[OSGeo-Discuss] Free Workshop Tickets @ FOSS4G

María Arias de Reyna delawen at gmail.com
Sun Jun 17 23:03:27 PDT 2018

Dear Mark,

Your effort for this FOSS4G is impressive!

In my opinion, changing previous rules and experimenting with different
approaches is a good thing. If we see that the outcome is not what we
expected, we can always rollback for following years. But what if the
outcome is better than ever? Which, I think, will be the case. There will
be a lot of new faces this year, I'm sure of that. And new faces means new

On Sun, Jun 17, 2018 at 9:31 PM, Mark Iliffe <markiliffe at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi All,
> Firstly… we’re super excited to be welcoming you all to Dar es Salaam this
> August… it’s going to be amazing!!
> Secondly, at the end of last week, there was a very good discussion on
> Twitter about free tickets at FOSS4G [1] - there are numerous threads that
> span from here with good comments for offering free tickets to workshop
> presenters and keynotes and against.
> I’d like to explain why we made the choice not to offer free tickets to
> workshop presenters.
> When we were putting together the workshop program, we were overwhelmed by
> the quality and quantity of submissions received by the call. We received
> 73 submissions and accepted 27. This was incredibly difficult as we wanted
> to widen the scope of content within the workshop program (aka… not have
> the same as last year) and balance new presenters with established ones.
> Everything was a compromise to establish this program, but on balance I
> believe (and I hope you as the community will agree), that we got the
> balance right.
> We have the stated aim in our proposal and since that we want to use
> FOSS4G in Dar es Salaam to widen participation of many under-represented
> groups within our community - as a global community, we need to be as
> diverse as the world. Part of the economic impetus within the DLOC is to
> widen access and participation - this means working out how to achieve
> that. Bluntly, if we want to have a conference with the same content and
> people, we shouldn’t be holding this in Dar es Salaam.
> As many, (but not all), workshop presenters are from companies sponsoring
> their travel to FOSS4G (offering workshops that directly relate to services
> offered by their employer), the drive to widen participation, with previous
> conferences not offering free workshop tickets (Nottingham in 2013 for
> example) and no stated promise to offer free tickets for presenters, I led
> my committee and we resolved to not provide free tickets to presenters.
> However, potentially this is wrong - and I’d like to stress as a
> volunteer(and unpaid!) conference chair/organiser, we’re capable of getting
> things wrong… but we/I want to ensure that it’s put right.
> In effect, there is no profit from the workshop tickets, effectively, this
> pays for the conference venue and the food and drink for the workshop days.
> The cost of this is roughly $75. We’re charging $75 - this is cheaper than
> previous workshops! To offer a free ticket to workshop presenters, we would
> have charged $100 and reclaimed the cost of the workshop presenter ticket
> from there. We charged as low as we could, because we recognised that for
> some attending FOSS4G, $25 can be a very large difference… but for
> others... not at all (hence the donation button for the Travel Grant
> Programme!). But, to widen participation, we need to be as inclusive as
> possible and that means making hard choices.
> We’re being inclusive by raising the number of TGP attendees from 10 in
> Boston to 51 for Dar. As the DLOC, we’ve booked the YMCA for our TGP
> attendees - this means that the TGP this year can support micro-grants,
> paying $250 to support the bus travel, food, and drink of a community
> member in Uganda that ordinarily would not be able to get to the conference
> in theory on their doorstep - because of this, every little helps, saving
> $100 here, $300 there etc. This may sound like hyperbole, but it’s a direct
> and concrete way that FOSS4G is widening access, in both economically
> disadvantaged and gendered situations.
> Ultimately: If you are a workshop presenter at FOSS4G this year and are
> unable to get your ticket/want a free ticket, please get in touch with me - *we’ll
> sort you out and make it right.* If this has given the impression that we
> are taking advantage of our workshop presenters - *it is not the
> intention, nor the case and we’re sorry*.
> Going forward, I’d recommend there be a further discussion within the
> conference selection process on whether workshop presenters, keynotes etc
> are given free passes and clarify whether it should be one way or the other
> - but that is not for me or my committee to decide! It’s 70 days to go to
> the best FOSS4G yet… and we’ve got a conference to put on!
> Thanks to all of you who make this community great :-)
> Best,
> Mark
> [1] https://twitter.com/sarasomewhere/status/1006304174332661760
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