At KubeCon/CloudNativeCon there was a session on improving the conference for the future
. This session was born out of conversations on this list so I wanted to circle back with some of the material from that session to further the conversation and see about getting some of them implemented.
Before I share improvements people suggested, I wanted to touch on a possible technical problem. Both Paris Pittman and I found examples of sessions that people proposed but that appeared to disappear. For example, in Paris case it was sessions she proposed that were neither accepted or rejected along with a session that was double accepted.
Dan and Chris, can someone look into the technical process and make sure there isn't a place where some sessions could be inadvertently dropped or otherwise messed up?
I also want to thank the track chairs. It is an often thankless job. In the session there were call outs to things people liked and I, for one, appreciated hearing those. Nothing I intend to write is meant to be a criticism. Rather, it's to share suggestions many people had looking to continiously improve a changing conference.
Some things people liked:
- Keynotes with a rounded room
- Daycare for kids
- Many women giving keynotes
Some problems that could use more solution suggestions:
- Room changes and sched updating after sessions had begun. Some speakers were late because of this
- Uniformly, sessions at the TCC were under-attended. If we use the venue again we should re-think layout
- Finding room locations in sched can be difficult
- Good talks were from end users. How can we get more of these?
- Some reviewers were a bit overwhelmed (e.g., someone reviewed ~120 submissions)
- The SurveyMonkey review application isn't great and reviewers would like something better
Here are some of the suggestions from the session:
- Announce sponsored keynotes as sponsored
- Speaker training to help speakers improve their sessions (especially maintainers who get intros/deep dives)
- Use feedback from previous conferences to inform session selection at future conferences
- Collect videos of previous speaking when submitting selections
- Keep things on the same topic in the same room (tracks have a room)
- Have a dry run of the talks before the day of
- Match seasoned speakers with newer speakers to help work on sessions
- Track chairs - this came up several times by different people
- Capture data on whey sessions were popular (is it speakers, topic, something else?)
- Tracks with diversity (e.g., one of the tracks had 4 of 6 talks on the same project). Some conferences limit the number of project talks in a single track. Couple this with shared room/day and YouTube playlist experiences
- Example from an education conference: a 90 minute talk is 80 minuites. The final 10 minutes was people doing reviews. This captures feedback in the moment from many rather than negative feedback after the fact
- Example from academic medical conferences: you have to turn in feedback to continue accreditation
- Local conferences (like DevOps Days, WordCamp, DrupalCamp, etc) which Chris Aniszczyk said was in the works
- Posted ingredients lists for the meals for people with special diets
- Having room on badges for things like GitHub handles because that's how many of us know each other
- Live captioning, at least for the keynotes
Note, I likely missed some. If I did and you remember something please share to fill in the gaps.
There was no way for me to capture the entirety of the session in an email this short. If you're interested in more detail please watch the video
Also, please feel free to forward this on or loop others in as needed.