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There was some discussion in V'dibarta Bam recently, sparked by SethJ, about the idea of a Shabbaton to bring yodeyans together. Daniel brought up the idea of multiple simultaneous gatherings, so that more people can participate without traveling long distances.

What would be a good process for planning a complex event like this?

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Here's one way we could do it:

1. Choosing a date

  • A meta post goes up, soliciting suggested dates.
  • Anyone can suggest a date (or the person posting the meta post could just do this) by posting two answers: One for people who could travel on that date, and one for people who could participate in-place on that date.
  • People indicate on which dates they could, in principle participate by upvoting the appropriate answer[s]. If they expect, in principle, to be able to travel for that weekend, they should upvote both answers. If they expect, in principle, to be able to participate if the event happens to be in their own community, they should upvote the "in-place" answer.
  • Either the mods or community consensus uses the upvote data to choose a date.

2. Choosing locales

  • Once the date is chosen, a new meta post goes up, soliciting locales.
  • Anyone who is willing, in principle, to serve as a host in their own community on that date posts an answer identifying the community and their username. Hosting consists of finding lodging and meals for any out-of-town participants and arranging at least one Shabbat meal for all local and out-of-town participants to have together.
  • Anyone who is also willing to host in a community already listed adds their name to the corresponding answer. Communities that are within walking-distance of each other should be thus grouped as one community.
  • A mechanism is provided to allow people to privately indicate which communities they could attend, and whether they'd be traveling or local. This could be via a GDocs form that goes to a spreadsheet only the mods can see or by leaving comments on the answers for the communities they could attend and then deleting them.
  • The mods periodically count up the responses for each community and append tallies to the corresponding answers.
  • Either the mods or community consensus uses this data to designate official Shabbaton communities and hosts.

3. Choosing learning materials

  • In parallel with choosing locales, a meta post goes up, soliciting ideas for learning materials.
  • People answer the meta post with suggestions for material that Shabbaton participants will learn together.
  • This could be as simple as the weekly parasha and chapter of Avot.
  • Either the mods or community consensus uses the answers and voting data to designate official Shabbaton topics or learning materials.
  • Shabbaton participants are encouraged to use the designated materials for divrei Torah at meals, discussions at meals, chavruta learning, etc.

4. Planning Shabbaton activities

  • Shabbaton activities beyond straight-up learning, including perhaps some sort of after-Shabbat electronic meetup are brainstormed and planned using another meta post.

4. Official announcement

  • Once the date, locations, hosts, learning materials, and activites are designated, an official announcement is posted that lists all of the above, including the email address of one host for each location, so that people interested in participating at that location can get in touch in private.
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    FWIW, this list would be much simpler if the meetup happened on a Sunday. There'd be less need of hosting, fancy meals, extra activities etc. – Double AA May 5 '13 at 3:55
  • @DoubleAA, Good point. I somehow got fixated on the "Shabbaton" concept, in particular. – Isaac Moses May 5 '13 at 4:04
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    I'm guessing NYC is the largest single location of Yodeyans. Straw poll: vote up this comment if you would be interested in Sunday night dinner at a restaurant in NYC (or some event similar to that)? – Double AA May 5 '13 at 4:23
  • @DoubleAA That, and the Sunday dinner concept in general, is probably worth a separate meta post. – Isaac Moses May 5 '13 at 4:42
  • How many people would need to commit to a particular location for it to be "worth it" to do it there? – Daniel May 5 '13 at 7:08
  • @daniel, Probably very few. I think we'd have to see how it goes. – Isaac Moses May 5 '13 at 7:12
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    We could do a virtual "Yarchei Kallah" style program on a given Sunday. Get people together in central locations and then do a web feed between them. – Adam Simon May 5 '13 at 16:47
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    Or we could all meet in Israel for one month a year :) – Adam Simon May 5 '13 at 16:47

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