[OSGeo-Discuss] Re: FOSS4G 2007 Workshop Submission

Michael P. Gerlek mpg at lizardtech.com
Thu Mar 29 09:45:33 PDT 2007

I've seen a lot of workshops and conferences over the years, both geo
and non-geo: tradeoffs have to be made when organizing these things, and
in the end Paul and his team will not be able to satisfy everyone.

To take just four questions off the top of my head:

  * Would you rather attend 6 half-hour talks covering a
    variety of different topics, or 1 three-hour in-depth talk?

  * Would you rather have commercial sponsorship, or leave
    it completely independent and self-funded?

  * Would you rather have more space for exhibitors and booths,
    or more space for big (100+) talks, or more space for small
    (20+) talks?

  * Would you rather have attendees be from the core open source
    geo development community, or from the potential user community?

I suspect most of us would answer "some of each" to those questions, and
it is the job of the organizing committee to figure out that balance.
The organizing committee, chosen by a RFP process, was tasked with this
difficult job and they're already deep into it.

Talk has already started about making proposals for FOSS4G '08; I'd
strongly encourage everyone to participate in those discussions.




	From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Daniel Ames
	Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:08 AM
	To: OSGeo Discussions
	Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Re: FOSS4G 2007 Workshop Submission
	Paul and others,
	I too was disappointed to be in the 22 of 34 workshop proposals
that were turned down and would like to suggest that the conference
organizers re-think the approach to include more workshops. 
	At FOSS4g2006, I found the workshops to be perhaps the most
useful element of the conference.  For a highly technical meeting, the
value of a 1.5 to 3 hour hands-on workshop versus a 20 minute pre-canned
powerpoint presentation can not be overstated.  
	Our project (and I suspect many others) has tried to embrace the
concept of the FOSS4g venue as an alternative to hosting our own
separate conference.  Certainly this concept was encouraged by last
year's conference organizers.  However for this to work there needs to
be the opportunity to present our workshops.  
	May I suggest the following two changes:
	1) Reallocate time for more workshops. 
	2) Let the registrants decide which workshops stay.  In other
words, post a list of 34 workshops and keep only those that meet a
minimum number of committed/paid attendee registration fees. 
	I suspect that every one of the 22 rejected workshop proposers
could argue that they easily meet all of the four criteria listed here:
	Hence letting the broader community vote with their registration
dollars would seem to be a more "free and open" approach. 
	It would be unfortunate to see this as the beginning of a
general culling process where instead of trying to attract new projects,
the FOSS4g community begins to become more exclusionary.
	Daniel P. Ames, PhD, PE 
	Idaho State University Geospatial Software Lab

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