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

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 05:45:53PM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 03:35:20AM -0400, Richard Darst wrote:
> > [debconf-surplus] For readers of -project, here's what this means:
> > Sponsors slowly pledge money over the spring, and we usually are in a
> > panic about "oh no, we have no money to afford anything".  But as time
> > goes on, things get together.  We get a few more sponsors.  We find
> > local supporters who will sponsor things locally, or negotiate better
> > discounts, or find cheaper venues.  A major source of extra money is
> > when many people don't reconfirm, or don't show up, saving us a lot on
> > accommodation costs.
> It's probably not unreasonable to wonder why many people do not
> reconfirm. Is it because they don't know yet whether they'll be
> sponsored? If that's the case, then you're now basically saying "most of
> the money we'll be using to ensure no sponsored attendee will cancel is
> coming from the sponsored attendees who cancel"; that logic is somewhat
> flawed.


Food+accom sponsorship is decided early, I think around the
beginning of June this year.  It is generally pretty easy to get -
unless you are not related to free software, you'll get it.  There is
really no significant uncertainty about this.

Travel sponsorship is harder to get, and that is what was very
last-minute this year.  But the team is aware of that, and keeps track
of who hasn't reconfirmed and is waiting for it, who might be able to
reconfirm if they got it.

However, the thing about getting lots of extra money from people who
don't reconfirm is from accom-sponsored-people.  These people sign up
when registration starts (because you got to sign up when it's
offered, even if you aren't sure then), but end up not being able to
come for reasons unrelated to debconf.  While it would be good if they
would communicate this earlier, the final deadline for letting us know
is the reconfirmation deadline - by not reconfirming.  There are
~10-15-20 people each year like this, and *each* person who doesn't
reconfirm basically gives us the professional fee back, which is big.

So, yes, there are all sorts of race conditions in this process that
are *not* fun to deal with, but not exactly what you say.  And for
travel sponsorship (the issue at hand), the number is small and can
get personal attention.

And things could be improved.  But it takes volunteers to do that, who
have enough time early enough, *and* knowledge of what to avoid.

- Richard

| Richard Darst  -  rkd@          -  boltzmann: up 1075 days, 17:26
|            http://rkd.zgib.net  -  pgp 0xBD356740
| "Ye shall know the truth and -- the truth shall make you free"

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