9 Comments


  1. We put together a speaker survey after WordCamp Philly and distributed the results to the speakers that asked. It seemed to go pretty well.


  2. Like you Jeff I haven’t encountered self-promotional speakers at WordCamps. Maybe one on the road, and maybe one at Miami in the early days.

    I talked about how i didn’t think speaker ratings – private or public – was the answer to (what was at the heart of things) preventing speakers from self-promotion. Making sure speakers understand the rules (which means talking with them one one one), doing a little background research on them (hopefully prior to approving them in the first place), and having a “let me look at your slides” policy would work.

    I suspected but couldn’t confirm that LA was organized by first timers. If so, then I would say that since they were doing this at first then the above items probably weren’t done to a rightful extent (although I can’t say obviously for certain). First timers usually get mentors to help reduce initial goofs. But sounds like LA was a kick-ass WordCamp in general – wish I was there!


  3. Obviously you need to attend WordCamp Orlando this year :)

    I hashed out some of my issues in the comments of Chris’ site, but I do think that certain standards could be set, even as suggestions, for other camps to follow. I can’t claim to have never fallen into any of these traps myself, nor be the best at determining intentions, but my goal is to be fair and useful to the community.

    Whether this is done through private or public reviews, aggregation of existing data (via tweets, likes, posts etc.) or internal documents, it should be up to individual organizers (and session attendees) to use data as they see fit. Unless I’m mistaken, the issue is much more regional than national, in which case chastising certain people in public might be going above and beyond what should be necessary of us. The impracticality of traveling cross-country for camps makes it difficult for many people to take advantage of that situation.


  4. @David Bisset – Well, Chris came out and said that WordCamp LA 2013 was organized by first timers, which is why I added it to my post. At any rate, the buck stops at the WordCamp organizers and if a bad presenter gets on stage or the presentation has offensive slides, the onus is on the organizer, not really anyone else. For those reasons and more, WordCamp organizers are the first and best line of defense from speakers like the ones Chris describes from getting on stage.

    @David Laietta – Orlando is on my possibility list. I just haven’t nailed it down yet!

  5. Andreas Nurbo

    A registration of speakers and reviews of them controlled by the WP foundation? Hmm no nothing could ever go wrong with that. Each speaker should enlist themselves for feedback and the feedback should be private to them I think. Any really bad ones the organizers would know about anyway since people often have easier time to complain about stuff than to praise it.
    Also how many attempts does one get? One bad presentation, two bad presentations? And then bad according to who?

    The whole idea I feel is partly whats bad with the community in some areas. That thinking should be cleared out in exchange for openness, embracing and free thinking and free speech. Not always the case in this community.


  6. Whatever happens, I would encourage people to be forgiving. As Brian Krogsgard mentioned in his short take on poststat.us, it’s important that any system is careful to not push out new speakers who could improve but might be too discouraged by bad reviews after their first talk.

    I have seen a way-too-self-promotional presentation from a relatively well-known WordPresser which left a bad taste in my mouth, so I see the need for something, but we should be careful. Having organizers review notes and slidedecks preemptively does feel like the best solution to me.


  7. I think a lot a focus is being put on how much it can hurt speakers and weed out bad ones rather than how much it can help. I just spoke at WordCamp Baltimore last week and was on a Panel in Philly last year. Both times I think I did well I got a lot if great feedback in Baltimore but I have no solid numbers to show for it, nothing to present to the next WordCamp I may want to apply to. I think having a repository or reviews for organizers and even public to see would be great to help those that may not speak often but are good. Also for new speakers seeing what audiences looking for will help them see what they are up against how to structure their speech etc. yes there will be some who are scared away but maybe they aren’t ready.


  8. That’s a great discussion actually and there are several aspects to be covered there.

    First off, what would a review be like? Similarly to the plugin reviews, it’s likely that reviews could be boosted positively by colleagues or negatively even by bots and other trolls. It’s hard to put up criteria for voting that is objective enough. IIRC the Foundation actually requests that after a WordCamp speakers should be evaluated by the local WordCamp community in a poll but some WordCamps don’t follow that, not sure if it’s a requirement or “good to have” but I remember voting for some events, including sending that form for WordCamp Sofia 2012.

    Another thing I like to ask for is a demo of the slides + a quick video for new speakers. It’s not so complicated to record a 3-5min video from a webcam (most notebooks have those) to verify the idea and speaker skills .

    Additionally I’d like to cover the community side. In order for the community to grow, we need to welcome and embrace changes, including new speakers, authors, developers etc. If you review the major WordCamps you will notice a significant group of speakers speaking at several consecutive events. Now, I’m not saying that there should be a limit of events a speaker should be entitled to speak at, but I have spoken with several people interested in applying for speaking responding with: “Well probably 2/3 of the speakers are regular people speaking everywhere, or related to the organizing committee so I don’t stand a chance and people won’t recognize me”. I’m not sure what’s the best way to encourage new speakers to join the fun but adding other layers of complications are another step of discouraging new people to try due to the fear of failure that everyone is afraid of.


  9. I recently gave a presentation at WordCamp GR. Several people came up afterwards and expressed their appreciation for my presentation. It would be nice to hear constructive criticism too. A way to do that privately would be great.

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