[OSGeo-Discuss] Costly FOSS4Gs
María Arias de Reyna
delawen+osgeo at gmail.com
Sun Oct 15 23:52:54 PDT 2017
On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 1:44 AM, Ravi Kumar <manarajahmundry2015 at gmail.com>
> Question (would be Board). 'Do you agree that FOSS4G is turning out to
> be a hangout for those who can afford it'.. costs (of participation) are
> so high that many might not afford.. If selected to the board HOW do you
> wish to correct this..
I don't know if you are following the current FOSS4G process to select the
next venue. It turns out that I am proposing to host FOSS4G 2019 in
Sevilla. So I have studied this very close recently. And Jeff is right, it
is very difficult to find a cheap place where you can have so many people
at the same time. Organizing a conference when you have more than 500
attendees is a huge step forward and requires a lot of investment in
organization. Now we are getting closer to the 1500 attendees, can you
imagine how difficult is to cut costs if we want to succeed?
It was Vasile (who is also competing with Bucarest as venue) who made the
spreadsheet comparison about prices and the conclusion is that prices have
been very stable among the years if you take inflation into consideration.
Ok, we have had an economic depression in some countries and inflation is
not the same worldwide. But prices are not getting so much higher as the
general public perceives. I hope he can make this numbers public soon, as
it was a very interesting spreadsheet about the evolution of FOSS4G.
Said this: we can try to make FOSS4G more affordable, and indeed we should.
What would I do if I were on the board to get that? Well, if you take a
look at the proposal I am chairing in Sevilla, you will see we are
going to lower the prices, get more funds from the general budget for
travel grants (and not only wait for people to donate) and also the venue
is very cheap to stay at. Having countries that have problems travelling to
FOSS4G close is also a good push, but that's not always possible.
I think travel grants are a really good thing to improve. But that also
means having less surplus from FOSS4G, which is used for other events which
are smaller and can be helpful to reach those who can't afford FOSS4G. How
do we find balance here?
Maybe the idea of everyone going to every FOSS4G is the problem. Having
regional FOSS4G and smaller events is a good way to reach those who can't
afford to travel (and not only for economic reasons). Of course I would
like everyone to be able to travel to FOSS4G regularly, but I think that's
not realistic. Taking a full week of holidays for it or making your company
pay for your travel (if you have a job!) is not that easy even if you have
the money. What about your family and people who depend on you? What about
people who have political problems to travel? There is a lot of cases where
travelling out of your country or more than a couple of days is a nightmare.
I would try to do both approaches: make FOSS4G more affordable with travel
grants (who may not pay in all cases the full costs but maybe only part of
it to reach more people?) and also reinforce the regional and local events.
Lowering the general public cost of a FOSS4G is not as easy as it sounds as
many things depends on the (not so big) surplus of FOSS4G.
This is a topic to discuss in more detail in the future.
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