Transparency Camp West 2009 is over. Not quite as many people as we had hoped, but exactly the number we predicted, and a mostly productive group.
It's an interesting puzzle of how to manage sign-ups. In this case and other, we and whomever we are hosting want our event to be open to the universe of interested people, so we make the event free, but since our numbers need to be limited in order to have a productive meeting, we limit registration. People sign up, either because they might come or to show support for the organization we're hosting, or for the topic, but they don't attend, taking seats away from people who actually would attend.
One idea, suggested by one of the terrific crew at the Sunlight Foundation, is to charge a $20 "reservation donation", and refund it at the door. Anyone who doesn't show has just made a donation to the org - or we mail them a $20. Thoughts? Evil or practical?
I'd also love to find a way to prevent the inevitable attendance by relentless self promoters who come only to hunt for people to hire them, sometimes for completely off topic work. And the mercifully infrequent people with "issues". Ever been to an open mike meeting of any San Francisco or Berkeley political body? Yup - like that.