Conventions at Light Speed: What Hackers Can Learn From SF Fandom

Eric Steven Raymond

Revision History
Revision 2.09 July 2001esr
First DocBook version.
Revision 1.028 October 1998esr
First DocBook version.


Science-fiction fans have developed an excellent toolkit of techniques for running effective conventions and shows on a shoestring budget with all-volunteer staff. This document lays out some of the techniques for the use of people running Linux and open-source gatherings.

Table of Contents

Purpose of this document
Versions of this document
Feedback and corrections
Shaping the social space
Have a traffic focus during the day
Have a central hospitality suite at night
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Programming without bugs
Recruit gofers
Room monitors and rovers
Have a `green room'
Use badge ribbons
Show up a day early
Peer-to-peer communications
Have a voodoo board
Have a grafitti wall.
Recognition dots
Staff Organization
The convention committee
Convention chairperson
Convention vice-chair
Chief of programming
Chief of operations
Hotel liaison
Vendor relations
Core staff
Conclusion: Doing it with style

If you're looking at HTML through a Web browser, you can download SGML source or Postscript here.

This document will be updated as I think of things to add. (The hard part isn't writing them down, it's bringing to conscious attention things that I have soaked up through my pores over a period of many years.)

If you have questions or comments about this document, please feel free to mail Eric S. Raymond, at I welcome any suggestions or criticisms. If you find a mistake in this document, please let me know so I can correct it in the next version. Thanks.