Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pycon talks and tutorials

At the Pycon in February 2010 myself and James Tauber will be presenting both a half-day tutorial on Pinax and a 30 minute Pinax tutorial. I'm delighted, honored, and admittedly a bit scared. Not scared enough that I won't be able to function, but scared enough to stay edgy. I've given talks and presentations before, but never before such a group of people that I respect and admire. The short tutorial I've done, although it is changing (and for the better). The long tutorial will be a lot of work, but we've got four months to finish our preparations.

Besides our Pinax stuff, there will be a lot of really incredible material at this conference. In fact, the times I will be working at this conference, I fear something will be scheduled that will be the talk of a lifetime. Indeed, there were a few times I hoped our Pinax proposals would be discarded because so many of the Pycon proposals were just unbelievably awesome.

On that note, I want to thank the other members of the pycon-pc group who contributed their hard work and time to figuring out which talks would be presented. Dozens of people reviewed the presented material using the Pycon website (note: these reviews will be made accessible to the authors of the proposed talks). By my unscientific count at least 2 dozen participated in the IRC meetings to determine who made the final list.

Quick Pycon Talk workflow
  1. Talks reviewed on pycon site. Talks with at least one champion got moved to next stage. Talks without champions but no negative votes also got moved to next stage.
  2. IRC discussions on each talk. Champions argued for the talks. If champion not available on IRC someone else would champion the talk. Brandon Rhodes and Doug Hellmann did a fantastic job as substitute champions. Yay/Nay votes then counted for simple majority.
  3. When we had too many talks we used a Pycon Thunderdome method of whittling things down. Three-to-five talks of similiar bent were listed together then each person named the ones they wanted to keep. The ones with least votes were removed.
Some serious stars in the process were: Jesse Noller who busted serious hiney as chairman, Doug Napoleone provided incredibly responsive technical support for the site, plus Doug Hellmann and Brandon Rhodes for amazing levels of participation. So many others I respect were there in the web reviews or IRC that it was like a python geek fanboy's fantasy. What was also wonderful was how the reviewers would vote for, and often champion, for things that competed with their own pet project. This sense of keeping alive friendly competition was wonderful and demonstrated the solidarity of the Python community.

Some of us had talks in the system. We all left the meetings during those times. If a talk didn't make it through, there were no hard feelings. We just crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. Some people who participated quite a lot had their talks canned, so favorites certainly were not played.

Unfortunately, some talks did not make the cut that I think would have been outstanding contributions. There were times I felt real disappointment when something did not make it through. Unfortunately, as much as I believe the people in the pycon-pc meetings should follow my every whim, they do not.

Some were suggested to be resubmitted as tutorials. Any talk that did not make it through should be submitted as a poster session. Heck, if your talk got refused you can always present it in the open hallway track!

27 more posts to go!

Doug Napoleone corrected me in that we only make the reviews public to the specific talk authors.


Doug Napoleone said...

NOTE: we only make the reviews public to the specific talk authors. They are not for general public consumption.

The full list of accepted talks will be made available soon. We want to give time for feedback from the authors. Checks and balances and all that.

pyDanny said...

@Doug Napoleone,

Corrected in the blog entry!

Jeff said...

I can't wait for PyCon. This will be my third one in a row. And third one on my own dime. If I didn't enjoy this conference, I'd never pay my own way.

Can't wait for Atlanta!

Alex Clark said...

This is great information, thank you! I'm guessing my talk was whittled away in the PyCon Thunderdome, which is certainly a fine way to go! :-D