Volunteering Guide

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Warning: May contain volunteers

Welcome to the MCH volunteering page. This page has the goal to make it easy to understand MCH and start contributing to it. You'll find information on why this event exist, how it is organized, how decisions are made and how you can contribute.


Why is there an MCH2021?

Ultimately MCH wants to share knowledge about hacking with the world. This helps improve the world by making technology accessible, sharable and understandable. We believe that sharing this knowledge creates a better world: whatever this knowledge entails. From creative use to technology to actual creation and philosophy. Therefore the range of knowledge and programmed content is very broad, but always leans towards technology and systems.

People that subscribe to this goal found that this can be done in various ways, but the ultimate would be to create a temporary outdoor physical utopia. Also known as a "hacker camp". These are organized since 1993.

MCH can be described as two things:

  1. a physical event where people that like hacking / having a deep passion for technology meet and elevate each other.
  2. a place where knowledge is presented on stages and archived on the internet for anyone to see, use and access.


How is MCH2021 organized?

Teams interact with each other and form a cloud communication.

MCH is organized in various ways. Most importantly it is organized by volunteers who assemble in groups about a specific subject. Legally MCH is organized by the IFCAT foundation: it performs bureaucratic work on request of the organization. The foundation has handed off all operational decisions to volunteers / teams: aka (to be) experts.

Organizational Concepts

A team and its ingredients.

MCH2021 is a fully volunteer driven event. But where do you start volunteering? Knowing what the structure looks like might help.

A simple view of MCH yields the following six key concepts:

  • Roles: description of responsibilities. It is a description of 'what' the team should accomplish, it does not state 'how' something needs to be done. For example: the 'Deco' role states "make the whole event pretty" and "impress visitors with a memorable atmosphere". A decent list of roles can be found here: roles.
  • Teams: a group of people that are (or want to become) experts on a certain subject. Some teams are established and also help on other events such as CCC and EMF. Others are new or unique to MCH such as the Safe Harbour. In the end teams make decisions based on expertise and intent to create a great event. A list teams can be found here: teams. A team fulfills one or more roles and consists of many team members.
  • Team member: Somebody that is actively doing stuff for a team.
  • First Contacts: How a team is organized internally, what communication structure they choose and how they meet is theirs to decide. To lower the barrier for new volunteers, teams share several contact details such as a first line contact. A team has one or more first line contacts.
  • Angel: Angels are on-event volunteers that perform perform mostly designed tasks. They do not need to be fully invested in what a team does or how the organization works. An angel usually works in a predefined timeslot (called a shift). A team can have a need for many angels.
  • Wiki: The wiki is the central information repository for organizing MCH2021. The wiki can be reached at wiki.mch2021.org. You'll find a volunteering section as well as many pages aimed at visiting.
  • Projectleiding: A team that tracks health and progress of the entire organization. One team member from the projectleiding(PL) team is connected to any other team to assist the team: navigating the organization, bootstrapping, legal, financial. As the organization matures, the activities of PL dwindle. PL does not determine the color of the bikeshed, MCH is organized team first.
  • Orga: a simplification that points to the group of people that organizes this event: angels and/or team members.

How to join the crew

If you want to join a specific team, you can just talk to the people who are already in the team. For many teams, there will be a listed email address. Just send a mail, it doesn't have to be a very long one, something like "Hi, I'd like to join this team; how can I help?" is enough. Please note that some teams might already be fully staffed, and are not looking for more volunteers.

Some teams haven't really started yet, and as such their team page is pretty empty. Don't let that stop you, because these are the teams that need your help the most. If there's no team email address, that means we're looking for someone to "bootstrap" the team into existence. The list of vacancies is a good starting point for those who want to take the lead in getting a team up and running. If you are not sure how to start your desired team you can always contact with the assigned member from the Team:Projectleiding.

If you want to join the crew, and don't know which team would suit you, then you can talk to someone from Team:Volunteers and they can help you with that. You can email volunteering@mch2021.org. If you don't know what you want to do, feel free to describe what you're good at, so we can find a good match. Or you can join our general orga meetings or any of the IRC channels and ask around. Another option is to look at the Roles page to see which of the responsibilities you find attractive, and then figure out which team does that role.

General communication channels

If you want to say hi and meet us, there are many opportunities:

The wiki itself (that is, the website you're looking at) is also used for communication. Signing up for teams and meetings is done on the wiki, and sometimes there's discussion about the contents of pages. Please create an account to unlock the page editing feature.

Team-specific communication channels

Go to the Teams page, and then the team specific page, to find out where the team members reside.

How many pieces?

The MCH2021 organization is huge and has numerous moving pieces. It's hard to describe everything in detail, especially because we always fail to come up with good definitions. We're constantly figuring things out and we often find that clear boundaries are impossible in a chaotic organization like ours. When you talk to different people, they'll probably have a different idea of how it works. And they're probably both right, because there are so many valid perspectives. But we can come up with some basic explanations that should give some insight into the "structure" of the organization.

There are two kinds of volunteers, and both are vitally important:

Angels
visitors who, at the event, sign up to do shifts. This can be anything from bar tending to driving a luggage shuttle golf cart, helping with preparing the volunteer food, etcetera. Generally, these tasks are prepared by the orga and come with instructions, so you can just start doing them when you arrive on the job. You can even decide to become an angel at the event itself.
Orga
the term "orga" has become really broad, and now includes anyone who is involved with the preparations of the event. If you join the crew long before the event starts, then you're orga.

Within the orga, some people maintain direct contact with Team:Projectleiding. These so-called "first line contacts", or "team leads", are responsible for a team's budget and decision making. Every team does one or multiple roles. A role is a collection of responsibilities. This allows us to think of the organization in a more abstract manner.

How we work

Teams are very autonomous, and it's up to the team to decide how they organize themselves. Because of that, different teams may have very different ways of reaching decisions.

There's another page that goes into this subject in more detail: way of working.

What we have to offer

Volunteering for MCH2021 is an unpaid job. Because of the way our event is designed, we're counting on everyone to help out, and that's why we can have affordable tickets instead of expensive corporate entrance fees. This does indeed mean that crew members still have to buy a ticket to be part of the event. (If you can't afford a ticket, there are options for that, but that's not related to whether you're a volunteer.) All volunteers are part of the crew because they want to be part of this organization, not for any financial gains.

We do our best to take care of our fellow crew members. When joining the orga community, or when signing up for angel shifts, you become very important to us, and we want you to feel welcome. We have a crew area where you can hang out and get some rest. Good food is served exclusively for crew members, including angels who get food vouchers for doing a certain amount of shifts. And of course we'll also hand out physical tokens of appreciation, such as crew t-shirts.

For orga, there are orga meetings and field days, where we shape the details of the upcoming event. These meetings are equal parts hard work and socializing/networking/partying.

Other forms of participation

Being part of the crew is great, but there are more different ways to participate! Villages are sub events organized by visitors themselves. Just to be clear: when we talk about crew and orga, we're talking about main event, not the village crews. If you want to learn more about the villages and how they organize themselves, have a look at their respective pages.

Wiki gardening

Are you good with wikis? We always need help structuring the information, correcting spelling and grammar, and making things look nicer with appropriate images and such. If you want to help out with these things, please create an account and edit away :)

For example, this page has a lot of text and a single image. It's amazing you made it this far!