> > the revolutionaries. Vendors make a living by creating tools that
> > these people use to change the world. So much attention is focused
> > technology, too much imho. At this conference we turn it around and
> > focus on what people are doing with the technology.
> > So if you hear someone say it's about the technology, expect me to
> > challenge if I'm present. If not, stand up and say "That's not
> > Further, if they say the technology is too complicated for a user to
> > understand, ask them why, and if they could simplify it so we can
> > understand. And if not, why should we use it? Perhaps a new
> > user-centered philosophy will emerge.
> > ***Things we assume
> > Sometimes conferences bog down in meta-discussions, discussions
> > what it's okay to discuss. I want to try to head some of that off in
> > advance by stating some assumptions, and asking people who want to
> > discuss these things to either discuss them here on the Web
> > beforehand, or to find another venue to discuss them.
> > 1. Weblogs are journalism. Not all weblogs, and not all the time.
> > People have said weblogs aren't journalism, and that seems foolish,
> > strange as saying telephones aren't journalism. It's kind of a moot
> > question. Weblogs can be used for journalism, or not. When people
> > they're not journalism, I think they haven't thought it through well
> > enough.
> > 2. What is a weblog is an interesting question. At the Jupiter
> > conference when the question of what a weblog is came up some people
> > would say it's not a good question. At BloggerCon if you have an
> > that requires you to say or ask what a weblog is, please go ahead.
> > It's totally on-topic. I would consider the conference a success if
> > that's the only thing we figured out. (Chances are we won't, btw.)