Allocating big conference rooms base on popularity of the talks

At DevCon5, many people complained that a few big conference rooms were allocated to projects which were less related to Ethereum itself and many popular session (eg: Alex Van De Sande’s UX talk) were in the smaller rooms where it was extremely packed. Would be great if you can get some indication of popular talks in advance and allocate the room based on the popularity via an online form or something. You could use (disclaimer: I am one of the co-founders) for people to commit on RSVP (and maybe use Keycard for easy check-in) if you really want to ensure accurate capacity but probably that’s more of nice to have.


It is a great point, @makoto but it is a part of the bigger challenge:

we need a decentralized and scalable workflow to measure a popularity of talks and, maybe, attendees.
Current workflow based on in-house expert’s opinion is both biased and not scalable.
Maybe we need some kind of TCR for that?

Another point: how many slots in bigger rooms are reserved (sold) for sponsors?

Zero! The Devcon team has a strict policy of not selling/reserving speaking spots in exchange for sponsorships. It’s a fair question though as selling speaking slots seems to be common practice at conferences. Any sponsors you saw on stage were there because their speaking application was reviewed by our community team and accepted. And FWIW we’re planning on revamping our programming application & review process as well, as we recognize there are ways to improve that too. More to be announced on that with time :smiley:

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It’s true. This is a challenge we face every year — how can we best estimate the popularity and expected attendance of a given talk? A few are easy to guess, but many are hard. And last year, this issue was particularly noticeable due to the size constraints of the 6th floor rooms.

We know this was an issue, and we’ve already been thinking about ways to improve. Suggestions are welcome!

I’m a big fan of kickback normally, but I’m not sure committing to attending a talk is the best use case. For one there’s the logistical burden of checking people in if they do/don’t attend the session. But more importantly IMO, do we really want to force people to be constrained to a schedule that we made them chose weeks in advance? Google I/O does something like this — everyone has to choose their talks ~1 month before so they can plan space accordingly; then you can only enter a talk if you registered (or join the waitlist line and hope there’s extra room). Very organized and efficient – but where’s the fun in that!

One common piece of attendee feedback is that people enjoy being able to walk into a talk on a whim – either with friends they met who are walking there or perhaps just because it’s starting and happens to be nearby. Eliminating the need for attendees to commit to a predefined schedule enables a sort of choose your own adventure feeling while at Devcon.

Perhaps you saw an Intro to ZKPs talk your first day and now you’re obsessed? Scratch your pre-planned schedule to attend anything and everything related to ZKPs for the next 3 days – we should allow this!

Although, that isn’t great for helping us identify in advance the popularity of each talk…

Cool! TCR = Token Curated Registry? What did you do you have in mind? Let’s say we give an NFT or some on-chain representation to every attendee with their (or as their) ticket. Some sort of decentralized curated poll would then become possible, but mind you, we have 200-300 talks for people to filter through so we’d need to keep in mind logistics and user experience.

Ideas welcome!!

I think simple voting would be a good starting point. TCR is good to identify whitelist/blacklist of items but not sure if it’s good to create a ranking of popular talks so that we can allocate space accordingly. Also no need to enforce the rule to every single talk, only some popular talks who weren’t allocated to main stages or workshops would be sufficient.

I think part of the reason people perceived “Pay to play” rule at the last Devcon was that some non Ethereum related project (eg: Libra) took the centre stage while some Eth2.0 or other popular speakers (eg: Alex Van De Sande’s UX talk was super packed) weren’t allocated for the main stage.

Yeah that makes sense @makoto. FWIW OpenLibra was not a sponsor and didn’t pay for that slot. That particular case was partly due to less-than-ideal stage assignments (which is what we’re discussing here). Though I don’t know specifics around how their talk was accepted as I was not involved with programming last year, I do know that this instance has been an echoing complaint and avoiding a repeat is top of mind for all working on Devcon programming :+1:

To start, let’s keep thinking about ways to improve stage allocations!

I’m curious to hear if anyone has any more ideas around this! @ethernian @makoto