[OSGeo-Discuss] Free Workshop Tickets @ FOSS4G

Mark Iliffe markiliffe at gmail.com
Tue Jun 19 21:13:27 PDT 2018

Hi Jody,

Thanks for the background too - I think there needs to be more coordination
between the various OSGeo projects - especially considering the enhanced
touch that we've been working on regarding accommodation - I think this can
be something for future conferences to consider, especially if following
our model of engagement (linking accommodation, experiences together etc).

With submitting a workshop - I doubt there is an easy answer here - hence
the verbose email! At the start, we never promised a free ticket to
workshop presenters... but if there is an issue for workshop presenters,
I'd really like to stress that we'll make this right. Our mission and motto
with this FOSS4G is *"to leave no-one behind"* and we will deliver on this
mission, and that includes those that are presenting, giving workshops etc.

We've focused on the Travel Grant Programme this year as a mechanism for
increasing attendance at FOSS4G, part of this has been to extend free at
the point of provision accommodation for TGP attendees - given the right
circumstances this can include accommodation at FOSS4G - it will not be the
Ritz, but it would suffice. Part of our sponsorship raising has been to
directly support further attendance at FOSS4G through targeting underserved
communities, part of this criteria has been to focus on presenters through
this programme too. To support attendees, we need them to flag that they
need assistance!

I'd like to really pose the question to the community, regarding the
content of future workshops. In scanning our workshop content, we are
supporting some workshop presenters through the TGP, whereas most are being
supported by their companies - balancing this is going to be a question for
others - we've made our bed to an effect, and I hope that the community
at-large can work with us to mitigate any challenge that could/would arise.

Thanks all,


On 19 June 2018 at 20:02, Jody Garnett <jody.garnett at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks for the background Mark.
> Keep in mind that that OSGeo projects and committees also have a budget,
> many indicated that they would assist their members with foss4g travel
> and/or accommodation. For context OSGeo does ask that each project officer
> attend the AGM (or send a community member to speak on their behalf).
> I am one of the individuals who submitted a workshop in the hopes of
> earning a conference ticket. I have enough notice that I will be able to
> sort out the gap. I would like to acknowledge that earlier in my career
> finding a way to earn a foss4g conference ticket was a way for me to attend
> foss4g events (run a workshop, save up half the year, sofa surf based on a
> generosity, etc...). For the FOSS4G 2013 event you mentioned I joined the
> video team.  I recognize that this was a case was I was giving up my time,
> since I had more time then money.
> Personally it takes me five days to prep a 1/2 day workshop. One reason I
> would like to continue to support instructors is so they take that prep
> time, but perhaps we could find a balance where financial support is more
> directly tied to preparation. Do something like hire an designer to help
> with diagrams if initial course milestone is met etc...
> --
> Jody Garnett
> On Sun, 17 Jun 2018 at 12:31, 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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>> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
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