Feedback regarding DevCon Bogota!

DevCon Bogota was in many ways a wonderful event and beautifully executed… and I want to start by thanking the EF for their hard work on this and congratulate them for it!

That said, because nothing can ever be perfect I wanted to suggest 2 improvements that could be implemented for next year (and I am happy to volunteer to help on either/both fronts):

Diversity

Unfortunately, despite its stated inclusivity goals, our space (and the broader tech ecosystem) is not diverse enough. It’s an incredibly hard problem to solve, but I also believe that we could once again learn from others in the field. I perfectly understand that there will always be an imbalance but for certain populations but I do believe that gender diversity was one of the most problematic imbalances (I say this without diminishing the under-representation of POC).

For example, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to set aside a fixed number of speaking AND attendee tickets for people who identify as women or people of color and NOT fill these slots if not enough qualifying applicants are selected.

For speakers, since there is a formal “approval” system, I think the organizers could explicitly set a goal of X% for people who identify as women and POC. There exist multiple organizations in the space that are promoting diversity and I believe Devcon could partner with them to increase the volume of applications from these communities.

For attendees, I suggest the EF also sets aside an explicit number of tickets/seats that can ONLY be sold to people from diversity with the clear goal of NOT assigning tickets if these “can’t” be filled. This MUST also apply to sponsors (that could also entice them to hire candidates from diversity!) and other partners (media… etc).

I understand that the EF cannot realistically “approve” every ticket, I suggest marking badges/tickets or any online profile with the stated gender when purchased, making it clear for all other attendees if someone “cheated” when they purchased their tickets.

Tracks

During Devcon, a few “topics” emerged as tracks: DAO, ZK, security… etc.
Unfortunately, too often, talks about the same topic happen in very different rooms, requiring attendees to run from one room to the next or at the same time. I think it would be very helpful to organize tracks to be “geographically” grouped: all zk talks in the same room (or at least the same floor) going from “most accessible” to “most advanced”, for example.

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People do not need to wear badges - so I think people that cheat here would just not wear badges - also it would be a problem with our system of Bring/Make your own badge. But I think it is easier actually: we can make a number of female only tickets and on the ticket station only exchange the ticket for a wristband if the gender matches. The only problem I see here is that we might open the pandoras box of “what gender is or identifies a person with”
I think this needs a bit wider discussion and maybe a vote in the end. So I suggest to create a DIP for this aspect.

I understand the aspiration - but also know @heather_claire was already working under a very tight constraint system creating the schedule from the set of accepted talks. It might be problematic to add another constraint. Maybe it can be helpful if heather writes down the current constraint system and then it is easier to discuss this change.

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Thanks a lot Ligi and Happy New Year to you!

But I think it is easier actually: we can make a number of female only tickets and on the ticket station only exchange the ticket for a wristband if the gender matches. The only problem I see here is that we might open the pandoras box of “what gender is or identifies a person with”

I am not sure it is a good idea to ask anyone in particular to assess someone’s gender.
What if wearing a badge was in fact required? (after all the wristband is required). If privacy is a concern, the badges could be anonymous as long as it shows what gender the person associates with?

As for creating a DIP, I thought I had done that :smiley: with this thread but I now understand there is a more formal process!

but also know @heather_claire was already working under a very tight constraint system creating the schedule from the set of accepted talks.

Ho! i perfectly understand, my comment was also a way to suggest how things could work next time.

Happy (and healthy) new Year to you too!

I do not really think it is feasible to make wearing a badge required. How would we even enforce it. Also how would we reason about it. The wristband is required to check if you have a ticket - so it is easy to reason about it - still people complain having to wear it …
Maybe we can work with colors of the wristbands and make sure that with a certain color people identify as female?!