EmacsConf 2016 Planning Notes 4/6/16


Hey all!

We had a small meeting (it was just Paul and I) to start getting things in order.

The notes are below! Feedback/thoughts appreciated.

We’ll start including interested people on discourse in future meetings :smile:

Meeting Notes:

Agenda for meeting:

  • What did we learn from last time?
  • Figure out plan in detail with calendar.
  • How to get new people involved?
  • Go through backlog of things to do.

What did we learn from last time?

What worked well?

  • Everyone I talked to really liked it! People seemed to have a good time.
  • We worked pretty well as a team. Paul is really good at writing emails, Sufyan is good at driving things forward and putting things together, Amin helped set up our tech stack, Sacha helped with the online portion + with uploading videos, Ryan helped out with stuff, Samer helped organize.
  • People really liked the online aspect.
  • The venue was great.
  • Our website worked well for our needs as a very basic CMS.
  • The remote talks worked surprisingly well.
  • The stickers were awesome.

What can we improve?

  • We used non-free services to support the conference (eventbrite, twitch, google forms to collect interest emails).
  • Lots of people came just for the free food and then left.
  • Get someone other than Samer to send out stickers haha. Still need to get these out.
  • Free streaming is non-trivial.
  • A fast internet connection is required for streaming.
  • It’s very easy to overpromise things. If people have good ideas, don’t just say you’ll do them. Take a moment to actually think through whether you can do it. If we don’t have the bandwidth, ask them to do it.
  • Our web stack is very fragile! And hard to set up when the server goes down.
  • Discourse keeps going down because it runs out of disk space ):
  • We didn’t get people outside the “core” super involved.
  • We didn’t update the website after the conference haha.
  • We could have made the code of conduct more prominent.
  • The conference could have been more diverse
  • Personally, IRC didn’t work for me (Samer) during the planning phase because I would forget to log in for long periods of time. IRCCloud sort of worked, but I didn’t log in very often and I cancelled my membership a couple of months ago because I stopped using it. I do use slack regularly, but it’s nonfree and I’d feel weird about using it for EC.


  • What are the goals for EmacsConf?
  • To bring Emacsers together socially
  • To be inclusive of emacsers from all walks of life
  • To have entertaining and informative talks
  • What date do we want to hold EmacsConf?
    Last year it was August 29th.

These work for Harry and John: July 16-17, Aug 6-7, or Aug 20-21
July 16th feels a bit early. August 20th works for me (samer).

Let’s tentatively agree to hold it on August 20th.

  • Tickets?

Last time, a number of people just showed up for the food. We also weren’t sure how many people were going to show up. If we charged $5 for tickets, then only people serious about coming will show up. We can then donate the money to the FSF or use it for food.

We don’t want to use eventbrite this year. Last year, we used eventbrite and we also asked people sign up by emailing us. The sign up via email thing actually worked pretty well.

Haven’t figured this out yet.

  • How long is EmacsConf?
    9am to 8pm (like last time).

  • Where do we want to host it?
    San Francisco again. We can ask the following companies:

  • Dropbox (Samer works here)
  • Internet Archive (they’re in SF)
  • Noisebridge (We can definitely host it here for free)

We should also ask about sponsorship. Food was about ~500 last time.

  • How many people do we expect?

Maybe 80-90?

  • Speakers. How many do we need? Who do we want to speak?
    We had 6 talks, one workshop, and one lightning session.
  • Getting the FSF involved. How? In what ways do we want them to be involved?
  • Promoting EmacsConf.
    Last time, we had a “planning doc” on github. There was a link in the planning doc to a Google Form, where people could put in their name and email to say they were interested in receiving updates.

^ We can just use mailchimp for newsletter-style updates like this.



  • Move all domains over to emacsconf.org.
  • Pick a date.
  • Tell people about EmacsConf 2016. Gather emails for interested people. [HN, Reddit, emacs-devel]
  • Make list of speakers
  • Start reaching out to speakers.


  • Start giving out tickets.
  • Confirm speakers.
  • Confirm venue.




  • Go over remote talks with people
  • August 20 (or 6th): Hold conference!
  • Upload videos.

How to get new people involved?

A number of people expressed interest in getting involved! Which is cool, we should try to get them involved.


  • Make 2015.emacsconf.org redirect to the old site.
  • Set up new site for 2016.emacsconf.org
  • Set up an automatic redirect so requests to emacsconf.org go to 2016.emacsconf.org.
  • Email venues.
  • Get in contact with FSF. [Paul]
  • Set up some sort of newsletter/sign up [Paul]
  • Set up backups with EC2 [Samer]
  • Someone should come to a Tuesday Noisebridge meeting and ask about hosting it here. [Samer]
  • Get a letsencrypt certificate


Instead of IRC, or slack… Why not Telegram?


I didn’t think we used slack. Did we? I never did. Irc seems fine to me.


About the date, fosscon the conference for the Freenode irc network is currently planning on using August 20th.
I would really hate to have to choose. I do not think I would be the only person in this boat.


Slack is non-free, and one of the points it saying to use more free software. :stuck_out_tongue:


Yeah, that’s the bad part of Slack

El miércoles 20 de abril del 2016 a las 0528 horas, zackp30 escribió:


Thanks for doing this and publishing the notes. Very helpful!

Please, just pick a date now and stick to it. If the organizers can all do it, the rest of us will work around it. Conflicts always come up, but if decided early enough, fewer conflicts arise. Whatever date you choose, I will start working on the Portland venue.


We’ve decided on August 20th, because that date seems to work best for most of us :smiley:


We implemented a Potato, which is a chat application that looks a bit like Slack. It is open source, so it might be an option for you. We’ve used it for years. Of interest to you might be that there’s an Emacs client available for it.

To be fair, ours is not the only free alternative, but if you want to learn more about our solution, feel free to browse the Github repository. The README contains more details: https://github.com/cicakhq/potato