Re: Thoughts on KubeCon
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Hi all from a current co-chair :-) Some great constructive ideas here, this is turning into a good discussion.
On the double-blinding, I was involved in discussions about this after Austin and again after Copenhagen. Both times we came to the conclusion that double-blind wouldn't work, mostly for the reasons Alena & Justin described. I don't recall hearing the two-phase suggestion before though, and I think this is really worth exploring further.
We'd have to reduce the number of submissions to make that in any way manageable. The idea of beefing up the CFP requirements could help (but is it possible we will put off some really knowledgable folks from contributing if we make it more onerous?) I think we need a bigger pool of review committee participants (who actually do it diligently) and perhaps should solicit more widely for volunteers for that.
I'm inclined to say we shouldn't allow more than two submissions from any individual, but I don't think it's fair to impose submission limits per company - partly because it would be hard for them to manage, but more importantly this would likely end up with fewer new voices getting a chance, as the companies will no doubt push for their star performers to be on stage.
On feedback - you can get it if you ask! For Copenhagen I gave individual feedback to everyone who asked via the speakers email (I guess that was about 20 people). I hope I'm not going to regret saying this as obviously that's not a scalable process and I may have just opened the floodgates!
But based on that experience it would be a LOT of work to give meaningful feedback for every submission. You might imagine you could just forward the reviewer comments, but in practice, for the vast majority the comments don't by themselves explain why a talk didn't make the cut. For example, many talks get a perfectly decent score and positive comments, but still don't get picked. They might have simply been up against even better talks, or we had to choose between similar talks, or (believe it or not) we felt we couldn't have any more talks in a track from a given company, and so on. The reviewer comments wouldn't reflect any of that. One concern here is a lot of people seeing the positive comments and thinking they had been unfairly overlooked because obviously there was nothing wrong with their submission. If it's not useful, actionable feedback there's no point sending it.
Perhaps we should document more of the co-chair decisions as we go along? Definitely worth considering, though it adds up to more work for the co-chairs (not that it will affect me as my term comes to an end after Seattle).
On the CFP request for resources, for Copenhagen we didn't have this and I ended up doing lots of googling about submitters. Based on that I suggested asking for resources to offer submitters the chance to show off their best work rather than have us trying to guess what to look at. Why do we need to see this? Trying to establish whether folks are subject matter experts, or prone to vendor pitching, or trying to identify potential exciting keynote speakers...
As I said, I really do think we should explore the ideas in this thread, especially the two-phase process, but let's not let perfection be the enemy of the good here. In one of the "should we double-blind" discussions one of my predecessors made the point that the outcome is more important than the process; if the end result is an agenda that the community finds engaging and exciting, that represents a diversity of viewpoints, and that drives forward the technology and adoption of cloud native, then we're in a pretty good place. It's my firm belief that the community want to see a mix of tech talks and end-user stories; talks by subject matter experts as well as new voices; diversity in all dimensions including company, but recognising that there are an awful lot of talented, knowledgable people working full-time on cloud native in a small number of companies. I'm sure we made mistakes, but we really did try our best to try to reflect all that in the agenda.
I'm really happy to see constructive engagement about all this. But time presses and I must, for now, fly!
On Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 12:10 PM alexis richardson <alexis@...> wrote:
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