Tag Archives: curation

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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Please Don’t Start Another Blog or Podcast!

Update June 29: Now with video.

My presentation at SkeptiCamp Atlanta 2011 this past weekend was titled “Please Don’t Start Another Blog or Podcast!” I chose that title deliberately to to be a little controversial, of course. It verges on ridiculous for someone who both blogs and podcasts to tell others not to do either.

My real point is to highlight the many other online activities skeptics can engage in that are important and make a difference. Regular readers of this blog (all three of you) will find some familiar topics in this. See below for links to the slides, an audio version and other supplemental information.

The video includes some introductory material from SkeptiCamp, the main presentation starts at 6:26. If you prefer to listen on the go, you can hear the audio for this presentation on the Skepticality podcast #158 “Return to Lake Skepticamp.” The audio of the presentation itself starts at about 20 minutes in to the episode. You will hear in both the video and audio that I originally miscounted my subtopics, I say seven and the audience corrects me. This has been corrected in the slides seen after the break.

Continue reading after the break for my slides and a list of links that to more information (mostly prior posts on this blog) that expand on each of the topics I cover in the presentation.

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Finding good content via aggregators & portals

The previous post was about measuring the embarrassment of riches we have in skeptical podcasting content. I’m continuing my survey of what is out there in other skeptical content, such as blogs and videos. "needle in a haystack" photo by Amy Veeninga via Flickr But perhaps now is a good time to talk about how skeptics can deal with this flood of great material. How exactly do you find the good, relevant content you need when you need it? How do you find that needle in the haystack?

The usual method – a search engine – can be quite problematic for skeptics. Searching on most skeptic-relevant keywords produces results that are littered with the very misinformation that we are trying to fight against. Adding words like “debunk” or “skeptic” to your search might help a little, but some misinformation merchants deliberately appropriate these terms to add to their own credibility.

What we need are lists and collections of the good skeptic content so we can find what we need within it more easily. I could have used an updated canonical list of skeptic podcasts for my last post, but I couldn’t find one – so I had to create it. But now some are stepping up to create these types of curated meta-resources. In fact, a brand new one is launching today (June 1)! Find out about it and others after the break.

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