[OSGeo-Discuss] Costly FOSS4Gs

Vicky Vergara vicky at georepublic.de
Mon Oct 16 08:08:18 PDT 2017

Hello Ravi:

I had the opportunity to attend and to make a presentation on FOSS4G Korea,
afterwards, I also made a protestation on FOSS4G Tokyo. That was on 2015,
and was the same year I was also elected to be a charter member on OSGeo.
This trip was very educational for me, as I got to know more about OSGeo,
with the international event and with the local event.

Next year, 2016, even that it would have been great to go to FOSS4G Bonn,
given budgets constraints, I opted to go to FOSS4G Asia instead. Lots of
students from Asia had participated on OSGeo-GSoC program, and I wanted a
close contact with them. The contact was so close that, Rohith Reddy,
student from IIIT in Hyderabad and ex-OSGeo-GSoC student, this year acted
as mentor and went to the GSoC mentor summit representing OSGeo.

This year for FOSS4G Boston, OSGeo, had a travel grant to which I did not
apply, I preferred to go to FOSS4G Argentina (Starts next week), but I did
registered and attended the code-sprint (using IRC and jitsi for video).
About why Argentina, I saw it as an opportunity to communicate the spirit
of OSGeo on my mother tongue, further more, I arranged my trip tohave a
22hr stay in Perú, where they are starting to create a local chapter, and I
hope to meet some OSGeo member(s).

I also consider FOSS4G as an outreach event, and call it: subconsciously,
by accident, by preference, I've being going to the small FOSS4G events
after the first one where I learned so much. If you think about it, by not
going to the international one, and going to the small FOSS4G, I have been
spreading the word to the people that can not afford the
trip-accommodation-registration costs for the main FOSS4G, and maybe
someone else, will use the travel grant, can go learn more about OSGeo on
the main international event.


