Barcamp Mexico and Why the Noise Matters (or Never Mind the Valley, Here We Have Tequila)

The original idea for this post was to talk about the tech communities in Mexico and how it’s starting to become an interesting ecosystem where great ideas are starting to grow.

But, something happened this week in one of this communities that it’s really worth to talk about.

The disapproval by the community of the registry of the brand “Barcamp” in Mexico.

Everything began with a post by @_Hyde where he linked a document where @paw requested to legally own the brand Barcamp in Mexico and have all the legal power to all matters related (registering herself as the owner of those legal rights).

Apparently what @paw is trying to do is to become (as it is common in many open source software) to become the “Benevolent dictator for life” (like Guido van Rossum or Larry Wall) of this event in Mexico.

And the community didn’t like it, specially since there have been other (And much more successful) events like Destilando Web, SHDHMC, etc. that never felt the necessity of branding and even their organizers (@mpastrana, @lauradark, @cesarsalazar, @arturogarrido, @adanvecindad, @isopixel) always have said that they promote an decentralized control of them; letting the own community chose what this events will be about, and allowing to similar events to be taken place.

Chris Messina the creator of Barcamp stated that:

BarCamp has been and will continue to be, a Community Mark. The BarCamp community is a far better mechanism for detecting fraud and shutting it down than any obnoxiously-expensive legal department.

And in an email to @paw he stated the following:

That said, my continued concern about registering a BarCamp trademak is that does two things: 1 . It forces you to actually enforce the trademark. While this may not be a huge burden, per se. at least under US law. If you DON’T enforce your trademark, then you lose it. Are you ready/willing/able to enforce the BarCamp trademark if you find someone willfully violating it? 2. It can also create a chilling effect where Barcamps that otherwise would have been organized are not for the fear of having to pay to license the BarCamp name. […] Lastly in those cases where there are abuses have you reached out to the organizers and explained why they shouldn’t be calling their events BarCamps? Have you taken a more diplomatic way? I’ve historically found that that path works just as well – If not better– than the more controversial legal path. What do you say?

After all this @paw in an interview in the Akirareiko Late Night show stated that her intention was to create an non profit with the objective of protecting this brand. And she agreed to the following compromises:

1. Help in the organization of the non profit 2. Make and pay for the paperwork required for it and hand over the BarCamp trademark to it. 3. Create tools that help the organization of new BarCamps 4. To quit the non profit once it’s correctly established.

The truth is, in the end all this is just noise regarding the BarCamp event, and in a way is bringing back to life a Community that wasn’t mature enough to become an Non Profit but was mature enough as Chris Messina said (and also @adanvecindad and other twitters) can take care of themselves.

All this noise matters because like it happens in Dither with audio/image processing, it allows us to see patterns, to see around all this noise what’s really important.

And what’s important here is that in Mexico there are strong Tech Communities that get us closer to our true goal, to create a true Tequila Valley where great ideas are born, made and will make Mexico a stronger better Country.


Updates: Cesar Salazar’s meeting with Chris Messina (In Spanish)

Examples of noise: Techcrunch, ReadWriteWeb (Boulder, Los Angeles, Austin), Wikipedia scandals, etc.

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