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EclipseCon Program Committee Guidelines 2007

Discussion

The program committee process has created a number of discussions threads in the Planet Eclipse blog-o-sphere [1,2,3]. Program committee members and senior Eclipse leaders have posted a number of replies [1,2]. The best explanation, however, was by Jeff McAffer (paraphrased a little here, emphasis added):

Actually, [controversial submission X] was at least in part a response to some pushing from me. Like the lottery, you have to play to win. In this case there has be to a submission if the community's voice is to be heard. So that submission was in support of democracy. In the end [submitter], as with the other PC members, is a reasonable and fair person and will do what is right for the attendees.

Which brings me the the next point. The job of the PC is to put together a program that attracts and informs the attendees. Lots of submissions in an area indicates a lot of interest in presenting on a particular topic, not necessarily a lot of interest in hearing about a topic. ... But seriously, it is about the attendees not the presenters.

Case in point, the [topic Y] tutorials. I'm sure there are lots of people wanting to hear about [topic Y] but in talking with the usual suspects from the Eclipse team most were doing other things (like being on the PC) and wanted to give others in the community a chance. Note that there may well be some late submissions that would appear to be conflicts but are in fact the PC, in an effort to create a balanced and exciting program, arranging for speakers to present on particular topics. That is their job.

Guidelines

The task of selecting a great program for EclipseCon is a difficult task that takes a time commitment and the understanding that no matter how hard you try, you will end up disappointing someone along the way (controversy is inevitable, it seems).

Below are some general guidelines for Program Committee (PC) members to consider when deciding the program for EclipseCon. They are part of the evolving process that surrounds all things related to Eclipse, and are intended to be modified along the way, taking into account changes in the overall conference goals, Eclipse project makeup, etc.

Attendees

When selecting talks, tutorials, demos, etc. for EclipseCon, it's important to keep in mind the expected audience. Although EclipseCon has traditionally been focused on the Eclipse development community, it is hoped we will attract more of the consumer and end-user community members in the future. The program therefore needs to contain the following elements in order to provide content of interest to the expected audience:

  • In-depth technical presentations
  • High-level overview or introductory presentations
  • New projects and technologies
  • Externalities

Note: we should assign percentages to each?

Selection Guidelines

There are many factors to consider when selecting submissions for EclipseCon. All selection rationale needs to be communicated in the Eclipse "open and transparent" way (hence, this wiki). Below are some guidelines to help ensure we are fair, open, and keeping in mind the numerous elements required to select a high-quality program:

  • Abstract quality: a well-articulated, well-written abstract should be indicative of the quality of the presentation
  • Speaker quality: known, expert speakers are clearly desirable
  • Community votes: a noteworthy metric to consider, though be sure to examine the votes, and look for corresponding quality comments.
  • PC votes: these votes should get careful consideration, and be cast with the overall program in mind
  • Anticipated attendance: will this talk be popular enough to accept, considering attendee numbers above?
  • Overall program balance: is this talk similar to several others, is there a topic missing?
  • Community comments: be sure to read through
  • Duplicate presentations: is the presenter overextended, do we have a well-rounded community of presenters?
  • Discussion with the authors: are they quick to reply, receptive to feedback, etc.?
  • Eclipse projects: It is an Eclipse conference, so some preference for talks on Eclipse projects seems reasonable.
  • Premature topic: is the project and/or technology sufficiently mature? Is there a download available?

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