YAPC Europe Foundation - Information for Y::E Candidates
OverviewAs noted on the organizers' page, the YAPC::Europe conference is the single annual event where YEF is involved. The venue committee is made up of both YEF board members and other previous YAPC::Europe organizers.
The annual schedule gives some indication of important dates related to the process. The call for proposals is published both in the YEF news section as well as on a number of Perl-related sites. This announcement is authoritative concerning the actual deadline for proposals.
Some documentation for conference organizers is available, but may not be completely up-to-date. We recommend that you review previous proposals to see what has been submitted in the past. Submissions will be added to the website. Please abide by the following guidelines when crafting a proposal:
- Write the proposal in plaintext or HTML.
- Provide contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses, for all conference organizers.
- Specify if there is any part of the proposal which you do not wish to be made public (contact information will be automatically withheld from publication).
- We would rather not receive venue endorsements as this has the potential to divide the Perl community over the choice of venue.
Walking through an application
This section provides an example of how the application process proceeds.
Pisa's application for 2010 was selected as an example because the organizers
did not ask that any part of the document (other than personal contact
information) remain confidential. Thus it is one of the most complete
Pisa was also chosen
as an example because the group previously provided an account of the
2008 Italian Perl Workshop,
which provides the opportunity for experienced workshop organizers to see
the differences and similarities between YAPC::Europe and a workshop.
Statement of IntentOn April 13, 2009, the Pisa group sent an email to the venue committee informing the committee that they would be submitting a proposal. While this notification is not required, it allows the venue committee to make personal enquires as the deadline nears if the proposal has not yet been submitted. On one occasion, the venue committee was able to offer a short extension to a group which had previously expressed interest (such an offer is only extended under rare circumstances). The notification also serves as a safeguard against the application not being delivered; if the venue committee expects an application and does not receive it, the committee will attempt to contact the group.
ApplicationOn June 30, 2009, the Pisa group emailed their application to host YAPC::Europe 2010 to the venue committee. The venue committee responded with a confirmation. Because YAPC::Europe 2009 was going to take place in early August rather than mid- or late August, the committee expressed its intention to compress the normal consideration schedule.
Follow-up QuestionsOn July 6, 2009, the venue committee sent a list of questions to the Pisa group. These questions addressed parts of the application which weren't understood, or issues which were not covered by the application. Some questions are always asked, while others might be inspired by areas covered by the other proposals received. Here are some questions which are commonly overlooked:
- What type of power outlets are available (voltage, frequency, and plug type)?
- How much does beer cost?
On July 10, 2009, the Pisa group responded with answers to the venue committee's questions.
EvaluationThe venue committee used the information provided by the candidate groups, as well as information from other sources (such as personal knowledge of the city/country, accounts of workshops held in the country, and general sources of information) in order to evaluate the proposals. Each committee member used her or his personal experience from having organized a conference to weigh the importance of the different aspects of the proposals. The venue committee discussed the strengths and weakness of the proposals before casting votes to select a venue.
The decision is always a complicated one, in part because the venue committee must balance two different objectives when selecting a location. One goal is to have a conference which the attendees enjoy and which meets or exceeds the standards of previous conferences. YAPC::Europe is also intended to stimulate local Perl organizations and to bring new people into the Perl community.
NotificationOn July 20, 2009, the venue committee sent emails to all groups which had submitted proposals informing them of the decision. The YEF treasurer contacted the winning group about the kickoff donation.
Public AnnouncementAt YAPC::Europe 2009 in Lisbon, it was publically announced that Pisa would host YAPC::Europe 2010.
- Boosting your application
- Teams with experience in organizing other events, such as workshops, can more easily convince the committee that they have the skills to organize a conference.
- Photos and/or videos of the venue are always recommended, as they allow the committee to get a better feel for the space.
- Important considerations
- Be aware of other events taking place in the city. Large conferences or festivals can drive up hotel prices or even claim all accommodation. Even events which aren't widely publicized (such as professional association meetings) have this potential, so inform yourself by speaking with a city authority.
- It is impossible to overstate the importance of the network. No matter how good the conference is, if the internet connectivity isn't good, that is what attendees will remember. Many venues will claim to have sufficient wireless nodes, but are calculating for perhaps one in three people to be online at any given time. Ask for specific figures rather than trusting assurances from the venue or vendor.
- Likewise, the number of power sockets available is important, as people will want to charge their laptops. Inspect the number of power outlets in the different rooms (as well as the hall), and determine to what extent you can safely increase the number of outlets through extension cables. Be sure there is an outlet near the stage for the speaker. Try to look not only at the number of outlets, but the breakers behind them; is the wiring modern enough to support the usage it will get during a conference? This is another area where you are advised to investigate for yourself, rather than trust the venue's assurance that "everything will be fine."
- Make sure that your budget is realistic, given the economic climate. Be certain to distinguish between essential components, optional components, and 'nice to have' extras.
- Promotion is becoming an increasing part of YAPC::Europe, so take the time to list your skills. If you have media contacts, that's wonderful. If you have designed a promotional video, include the link. Explain how you will promote the conference to people who have never attended a Y::E, and tell us how you will make sure they are included in the experience.
- It is worth having some idea of alternative venues in case your first choice venue doesn't work out.
- If there is any area of the application where you are flexible, mention it. For instance, you might specify a date when you expect to hold the conference, but if you have alternative dates, suggest them. If the venue committee has a problem with a particular aspect of the application, it's possible that they may believe it to be fixed and not think to ask if it can be altered.
- Remember diversity
- Consider how accessible your venue is to wheelchair users, people with hearing difficulties, and those with other types of limitations. It's important that Y::E try to be open to everyone who wants to attend. Furthermore, you should ensure that people with disabilities will have a similar experience at the conference. For instance, if someone in a wheelchair cannot can only sit in one place, apart from other attendees, she or he may not be able to engage in the social aspects of the conference, or may have difficulty seeing or hearing the speaker. Keep such issues in mind with all locations (i.e. the conference dinner, if there is one), not just the conference location.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians are a large enough minority that meal plans should include options for them. It is also worth considering that people may have other dietary restrictions (for instance vegan or gluten-free), but these are probably best offered 'on demand' as the number of people requiring special meals is likely to be small. If you honestly cannot meet someone's request with a reasonable amount of effort, be certain that the attendee is aware of this problem.
- In recent years there have been some regrettable incidents within the free and open source communities which have led to some people feeling excluded or offended. Conference organizers should carefully consider whether any content (including speeches and advertising) is liable to be viewed as sexist or otherwise offensive by attendees.
Remember, just because something's been done before doesn't mean you have to do it again, unless it is something attendees expect. Over the years YAPC::Europe has grown and changed, which wouldn't have happened if organizers hadn't had new ideas about how to do things!