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"Fishbowl Debate" at NetBeans Day Seattle

Posted by timboudreau on September 2, 2006 at 9:10 AM PDT

We've made some progress on the "unconference" hour at NetBeans Day Seattle - it's sure to be interesting. I'm still looking for theme/topic suggestions from people who plan to attend - please post them here (or wherever you want, but tell me about them).

I was talking with friend and colleague
Simon Phipps, who suggested the "fishbowl debate" format for it. How this works, more or less:

  • You have a table with 6 chairs onstage (well, ideally it's done in the round, but in Seattle the chairs will be bolted down)
  • At any time 5 people are seated, discussing a topic of interest to all of them
  • One chair is always empty; when someone in the audience hears something they strongly feel they have something to say about, they get up and go sit in the sixth chair; at that point one person who was already seated gets up and takes a seat back in the audience

The idea is to have an group-driven discussion driven by people who really care about the topic.

For the record, the topic will not be "why is NetBeans great" or something like that :-) One theme that seems worth pursuing is "What takes too much time when you're writing code"; I can think of others, but what's more important is that you think of the themes/topics - if you've got ideas for topics you really care about, feel free to suggest them below.

Probably 3-4 themes will do the trick for a one-hour event, so we don't even need that many. What I'm most concerned about right now is making it a fun and interesting time for all.

Thoughts?

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