YEF: Ctrl-Alt-Del

Previously on YEF

(This is my personal account on the history of YEF. Other past or current members might have a different story)

YEF (a meta-acronym for YAPC Europe Foundation, where YAPC stands for Yet Another Perl Conference) was founded around 2005 by various previous YAPC organizers to help future organizers. The main services are:

  • running ACT ("A Conference Toolkit")
  • running (and paying for) a credit card payment system
  • providing some kick-start funding for conferences and workshops
  • selecting where the conference shall take place

YEF is a legal entity registered in the Netherlands, using a French bank account.

All work is done by volunteers in their free time.

All was good

Once a year, YEF would send out a "Call for Venue". Various Perl Monger groups would work on proposals and send them in. The venue committee, which consists of orgas from previous conferences, checks the proposals, and usually ask for some clarifications. Finally, there is a voting on next years locations. The monger groups who did not get the conference would often submit a (better) proposal the following year.

The orgas get access to an instance of ACT and have to sign some paperwork to get the credit card payment process rolling. Speakers submit talks through ACT, users register, and in the end we have a wonderful conference.

YEF, we have a problem

This setup worked very well in the naugties / zeros ( $year =~ m/200\d/ ), and still worked ok in the first half of this decade. But in the last few years, things started to crumble:

The venue committee shrunk. Some members lost their interest and/or time and unsubscribed. This lead to situations where only a very small number of people were active, which itself lead to letting the selection schedule slip etc.

In the last two years, we did not get a proper proposal to host the conference as the deadline approached. Luckily each year somebody (thanks Rick & Mark, thanks Andrew) decided in the last minute that they'd rather shoulder the burden of organizing the conference than not having one.

ACT is also showing it's age. It's a mod_perl 1 (!) app running on a server that needs a lot of maintenance time. It's not easy to use and not up to date to current best practices. Several attempts to refactor and modernize it have failed (so far).

Most of the original founders of YEF now have other things to do. But the way YEF is set up makes it rather hard to replace them with new people (if there would be new people...).

Somehow I ended up as the "president" of YEF. After experiencing the problems describe above in the last two years, I started an internal discussion on how we can "rescue" YEF and make sure we have awesome Perl conferences in the future. I also organized the BoF in Glasgow which I summarized here.

After the conference, we continued the internal discussion and several members suggested shutting down YEF and start something new:


As stated in my invitation post to the YEF reboot, here is my goal:

Assemble a group of people who are interested in (and capable of) organizing Perl events in Europe; define tools we can use; share our knowledge; so we can continue to have great Perl Events, with a focus on "the conference previously known as YAPC".

Before we can actually work on "organizing Perl events in Europe", we first need to have some meta-discussions. We need to bootstrap this new group. Therefore I propose the following proto-goal:

Let's take the next month (until 14th Oct) to first discuss and later decide on:

  • The goal of the bootstrapping process
  • Decision making process
  • Code of Conduct
  • A Name for the group previously known as YEF / venue committee
  • The methods we want to use to reach the goal
  • Tools to use

This means that in the next month we will NOT discuss any actual steps how to improve our conference. I really think that we first need to bootstrap an environment which will act as a stable basis for the probably tough discussions and the hard work we'll need to do.

I believe that online collaboration only works (successfully) if we keep a (strict) schedule. Mailing list discussions tend to drone on for much longer than f2f meetings. This is why I set the 2018-10-14 deadline. But if it becomes obvious that we need more time, we can move the deadline. As Andrew is already working on Riga, we don't have too much stress (but we shouldn't slack off!)

If you want to participate in these discussions and help us organize Perl events in Europe, you can still subscribe to the venue mailinglist!