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Re: DebConf travel sponsorship (was: Re: [Debconf-team] Budget status - travel sponsorship)

On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 03:03:46PM +0100, Ian Jackson wrote:
> Richard Darst writes ("DebConf travel sponsorship"):
> > But there is something we could do: "Summon Bigger Bank".  We would
> > basically want something to even out the year to year uncertainty,
> > and average out the travel sponsorship over years.  And we do have a
> > bigger bank: Debian.
> It is astonishing to me that we have this problem every year.  And
> every year people (me included) make the same suggestion.
> But for some reason it doesn't happen

Weeeeell, that probably means that making the suggestion is not enough
to make it happen, someone actually need to make it happen :-) Irony
aside, part of the problem is that a lot of people outside the DebConf
orga team --- quite naturally, for sure --- remember about this problem
when it touches all of us, i.e. yearly at the time of travel sponsorship
(late) confirmation. And at that time we have all the nice and useful
discussions that are needed to solve the problem. But then --- quite
naturally again, but not really usefully --- everybody except the
DebConf orga team forget about the issue until the next year.

The DebConf orga team has *a lot* to do and is improving steadily every
single aspect of DebConf, year after year. But maybe that's not yet
enough to make this specific problem disappear.

So, first obvious suggestion, if you are not in the DebConf orga team
and if you haven't worked to solve this specific problem, please at
least remember about this issue *after* this DebConf cycle. Everything
we are going to say *right now* has no chance to get implemented this
year. Partly because it's late and partly because the DebConf orga team
will likely be very busy with DebConf12 until mid-July.

The money problem is not the real problem here. The real problem is
organization [1]. I'm by no means opposed to the idea of advancing money
to grant travel sponsorship. It is just that no one have ever asked for
that until it's already too late, at least for the past 3 years. Which
brings us back to the topic of helping with the organization. The only
monetary constraint we have agreed with the DebConf team, is the general
goal of having DebConf be an amortized zero cost event. But that totally
allows to have one year deficit and one year surplus, as Ian observed.

As already discussed on debconf-team, the ideas of promoting some
specific DebConf activities as more general Debian services (e.g. travel
sponsorship assignment, that could be useful also to sprint, if they
grow in volume) are perfectly fine. And there is people working on
implementing those ideas. Join them! [2]


PS setting M-F-T: debconf-team, as this discussion really belongs there

[1] I posit that thing are a bit more complicate than people seem to
    believe, because to grant travel sponsorship much earlier you need
    deadlines much earlier --- as in 3-4 months earlier.  And those
    deadlines will be too soon for at least some people. So now you've
    to split an early and late deadline, as most conferences do.  Which
    is fine, but goes a bit against fairness as the two bunch of people
    will be evaluated separately rather than in a big bucket, etc. I see
    nothing insurmountable and unsolvable given good will and enough
    volunteers, but I don't think it's as easy as it seems either.

[2] all the encouragements contained in this mail are not specific to
    Ian, of course, but general to the lurker public as a whole
Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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