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How do we select the site for FOSS4G NA?

March 18, 2015

The recent FOSS4G NA conference in Burlingame (March 9-12, 2015) was the third FOSS4G North America. On Monday, I blogged to communicate some of the cities being asked for in the attendee survey & from other interested people.

The conference is big enough that it takes a fair amount of work to organize. And, there’s a lot of thought that goes into where + when it should be hosted. How do we decide? Well, historically FOSS4G NA has had a very informal decision process. We’d like to do a little better. A chat started amongst the chairs for past North American FOSS4G events. We’d like to take that public now.

For what it’s worth, the conference’s big sibling, FOSS4G Global is selected by a panel of previous chairs. One tricky thing about this model is that it is a body of people who select who gets to join them. There’s a real risk of self selection and favouring people with similar ideas in this model. Also, as the conference evolves, does this model adapt to reflect those changes?

Another potential model proposed is to have participants (attendees, speakers, & sponsors) in the conference elect the team who will guide the conference and select the content for the next year. It has been suggested that this model should include representation from groups like OSGeo & LocationTech who have a strong interest in a well run conference. As well, diversity to reach out to underrepresented groups is very important, and there should be appropriate representation. This model is a bit more work to implement, but perhaps it’s worth the effort as it may be more dynamic?

There are pro’s and con’s to each approach. There’s likely another model we haven’t thought of yet. If you’d like to participate in the discussion & help figure out the model, please join this Google group. Everyone is welcome, and encouraged to participate. The discussion is public and archived.

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One Comment
  1. May of missed the obvious “volunteer” model. Those who sign up to the public google group care enough to help with the selection process.

    Of course now that I have replied to this post I will have to go sign up to that google group 🙂

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