Last week, our CFP has ended and our speakers were chosen last night. The details of how our CFP process worked can be found here and the explanation of the goal here. Given the number of goals formulated, we can now give details on how many of them we reached.
Sad words upfront
We got 79 proposals for the eurucamp weekend. This means that most proposals will be rejected. This is especially sad as the general quality was very high. Only some 3 proposals got rejected outright, but even those were mostly double-submissions.
We will try to give detailed feedback to each and everyone. Given the quality of the proposals, some rejections will come down to "that was all good, but we found another combination of talks more fitting", though. Thanks everyone for submitting, keep on!
When it fits, we will contact speakers to either resubmit to JRubyConf.EU or possibly hold a workshop on their topic.
As a thank you, we will provide each of the submitters with a link to buy eurucamp tickets at the price of the early birds.
Diversity in topics
One of the main goals of our CFP was topic diversity and we can certainly say that we achieved that. The proposed topics spanned all kinds of topics, from frontend to backend to clever development setups. All of them showed great interest in the machines we are working with and the humans that interface with them. I won't go into details here, because we actually picked some of the most surprising ones and want to pass on the surprise to you. Be on the lookout for the announcements!
We are very happy with the submitted topics and had a pleasure to pick. Also, we are sure that eurucamp will provide a program with fresh and original talks by newbies and veterans alike that just ooze the "relaxed" nature of eurucamp.
Diversity in People
We never stated it publicly, but our main thesis about the diversity of our community was that the community already offers a lot diversity already and that it is our job as community organizers to expose that to encourage improvements. We can honestly state that we are able to present an interesting group of speakers from many skill levels, interesting nations and all genders without putting much focus to any of those attributes while picking the talks. We will give a detailed breakdown of this after the conference.
Ask and they will come
To be honest, all this did not come for free, but on the other hand was not too much work as well. The key is encouragement: we monitored some of our key metrics closely (yes, gender was one of them) and if we felt that it was off, we started sending emails to relevant groups and members of the community. It is as simple as that. As non of our proposals felt like a lackluster "well, lets do that then", we can also say that the problem of "token speakers" is overrated.
We, as conference organizers, cannot quickly fix the odd numbers in the IT world. But we can do our share of legwork to encourage subgroups of our community to feel invited and show up. That investment has payed of very well. If all you need to do is asking directly, there is no reason not to do it.
We accepted proposals that asked for coaching and will report on this after the coaching is done.
The anonymous CFP worked out well and was taken very seriously, even to the point where companies we know personally kept the fact that they submitted away from us. In some cases, the anonymous voting of proposals weeded out some lackluster proposals by well-known community members, so it also mattered and was not only a trick without value. Also, we had more than one positive surprise when we finally revealed who submitted the top-rating talks.
We are very glad on how the eurucamp CFP worked out. If you were not accepted and get a rejection letter, please consider resubmitting to JRubyConf.EU - the CFP is open until the end of the month for precisely that reason!
Again, thanks to everyone who submitted and keep on submitting!
Also, a huge thank you to jsconf.eu for creating the original version of our CFP process and expecially to Jan Lehnardt for dropping by for a long coffee and explaining the (surprisingly pragmatic) reasoning behind all this. Their call for speakers is now open as well!