Category Archives: Allgemein

What makes a successful (PHP) usergroup?

Yesterday I met a friend that is also organizing a usergroup. And at one point he referred to his user group as “not that big”. And when I remember correctly that also meant “not that successful”. There are only about 20 people coming to each monthly meeting. And that’s by far not as many as there are in Amsterdam…

That made me think!

Continue reading What makes a successful (PHP) usergroup?

Do I belong on the speaker list of a conference?

Recently a friend of mine wrote about why he didn’t submit to the Call for Papers for a Conference. And – even though the reasoning is absolutely straight forward – I felt that it was wrong. It took a while for me to realize what exactly it was.

I’m not a conference-organizer myself, I only know that it it a tough job. And keeping the balance between known and reliable speakers that help sell tickets and new faces that can become the next reliable and known speakers must be a challenge. And then trying to also have a balanced amount of speakers from usually underrepresented groups1 in tech must be even harder. And being one of those “white males” that seem to be everywhere on tech conferences I can’t feel how it is to be underrepresented.

But I am pretty sure of one thing. When conference-organizers are going through the trouble of doing a Call for Papers it’s not because they already know whom they want to speak or they will reject your talk because they think you’re not good enough! They want bright people to speak! They want people that know their topic! They want people that have something to say! And that might even include You!

There is only one way to be sure that you do not belong onto the speaker list of any conference that has a Call for Papers. And that is by not submitting!

But when you submit, chances are that the conference organizers think that You are one of those bright people they are looking for! That You are one of the people that know their topic! That you are one of the people that have something to say! In short: That You are the right person to speak!

Yes, chances are much higher that you’ll receive a rejection letter. But that happens to every speaker2. But by not submitting you will not even receive a rejection letter.

I know from myself that Impostor-Syndrome has a lot to do with it. But just because you think you don’t belong onto that speaker-panel doesn’t mean that others think different! And that you earned your place “up there”. But for that you have to show that you want to sit up there!

So next time you’re thinking about whether to not participate in a Call for Papers because you don’t think you belong there: Leave that decision to the conference organizers!

Or do you think different?

1whoever belongs to these underrepresented groups is a completely different story!

Voting to replace the current voting representative of the Aura project

Currently the FIG-Members vote whether the Aura-Project is required to replace its representative. Why is that?

During the last few weeks (months?) the mailinglist of the Framework Interoperability Group (PHP-FIG) was home to the drama-lama. A lot of push and shove around one single person and how to react appropriately.

I try to be as objective as possible: Apparently some people from the PHP-Community felt harrassed by the way one person discussed with them. And that one person seemed to “look for trouble” by pushing discussions and raising issues in an aggressive manner. I myself know of at least one person that didn’t get involved with the FIG due to this person. And there are others that left the FIG due to or felt personaly attacked by that person.

So the representatives of the FIG where asked to do something about one person creating a toxic atmosphere. Due to there not being a precedence for such a behaviour and there being no clear regulations for such a case things went messy. Heated debates and unlucky words from both sides where the result of the question how to handle people that create a toxic environment, cause people to leave the FIG and damage the reputation of the FIG.

Long story short: There is no way the FIG can do something against such a person without a regulation that every new participant accepts. Call it CoC or nettiquette or bylaws or whatever you like. There’s common sense and general niceness but some people just lack both. And as such a regulation isn’t (currently) accepted by people on the FIG-mailinglist, there’s no way of removing someone from the list.

But what can be done is that said person can not speak as a member of the FIG anymore. And that’s what the vote is about. Revoke the privilege of being heard as an authority of the FIG and making it absolutely clear that the FIG does not condone such behaviour that drives others away and makes people feel attacked.

The vote is not about the expertise or about liking or not liking. It’s not about questioning the FIG, it’s bylaws, regulations or PSRs.

This vote is about the tone and way of interacting with one another. And it is about whether or not the members of the FIG accept agressive and harassing interaction with one another – and by accepting it actually promoting it.

But it can not be the last step. No one should think that the case is closed after this vote regardles it’s outcome. In my eyes the FIG needs a regulation that allows banning of people that don’t adhere to them from participation altogether (throughout the ir controlled media). But that’s a next step!

For me personally the result of this vote will decide about the future of the FIG in the PHP-Community