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

Dave Neary dneary at redhat.com
Wed May 18 12:56:22 UTC 2016


Personally, I have always found voting to be exclusionary in its nature
- it is a popularity contest where those with the broadest reach get
more and better votes - and tacky ("vote for my talk!", or worse, "vote
for my employer's talk proposals!" tweets are uncouth at best, actively
damaging to community identity at worst).

Certainly, voting can help eliminate some options - out of laziness, we
have considered only the top 30 talks out of 60 proposals for 8 talk
slots in a past conference, and 5 of the talks were voted in the top 8.
But in general, I do not see a lot of alignment between what makes the
best content and what gets the most/best votes. Also, as a presenter, I
have never felt comfortable in the "pimp my talk" zone - and I'm pretty
extroverted. I can only imagine that having to "sell" your proposal to
the community is even more uncomfortable for others - especially those
new to our community - so, as I say above, I see the practice as
exclusionary and intimidating.

I'm all in favour of dropping it, as I have said for the past 3 summits.


On 05/17/2016 06:24 PM, Stefano Maffulli wrote:
> 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
> chairs.
> /stef
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Dave Neary - NFV/SDN Community Strategy
Open Source and Standards, Red Hat - http://community.redhat.com
Ph: +1-978-399-2182 / Cell: +1-978-799-3338

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