I'm taking a lot from this event (Tech Muckabout) but one thing that is clear is how difficult it must be to plan and manage such an event. The "Muckahosts" have done a great job in creating an event that, by design, is not like any "conference" you've ever been too. I laud them for doing a great job in a new and difficult environment.
Unlike a conference of accountants or lawyers, this groups varies widely in expertise, domain, focus, experience, etc. There are people like Amy Jo Kim and Ross Mayfield at the same table with people who have never seen a Weblog or heard of a Wiki.
This creates a collection of folks where the group looks for common ground. There is often a need to find focus and context in the face of competing needs and expectations.
I think this relates to the very focus of the event- which, in itself is called a "Muckabout" for a reason- it's about getting into the "mucky" issues that surround online interaction, technology and people. In these issues, the focus is a moving and elusive target, where there simply aren't agreed upon standards and best practices, etc.
Thanks to letting things emerge (a theme of the event) as we go, we've been able to find our own small groups where we can find focus and context. I think eveyone would agree that the Muckabout has been a success and may be creating a new model for how to handle a group without it being just another conference.
It's been a great experience, both from participative side and from the observatory side, where I've learned so much from watching our hosts design and manage the event in a manner that lets as much value emerge as possible. It's not an easy job.