Watch the secret YAPC::NA live

TL;DR

You can watch YAPC::NA live here.


The rant

Honestly, I don't get it. It seems the organizers of YAPC::NA 2014 have decided to keep total radio silence, so no enemy will know about the event. No blog posts. Hardly any tweets. Even the mailing list was almost deserted.

Then a month before the conference there was a blog post asking YAPC::NA or not which I posted on twitter and to the YAPC::NA mailing list. Not surprisingly some people took offense of me echoing it or calling the whole thing silly. Instead of focusing on the actual issue. The lack of communication.

There was a response to that article in the form of a comment, but still no post on the YAPC::NA web site.

I understand how other things can interrupt the well meaning of people, but if it was an unfixed bug in a piece of open source code, someone could step up and fix it. At a conference, at the Perl conference in NA, I'd hope the organizers would mention they have a time or resource issue. I'd probably even expect the officials of The Perl Foundation to check if the organization of YAPC::NA goes well.

The result

296 "committed users" in 2014 vs 442 in 2013

The 6 training courses in 2014 have 21 registered people while in 2013 there were about 20 students in every one of the courses.

I am sure it will be great fun for those who attend and actually 300 people is not bad. I am just sad the event was not used more for reaching other people, who are not regulars at YAPC.


The live stream

I just sent out the latest issue of the Perl Weekly welcoming people to YAPC::NA. Then I wanted to add more YAPC::NA videos to Perl TV so I turned my attention to YouTube channel of YAPC::NA. That's when I noticed that there is going to be live feed from the conference. (See under Upcoming events). I am glad that there will be live streaming, but why was this kept as a secret?
Just thinking about the fact that I found out about it 10 minutes after I sent out the Perl Weekly to over 5000 people who could have watched it instead of the Mundial.

Anyway, I hope that this blog post will reach a few people who will be able to watch YAPC::NA live.

5 Comments

No doubt we could be communicating and representing better, but this is like the traditional Perl community problem isn't it? Might be an interesting sociology dissertation for someone, try to figure it out?

On the other hand, I feel quite a few people that normally would be going just felt unmotivated and busy with personal things. 2014 seems to be a lower energy year at least for the people I mix with. Would some sort of super exciting thing at YAPC have changed that? Not sure...

perl people just do thing without talking about it that much.

The issue with just doing the thing and not talking about it is that the crowd of people who are doing it will shrink.

There's no reason a language as heavily used as Perl had only 300 people at the conference. I'm shocked that this is considered a reasonable level of attendance, and that the conference organizers had planned for less. (They ran out of hotel room block; they were clearly not planning for as many people who came.)

This year may have been an anomaly; Chris posted that his personal life got busy, and that certainly happens to everyone. I hope that next year gets the word out sooner. I need to know what the training is more than six weeks in advance if I'm going to plan on attending it; hotel and air fare are too difficult any closer to the event.

I'm disappointed in the community for thinking that this level of communication is acceptable. Perl is becoming a forgotten and discounted language not because of anything technical, but because the users don't appear to care enough to tell anyone about all the cool stuff they do.

Gabor, thank you for blogging this, and for sending out the broadcast e-mail. You got the word out better than the organizers, and it needed to get out.

http://www.yapc.org/ isn't even living in 2014, YAPC::NA and YAPC:EU 2013 are still coming.

I understand the frustration, and I agree that the communication channels have been sub-optimal. No arguing there.

However, I think we should also take a long, deep breath, and try to veer the discussion toward what can we do to improve the situation. For most (if not all) of the organizers, YAPC is a labor of love. And labor is the right word there -- it's a long, arduous, exhausting, unglorious process that end in a big final week-long push. Personally, I have no doubt that everybody involved honestly did gave their all. But life, and things, and then more life, happened. And as King Leonidas could attest, even with the mightiest of intentions an heroic few can only do so much.

So, what I'm trying to say, I guess, is: let's thank the organizers for what they did. Let's recognize that there are areas that need improvement. Let's discuss openly about what can be done to make things better next year. Let's ensure that things do indeed get better by perhaps lending a hand. And let's never lose track that YAPC is, when all is said and done, is not something existing outside of the community. It *is* an ephemeral incarnation of the community. It is us. Its long-term success, or its failure, is totally up to us. All of us.

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About Gabor Szabo

user-pic Perl author and trainer. Usually writing on other sites: Writing the Perl Maven tutorial Perl 6 articles. Started a Perl IDE. Running the Weekly Perl newsletter. My personal blog.