SkeptiCamp NYC 2023 - Share the Apple of Knowledge   December 2nd, 2023
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Etymology of "SkeptiCamp"

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Where did the name "SkeptiCamp" come from?

SkeptiCamp is part of the 3rd generation of a branch of open conferences, or "unconferences", that started with something called Foo Camp. Its name reflects that heritage. Here is a brief history of how it came to be:

Foo Camp Logo   First, there was Foo Camp.
"Foo" is an acronym for "Friends of O'Reilly", referring to Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Media, a publisher of computer and technology related books.

"Camp" came from the fact that its everyone actually camped out overnight.

The first one took place in October of 2003. Tim still runs Foo Camps about once a year. Unlike its successors, this original "unconference" remains invitation only.
   Mitch Lampert and Tim O'Reilly at NYC's Web 2.0 Expo 2010
Mitch Lampert, founder of SkeptiCamp NYC, briefly met
Tim O'Reilly, founder of Foo Camp, on September of 2010.
BarCamp Logo   Then, there was BarCamp!
Unlike its predecessor, this "unconference" was open to everyoneAnyone can join and give presentations! And, BarCamps now take place all over the world, every year. Most of them focus on technology, just as Foo Camp did. But, a some of them have branched out into other specialized areas, including (but not limited to) banking, interactive media, and real estate. The first one took place August 2005.

BarCamp has nothing much to do with bars. Though, sometimes they meet in them.

The name actually a play on the word "Foobar", which is a term commonly used by software engineers as a placeholder for incomplete elements in their projects. (The word Foobar has its own rich etymology you can look into, though it might not be safe for work. Hint: The letter "F" was part of an acronym.)

It is relatively rare for people to actually camp out during  BarCamps. The last part of its name is now simply an artifact from its heritage.
   Original SkeptiCamp Logo
New SkeptiCamp Logo   Now, there is SkeptiCamp!
SkeptiCamp is very much like BarCamp, but it focuses on science and skepticism. As the popularity of science and critical thinking skills emerge, more such "camps" are bound to pop up across the world.

It was founded in 2007 by Reed Esau. About 14 of them took place in 2010, around the world. More than 10 have taken place in 2017.
SkeptiCamp NYC Logo   New York City held its first SkeptiCamp on December 6th, 2009. And, we continue running them every year.

For the year 2020, SkeptiCamp NYC was entirely live-streamed, for the first time, due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns.

It is common for regional BarCamps and SkeptiCamps to develop their own logo. Almost all of them use the BarCamp flame in some way.

    Other Camps
Many other unconferences now exist, for a wide variety of topics. Most of them are technology related. But, not all of them. These are just a few:
PodCamp   CloudCamp   reBarCamp
Skepchicamp   THATCamp   Transportation Camp

  Contact the Lead Organizer with your questions or comments: