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Call for Help: DebConf travel sponsorship team

We are trying to assemble a large enough (but not too large?) team
to help us rate the travel sponsorship requests for DebConf13. Many
aspects are still open to debate, but most probably we will follow
the usual, past years’ procedure.

Are you interested in helping us?

Longer version:

A very important part of the DebConf organization is the rating of
travel sponsorship requests — Always a hard problem to work out, that
involves people, involves social interaction. And although we have
come up with some alternative ideas, we seem to have consensus on
staying with the previous years’ scheme: Have a team go through the
requests, rate them, and assign the money we have for that. This team,
the Team of the Thousand Names, is usually refered to within the
general DebConf organizing team as “Travel Sponsorship Team”, “Travel
Bursaries Team” or simply “Herb”.

Obviously, the problem is much harder than just assigning the money to
the various _tasks_ we have to do, as this decision direcly affects
individuals. We have tried in the past to include in our team people
from various areas of Debian, from different geographic origins, even
with diffrent group of friends, in order to avoid “clique-based”
rating, or in any way biasing the results.

If being part of this team interests you (regardless of whether you
are going to attend DebConf13 or not), please take a (casual?) look at
the thread starting here:

http://lists.debconf.org/lurker/message/20130507.212452.a6fba4fa.en.html

I have to thank/blame Gaudenz for giving the idea to make this a broad
call, to the whole of Debian, as it is Debian funds we will be using,
and it is Debian-related people (whether DDs, DMs, or unofficial
contributors) we will be assigning to.

What do we need from those who volunteer?

First, during the next *few* days, we want to finish debating how will
this process be, what should be weighed more and taken into account,
and finish delineating the dates. If I remember correctly, the
deadline for requesting this sponsorship is on Sunday 2013-05-19, and
we are aiming at producing the results in early June (June 1st, did I
hear?)

Second, some time and patience. You will have to go through the amount
of people requesting travel sponsorship (I’d expect ~50-100), look at
their reasoning as to why they are requesting it, how reasonable their
requested amount sounds (yes, “reasonable” is too broad a word — The
team will have to decide about it), and rate numerically. Usually,
once the requesters are rated, we define a cutoff value — This time,
we have already quite a good budget reserved for the task, so it
*might* be a matter of saying, “we reached up to applicant #45″.

Third, an extra bit of time and patience. Once the list is
mostly-done, we usually have an IRC meeting to make sure the produced
list looks sane, and to find any hiccups before they explode. And if
they explode, believe me, it can be ugly. But they don’t have to
explode at all, as we are nice and careful ;-)

Fourth, this year we want to do something that has never been done
before: As requests for greater transparency have been made, we have
to find a way on how to report our work, without breaching the privacy
of the people who request this sponsorship (again, as this is a very
personal, social and money-related topic, it can be very touchy). So,
the work will not finish by June 1st, but somewhat later, quite
probably a bit after DebConf itself.

Again: You don’t have to be a DebConf long-time organizer nor
attendee. You don’t have to be a many-years-long DD. We want the group
to be diverse, and that *surely* includes people that simply are not
in the same intra-Debian demographic group that most of us are.

So, if you want to be a part of the team, please mail
lists.debconf.org (and to make it easier to stay in the right thread,
please reference Message-ID <20130507213815.GA56293@gwolf.org>)
letting us know.

We are aiming at enlarging the group. I expect a group of ~15 people
to be large enough, but not too large (and that is roughly double what
we have had so far).

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