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    This conference is “virtual”, so it won’t influence your travel(/CO₂)-budget 👍

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      Actually this disappointed me a bit, “real” presentations tend to easier to follow and conversations/questions are more natural too.

      But I get the CO2 point. If I would have to fly to get there, I wouldn’t go, either way.

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        Yeah, but putting together a physical conference is a lot of work¹, and the audience might be limited - so I tried to spin it as a positive thing :-)

        ¹ It has been “real” before, though, unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the one in London, and I don’t want to fly to the US.

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          We need more of those. For a lot of people, any real world conference is completely out of reach.

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            Both. We also need more local conferences, so that people who need to be close to people to be in touch don’t have to fly across the globe.

            Seriously, I’d wish we’d go back from 1000-2000 people conferences to something like 100-150 where it is rather easy to find a room for in any city across the globe.

            Also, there’s conference models that are easy to organise and literally can be set up in 2-3 days.

            All that with experience, mind you, which is a good reason to not frustrate our community organisers and make sure they run another one after trying it out once.

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              I’d like to hear about those models.

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                This is kind of how we ran Fennel Conf: https://conf.fennel-lang.org/2019

                It was very low-key with a small conference-room full of attendees in person and 4-6 folks who joined our Jitsi stream as we went.

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                  Yeah, stuff like that. There’s tons of value in not overworking yourselves in running a large conf. I see a lot of good in raising the organisational quality of FOSS community conferences, but we need to constantly remind people that all this isn’t always necessary.

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                  First off all: get an easy venue. For small conferences, a contact to a professor is at a university is nice, or a friendly company in town that has an event room of that size. Get no catering, just drinks. If you want to get catering, ask around the organiser scene in your location for a recommendation, pick that. Nothing mindblowing, just good food. You may want vegan, vegetarian and all the options: caterers are professionals, just ask for that.

                  Volunteer organisers are well-connected and are very willing to give out help of that kind. They were all beginners once and want to keep others of that harm.

                  Format: don’t do speakers management. That is the biggest time-sink. There’s models that don’t need it!

                  • Unconferences: everyone brings their session suggestions, but the choice is at the location. Needs a location with multiple rooms.
                  • Spontanous conferences: Kind of similar to the above, but you have just one room, people can suggest talks beforehands on a wiki or Github or so.

                  You can take that to the extreme, e.g. lightning.io was a conference that only had lightning talks and every attendee needed to talk.

                  The point is that you want strategies that organise on the day.

                  Ticket sales: Stripe and ti.to are the low-friction option. Especially ti.to, it’s completely geared towards events like this. The biggest problem here is where the money goes. Setting up a company/non-profit/bank-account is easily the biggest part in this. Finding someone at your location to take you in their books is the best option. Again, get in touch with other organisers.

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                  150?! I find 5 or 6 people to be great for a conference.

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                    I’d call that a small meeting?

                    25 is definitely a feasible thing for a conference though. I don’t want to be judgemental there. I picked 100-150 because it is an easy number to reach for even fringe subjects even without advertising in places like Berlin.

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                      Conference is just a fancy word for “meeting” :)

                      I personally get a lot more out of smaller group meetings. When it’s someone giving a talk to a larger audience, even 20 people, I have a harder time paying attention and I feel more shy about asking questions. Maybe that’s just me?

                      Of course having more people in a room is more efficient for conveying information, provided they are paying attention and understanding what is said.

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                        Conference is just a fancy word for “meeting” :)

                        Yes, and indeed, it is one of those words with a 1000 meanings. In the context we’re talking about, conferences are usually larger endeavours. If I say “I tend to run conferences”, no one assumes I do 20 person things.

                        I personally get a lot more out of smaller group meetings. When it’s someone giving a talk to a larger audience, even 20 people, I have a harder time paying attention and I feel more shy about asking questions. Maybe that’s just me?

                        Probably, but that’s fine. I’ve been running many events in different styles of all sizes and all have their advantages to certain people. That’s why I’m such a huge proponent to have more events. (Some people think that there should be less events, nowadays)

                        E.g. the first larger event I ran (eurucamp) consciously reduced talk time for a very long lunch break (5 hours), where people could just hang around an chat around a Berlin lake in summer. It’s a common problem that organisers mistake “program” for “the useful time” for attendees. People loved it, and came back specifically for that, yet some wanted a more classic schedule at an easier reachable place and didn’t come next year.

                        If rigorous learning of a subject is what you want, something over 6 people is probably indeed not the right thing. Conferences above 50 people mainly use the talks as inspirations for things to later chat about.