[openstack-community] Proposal: remove voting on speaking proposals for Barcelona Summit

Stefano Maffulli stefano at openstack.org
Tue May 17 22:24:49 UTC 2016

On 05/17/2016 12:40 PM, Claire Massey wrote:
> With the growing number of speaking submissions (we had 1,300 for
> Austin), some community members have expressed concerns about social
> media channels and email getting spammed during the week of voting. We
> also think many community members are unclear as to how much the votes
> weigh on the final decision. For example, some think that if someone
> campaigns for votes or asks their colleagues to vote, the session will
> likely be accepted (which may not be the case).

I have always considered the public voting a celebration of the success
of the summit and nothing else. It's a ritual for the OpenStack
community: twice a year we ask speakers to propose their talks and we
celebrate all of the submissions. In this celebration, people from
anywhere (the crowd) give their opinions...

The rituals and the celebrations contribute to define communities,
online and not.

I've argued at length that the crowd's votes are a by-product of the
celebration and are to be discarded by the track chairs. The crowd has
no wisdom in this context, it can and will be easily manipulated (think
what happened when Pilates run a popularity contest asking the crowd to
vote). Track chairs should be trusted instead, therefore they need to be
picked carefully (like they've been).

>[...]Our thinking is that by removing voting from
> the process, we will:
> - Save valuable time during the overall Summit programming process,
> which should allow us to publish the final agenda and notify speakers
> sooner 
> - Allow our development teams more time to focus on improving the mobile
> app and web schedule developed during the last Summit cycle

These considerations by Foundation staff are very practical and it's
hard to counter these. Time is not compressible and it's quite clear
that development efforts are already stretching the team thin.

My vote is to keep the celebrations pre-summit but not at the expense of
dev team's sanity. The executives at the foundation are the best judges
for this.

> - Reduce the spam and noise around voting, so we don't cause Twitter
> fatigue before we're promoting the final agenda and key themes

Twitter *is* fatigue by another name, honestly... this is a thin
objection, can be fixed with little investment from the Foundation staff.

> - Level the playing field for speakers from startups, new community
> members, etc. who may not have an established network in the community
> for voting

This can be easily fixed by recommending the track chairs to ignore the
votes (even hide the results from track chair tool) and communicate
clearly that the crowd is not 'voting' on anything, just participating
in a ritual. It's a small fix to documentation and recommendations to


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