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Call for Help: DebConf14 Bursaries Team

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Hi all,

We are assembling this year's Bursaries Team to help us rate the
travel sponsorship and food/accommodation requests for DebConf14.
We will follow most of the past years' procedures, always trying
to improve on, specially on transparency.

Are you interested in helping us?  Read on!  :-)

What is this "Bursaries Team" all about?

The Bursaries Team has a very important role in DebConf: they
are responsible for evaluating requests for sponsorship, both
food/accommodation and travel.  Funds for sponsorship are
limited, so this team has the difficult task of ranking
sponsorship requests to ensure that these funds are put to the
best use for Debian.

Obviously, the problem is much harder than just assigning the
money to the various _tasks_ we have to do, as this decision
directly affects individuals.  We have tried in the past to
include in our team people from various areas of Debian, from
different geographic origins, even with different group of
friends, in order to avoid "clique-based" rating, or in any way
biasing the results.

Once again we are repeating the idea of broad call for help, using
d-d-a to hopefully reach a bigger part of Debian, as it is Debian
funds we will be using and it is Debian-related people (whether
DDs, DMs or other contributors) we will be assigning it to.

What do we need from those who volunteer?

The deadline for requesting sponsorship is on Thursday 2014-05-15,
and we are aiming at producing the results by Sunday 2014-04-25 to
give sponsored attendees time to get good prices on plane tickets.
We have a week where you'll need to concentrate your work/time so
we can produce our results and delivery them on time.

First, to be part of the Bursaries Team you can't request travel
sponsorship for yourself, the goal here is to avoid influencing
the decision process, and also to reduce legal risks for fiscal

Second, some time and patience.  You will have to go through the
amount of people requesting travel sponsorship (you can expect
it to be between 50-150 people), look at their reasoning as to
why they are requesting it, how reasonable their requested amount
sounds (yes, "reasonable" is too broad a word -- the team will
have to decide about it), and rate numerically.  Usually, once
the requests are rated, we define a cutoff value.

Third, an extra bit of time and patience.  We will try to
coordinate asynchronously by email, but an IRC meeting might be
necessary to make the final decisions, ensure the produced list
looks sane, and to find any hiccups before they explode.  And if
they explode, believe me, it can be ugly.  But they don't have
to explode at all, as we are nice and careful ;-)

Finally, to meet the requests for transparency, we have to report
our work, without breaching the privacy of the people who request
this sponsorship (again, as this is a very personal, social and
money-related topic, it can be very touchy).  So, the work will
not finish as soon as we deliver the list, but somewhat later,
quite probably a bit after DebConf itself.

Again: You don't have to be a DebConf long-time organizer nor
attendee.  You don't have to be a many-years-long DD.  We want
the group to be diverse, and that *surely* includes people that
simply are not in the same intra-Debian demographic group that
most of us are.

We are aiming to have a group of ~10 people to be large enough,
but not too large.  So, if you want to be a part of the team,
please reply to debconf-team @ lists.debconf.org letting us know.

As you might notice we are on a short schedule, so please, reply
as soon as possible, before 2014-05-16 (Friday).

Bonus question: why is it called "Bursaries Team"?

In previous years this team was also known as "Travel Sponsorship
Team", "Travel Bursaries Team" or simply "Herb", we are trying to
reduce confusion, specially with the Sponsorship Team that handles
the event sponsors, so in recent years it was renamed as Bursaries
Team, removing the term 'sponsorship' from its name.

And to give you some extra context, Wikipedia to the rescue:

  In modern English usage, however, the term has become synonymous
  with monetary awards made by some institutions to individuals or
  groups of people who cannot afford to pay full fees.  According
  to the Good Schools Guide, a bursary is "usually for helping out
  the impoverished but deserving and those fallen on hard times".

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bursary

Thank you!
- -- 
Felipe Augusto van de Wiel (faw) <faw@debian.org>
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Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org/


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