How much should a committee member guide things at Rails Camp?

By Richie Khoo May 2012

RailsCamp represents an open space environment designed to be at the most open end of open space.

‘Following the guidelines of effective open space’ generally attendees should not be looking to formal leaders for what to do or not do during camp. There is a risk that committee members could become these de facto reference points and it’s worth taking effort to reduce this natural tendency and actively support the space to remain nice and open.

As a guideline it’s ok to outline meta discussions just before camp (ie before or at the start AND just after camp/at the end). And of course the General Meeting is a special space which once plenary is opened is definitely to be run by the committee. But apart from this committee members should not seek to assert authority at RailsCamp and if anything would be better off to generally defer their authority to the group.

This doesn’t mean don’t contribute and come up with ideas and discuss things and make things happen just be careful not to come across as ‘well I’m on the committee and I said so, that’s why’.

As a second rule of thumb the more ‘non committee members’ who are out and about and organising things and bringing up issues and getting people together and doing things, this is a sign of good health of the camp.

Even this discussion isn’t rules, it’s just my take on creating effective open spaces at a RailsCamp.

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