[EuroPython] Future of EuroPython discussions

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Fri Jul 27 16:29:07 CEST 2007

On 2007-07-27 01:45, Paul Boddie wrote:
> It seems like so long ago already, but I'd like to thank everyone involved in 
> EuroPython 2007, not only those who put a lot of work into organising things, 
> but of course everyone who attended the conference and provided us with many 
> interesting talks and discussions on a range of subjects. 

Thanks to you for making it a great event !

> ...
> In the run-up to EuroPython, the issue of attendance came up a few times: how 
> many people would we get, and would it be as many as last year? I don't think 
> I'm sharing secret information by saying that there were probably around 
> 220-230 people in attendance this year, versus 280-300 people last year. 
> However, I don't think we should regard this as a sign of defeat or decline 
> for the Python community,

I think for most part this was due to the location and people not
being aware of how nice Vilnius really is - not so much due to the
level of interest declining.

As with all these community conferences, travel costs are way higher
than the conference costs, so the decision whether to attend or not
is often driven by non-conference factors. Emphasizing the touristic
attractions likely helps in that decision.

> since there are more conferences this year, 
> including a number of successful regional Python conferences in Europe (PyCon 
> Italia apparently being well-attended and PyCon UK looking very promising at 
> this stage). Moreover, even at the larger size EuroPython remains an event on 
> a "human" scale, in contrast to the conference from which I have just 
> returned which had 2000 attendees and where you often couldn't find anyone 
> you knew in the breaks because there were probably three or four venues for 
> coffee or lunch! A certain Web technology community supposedly had a 1600 
> person event this year, and I imagine that Java events routinely surpass 
> that. On such scales, the organisers can certainly brag a lot more and bring 
> in many corporate delegates, but such an agenda for the Python conferences 
> would destroy the genuine community aspects of them - the attendance fee 
> might not be the biggest cost at EuroPython now, but these megaconferences 
> with a ticket price of 600 EUR or more certainly don't seem compatible with 
> EuroPython to me. So, although one can look with envy at PyCon's 580 person 
> level of attendance, I think it's actually something to be worried about as 
> an organiser.

How much difference (apart from the upfront costs) does it make if you
have 300 or 400 attendees ?

> ...
> On a related topic with some technological content, I'd like to see a longer 
> registration period and I'm sure we'd all like more of the menial tasks taken 
> care of by the technology. The first point is related to a suspicion that I 
> had which was confirmed in conversation after the conference: insiders may be 
> very confident that everything is going according to plan and that we all 
> might as well book our flights and hotels, but there's nothing more 
> reassuring that being able to book your place at the conference well in 
> advance, rather than running the risk that after booking travel and 
> accommodation, the conference is suddenly full.

Indeed. This has been a problem with all EPC events: the organizers
should make it clear that the event is indeed going to happen - and
do that early on.

Marc-Andre Lemburg

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