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Re: [Debconf-team] Issues regarding venue and scheduling process


FWIW this mail was posted by Tássia (thanks!) after we talked about
both feeling this need. I asked her to send this initial mail, as I
had too many RL stuff in my hands.

> The rating process is over and we have around 35 events accepted.
> Those ones were scheduled right away, no problem. Then the tracks
> coordinator were given the autonomy to schedule their track's talks.
> The problem IMO is that it was done regardless of the talks ratings.
> Then we end up in a situation with too few available slots left (if
> any) for the whole bunch of "undecided" talks, even those *almost*
> accepted (which were better rated than some already scheduled events).

Yes. This is an issue (I'd say) somewhat orthogonal: Our
talks-accepting policy is not well defined. We pre-schedule stuff
based on: 

‣ Was the talk ranked "high" by the talk selection team by the
  published deadline?
‣ Was it selected by any of the track coordinators?

Part of the problem is that it's an either-or situation: Track
coordinators can choose among all of the existing talks, or even
request a new talk to be submitted.

So, given a limited set of spaces, this ends in a process that I feel
somewhat unfair to people submitting quality talks in the specified

But yes, this is a decision we _already_ took this year, and I do not
think we can revert. However, we can come at a different process for
the future. I think this can be either discussed here, or we can sit
around a round of $drinks at DebConf and draft a better process, or
talk over the next months — But the point should not be left to rot
for the next 11 months and get the same situation next year.

> It was never a problem in Debconf because we used to have enough space
> for everyone. But this year we are dealing with the limit of 70
> scheduled events, which means that we'll end up with half of this
> number of *rejected* talks, which I believed never happened before.

Yes. Moray replied to your mail that we are not more space-deprived
than in previous years - Lets ask Pentabarf.

DebConf	| Max. simultaneously
	| scheduled sessions
 7     	| 4
 8      | 2 (3 incl. "elsewhere")
 9 	| 3 (4 incl. "garden/patio")
 10	| 4 (but usually 3, only 3 sessions of 4)

So, yes, we _have_ had a two-session DebConf, and it was not
particularly full. But we can very easily use more space if there
is. And a nice trait of DebConf is that there's basically always space
for talking about $foo (and being on the schedule)!

> Given that, what I would suggest (mainly to local-team) is that we
> find another alternative meeting room, even if it is small, so that we
> could schedule some more bofs. I would even consider the idea of
> having the cafe or any other area at the venue as an alternative *if*
> we are able to reserve the space and pre-schedule the meetings. The
> hotel facilities could be an alternative, if it is really close to the
> venue.

Moray didn't like the idea of going to the hotel - However, we do have
15 minutes to go, so as a last resort, it could be used IMO. Of
course, I'd also much prefer having it on-site.

> Of course we will have plenty of informal meetings during DC11, as
> always happen, but this usually brings people together who already
> work together. While having things pre-scheduled makes it possible to
> people who never worked together know what others are doing, and that
> really facilitates collaboration.

Both are very different things. Of course we have informal things
popping up here and there. But during DebConf, it's common to have an
idea pop up and somebody request a room to present it, or to work on
it. Yes, I agree with Moray, video (+streaming+archival) is a very
important component of DebConf activities, but since DC9 we have
always sticked to the "some rooms will not be video-covered"
disclaimer, and it works. But offering people space for scheduling
their activities is important.

> Last, but not least... I hope that someday we can have accessibility
> in mind when we choose the venue. We can not accept the excuse that
> there is no way out cause we are one month before DC11. I'm following
> the whole process since the beginning, always raising my hand to
> assure that people do not forget about it, and well... I hope it's
> worth it.

Yes, I'm completely with Tassia here, and I'm very thankful for the
attention that (mainly) she, Tiago and Filipe have put in the issue
for several years. And yes, it's not only about one good friend who
has motricity issues - There are many different kinds of disability
and we have committed we would address them all. I am disappointed
about this point in the DC11 bid — AFAICT we have always stated we
wanted to use a third talk room, and that _EVERYTHING_ should be
accessible. A person who cannot go to a certain room does not have to
go through talk-with-somebody cycles to get the talks he wants to
attend to rescheduled in a proper room. Even if I argued otherwise
originally, I completely agree we should not consider any room which
is not accessible for any open activity (i.e. we can use the
non-accessible room for a press conference or a closed group meeting,
but not for scheduled activities or hacklabs).

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