Talk selection for FUDCon Pune 2015
We received over 140 submissions for FUDCon Pune and Amit, Kushal, Neependra and I had our task cut out. We had room to select about 40 talks and some workshops given that we did not want to go over 3 main talk tracks for the conference - workshops would be treated separately since their requirements are usually completely different from the talks.
We decided to do this in multiple passes, reducing the number of talks till we had a list that we were satisfied with. We started by individually scoring all of the talks and then comparing notes. This gave us an indication of talks we had full agreement over and with that out of the way, we just had to fight it out over the remaining talks. We quickly found out that this was time consuming, but there seemed to be no other way, so we stuck to it and asked for our original self-imposed deadline to be pushed over from 3rd April to 15th April.
Docker, Docker Docker, Gluster, Gluster, Gluster...
One thing that stood out during our selection process was the sheer number of submissions for Container technologies (Atomic, Docker), Software defined storage (Gluster, Ceph) and OpenStack. We did not want to reject a lot of these talks but at the same time we did not want to turn a Fedora conference into a Cloud conference, so after discussing in the FUDCon planning meeting, we decided to have 3 separate tracks for these talks. Each track would run for a day, with an introductory talk in the main track followed by sessions and workshops in a separate dedicated track. On the last day, a representative from each track would give a 10 minute summary of what happened at their track.
This format obviously meant that these talks were not suitable for inclusion in the tracks as is - speakers would have to get together and work on the kind of talks they want to see at their track so that they tell a coherent story around that technology. We also identified leaders for each track to coordinate this effort, but the leaders do not decide what goes in their track. It is the job of the entire group to come to a consensus about their talks and what their track looks like. We have begun communicating this to the speakers now and are looking forward to their active participation.
And the speakers are...
This has been the slowest bit. The mass mailer module on the Drupal COD is not working for us for some reason and we’re now trying to figure out how to not do the busy work of sending individual emails and using a script to do this at least for accepted proposals. The rejections are a bit trickier because we haven’t declined a lot of talks outright. There are a lot of cases where we want to request speakers to run a BoF for their topics or merge their workshop with another workshop proposal if possible, to provide more complete coverage on the topic. Even for those that we have declined outright, we would like to make sure that they still come since we would like to hear from them at the barcamp or at the lightning talks. We would like to try as much as we can to get space for everybody to share their experience and knowledge at FUDCon.
All of this means that we have to send out a lot of personal emails and that is taking time. We would like to hold off publishing the list until we have sent out these emails, so we hope to come up with a finished list by the end of the week, or latest by the next meeting.
Travel and Stay
As we have mentioned before, if you are an active Fedora contributor or a speaker and want to come to FUDCon but don’t have the resources to travel or the means to stay in the city for the duration of the conference, then let us know. We have a limited budget to support travel and stay, which we can use to help some of you. Being selected as a speaker does not necessarily entitle you to travel and stay, you need to make this request regardless of the result if you need assistance. The deadline for submitting these requests is 30th April, but we’re processing them every week, so don’t wait till the last day to make your request.
Every week brings FUDCon Pune closer and we’re very excited about sharing ideas with some very interesting people. See you all at FUDCon!