Mixing curation and crowdsourcing in skeptic event planning

Neil Degrasse Tyson at TAM9

Neil deGrasse Tyson at TAM9 by Jamie Bernstein, licensed CC BY-SA 3.0

As the annual schedule of skeptic and freethought events continues to expand, there’s more variation and experimentation going on. Specifically, some skeptic conferences are mixing old and new techniques in creating their schedule of events. They’re combining old-school curation with newer crowdsourcing techniques.

Traditional skeptic conferences – those run by CFI, JREF and so on – have been heavily curated affairs. The sponsoring organization and planning committee have complete control over all content presented, which is sometimes planned up to a year in advance. One slight exception are the Sunday Papers at The Amazing Meeting, which has an open submission process with an approval committee.

In 2007 my friend Reed Esau broke the mold by bringing the “unconference” model (from the world of high-tech) to skeptic events, and Skepticamp was born. These events solicit all their presentations from attendees, and only lightly curate the content (if at all). This idea was borrowed from the high tech world where the constant need for new knowledge and skills transfer did not fit well with the curated model. (The high-tech prototype for Skepticamp was called Barcamp). Reed’s idea has been very successful – there have been 84 events held since the first one in 2007, and they’ve been held all over the world.

Now in 2014, several skeptic/secular events are starting to experiment in other ways. Find how after the jump.

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#TAM2012 Video: Skeptic Crowdsourcing Workshop

The James Randi Educational Foundation has posted video from the workshop I hosted at The Amazing Meeting (#TAM2012) last July.  Here it is:

 

Useful links from the workshop were previously posted.

You can also watch and read my plenary address (which covers some closely related topics) here on the blog. Other posts about TAM2012 are here as well.

Thank you to Derek Colanduno of Skepticality and Shane Greenup of RBUTR, both of whom you will see here presenting sections of the workshop.

This year’s Amazing Meeting 2013 will be held July 11 – 14, 2013 in Las Vegas.

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