[Hacker-event-theory] turning feedback from ohm into learning points

Nick Farr nick at nickfarr.org
Fri Apr 4 01:38:23 CEST 2014

On 04/03/2014 06:05 PM, Eelco Hotting wrote:
> Commenting on some of the issues mentioned by Rejo.

I meant to comment on them as well, in an overview sense, but it seems
Eelco beat me to the most salient points.

>> - during buildup and teardown - power should be available during
>> buildup as soon as possible and during teardown as possible -
>> toilets (and possibly showers?) should be available during buildup 
>> as soon as possible during teardown as possible - water should be
>> available during buidup as soon as possible during teardown as
>> possible

Sadly, the remoteness of the location was its downfall in this respect.
HAR succeeded because there was very little infrastructure to build when
compared with OHM.

In looking at a future site, it should have some kind of permanent
sleeping and sanitation facilities available for build-up and teardown
as well as sufficient grid power for these activities.

> Portacabins are only necessary if no permanent structures are
> available. It was a nice solution for OHM2013, but at HAR2009 there
> was no need for them. Maybe rephrase this to something like:
> "From the first day of build-up, there has to be a (semi) permanent
> structure that serves as a safe base to work from. This base should be
> available from the first day of buildup to the last day of tear-down.
> Whatever the weather conditions, this is the one place where you don't
> have to worry about staying dry and where the crew can focus on making
> the right decisions to get things done."

That sounds like a good way of compressing what I said above, with the

"Try to find a location that is remote, but not entirely without
infrastructure. A location that has sufficient grid power, shelter,
water and sewage facilities for the setup and teardown is ideal."

>> - volunteer - volunteer desk should be (in) the center of the camp 

The Info Desk, Help Desk(s), Speaker Desk/Dispatch and Volunteer
Desk/Dispatch and Volunteer Lounge should be clustered together.  They
should be in a very central location unless there's a compelling reason
to do otherwise. (i.e. the Angel Bunker at CCCamp.)

It's best to have ONE place for people to go to sort out their issues,
and have volunteers to help sort those issues within shouting distance.

Orga, NOC, Medical, Transportation and other functions should be on the
edges of the grounds since those functions need to be bothered as little
as possible.

>> - internet should be available during buildup in the vicinity of
>> NOC only and to NOC-staff only elsewhere

> Almost every volunteer needs internet, both for his job as for
> motivation. This should be discussed further. It was subject of some
> heated debates during HAR2009 and OHM2013 as well. :)

It should also be in the volunteer lounge, and the various desks
mentioned above.

If you need volunteers for an urgent task, it's best to have them
clustered in a single spot where you have them when you need them.  What
better way to cluster nerds than have them where the internet is?

>> - event may end on friday, so there are two more days for
>> volunteers without volunteers taking additional days off (initial
>> loss of participants shouldn't be a problem, there are more than
>> enough visitors) - 

I'm against this idea...since it precludes those attendees who can only
join on the weekends.

>> teams should be mixed of NL and DE volunteers, site takes precedence

The teams that do most of these things are already set and organic. The
NOC folks are the same at every event, it should be more or less like
that with every team except content and core orga.

>> - sanitary requirements - sinks to do the dishes should be
>> available (there were some, for sure, but possibly not enough?)

This is not the orga's problem to solve. It's camping, bring your own
bucket and drying rack to do dishes in. What's next, washing machines?

>> - financial - expences made during the event should be registered
>> in a system right away (preferably, there is a system that allows
>> the volunteer to enter the details in the system themselves and
>> have the volunteer attach a scan of the invoice immediately)
> Would be very nice to have software available to support this. We had
> arranged the CCC Koln cash desks, sadly this arrangement was aborted
> due to Foxgate. But yes, an hosted solution on site would be best.

The event ticketing system should remain entirely separate from any
other finance process.  Really, every finance process should remain

As far as reimbursement or other things, there should be a "finance help
desk" where people can submit something for reimbursement. They fill out
a form, tape their receipt to the back of it, and the help desk scans it
for the back office and hands it back to the requester.

Once the back office approves the expense, they can pick up their cash
reimbursement at the ticket office in exchange for their receipt and form.

