Request for Input re PyCon about Session Lengths

Jeff Rush jeff at
Wed Aug 3 06:29:50 CEST 2005

There is a discussion going on regarding how long the presentations 
should be for PyCon 2006.  In the past the sessions have been 20 minutes 
of talk, 5 minutes of questions and 5 minutes to change rooms, grouped 
into 90-minute timeslots, with a 30-minute break btw each 90-minutes.

There were comments last year that that 20-minutes was too short to 
cover much material, so there is a push to extend that to 50-minutes of 
talk, 5 minutes Q/A and 5 minutes to change rooms.

Some however think sitting in a lecture for that long is excessive and 
that 20-minutes is sufficient to cover the high points of a topic and 
point interested people to online docs and forums.

Others, particularly those new to a topic, hunger for more comprehensive 
coverage, something more akin to a class or tutorial.  They may not be 
familiar with a topic and want more than a bullet list of what has 
changed on the project since the last PyCon.  Note that there -will- be 
a day of tutorial prior to the main presentation days, but will that one 
day satisfy those people?

And there is a view of mixing session lengths, dividing talks into 
"topic surveys (whats)" and "tutorials (hows)", with perhaps a survey to 
introduce a topic, say the Twisted Framework, and then on another track 
an in-depth session to actually teach Twisted programming.  There is 
concern, however, that such mixing can complicate scheduling excessively.

We would also like input from speakers themselves.  This year some 
seemed uncomfortable or surprised to find they only had 20-minutes of 
actual presentation time.  But not every talk needs more time.

In 2006, there will be more speaking rooms available, in that the 
sprinting rooms will be available during the entire conference. 
Therefore there will be rooms for the usual tracks 1, 2 and 3, plus the 
2 sprinting rooms, plus a non-sprinting "quiet" room.  However, the idea 
of having possibly 5-6 tracks makes some parties believe too many 
choices will leave attendees unhappy.  Others that our community is 
diverse and needs to support people with different presentation needs.

If you have strong opinions about these matters, please send private 
email to either me (jeff at and/or the PyCon chairman 
(amk at and we'll summarize to the group, or join the 
pycon-organizers list and get involved directly:

Please read the archives to come up to speed on the various viewpoints.

-Jeff Rush

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