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Re: [draft] Cancel this year's in-person Debian Developers Conference DebConf20

Hi Steve (2020.06.03_19:19:16_+0000)
> > Would it be totally unrealistic, and unsafe to bring a large number of
> > people together? Probably, yes. But if the local authorities are saying
> > you can, it's worth considering.
> This is the part that I categorically disagree with.  Even assuming baseline
> competence of the local authorities (which, given that they're not in the
> US, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt), this only speaks to
> the authorities' confidence in their ability to prevent a
> SARS-CoV-2-positive attendee from causing a LOCAL outbreak that is a threat
> to public health.  It says NOTHING about the risk of someone contracting
> COVID in their home country, arriving asymptomatic at the conference, being
> contagious and transmitting it, and sending the virus home to a dozen other
> countries to incubate for a week after the conference before the nature of
> the problem has become clear.

Yes, I think that was the primary point of view of most people who
reacted strongly to this not being called off sooner.

I said "worth considering".

Of course all of the things you describe are part of that consideration.
And becomes pretty unrealistic to imagine happening. Again, early on we
decided to give this some time to see where the leaves would fall.
Things generally got worse, not better.

> If that happened, it would be entirely on the organizers (i.e. Debian), and
> not on the local authorities, because we were inducing people to travel
> internationally for the event.
> And if the conference were to manage this risk by imposing broad
> restrictions on countries of origin of physical attendees, then it shouldn't
> carry the DebConf name; it should be treated as a miniconf instead, due to
> the impact it would have on accessibility to the developer community to have
> an even smaller than usual subset of developers attending in person with
> most attending remotely.

I could imagine a scenario where the local team were committed to
continue to organise the event, even though the attendees would be >90%
online. That would have to have minimal inducement to travel, for
attendees. Calling that DebConf sounds entirely reasonable to me.

But, the organisers aren't entirely local, and there would be some level
of inducement for non-local team members, and DebConf completionists.
I don't think that travel would be worth-while.
And I think the event would end up with an under-staffed onsite video
team, which wouldn't make for a great online-first experience.

So... I can imagine something like that, but I don't think it's a useful
path forward.


Stefano Rivera
  +1 415 683 3272

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