Leader of Birmingham.pm [pm.org] and a CPAN author [cpan.org]. Co-organised YAPC::Europe in 2006 and the 2009 QA Hackathon, responsible for the YAPC Conference Surveys [yapc-surveys.org] and the QA Hackathon [qa-hackathon.org] websites. Also the current caretaker for the CPAN Testers websites and data stores.
If you really want to find out more, buy me a Guinness
So registration for GUADEC is now open. As I'm thinking of going I thought I'd check out the site again.
My experiences of the GUADEC organisation this year hasn't been good. The organisers decided to completely ignore all the local language user groups and the smaller LUGs around the Midlands in asking for help and only selected two "high profile" midland based LUGs. Thankfully I'm on the mailing lists for both LUGs, so caught the email. Seeing as we organised a comparable sized conference last year, I thought I'd respond to the email and offer my assistance. Nothing. I sent another email earlier this year offering the use of all the direction information and even the Google map I created. Still nothing. The recent email states "we'd like to encourage as many particpents from the UK as possible to get involved and interested in the GNOME project.", ignoring offers of help seems a little at odds with that.
Back last year, when it was announced that the conference was coming to Birmingham, I thought it might be interesting to submit a talk. I hadn't really thought about what, but figured by the time that the Call for Papers was out I figure something out. It was only mentioning to someone earlier in the year that I had thought about submitting a talk, that I discovered that the CfP was only open for a few weeks and that it had now closed. Despite being on all the midland LUG lists, not one mention of either the CfP opening or closing.
Taking a look at the schedule, it would seem they had plenty of offers for talks, so I can only assume they targeted a faithful speaker set rather than "encourage as many particpents from the UK as possible to get involved and interested in the GNOME project."
Now I don't know about anybody else, but one of the decisions I make about going to events like this is knowing who the speakers are. Not just the "big name" speakers, but also the lesser know speakers, who I might actually know seeing as I've been using Linux and Gnome for quite some time, and listen to things like LUGRadio. So where do I find a list of these speakers? Click the Speakers link maybe? Er, no that would be JUST the keynote speakers. Click the individual talks in the schedule (some 80 sessions)? Well that would be an understandable place, but apparently none of the organisers thought it important enough. The absolute OBVIOUS place would be on the actual schedule itself, but obviously that's too obvious! So I know all the talk title, but nothing (bar the keynotes) of who is actually speaking.
There are several issues I have with the way the conference has been promoted (or not) and how the website works, but seeing as they are not interested in anyone who has been through the same conference organisation, giving any advice or helping out with such things, I can only assume that they don't want "to encourage as many particpents from the UK as possible to get involved and interested in the GNOME project."
I'm sure the conference will be well attended, and I do plan to attend myself, but I can't help but wonder what exactly it's going to do for Gnome, Linux and Open Source here in the midlands. At least with the YAPC conferences the gain to the local area is that we can better promote Perl and can usually organise further local events. The email announcing the registration only came through a member who happens to be on a mailing list where the email was posted, none of the group leaders of the midlands LUGs are even involved with any of the organisation, and as far as I'm aware none of the organisation team are on any of the midland LUG lists. Can you really organise a conference of this size remotely? It should be interesting to find out.
PS: "particpents" is their misspelling, not mine