>> - Internal communication (as in, between the teams, etc) and 
>> organisation.
> Too vague :p

I hate to say it, but all you really need are a mailing list, a wiki and
a trouble ticket system for discussion, documentation and issue
resolution respectively.

Moving too much away from that system and you start to lose people

>> - Policy on sponsor deals. Suggestions for the criteria for
>> accepting deals, no-go's, how to setup a deal (e.g. do you need to
>> put something on paper), etc.

The CCC sponsorship policy is basically the same as Bits of Freedom. You
have to borrow gear from certain places, so be it...thank them at the
closing ceremonies.

No logos, no cash donations

As far as getting corporate money, you do that through "Business
Tickets". I forget what the EU rules are, but the expensive Business
Ticket is the only way you get the proper paperwork to classify it as a
business expense.

One other strategy is releasing the Business Tickets before the other ones.

Another strategy is offering things like golf carts, cabins or other
area fixed accommodations at corporate inflated prices.

>> - Characteristics and quality of the field. For example, it should
>> be compact, but not dense, it should have attractive and distinct 
>> landmarks like trees, hangars, etc. Think of additional spaces 
>> needed, like parking lots and possibly other designated areas.
> The deal (or claim) for the right site should be made more than one
> year before the event, to prevent the best sites being gone already.
> Which means the selection of the site should be started around 1.5
> year before the event.

Honestly, you should book it several years in advance. There's nothing
stopping you from looking now and booking for 2017.

> We ended up on Geestmerambacht because all other good options failed
> one by one. The Netherlands as only a few areas that are suitable for
> our kind of events, adding additional requirements like sanitation and
> nice scenery brings that number down to a handful.

I hate to channel the ghost of Rop here, but have you considered
locations right across the border in Germany or Belgium?

Location scouting is always the hardest thing.

>> - Food. Mostly guidelines only, although availability of vegetarian
>>  food can be a requirement (including diversity) and something on
>> the food for volunteers.
> Food for volunteers should be available at large quantities in good
> quality. Budget is not really the issue. The only problem to solve is
> how to make sure only those people who work for it make use of it.

However, it shouldn't be wasted. The people who run the CCC kitchen have
this function down pretty well. This isn't something that needs to be
reinvented in that respect.

>> - Policy on cars of visitors: cars on terrain, location of parking
>> lot.
> Depends on location what is preferable. In general, no cars on
> terrain, not even crew cars.

This is a Health and Safety issue.  There should be a "car camping"
field that is very close to the roadway and the edge of the terrain, but
no cars on the terrain itself except in mobility circumstances (i.e.
person with MS, etc.)

>> - Transportation between storage at hackerspaces and field should
>> be better, I can't tell what is needed.
> The transportation itself was quite good, the actual problem is having
> no storage available. Which resulted in bringing bits to all kinds of
> places across the country.

I don't know if this is an option, but here we just plop containers down
and have them get picked up again when we need something.

There's also the idea of reducing down to what you absolutely need and
letting everything else go. It's camping, not temporary comfort
structure rebuilding.

>> - Communication of programm changes. Not sure how to solve this.


You've got a time and a place, you either make it or you don't.

Aside from that, a whiteboard, chalkboard, magnet letter board or other
low-tech solution is perfect for each event space.  Don't waste power on
things people can look up on the wi-fi on their cell phone.

>> - Four messages of feedback were mentioning the OHM-coins. Ditch
>> them. Don't know about the alternative - apart from regular money.
> Regular money is the only alternative. It works at CCC, should work on
> our events.

A-MEN. Fuck those plastic coins, there's no reason for them. The lost
revenue from people simply giving up and doing something else more than
covers whatever shrink there is from not using the coins.  Plus, the
machines were bonked more than 10% of the time--what lost revenue
happened there?

There is also such a thing as a temporary ATM or having an ATM near the
terrain for people to use (and a shuttle to take them there.)

Nick Farr
***NOTE NEW PHONE NUMBER:*** +1 917 471 2219
D762E03B / N0FAR
Church Street Station / PO BOX 3471 / NY NY 10008-3471 / USA

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 230 bytes
Desc: OpenPGP digital signature
URL: <http://lists.hackerspaces.org/pipermail/hacker-event-theory/attachments/20140403/f24f4c22/attachment-0001.pgp>

More information about the Hacker-event-theory mailing list