First up, introductions and issues of interest to the room. The format for this event is somewhat unique, in that the topics and issues discussed are somewhat emergent. Each session is led off by some short presentation, but the conversation among the 100 or so attendees is the focus. There are time slots where anyone can hook up or just take the main table and talk about whatever is on their mind; and there is a large slice of time where the topics and topic leaders are volunteered from the audience. The groups then meet and discuss, and report back to the whole. Finally, and most enjoyable last year, was the occasional live IRC feed (closed to attendees only) that appeared behind the speaker's head during a session. I am looking forward to that feature again this year.
Sample questions from the intro, where we were asked to detail a question or conversation we'd like to discuss this week:
"How do you deal with categorizations that then need to be changed?"
"How do we balance needs of corporate sponsors with those of the community?"
"How do you build effective communities for smaller groups, such as parents of pre-teens in specific geographic regions?"
"Are new technologies really leading to social change?"
"How can feeding community data back to the members help change behaviors?"
"How do I develop a strategy for managing the behavior of super-users?"
"How do we use these communities to be more active and self-aware offline?"
"How can a social benefit organization connect to other like-minded communities?"
"How do we realize the promise of crowd-sourcing in online communities?"
"Need stories about how peer-to-peer networks have been successful in the past."
"Interested in automated moderation versus hands-on moderation and how that affects the quality of the community?"
"How are we beginning to use mobile handsets to extend the reach of online communities?"
"Anyone here have experience starting a community in China?"
"How can we incorporate community information into other social media?"
"At what point do comments become a discussion board?"
"How do we get great teachers to mentor other teachers using the website?"
"What incentives are useful once the newness wears off?"
"How can we deploy multi-lingual communities?"
"How do you measure the effectiveness of a truly viral online campaign?"
"How can we sustain a thriving community if members have to use their real name and reveal their real companies?"
"How can you port reputation and identity across multiple social software sites?"