Talks for the day (or more) will ultimately fall into time slots and in some cases room assignments. Those in the role of Scheduling Czar are responsible for coordinating this effort.
There should be a column on the event page for participants to indicate the topic of their talk, its expected length and any specialized needs.
This will help the Scheduling Czar plan for the event. It will also allow other participants anticipate what sorts of talks will be offered for the day.
The role of Scheduling Czar
The responsibilities of this role depend on how you want to manage scheduling of speakers and breaks on the day of the event.
Note that this does not mean the Scheduling Czar is curating the talks. These are open events that welcome speakers, including first-time speakers as well as the underrepresented and outsiders.
This person should consult with the other organizers to determine what blocks of time are available to fill. For example, Fri 7p-11p and Sat 1p-6p. Also to determine lengths and frequency of breaks.
Note that there may be some speakers who sign up with topics that are clearly not pertinent to the theme of Skepticamp (science, skepticism and critical thinking, i.e.) The Scheduling Czar is responsible for saying 'No'. Where it's not clear if a topic is out-of-scope, he or she should consult with the other organizers on making a fair decision.
There are generally two different policies on scheduling: speakers can be scheduled either before the event, or on the day of the event.
The exact policy you choose should ideally be a collaborative decision amongst all organizers.
Skepticamps have been held using either of the policies below. Each has its pros and cons.
Before the event
Some BarCamps and SkeptiCamps will schedule speakers prior to the day of the event.
Scheduling before the event provides a level of predictability and scales well to larger events.
On the downside, some speakers will only show up at their allotted time and leave immediately afterward.
It can also be a political hot potato, as some speakers will feel slighted by a process that is perceived to favor insiders.
If pursuing this approach, care must be taken to make it as transparent and fair as possible.
Some BarCamps have allowed speakers to claim time slots and room assignments online.
Morning of the event
Scheduling on the morning of the event is a common BarCamp practice.
Basically, the day starts with a brief session describing how the scheduling will work. Speakers can fill out cards with their topic and a brief summary. Some BarCamps have had speakers offer three-word descriptions of their talk to all the participants at this time.
Then when announced, speakers approach a large wall to post their cards to claim their room assignment. It is entirely a first come, first served basis.
Care should be taken to inform the speakers beforehand to show up at the appointed time so that they will be able to acquire a time slots and room assignments. See What Went Wrong for details on what happens with this approach if communication is ineffective.
- Organize A Local BarCamp - valuable lessons can be learned by studying BarCamp experiences