On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 9:15 AM, Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ravi
> This could be misinterpreted as some criticism of the volunteers who have
> staged outstanding FOSS4G events in the last years or even of the attendees
> who are able to afford to attend. I hope that is not the case?
> I’m not going to comment further on the challenges of hosting a 1000
> person conference and the associated costs, I think Jeff has summed this up
> well. This discussion has gone round the conference, board and discuss
> lists for several years. If we want a large event we will have to accept
> the costs, the ticket price is typically a lot less than the travel,
> accommodation and meal costs that “out of country” visitors incur.
> The answer, IMO, is to encourage the growth of regional and national
> FOSS4G to enable lower cost access and to extend our outreach. I have seen
> little or no evidence presented to support the idea that local and regional
> events need funding from the centre but if a case can be made then the
> board should give that consideration and/or delegate that responsibility to
> the conference committee
> Let’s celebrate the success of our global events and their attendees who
> do a lot more than “hang out”. These events, through their generous
> sponsors, provide a lot of the funds for the OSGeo board to use in
> outreach, code sprints and other activities
> ______
> Steven
> On 16 Oct 2017, at 07:59, Ravi Kumar <manarajahmundry2015 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> Hi List,
> happy to note that 'FOSS4G being Costly/Unaffordable', is discussed.
> To make it fun, spice is added on the TERM HANGOUT..
> May be the next board will have FOSS4G for Business, where in 5* comforts
> that might make business easy for OSGeo.
> Will also have, 'FOSS4G Developers', where in young students/Reserchers
> can have a great conference.
>  Some fine tuning may make, Say , 1st 2 days 5 Star.. Next two affordable.
> But in a world where, 'COST some times means Efficiency', may not, 'play
> ball', with this Idea.
> Cheers.. and All the best to the Hopefuls
> Ravi Kumar
> On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 11:19 AM, Jody Garnett <jody.garnett at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Okay I checked that the report is not published yet (sigh). I really
>> appreciated Jeff's answer, and agree that regional foss4g events are seeing
>> great success and are much more affordable.
>> To answer your question:
>> *'Do you agree that FOSS4G is turning out to be a hangout for those who
>> can afford it'*..
>> I have never agreed that FOSS4G is a hangout - I continue to view it as
>> our most effective outreach event.
>> *costs (of participation) are  so high that many might not afford.. *
>> I very much agree with this, indeed I was only able to attend
>> the Lausanne event by the kindness of people letting me sleep on their
>> hotel floor. I have tried to return the favour each time the event took
>> place in my home city.
>> *If selected to the board HOW do you wish to correct this...*
>> This is a tricky one, in part because I do not have to imagine - here is
>> my own recommendation from the board at osgeo.org email list thread: f2f
>> meeting follow up
>> <https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/board/2017-August/010526.html>:
>> On 21 August 2017 at 11:23, Jody Garnett <jody.garnett at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> *I saw this thread get into the details of the RFP - for that we have*
>> *volunteers on the conference committee. My goal as a board member is to*
>> *work on strategy, as the conference committee knows best about the RFP*
>> *wording and process.*
>> **Q: *Based on the affordability report, and resulting discussion, did we
>> as **the board have any direction to ask the conference committee to
>> steer in?*
>> *My own feedback:*
>> *1) I was pleasantly surprised that the ticket cost of foss4g has not **changed
>> significantly over the course of the events (indeed our most **expensive
>> event was Sydney and our cheapest Korea).*
>> *I do not see any guidance to provide here (this was surprising to me).*
>> *2) Attendance continues to increase limiting appropriate venues*
>> *I do not see any guidence to provide here, our community and event is **growing.
>> I think once we get around 3000 people we may be forced to settle **down
>> to consider a fixed location, but at 1000-2000 we can still move it *
>> *around.*
>> *3) regional events are killing it*
>> *I do not see any guidence to provide here, our community and events is *
>> *growing. **The hope is this takes some of the strain from the global
>> event, allowing **it to focus on outreach and advocacy more.*
>> *4) hard for students to attend (also journal, etc...)*
>> *There was a strong hope that travel grant program could help out a lot **here,
>> that would make me sad as this was intended to work towards **diversity.*
>> *While there may be guidance here I am not close enough to the academic **world
>> to provide useful direction.*
>> *5) diversity*
>> *The original intention of the travel grant was to bring diversity
>> awareness **to our osgeo events (to apply regional events are asked to
>> set a diversity **target which travel grant can help towards). During
>> foss4g I attended a **diversity presentation that advocated creating a
>> safe space.*
>> **Guidance: *Trial the use of providing a safe space in the 2018 bid.*
>> *Similar recommendations online include:*
>> *- make female speakers a priority (not just in selection, but before
>> hand*
>> *in promotion, one-on-one mentoring etc...).*
>> *- providing child care (this helps families attend)*
>> *Since these haver not been advocated by members of our community I am
>> only **comfortable providing guidance on providing a safe space. Perhaps
>> some of **these ideas can be tried out at regional conferences first.*
>> *6) time of year*
>> *The events have moved from September/October to August placing it in
>> the **way of European holidays. With the bulk of our contributors in
>> Europe this **has affected how many of our contributors can attend.*
>> **Guidance: *Request September / October event (to maximize contributors
>> who **can attend).*
>> *I understand next years event has plans to turn this into a holiday for **families
>> which is a cunning plan.*
>> *7) travel / accommodation*
>> *I would like to avoid prime tourist season to avoid asking attendees
>> pay **high airfair and accommodation costs. We did not have the number
>> in the **affordability report to back this up (but Michael Smith was
>> going to look **things up).*
>> **Guidance: *Request September / October event (to avoid peak tourist *
>> *season).*
>> Followed by:
>> *> 5) diversity*
>> *On reflection I am a bit uncomfortable offering guidance here - lacking
>> the **needed perspective. I would ask that the conference committee
>> consider **diversity as a selection criteria, but would hold off on
>> providing specific **advice listed above. I recognize that the board as
>> a whole is a diverse **body and may be in position to offer guidance.*
>> *I just don't think it is my place either as a board member (need to
>> trust **the marketing committee) or as a white male (can offer only
>> concern, not **perspective).*
>> *Aside: This whole discussion has increased my respect for the
>> conference **committee, this is tough stuff. I thank those who
>> contribute positively as **part of the conference committee.*
>> The thing to note is that as a board member we can offer guidance, or in
>> extreme cases provide a mandate to a group that wishes to act. I you asked
>> me "*HOW do you wish to correct this" * the answer would be to join the
>> conference committe and help out, an ability each of us has as a volunteer.
>> The conference committee has my trust, and as I understand they are
>> deeply aware and concerned about this issue.
>> --
>> Jody Garnett
>> On 15 October 2017 at 16:56, Jody Garnett <jody.garnett at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> We actually have solid numbers for this, a report was provided at the
>>> Boston meeting that kind of answers this to my satisfaction.
>>> I was waiting for it to be shared with the membership, since your
>>> question was one I have been asked repeatedly over the last six months,
>>> especially at foss4ge.
>>> I would really like you to be able to read the report and reach your own
>>> conclusion.
>>> On Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 4:45 PM Ravi Kumar <
>>> manarajahmundry2015 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> 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..
>>>> Ravi Kumar
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Discuss mailing list
>>>> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
>>>> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>>> --
>>> --
>>> Jody Garnett
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Vicky Vergara
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