[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Committee Role: Helping build the debconf-team

Daniel Lange dijo [Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 04:53:37PM +0100]:
> > If I am understanding you correctly
> full ack. The chairs before DCC times tried to change that moniker but .. it
> still stuck.

Please note, we have been aware not just of the horrible name, but of
the counterproductive split between locals and globals, for well over
a decade. Thing is... There are things that require you just _being
there_ to be carried out. And there are things where accumulated,
year-to-year experience is more valuable.

Antonio has mentioned the pain it was for locals taking charge of
international sponsors. I am also guilty (although I think I did so
well in advance, in order not to hurt orga) of leaving the content
team headless this year due to my work time requirements - A task that
could have been picked up by anybody, local or global, but was
ultimately picked up by a local. Thing is, locals had too many issues
to iron out, and it's maybe too much to require them to care for more
stuff. Few local teams are large enough in reality, even if many
people agree to help.

> This is how I got to be local team for DebConf16. Not because of content in
> my case but because of contribution to other teams that my friends from
> South Africa wanted to retains similarly for their conference.
> It is common to have a few local team members that are very-non-locally
> residing. Often expats or people connected in other ways to the country
> and/or team.

Right - I have been considered local team in Nicaragua, and would have
loved to carry that banner as well this year in Israel. In Nicaragua,
I was involved in preparing the bid and was quite partial to them; add
it to the reality that I'm a Spanish speaker, and was able to make
myself understood to mostly anybody. I think I still have the level of
Hebrew to talk easily to basically anybody in Israel (but, again, will
sadly miss this year).

Having DebConf in native-English (or in widely-English-spoken)
countries is in a way much easier for that - We foreigners can just
walk to the street and get what we are looking for. Maybe that
accounts for having a lower local/global split perception in countries
such as South Africa, the USA or the like..?

I am curious, however - What made you be able to "act local" in South
Africa? According to my definition, it involves being able to solve
things that need local terrain knowledge. That's something I did in
quite a limited way in Managua (and while I remember bits of Haifa
from 1996, would probably not be very useful for me this time). It
involves getting to local communities fostering interest. It involves
checking conditions and finding deals before the
conference. Many things that... Well, not being there, I cannot really
say I was local, only local-esque.

> > Again, this all assumes I am understanding you correctly.
> You got me quite well. FTR: I don't think the organization structure is
> ideal but as you can see in the old wiki link pasted above other (better?)
> ideas have not found traction. And in a volunteer based organization
> top-down organizational changes are hard.

Also, this broken local-global split... self-emerges over and over
again ☹

> > If I am, better names might include:
> > 
> > * guiding team
> > 
> > * The 2019 team (for the 2019 conference)
> > 
> > * The bidding team
> (...)

Hmh... Daniel found issues in those propsoed names. I don't think a
name will really change what's broken - Communication between a group
of people meeting for pizza regularly and working in their native
language and another group of people meeting biweekly on IRC, working
for most of the year in the same project, but following very different
aspects of it.

This model replicates also with other itinerant conferences - I'm
right now looking at SIGCSE¹, which has a) symposium co-chairs, b)
program co-chairs, c) program committee, d) organizing committee, and
e) international committe; they don't directly map to our structure,
but you could somewhat map a) to DCC, b+c) to content team, d) to
local team, and e) to global team. SOSP2017² is much more detailed in
its organization; it had a) general chairs; b) PC chairs; c) local
arrangements; d) poster chairs; e) publication chairs; f) publicity
chairs, g) registration chairs; h) sponsorship chairs; i) scholarship
chair treasurer; j) tutorial chairs; k) workshop chair; l) program
committee. We could map a+b) to DCC, c) to local team, d+e+j+k+l) to
content team, h+i) to bursaries, g) to frontdesk, f) to
(all-of-Debian?) publicity team... But many of those tasks are usually
in the hands of the nonlocal team (because they don't require being

¹ https://sigcse2020.sigcse.org/info/committees.html
² https://www.sigops.org/s/conferences/sosp/2017/organizers.html

I think following this comparison excercise with other conferences. Of
course, there's the caveat that the two ACM examples I picked are
somewhat for-profit, organized by universities with paid staff -
Usually the academics themselves are "volunteer" in the sense they are
not directly paid for it, but it's part of their university duties.

Reply to: