Conference techniques

The discussions will be geared towards usage of unconference techniques rather than more traditional panel debates. Traditional panel debates uses an panel of knowledgeable people who express their opinions and discuss between them self (mostly) how to tackle an issue. This works well for large crowds and situations where there’s a big differences in knowledge between the crowd and the panel participants.

On the other hand, why assume that the crowd shouldn’t be the most active part of the discussion? Our Guiding principles are “stolen” from Open space technology guiding principles and Snorfcon 2010 is inspired by BarCamp for opensource IT industry professionals.

we will be using two basic unconference discussion techniques called ‘Lightning talks’ and two varieties of ‘Fishbowl discussion’. Short presentations will be given as lightning talks (without projectors) and longer presentations will be given as presentations(with projector and white boards) before fishbowl discussions.

Lightning talks
Lightning talks are geared towards multiple short presentations(5-10 min.) presented during the same time period. 5-6 listeners get to hear a presentation, have 5 minutes to discuss and ask questions before they pick another presentation that interest them and the whole cycle is repeated. This allows people to pick the most interesting presentations and the presenters to deal with only 5-6 persons at once.

Closed Fishbowl
(Closed) Fishbowl conversations are ideal for groups of 15-45 that don’t know each other but can easily be divided into groups according to interests. For example by interest organizing cons for Anime, roleplaying, media, sci-fi etc. At the beginning people choose to belong to a one of the interest groups and each group gathers separately.

Each group then gets 5-10 minutes to write down 3 questions to each of the other groups. (3 groups x 3 questions = 9 questions in total). Then everyone gathers together, places all the chairs in a room around a central circle before one of the groups sits down in the centre. The central group then gets 25 minutes to discuss openly between themself and answer the questions in any order and way they wish to. The central group is allowed to change topics and follow the most interesting topics but is encouraged to at least try to answer all the questions put forth.

The outer groups are _NOT_ allowed to ask questions or interrupt during the 25 minutes. Finally the inner group has 5 minutes to answer questions from the outer groups. After 30 minutes(or so) a new group enters the fishbowl to replace the previous one and the procedure is repeated until all groups have been in the fishbowl.

Open Fishbowl
(Open) Fishbowl conversations becomes useful for groups of people starts to grow from 10 and upwards to 100 or so. It is _NOT_ as useful for introductions as Closed Fishbowl, but doesn’t require such a sharp division along interests. A presenter initiates by giving a 15-25 minutes presentation. After that the chairs are arranged in a fishbowl circle.

Unlike the closed fishbowl there will be only 5-6 chairs in the centre of the fishbowl and at all times one chair has to be kept empty. Enough voluenteers start the discussion by walking into the centre and then present their thoughts but leave a single chair empty. If someone wish to comment or somehow participate they must sit down in the empty chair and the person that has been sitting the LONGEST TIME in the fishbowl _has_ to leave. This encourages people to present their thoughts immediately as they enter the fishbowl, be prepared to defend them but it also discourages people on the outer circle from interupting since they have to plan what they want to say before they enter the fishbowl.