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


On Thu, Jul 05, 2012 at 12:40:06AM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> Richard Darst <rkd@zgib.net>
> > It is hard to improve things.  The order we spend money is: venue
> > rental, accom, food, <a few other nice things>, travel.  If travel is
> > prioritized low, and we always are short of money, travel will keep
> > being last.
> I'm not sure that's quite right.  Debconf might allocate the money in
> that order, but I suspect it's often actually spent in an order closer
> to venue rental deposit, travel, accom, <a few other nice things>,
> food, rest of the venue rental.  So the most stress is on travel,

Yes, if you consider when attendees spend money on travel, not us.  As
you know, we reimburse travel after the conference.  In practice,
depending on the year, there can be more of the food/venue/accom that
we can pay after the fact, but that's irrelevant to the fact at hand.

> Richard suggests the debian project guaranteeing X travel sponsorship
> early in the cycle.
> There are at least two more ways around this, including:
> - the project guarantees those later known-size expenses for
> everything after accommodation, so debconf can use that money to fund
> the cashflow for travel sponsorship.  This difference is that the
> project is just underwriting core conference costs and doesn't look as
> much like a sponsor, so shouldn't discourage any real sponsors.
> - each debconf funds the following debconf's travel.  To cover the
> changeover, the project would need to raise one debconf's travel
> (maybe for about the same amount as this year's travel, say 20k?) as a
> sort of seed/transition fund, on the understanding that the final
> debconf's surplus will be paid back to the project;

There is a surplus after each DebConf, that could be used for future
travel sponsorship.  But like I tried to say before, the DebConf team
is very adverse to the possibility of ending up with a deficit ("We
don't want to give travel sponsorship and have nothing for people to
show up to", which could be solved by asking Debian for lots of money,
but the team really really wouldn't want to do that).  So, most
critical DebConf expenses are allocated first each year, as opposed to
those which would be most useful to pay first.

As I said, I think the difference is people need to make a conscious
decision that more risk of a deficit is an acceptable trade-off for
allocating (not necessarily spending) money sooner.  If one watches
carefully enough, they can see a wide range of slightly contradictory
statements about wanting to take that risk or not.

As an aside, cash flow or liquidity isn't usually a problem.  We
could borrow from Debian.  And, as I said in my other latest message,
we pay most travel after the conf.  The issue is priorities, not money
so much.  The two options above are different only in bookkeeping that
does not matter so much in the big picture...

- Richard

| Richard Darst  -  rkd@          -  boltzmann: up 1080 days, 8:21
|            http://rkd.zgib.net  -  pgp 0xBD356740
| "Ye shall know the truth and -- the truth shall make you free"

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