What I learned from PyCon 2018 ProgCom

That snake is even more impressive in real life
  1. I find metaprogramming, and its uses, very interesting.
  2. I have used metaprogramming in different projects and I’ve seen some widely used libraries/frameworks use it successfully.
Chalkboard clouds can’t contain ideas. Let your ideas run free!

Becoming Part of The Program Committee (ProgCom).

There was I, trying to put together a talk submission. Using all the tricks I knew to search on the vast sea of information that is the internet. Trying to get a sense of how I should write the talk outline, introduction, etc… I was lucky enough to stumble upon an article from 2012 written by Jacob Kaplan-Moss. I am not entirely sure [yet] what Mr. Kaplan’s role was on PyCon 2012, but I am very much grateful for that article. In this article Mr. Kaplan invites volunteers to subscribe to the PyCon Program Committee mailing list. I subscribed and in a few weeks I received a call for action. The review process had begun. The ProgCom mailing list is open to any member of the community. To some of you, this might look a bit strange. To the contrary, most conferences’ review committee is integrated of members from the community. This is great, because it means that PyCon (as many other conferences) is built by your own peers.

The Art of Peer-review

There were many reviewers working together to build the best possible PyCon for everyone to enjoy. ProgCom members came from different technical and social backgrounds from all over the world. There was a constant communication between us all. This is very helpful because one has the opportunity to have conversations about topics that one might not fully understand with people who have more expertise. We did not only benefit from a technical point of view. There was also the opportunity to analyze the potential of a talk’s clearness, completeness, relevancy and pretty much any other aspect you can think of.

In practice, people don’t talk in “star grades”

Advice For Future Submissions

As I mentioned in the beginning, my talk was not accepted. There is nothing wrong on having a talk rejected from a conference. Specially a conference as big as PyCon. I saw very good, well written, talks being rejected because, simply, there wasn’t enough slots to place them. There were others talks which had to be grouped in highly competitive groups and decisions had to be made.

By The Community, For The Community

I wrote this article to show, from my perspective, how PyCon is build by the community, for the community and to, hopefully, encourage others to participate in future conferences (not only PyCon). Forming part of the program committee is only one way a community member could help. There are many more volunteering opportunities. And there is a great deal to learn from a lot of very smart, interesting and thoughtful people.



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