Programming: BOFs, Pre-conference content

farriss's picture
  • Should there be some free content (could be N00b sessions, author talks) available in an exhibition hall to registered free passes?
  • What content, if any, should be pre-Conference: core developer conference, code sprint, paid workshops, etc?
  • BOF: how many rooms should be allocated?
  • Should BOF content be free?
  • Should some BOFs be pre-scheduled?
  • Should room(s) be allocated for an unconference to differentiate unscheduled presentations from traditional BOFs (roundtable discussions)?

The group will discuss these topics after we have reached a consensus on the Programming Tracks and Session selection.

Comments

Nonprofits + Students.

dchakrab's picture

There is an increasing number of nonprofits / NGOs around the world using Drupal, and a similarly increasing number of nonprofit-focused Drupal shops - full disclosure: like ours :) I'd like to suggest free n00b-friendly content aimed at nonprofits or perhaps small businesses, assuming the venue has suitable exhibition space to accommodate a large enough number of free entrants to justify the content.

Another obvious category of attendees for such a space is students; is there interest in drawing a reasonable number of comp sci or design students from Chicagoland? What would we tell the next generation of Drupalers if we could grab them at the undergrad level, before they get their heads filled with Adobe?

Hope this is helpful!

Dave.

--
Dave Chakrabarti
Co-founder | Project Manager
Nonprofitable.org - Drupal for nonprofits
(708) 919-1026

Thoughts

Crell's picture

IMO, the more "hard core" non-session content should go at the end of the conference, not before. Code sprints, core dev mini-conference (whatever that is), etc. That way, the hard core folks get their heads filled with neat and cool new stuff and then have time to immediately do something with it. (That's what makes the hard core folks different from the soft core folks. The more soft core folks would, at that point, have a headache and need time to digest it. That's not a slight against them by any means, merely an observation of the different audiences we need to target.) That would then naturally put any less-geeky content at the beginning: extra-paid workshops, a dedicated super-novice track, a "business day" (like Paris had planned to do but it didn't work out), etc. Have that before their heads explode from all that new content instead of after. Less mess to clean up that way. (Plus, leading with the introductory stuff means those who learn quickly can then stick around and get more intermediate content afterward.)

On the subject of BoFs, if we think that there will be enough spill-over from non-accepted presentations then we should try to separate out space for those from the "true BoFs". Both have value, but they are different things and we should make it clear which is which. (I went to two "BoFs" in Paris, both of which were really "a presentation session crammed into a meeting room".) How much spill-over there is will depend largely on our ability to get sufficient space for sufficient "formal" sessions. Too much unconference space and it will detract from the main curated conference, which should be the focus.

As to free content, well... here's the main problem I see.

1) One of the great things about open source is that the "Big names" are readily available. Especially in Drupal, the fact that you can just plop down on a couch with or see a small room presentation from a leading developer or UX wizard or whatnot, and they tend to be nice and friendly people, is itself a major draw.

2) Those people tend to be the most in-demand sessions, too. (At least usually. Not all code gurus are also presentation gurus.)

3) Those people tend to also naturally gravitate toward each other. Hey, they only get to meet and discuss in person every 6 months!

4) So if there is a "newbie day", the people you want there the most to attract new blood are the ones who, if left to their own devices, are least likely to be there. If there is a code sprint at the same time as a "novice BoF" period, for instance, I know which one I'm more likely to end up at simply because that's where the action is for the stuff that I work on. And you know that the webchicks of the world will have people stalking them to talk code even if they would rather be presenting on novice topics.

So if we have a dedicated "novice/free/intro/recruiting" day, or track, then we also need to figure out how to ensure that our best novice-helpers/presenters/recruiters are there and not somewhere else. I am not entirely certain how best to do that, unfortunately.

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