[Linux-aus] linux-aus Digest, Vol 61, Issue 23

Chris Neugebauer chrisjrn at gmail.com
Thu Apr 26 15:03:54 EST 2012

Hi Janet,

Thanks for your questions, I've answered them below:

On Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 13:01, Janet Hawtin <lucychili at gmail.com> wrote:
> I can see why the attendees might like clarification on conference scope.
> Why do you think that changing the name of the sponsor organisation is
> a good solution to their questions?

Firstly, I must be clear here -- PyCon Australia is not sponsored by
Linux Australia.  It is an event run by Linux Australia members on
behalf of Linux Australia.  Linux Australia provides the legal
framework under which the conference runs.

Because I believe that something like "Open Source (Communities)
Australia" indicates that the organisation encompasses Free and Open
Source projects beyond Linux.  It seems to me that with such a name,
it would be clearer that the organisation covers the Python community
in Australia, also the Drupal community -- many communities -- and not
just the Linux Community.

> If LA changes its name to an open source or FLOSS name you will still
> have attendees asking you about scope.
> LA cannot rename itself to be inclusive of all platforms and still be
> coherent as an organisation itself.

Correct.  However, I believe that the questions of scope will be more
about *refining* their expectations, rather than broadening them.

> If you were only sponsored by IBM or only sponsored by Microsoft your
> attendees would still be interested in conference scope.
> That does not mean the sponsors need to be renamed?

If we were run by IBM or Microsoft then I believe there'd be an
entirely different set of questions that would be asked of us.  Such
as the motives of IBM or Microsoft in sponsoring the conference -- do
they have editorial control? do they set the scope of the conference?
why are they doing this?

These are all legitimate questions.

At the moment, we have people questioning "Why is this conference run
by Linux?".  Anyone who understands the role of Linux Australia would
understand that this is not a legitimate question.  This is because
the conference is not run by Linux, it is run by an organisation that
supports Open Source communities.

This is not a question that arises from the role of Linux Australia --
it's a question that arises from the name.   It can only arise from
the name because Linux Australia is not a Linux organisation.

> You could diffuse the scope questions by being proactive in your
> marketing, program, call for papers description.
> It is a nice selling point to specify that your conference is cross
> platform why not sell it such that noone needs to wonder.

We already do that when marketing the conference.  We also have to
work against the subtext of "this conference is run by Linux".

> You could also make platform obviously diffuse by attracting more than
> one sponsor.

PyCon Australia has several sponsors.  There are several sponsors that
I have had to explain the role of LA to; many of whom were dubious
about LA's role.

> It is also true that if your conference consistently delivers a
> program which is inclusive and cross platform then that track record
> will reduce questions.
> I think your attendees asking the question is symptomatic that you
> have a feature and not a bug.

This is true -- I get to explain the excellent role of LA to those
delegates who actually ask.  Those who understand the role of LA
strongly approve of its role in organising PyCon Australia.

The actual bug is that the question even occurs in the first place.
If the question I had to answer was "Who are Open Source Communities
Australia and what do they do?", rather than "Why is this conference
run by Linux?", I think the job of selling LA's role in the conference
would be much much simpler.


--Christopher Neugebauer

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