I had a look through the preliminary survey results from the FUDCon we had in Toronto. I'll have more comments later about the future of FUDCon Live, but one things struck me as worth commenting on. Among the usual gripes and comments about the location, time of the year, and the colour of their wished for ponies, i saw a number of complaints and comments about the quality of the BarCamp planning. There were also gripes that FUDCon is not a planning event. I think this reflects a change in audience since the humble origins of FUDCon.
I will agree and say that it was chaotic and a bit tricky to manage. It's been this way for the past few FUDCons i've been too, owing to the sheer amount of people who have something to talk about. Furthermore, this is exactly the way a BarCamp should be, everyone should have something to contribute in one way or another. The question is, can this scale? My answer, yes it can.
At the GSoC Mentor Summit we had another BarCamp. With a few hundred people in attendance, i never felt like there was so much going on that i would miss something critical. I contribute this to a few factors. There were fewer pitches per attendant. The topics presented were far broader in scope than a FUDCon. We had two days of sessions, and finally, the true value of the Mentor Summit was being able to meet people face to face, and not focus on the BarCamp.
I think it's time to revisit the way we organise our BarCamp sessions. I'm going to start making propositions for changes on the FUDCon mailing list to see what we can do.