I’ve had several confirmations in the last 24 hours of my belief that conferences – or lots of things, I guess – tend to deliver, to some extent, what you expect them to. I go to OSCon expecting to meet a bunch of people excited about Open Source code and community, and I almost always find them. The few people that I meet who are obviously there to see how they can exploit the community for their own ends, I tend to disregard. Likewise, while many people seem to view the Foo Camp phenomenon as a largely self-congratulatory event, it seems that the people who go there expecting to find community cooperation and real progress, find it.
I’m not talking about deceiving oneself, or the power of positive thinking – at least, I don’t think I am – but it certainly is the case that your attitude has a lot of effect on whether you’re able to make the best of a situation, or whether you sit smugly back and nitpick the folks that don’t quite Get It. If those folks are the ones that you expect to see there, you’ll tend to focus on them, rather than simply ignoring them, as they deserve.