We were confident that linux.conf.au 2007 would rock before we’d seen any talk, tutorial or miniconf proposals. Now we’re just flat-out gobsmacked.
The night before the Boston Summit, I joined the linux.conf.au 2007 programme review team meeting by phone. Despite the horror of a 19:00 to 02:00 meeting, I had it easy: Our reviewers had already spent countless hours doing personal ratings of the 280 submissions we received; it’s pretty hard to get into a fist-fight about reviewer opinions over the phone; and I got to schlep off to see Jon Stewart halfway through.
Leading up to the CFP close, we were pretty happy with the quality of submissions, but kinda disappointed with the quantity. It seemed like we wouldn’t even hit 150, so the review team decided they wanted to review every submission. Then we hit the traditional, ever-punctual, post-extension spike:
The personal ratings process — when individual reviewers separately rate each proposal — took its toll. I had to assure quite a few concerned onlookers that Rusty’s review-rage commentary was not actually linux.conf.au policy!
After the group meeting, Mary wrote a cuddlier version, based on criteria the review team used throughout the decision-making process. It turns out that culling 80% of about 300 great submissions is hard, and sometimes you have to suffer a few arbitrary choices here and there.
For all the heartache, we have a fantastic result: We received more submissions than ever before, and have an extremely impressive line-up of speakers, talks, miniconfs and tutorials to show for it. We’ve created a substantially larger budget for travel assistance, so we can bring out the very best speakers, no compromises.
We’ll be in touch with hopefuls over the next few days and have the first cut of the programme published soon after that — ahead of schedule!
Update: Erik also blogged about his experience on the review team.