Ruby DCamp - a Ruby unconference to be held in DC


A few words from Chad F., at the beginning of RailsConf, set my
head spinning. Chad said, “I don’t do well in classroom
environments”. Ironically, the conventional Ruby conference seems to
adhere closely to a college lecture model.

Self, I thought, it’s time to change that.

After several small discussions with people far and near, I wrote a
blog post. Out of that blog post grew a confidence that I was onto

That something was this: Let’s take this whole “conference thing” and
turn it upside down.

Yes, a Ruby unconference – but not exactly a BarCamp (or so I’m

BarCamps, as I understand it, tend to have presentations. This
assumes that the person at the head of the room is going to impart
some special knowledge upon you (ala the traditional conference model)
that you are willing to sit on your bum and listen to for 45 minutes.

In my naiveté, I hold to the belief that most of us in the Ruby
community, early adopters that we still are, all have something to

With Ruby DCamp the ‘m’ is an afterthought. Think “Decap” as in
“removing the head” – or the talking heads in this case. This
unconference is about YOU and not some yutz with a Keynote
presentation at the head of the room. YOU decide the topics of
DCamp. YOU make the discussion/hackfest/whatever-the-format-of-the-
session happen. Yes, we may have a “facilitator” in each room to
ensure that no one person monopolizes the whole conversation. Also,
for those introverts who prefer to talk on IRC instead of exhalation
of breath modulated by tongue, teeth, and lips into sound, we’ve
discussed placing a projector/display in each room to display the IRC
chatter for each session’s IRC channel so that even the peanut gallery
can be involved (if they so choose).

So far, all that has been decided is that October seems like a good
target, that we should find a location that is metro accessible to
facilitate attendance by DC locals and out-of-towners staying near a
metro, that “we” (those people that I’ve spoken with) believe that a
two day unconference on a Saturday and Sunday sounds good, and that
the content of DCamp will be decided by registered attendees by
submitting and voting on activities (topical discussion, topical panel
discussion, some focused hackfest, etc., YOU ALL CHOOSE) to a Reddit-
like site (TBD), and that we should have a “hallway” like space ala
RailsConf where people who want to just do their thing can, as always,
just do their thing.

Sponsors are welcome. We are actively pursuing a venue as well.
Notionally, the current ideal space would be four-ish contiguous
classroom-like spaces that may be easily reconfigured (removable walls
would be sweet). GWU may be able to offer up a space but it is a
single room, a bit small-ish, and there is no cellphone signal in the
room to speak of (perhaps not a bad thing). This could be a workable
backup plan.

Those who wish to help organize, make suggestions/provide input, or
can point us at resources should subscribe to and chat on
[email protected]

Hope to see you on the mailing list and at Ruby DCamp.

Evan Light
Ruby DCamp ‘Curator’