Re: Thoughts on KubeCon


I think it's important that tactical measures (e.g., double-blind, vendor talk limits, etc.) should be in the service of a general goal. IMO the first responsibility of conference organizers is to the conference attendees. A primary goal might look lie: make an engaging and useful conference, that fosters community development of cloud native software.

There is always a push among talk proposers to have a completely "objective" admissions process, but (1) an "objective" admissions process may well make for a worse conference, and (2) it is impossible for the committee to not impose some editorial view in the talks they select. So you may as well embrace it.

To the issue at hand: IME the best reason to have double-blind reviews is that it increases the amount of diversity, both in submissions and in balance of accepts. I reckon this is for much the same way that blind auditions helped diversity in orchestras.

What I very seriously doubt is that double-blind reviews will have the affect Bryan seems to think it will. In practice, most talks proposed about interesting technology (linkerd/Istio/Envoy, say) will be inextricably linked to the vendors that produce the technology, and the authoritative credibility they carry. Likewise most "customer success" talks will be linked to the customer itself. It will be harder on balance to judge talks on their merit without some idea of the "believability" of these authors. This is in contrast to scientific papers, where the submission process is geared towards papers that explore some idea abstract the people involved, excepting talks from industry, which will carry more weight because they have operational expertise, even though they are therefore less anonymous.

There may be other reasons to do double-blind review, but personally I can't think of them.

On Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 2:20 PM Nick Chase <nchase@...> wrote:
On Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 4:35 PM Quinton Hoole <quinton.hoole@...> wrote:
I also think that it would be super-useful for submission rejection notices to be accompanied by a few brief reviewer notes (e.g. “too much marketing pitch”, “not open source”, “previously presented”, “duplicated submission”, “off topic" etc) to help submitters to improve their chances in future (and perhaps also clarify any possible misperceptions by reviewers, as the submissions are by necessity brief). As just one illustrative data point, all 10 of my submissions to KubeCon China and US were rejected, and none of the rejections seem explainable by any of the “how to improve the odds” guidelines.  So I have no idea what to do differently in future.

I recognize that it's not always that cut-and-dried, BTW; I've been on the selection team for several conferences and sometimes it's just a matter of "there were 10 slots and you ranked #11".  But not always.   

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