[Board] Fwd: Analysing the downfall of FOSS4G 2011

Tim Sutton tim at linfiniti.com
Fri Aug 17 09:54:02 PDT 2012


On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 10:14 PM, Cameron Shorter <cameron.shorter at gmail.com
> wrote:

>  FYI:
> Please send responses to the conference_dev email list (or to me to
> forward to the list).
>  Website out of date
> A conference's website is the primary form of communication with potential
> delegates. For FOSS4G 2012, the website took an excessively long time to be
> developed and brought online, and then when it was brought online, it
> contained incorrect information and broken links<http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/foss4g2012/2012-February/000016.html>(mainly cut
> and paste from the prior FOSS4G website<http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/foss4g2012/2012-March/000018.html>).
> People were having significant issues with submitting papers and registering
> to attend<http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/conference_dev/2012-June/001843.html>.
> The FOSS4G LOC had hired an external web developer to create the website,
> who had done a poor job of development. It seemed that there was a lack of
> quality control from both the web developer, and LOC. In the past,
> development of the website has either been managed by technically
> experienced developers (as was the case in 2009), or by the PCO.
> The lesson here is that the website needs to be made a priority and
> suitably resourced. There is the potential for website management software
> to be passed on from one conference to the next. (We considered this option
> in 2009 but found the Open Source conference management software used by
> FOSS4G 2008 was not going to integrate easily with the software our PCO was
> using). It would be worth future FOSS4G conferences revisiting this
> question.
> One thing that struck me as an obvious place for improvement when we were
organising the CT FOSS4G in 2010 was the absence of any usable 'out of the
box' web infrastructure from OSGEO for running the conference in particular:

- abstract submission
- conference pre-registration and at event registration
- sharing of talk presentation materials
- event planning (e.g. tools like
http://www.jboss.org/drools/drools-planner/ coould be used to optimise the
event schedule)
- project management within the loc

It seems that in most case the LOC contracts local people to provide this -
in our case IIRC the professional event organisers we used provided the
registration service for example which I believe contributed to a
substantial part of their fee (Gav correct me if I am wrong here). It
strikes me that the same problem is solved (probably suboptimally) over
again for each conference and it would make conference hosting
substantially easier if these things were in place already when the LOC
convenes. Wouldn't this be a good place for OSGEO to invest revenue from
conferences? Then with each conference it would be simply a matter of
deploying a new 'instance' of the software suite for the purposes of the
conference, theming the site and being on your way.

Many of the things needed can be provided by open source software but
having them pre-configured (e.g. issue categories in trac or a conference
theme for wordpress with page stubs and suitable plugins set up etc) by
experienced conference organisers would be an excellent way of batton
passing to the next LOC team.

I think some targetted investement in getting web presence and conference
organisation tools re-usable would substantially help to ensure the
success, and reduce the overheads of, future events.



>  --
> Cameron Shorter
> Geospatial Solutions Manager
> Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
> Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254
> Think Globally, Fix Locally
> Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Sourcehttp://www.lisasoft.com
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Tim Sutton - QGIS Project Steering Committee Member (Release  Manager)
Visit http://linfiniti.com to find out about:
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