Note, these are just my views and I am free to express this. I have organized events and gone to events but it annoys me that some people might actually be ruining an event.
I'm not trying to be judgemental, I just observed how tech events that could have been great become not-so-great places to discuss ideas and make connections because of the phenomenon of “Team Freebies” or “Free-lunchers” going to the events. These are people who are simply there to eat foods and not really participate with others, or basically have nothing to add to the table (pun intended).
From my point of view, tech events are not a charity. They are organized so people have a venue to discuss ideas, share their thoughts, and improve the knowledge of attendees, or to promote a company or a product.
Basically these “free-lunchers” are not really there to add to their knowledge, but to simply eat-and-run. Tolerating the free-lunchers does not do any good. IMHO, it somewhat lowers the experience of the meetup, and foreigners who see this might lower how they view our tech community. Furthermore, actual people who might “add to the table” (so to speak) get discouraged as the event does not offer much value to their time.
This is the reason why there are communities that have a great first meetup and the succeeding ones start to be not-so-great.
One could argue that the food is going to be wasted if more people don’t come to consume it. Since most tech people are too busy with their work or other hobbies that they don’t have time to go to the actual event, sayang ang foods. For this, maybe organizers could contact actual charities that can give the extra food to people who really need them.
It would be difficult to ban them like having a bouncer to screen them and could cause a scandal. We don't want scandals.
Maybe one thing could be done to emphasize the quality is important to the organizer is to gently ask that only qualified people can go.
Then, leftover food can be donated to a charity whose mission is to feed the hungry.
“Quality over Quality”.
Again, not naming names here, just sharing my thoughts. Let's all have a great day!