[Linux-aus] Proposal: LCA lightning talks be selected in papers selection process

Katie McLaughlin katie at glasnt.com
Tue Jan 29 09:01:49 AEDT 2019

As a bit of a background for those who aren't involved in the lightning
talk process:

For at least two years now, LCA (and PyCon AU last year) have adopted a
two-bucket method:
 * submissions are put into one of two physical buckets (boxes, trays) -
one for first time speakers, one for experienced speakers
 * the submissions are left open for a length of time, and closed with
enough time for selection and notification of successful and unsuccessful
 * the submissions are reviewed so that a healthy mix of topics are
selected, from both first time and experienced speakers.

The submissions received in the past have been varied, but often include:
 * content in the conference itself (sometimes with rebuttal lightning
talks for PyCon AU, as there are two lightning talk sessions)
 * local calls to action for projects in the host city (as seen by a few of
the LCA talks this year)
 * comedic talks that are also telling hard truths (see Benno's Pay Your
Maintainers/Contempt Culture talk)
 * sometimes distilled full-length talks.

The last item in this category, from my own observation, has decreased
significantly. The lightning talks should not serve as a way to get your
talk in that was rejected from the conference proper. Indeed, when
lightning talks were first-in-best-dressed, this was often the case, and
first-time attendees often missed out having not known the process to
submit a talk.

Having said all this, it's not uncommon for a potential lightning talk
speaker to pre-prepare something, and polish after acceptance. Yes, the
potential for work to go unpresented could occur, but that is the way of

I think that keeping the on-site-reviewed talks in the two-bucket system is
the best model we have going forward for the conference proper, filling the
Friday Afternoon pre-close slot.

If those organising miniconfs wished to organise a more planned set of
lightning talks as part of their CFP, they are more than welcome to do
that. I am only talking about the main Friday lightning talks.

- Katie

On Mon, 28 Jan 2019 at 19:54, Andrew Donnellan via linux-aus <
linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au> wrote:

> On Mon., 28 Jan. 2019, 19:24 Russell Coker via linux-aus <
> linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au wrote:
>> Are you talking about having a lightning talk rejected?  I thought it was
>> just
>> first-in best dressed.  If you did miss out after spending time preparing
>> then
>> we should consider a change in process, I know you have a history of
>> giving
>> great talks in all formats so if you want to get in first then I think
>> that
>> would be ok.
> I'm not sure if you were at LCA this year but the process this time was
> that submissions would be accepted until a cutoff time and talks would be
> selected based on merit and also a balance of new vs experienced speakers.
> Andrew
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