Request For Proposal for XDC

These are the general outlines of what the Xorg Board is looking for when voting on an XDC RFP. The Xorg Board will not organize the conference itself, the person or team proposing the conference will be the conference organizer. The Board will only vote on the proposals and afterwards collect the bill. Please submit proposals to the BoardOfDirectors.

Organizing team

Organizing a medium-sized event like XDC requires the work of several people, don't expect that could be done by one or two persons. 1-2 people are enough for planning and preparing the conference, but the workload is signifincantly bigger in the month leading to the conference to get everything sorted, prepared and set up - you don't want to debug video in the first talk and print badges when the attendees show up!

For the conference itself, even with the help of the venue staff, the organization team needs to be minimum of 4-5 people during the event: Registration (late arrivals and answering attendee questions), handling video recording, taking care of speakers and running the Q&A (need at least 2 mic runners) and generally making sure things work smoothly. You need to know where you get all these volunteers from.

Venue

The venue should be known and included in the proposal, including the estimated costs. If the venue options aren't fixed yet there should be at least one guaranteed fallback.

A recommended choice is a university/college. A Q&A session with Xorg contributors for the students is often enough to pay for the venue and also inviting students to participate in the conference itself is great way to get new people into our community.

For the main track we need a room sitting up to 150 people (attendance is usually 80-120, generally more in Europe than Americas). A second room with whiteboards and a few tables/seats is needed for workshop track and really useful for ad-hoc hallway tracks and coding sessions. WiFi network needs to be there&solid.

Virtual conference

It is possible to make XDC a virtual conference in case of force majeure, like happened in XDC 2020 with the COVID-19 virus. Also, it is possible to organize a hybrid conference (onsite and online talks) depending on the situation.

X.Org Foundation Board of Directors may change how the conference is going to be some months before XDC, but taking into account the organizers' opinion.

For organizing a virtual/hybrid conference, we need a good video conference platform, ideally open-source, where both speakers (for talk presenting) and attendees (for QA) can join. The recording can be done either locally by organizers, or automatically by streaming it to a third-party service like Youtube and/or media.ccc.de (open-source platform, preferred). Note: for importing Indico schedule into media.ccc.de streaming page, you can use this pull request as reference to do so. We expect a similar number of simultaneous users like in physical conference (average <150 people, peaks of >200 users). Good open-source alternatives available in 2020 are Jitsi and Big Blue Button.

It is usually recommended to stream the video to another third-party service in order to have a fallback watch-only streaming, like Youtube, media.ccc.de (open-source platform, preferred) or similar, to unload the main one when it is overloaded.

XDC 2020 organizers wrote very good reports on what a virtual XDC organization entails from the A/V point of view. Read them here and here.

We also need an open-source messaging system (e.g IRC, Matrix, Mattermost, Rocket.Chat, etc) that allows attendees to both chit-chat and do QA. The organization should have a person responsible of moderation tasks and to forward the questions to speakers when needed. Code of Conduct applies to all the video and chat platforms of the conference.

For workshops, we need a videoconference room with streaming/recording capabilities available for the interested attendees.

In order to have a similar hallway track experience than onsite conferences, we need a videoconference room that attendees can connect (but no streamed nor recorded), and it should be promoted in the chat platform periodically. Also a text-based chat room is recommended.

Accommodation

A lot of students travel to XDC on small budgets, hence there should be affordable accommodations available in close proximity (or well-connected with public transport). Best to list a few recommended places including prices.

Location

The Xorg community likes to visit new places to enjoy all the hall/pub/sightseeing/... tracks too. Sell your city here, but important points are places for lunch/dinner in walking distance or well connected with public transport from both the venue and recommended hotels. It's also great to organize a tour or similar for Saturday after the conference to a local sight.

Currently XDC is alternating between Europe (even years) and North America (odd years). That's where most of the Xorg contributors are, which means lower travel costs and hence higher attendance. Given that constraint the board will consider proposals from other continents, especially if there's a colocation opportunity with a related event.

