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What makes a good DebConf? This page is designed to list what has worked best in the past. It is more designed for a selected local team to do their planning, than to be used to rate different locations - but can be helpful in preparing bids, too.

This is designed as a guide to future DebConf teams, in particular local teams. Please add your own hints here. However, this is not designed to be a page with everyone's personal "what I like best" line - instead generally accepted best practices.

Of course, things do not have to be exactly as shown below - it not expected that everything can be satisfied every year. You can always try things differently because you think it will be better, but make sure you discuss it first to prevent complaints.


[edit] DebConf best practices

[edit] Dates

  • June is often problematic because many Debian members are students, and many universities continue classes throughout June.
  • The same problem with universities starting occurs if you get too late into August - say, later than mid-August.
  • Some attendees prefer dates in the 'normal' holiday periods for their location (e.g. August for many Europeans), while others have family commitments in those periods and prefer dates outside them.
  • Hotel and venue price and availability considerations often play a big role in deciding the dates.

[edit] Communication

  • It is critical that the local team maintains good communication with the global team.
  • Look at the central wiki page for past DebConfs (10, 11) for an idea of how extensive our wiki documentation is. Everything you do should have a corresponding wiki page that is updated to the status and what is secured for DebConf's use.
  • Here is a description of the various communication channels and what they are designed for
  • here and here are some blog posts which help describe how the various DebConf teams work.

[edit] Accommodation

  • The ideal setup is having everything (accommodation, venue, and food) in a single building.
  • Not expensive: Hotels are often out of our price range, hostels or student residences are more typical. For a look at past prices, see PriceComparison. Less than 20€ per night is typical.
  • If professional attendees can book and pay directly with the hotel or hostel and be included in our group, it will save us a lot of work.
  • Close to the venue: attendees complain if they have to walk a lot. Walking from accommodation to venue is less complaint-inducing than walking from venue to food, or from talks to hacklabs.
  • Sponsored attendees will attempt to cancel or to change their dates up to (and during) the conference. Of course, this is "not allowed", but always happens anyway. The more flexibility we have, the better.
  • It is nice if people have a place with internet to hack in the accommodations, if it is far from the venue.

[edit] Venue

  • There needs to be some area which can be a 24/7 hacklab. It is best if this is at the venue and the same as the daytime hacklab. Also, it's even better if attendees are able to keep their stuff in hacklabs while they are out for whatever reason.
  • The venue needs to allow it to get a bit messy with lots of cables and equipment set up, and be left up for two entire weeks.
  • It's good if people can bring their drink into the hacklabs (preferably including alcohol). If this isn't allowed, it's good if they can buy them from the venue. It's also nice if they can bring in their own snacks.
  • Video team will need a majority of DebCamp to get set up in the videoed rooms.
  • The venue should expect us to lay our own network infrastructure between the video team rooms, unless there is competent and accessible management of the current infrastructure. Video team requires gigabit between talk rooms and a room to host their storage and encoding servers.

[edit] Food

  • It is nice if non-sponsored people can pay the caterer or food service establishment directly, or can easily purchase meal tickets on a short notice.
  • Number of meals purchased should be flexible. Sponsored attendees will eat some at DebConf, and some outside. If you buy 200 meals for 200 attendees for an entire week, you will waste a lot of money if or when 50-100 people skip every meal to eat elsewhere.
  • There needs to be a sensible and tasty vegetarian option; possibly some delegates should meet with the catering staff toward the end of Debcamp at the latest. The vegetarian option shouldn't be the same at every meal, either.
  • It is also critical to have a vegan option.
  • It's not necessary to have space for everyone to eat at the same time, it's normal for there to a be a period of, for example, two hours, during which people can go to eat.
  • It's better if the system is set up to deal with a big group of people who arrive at the same time from a talk, without creating a big queue.
  • For a look at past prices, see PriceComparison. Around 15€ per day is typical.

[edit] Day trip

  • It should be something that most people _want_ to go on, otherwise it won't serve it's purpose of getting people to play together.
  • It must be accessible for people with various physical disabilities, including people in wheelchairs. It's not enough to provide an alternative for these people.

[edit] Conference dinner

  • Also called the "formal dinner", but it actually isn't that formal. It's just something slightly more special which people are encouraged to attend.
  • This is normally finalised quite late, as it only happens if we have enough money left in the budget. It's good to have a cheaper backup option, for example a party with live music.
  • However, at either the dinner or a replacement party, the music should not be too loud! Attendees want to talk to each other, not just listen to the performance.

[edit] Registration

[edit] Talks

  • Talks are selected by a special committee, not the main DebConf team or the local team.
  • Speakers should know they can only use up 40-45 minutes out of an hour time slot or 15-20 minutes out of a half an hour slot (including time for questions).
  • Local volunteers should be found to help with the talks: in particular, someone needs to tell the speaker when they should be finishing, and when they have to stop if they continue too long.
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