July 26, 2012

DjangoCon Comes to DC

Last year The Open Bastion asked the Django community where they wanted to hold the next couple of DjangoCons (since this is a community event, we figured that it made sense to ask). The first answer from most people was “this place close to my home town,” and the second one from the Django Software Foundation was “you’ll have to decide.” So much for community consultation.

In fact we did interact with the denizens of the django-users list, and eventually settled on Washington, DC for this year and downtown Chicago for the next. That being the case, the next thing was to recruit the community volunteers. Fortunately this wasn't difficult, since for DC they essentially turned up in my inbox one day basically asking what they could do. So far they have arranged a great sprinting facility, and become involved in the financial assistance of impecunious delegates. It's great to work with an enthusiastic team of volunteers

People sometimes ask why a conference like DjangoCon uses volunteer help, and the answer to that question is complex. First of all, the volunteers can take care of areas we don't have the time or the local knowledge for. Those close to the conference are invaluable in performing on-site actions ahead of time. Secondly, their involvement retains the essential community feel of the conference. Our role is principally to ensure that the venue provides what it should and the logistics of the conference run smoothly (and thereby hangs a tale).

Anyway, with 39 days to go to DjangoCon we are entering the final checklist phase. Apologies to the sponsors, as we have been dilatory getting their details up on the site. We are working on it.

It's going to be interesting being in DC, to which I lived close for almost fifteen years. The hotel, thank heavens, is just around the corner from the airport—one of DC's advantages is that you can be downtown very quickly after clearing the airport. Just make sure you fly into Reagan National (DCA) and not Dulles (IAD) or Baltimore-Washington (BWI) unless you have to.

Now the schedule has been announced Early Bird tickets have been moving briskly, but it looks as though they won't run out before the Early Bird period ends on August 3. The new Supersaver tickets were popular, though not as many students bought them as we anticipated. There is something for everyone in the schedule, and we'll be featuring the keynotes in a separate blog post soon.

We have a code of conduct, not that different from the PyCon code of conduct. The principal value of such codes is in putting people on notice that certain standards of behavior are required.

One of the things I like most about the Python and Django communities is that the individual members of the community largely feel empowered to police such things informally. This means that most issues never flare up into the kind of ugly incident that we are all tired of reading about because such behavior gets nipped in the bud before it has chance to make serious trouble*.

Running these conferences is an effort, but whether or not they make money it's always gratifying to have people thank us for making the effort to run them. Now that I am no longer the chairman of the Python Software Foundation I am finding other ways to serve the community which has been a major part of my life for the last fifteen years. Making the transition for community leader to open source entrepreneur might not be easy (I have already made a couple of expensive mistakes). I hope I have your support.

* I realize there is an element of hubris in such assertions, but nevertheless wanted to underline that harassment is taken seriously.

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