FormStorm 3hour online edition - write up on Communication, Time, Roles

These write ups are to be compressed into The Read before The Form Storm Instruction&Code of Conduct.

As I mentioned in the Preparedness, Homework and Priorities Write Up, we don’t need to reinvent anything but to borrow and remix.

So the preparation stage looks like the standard preparation to the academic conf workshop. The actual 3 hours have a spirit of a hackathon, but reduced and distilled to 3 hours length. Sounds quite scary, but we will deal with burn-out prevention later. The format that I would like to borrow and remix is the one from LOTE3, I think it was The unRule Session, and it was a very neatly structured 3 teams session with reporting. If you can find it, please ping me, I should link it to this post.

So how do we squeeze a hackathon into 3 hours event.

There will be several forms, corresponding to the number of projects. Each project/form has a separate group of FormStormers.

The main point of the FormStorm and each form/project group working simultaneously is p2p support, skill&valuable info sharing, peer-review and other aid to stay motivated and make sense.

So the groups should communicate.

I suggest, we look into these types of communication (use them all or make a pick):

  • Hourly group to group crash-presentation. (Q: should it be hourly or other?)

    And types of communication which correspond to the roles. The choice of roles depends on whether the FormStormer prefers to function in a lightbulb mode or in a laser.

    • Laser Mode is good for finding key words in your own form, formulating questions and filling in forms carefully.
    • Light Bulb Mode (good for spying and answering questions) has two roles.
  • FormStormers Free to Ping: one per group individual who is volunteering to be bothered by other group with questions and cries for help while others are 100% concentrating on the form.

    The Free To Ping One should not be doing nothing, though. Should be focusing on the form too, just not be irritated when asked for help by members of another group.

    The Free to Ping One is better be one individual throughout the whole FormStorm, to prevent the whole group from going HDAD, forgetting which form is theirs and mixing it all up.

    The Free To Ping One, ideally self-selected according.

  • Spies. FormStormers who can peek into another group to see how is it going, and  choose which group to interact with during the hourly one.

We can remix a format I’ve seen at LOTE3 and customize it for FormStorm. It was very structured, I like it.


The FormStorm can either be opened with

  • a short, very short pitch. The necessity of the pitch depends on the level of preparedness, acquaintance with the forms/projects of others, ideas about who knows what in which group, and main problems that each groups are facing. Thats a lot of information, so 1point to the high level of preparedness.
  • mixing groups&matching knowledge/skills with problems

for that we will need to have rough ideas about fields of expertise of each FormStormer.


Contrary to the standard format of brainstorming, the divergence and chaos of creativity can either happen before the FormStorm or not happen at all, because its the stage which is the most difficult to close and move on.

However, little bit of chaos of creativity and deconstruction can save projects which are stuck by applying a bit more radical solutions, such as:

“your project sucks, my project sucks, but is we merge them two it’s all good.”

This will not necessarily happen, but is possible.


I think this is the time for the final peer-review and very final brush up.

Chocolate ice cream, a nap.

FormStorm will also needs overall facilitation and might benefit from helpers which don’t have projects and forms at the moment, but would like to help out with something.

This is a lot of people. I will do tech challenges and how to go about it in a separate write up.

Very good start!

I like this, there’s a lot of good stuff already. Free To Ping, Laser Mode vs. Light Bulb Mode… This works already.

I would recommend leaving each participant free to decide how much she wants to share about their own project. The implication is that people are encouraged to share, but not obliged to do so. This should reduce the fear of “being copied”, which in my experience is typical of weak projects but there you go.

In the Euro Soc Inno Comp Form Storm – if it happens – I volunteer to be Free To Ping, of course.


You’re right, [Alberto], IP is a very important part of it. I need to have an entire section on that in the Code of Conduct&Instructions for the FormStorm 3hours Online Edition (strawberry flavour).

Speaking of which, these write ups are ingredients for me to cook it. Was in a hangout with [AD_admin] and [fortyfoxes] today, and it became more clear what the FormStorm Code of Conduct/Instructions should be. Methodology Coded for Humans and Other Machines was mentioned. But, as I’m not a coder myself, will be hassling people to rede me on that.

Sections (preliminarily)

• Prep

• Tech/infrastructure

• Time management/facilitation

• Roles

• IP rules

something else?