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DebConf travel sponsorship BOF plan, to be held at DebConf 11.

Abstract: Every year, there are many criticisms about the DebConf travel sponsorship process. However, allocating this amount fairly is quite a hard problem. There are also many considerations, such as budgeting uncertainties, getting people motivated to do the rating and allocation early, and deciding what criteria to even use in allocations. This BOF is designed to lead to an improvement for DebConf12, but that improvement will not come from talking now, but by acting early next year.

This Page:

This BOF is a team effort between Phil Hands (talking to people, building a team, forming consensus on a plan) and Richard Darst (providing feedback on what is most possible, budgeting and financial issues, and navigating implementation within DebConf next year).

TravelSponsorship is the more general discussion page (consider adding concrete ideas there), this page is for BOF-specific outline and notes.


[edit] BOF Discussion Outline

  • Past methods
    • (5 minutes max, preferably less)
    • (hear about procedures from past debconfs. If you can describe methods used for DC0-DC11, tell us now. Take only 1-2 minutes.)
    • (No interruptions, this part is designed to convey past facts, not debate)
  • Overview of considerations for any proposal
    • (10 minutes max)
    • (debconf team will try to explain the things that make this a hard problem)
    • (more debate here is fine, but let's try to convey all the information first and brainstorm methods in the last half)
    • Money - we don't know money in advance. BUT this is surmountable. For DC12, darst will work with Debian/DebConf get an allocation in advance and this BOF needn't concern itself with this much.
    • Getting people to do ratings is _hard_ cat-herding.
    • Is it a reward for Debian work (merit-based) or need-based financial aid? How can we asses need-based?
    • People over-estimate or under-estimate in order to game the system, and this needs to be considered.
    • whatever we do will fail on occasion, so we need to plan for that (possibly by letting others pick up the ball if we drop it)
    • <insert other things from page>
  • Free discussion of an ideal travel sponsorship system.
    • (remainder of the time, hopefully 2/3rds or more)
    • (General plan for this section: take one of the proposals, and brainstorming about how to make it work. After a certain amount of time, move on to the next)
    • Possible ideas:
      • Base first rounds on previous year ranking or other deterministic factors.
      • Triaging -- try to treat unsatisfied applications like someone bleeding in ER (to overcome natural inertia of teams handing out money they don't have)
        • Who needs money or they can't go?
        • Who should get money since they do good work, but could (mostly) afford it and would buy in advance anyway.
        • If it's obvious that someone is almost certainly going to be either sponsored or not, they should be told that ASAP, and money allocated even if we don't have it yet, but how to determine obvious?
      • We should make it part of the scheme: If you apply early, you have a better chance of getting it. This is a necessary pre-condition to being able to allocate money early. If someone *may* not be able to come, they can still apply but should be able to note that so we can consider that.
      • should team members (as now) vote without knowing the current state of the finances, or have all the information available to them?
      • is there merit to being able to say "we approve 50% of the application now, the other 50% will be decided later" or some such?
      • the decision to say yes or no to the people at the top or bottom of the voting should be mechanical, rather than requiring team members to reach a consensus, since otherwise that decision will inevitably be postponed (as we've seen before) -- so what are the criteria
        • Condorcet rolling vote, with a quorum being enough to make a decision (somehow)?
        • An agreed way for team members to halt the process if they think it's going off the rails
    • Team Selection
      • ways to encourage diversity
        • select people at random, or at the extremities of the GPG trust graph (with anti-gaming), and ask them to nominate a trusted person for the team -- ask that victim if they are willing -- rinse and repeat until we have enough {fil}
        • use only people that don't want sponsorship?
        • have a (mostly) non-voting chair?
    •  ???
  • Write down names of people who attended the BOF - they will be recruited next year to help with the team.

[edit] Pre-BOF notes and ideas

Also see TravelSponsorship, and consider adding concrete proposals there.

[edit] BOF Notes

Take meeting notes here.

(to be filled in after BOF)

[edit] BOF Attendees

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