[OSGeo-Conf] Analysing the downfall of FOSS4G 2011

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Thu Aug 16 05:42:43 PDT 2012

On 15/08/2012 4:57 AM, Paul Ramsey wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 11:46 AM, Frank Warmerdam <warmerdam at pobox.com> wrote:
>> I agree with Jachym that it is still desirable to give the local
>> organizers quite a bit of freedom and that we should accept that
>> occasional failure is not a disaster.
> On the contrary, I'd say that random failures are a disaster and will
> actually contribute to more failures. As Cameron noted in his
> document, the success of a conference is tied to the perceived
> expectations. Throwing a conference is like throwing a party. Do you
> want to go to a lame party? No, you want to go to a rocking party. If
> PartyPete throws awesome parties every Thursday, you'll clear your
> schedule as next Thursday rolls around. If LameLou throws passable
> parties sometimes, and sometimes cancels them, you'll start going to
> PartyPete's instead. Consistency is very important.
> The same thing will go double for sponsors: are you going to commit to
> early sponsorship and send a cheque to an event that was cancelled
> last year? Or will you hold on to your cheque until the last minute
> just in case? The uncertainty effect is going to make the financial
> situation of future conferences more precarious as sponsors and
> registrants hedge their bets until later in the calendar. This will
> only get worse if we embrace failure as an occasionally acceptable
> mode.
Paul, as I consider your quote, as I cut it into the wiki, I wonder what 
recourse OSGeo has to prevent a FOSS4G conference from failing?
* The board can block progress, eg: by not approving a budget until it 
is acceptable. But if the LOC still doesn't perform, what then? I think 
the board's only recourse is to cancel the conference. Yes, we could 
have cancelled the FOSS4G 2011 conference earlier. But I would argue 
that an early cancellation is still a failure.

Cameron Shorter
Geospatial Solutions Manager
Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254

Think Globally, Fix Locally
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