Travel

The Xorg community is all over the world. List all options for planes&trains, especially if there are non-obvious ones (like flying into another city and then taking a train ride) to save a few monies.

Visa Invitation Letters

A lot of our Gsoc/Evoc students need visa to travel to Europe/Americas and may need an invitation letter for that. Since that usually must be done by someone local the Xorg Board can't provide that. The best way to do that is through the hosting/sponsoring company/university. We need a contact there.

Video Recording

Since a lot of people can't attend every XDC we want to record and livestream all main track sessions. Make sure you have the equipment and people to do that, including publishing the videos (preferably within a day or so) to X.Org Foundation channel at youtube. Additionally, it is recommended to upload them to open-source platforms like media.ccc.de or archive.org.

There's also sometimes local laws about required signage when sessions are recorded, please make sure that any such are indicated on the XDC webpage too.

To make sure the Q&A is also recorded and not a chore of someone running all over the room, have a mic stand, mutliple Q&A runners or one of these throwable mics in a soft cube.

Budget

We need an estimate of the overall cost. Our budget is generally quite low and mostly spent on travel assistance. We prefer locations where the venue costs are zero or cheap.

Some breakfast/snack buffet is nice to have and often not included in a sponsored venue, please include that too. This should include coffee, tea and water. Universities have catering for that, some may allow for outside food to be brought in but most don't.

AV equipment may need to be rented, please check with the location. Minimum requirements are one camera and two microphones (clip-on for the speaker, one wireless one for questions from the audience) and the associated hardware.

Any susbstantial changes compared to the initial budget estimate need to be approved by the board, including any additions. Bring these up as early as possible.

Date

Since we want to invite GSoC students and also allow local students to join, the conference should be at the beginning of the (northern) autumn term, so late September.

The conference is usually 3 days Wed-Fri, with all three days filled.

Call for Papers

When sending out the CFP please read PapersCommittee - we're looking both for main track talks and discussion proposals for the 2nd room. Don't just blindly copypaste last year's CFP letter, it's probably outdated.

Please also consult that page for lots of useful details on running the conference and the different kind of content we feature (opening session, normal talks, lightning talks, workshops ...).

Logistics

A few minor things:

  • Have badges/stickers and markers ready so that people can create name tags (or have them prepared). Also pronoun stickers, or a field on the name tag if it's preprinted. If you go with lyanards and badges double side print them.

  • Color-coded laynards (or shirts) for stuff like "organizer", "CoC contact", "you can/cannot take pictures" works great.

  • Make sure there's enough signs for everything so people find the venue (especially if it's on a campus).

  • For the pre-conference meet-up (usually Tue evening), make sure you have a location a few days ahead, before international travellers leave. It's advisable to have a registration table there to avoid long queues on Wednesday morning, when the schedule is usually packed.

  • Plenty of power outlets, especially throughout the main track room.

  • 100+ attendees rushing to toilets in breaks can lead to queues and a mess. Make sure there's enough and that cleaning staff is aware.

  • For digital marketing materials, you can develop your own or modify the materials used at XDC 2021 which worked very well for that virtual conference.

Proposal Due Dates

The board would like to have at least a preliminary proposal 1 year ahead at the preceding XDC. It should have an indication by when a definitive proposal will be handed in and by when the board needs to make a final decision (e.g. to make sure venues can be still be booked). The board can consider late proposals and will decide on its own when is the best time to make the final vote or whether to solicit more proposals.

Process

After the final vote the board will inform all organizers. Announcing the conference, setting up the conference page on the Events Wiki and running the CFP are all the organizers duties. The board will only serve as the papers committee and for granting travel sponsorships.

Sponsoring

X.org has a separate policy for sponsors of XDC. Please make sure it's acceptable for the venue and organizers to have other company's branding at XDC.

Public Liability Insurance

It's a good idea, and some of our sponsors require this. Have a quote, the board will cover this expense.

Code of Conduct

X.org has an Anti-Harassment Policy and organizers are expected to upheld and help enforce it.