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Public Call for Papers: What Does That Mean?

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 19 July 2011.
Planet PHP

Some of you may have already heard that the ConFoo call for papers is already open. The great thing about it this year, is that it's public. This means that anyone can vote on the proposals. Besides being fun for the speakers and attendees, it opens up a whole lot of possibilities.


As organizers, we can provide our attendees with better content. Not just with content that we believe is good, but with content that people actually want to see. However, public votes will not be the only selection criteria, because we need to balance the content and our budget (we are, after all, non for profit). Don't be upset if you were not selected even if you had many positive votes. We get hundreds of proposals each year and a limited number of slots.

Topic Spread

Many speakers do not propose on certain topics, because they expect many others to propose on the same thing. But you never know! It is possible to completely overlook an important topic simply because everyone is expecting someone else to submit, and doesn't want to compete for it. This happens every year.

Now, a speaker can see other proposals by tag. If a tag or topic has little or no proposals, then the speaker would be tempted to submit. Even if there are proposals, a speaker may decide to offer a different perspective, or decide that the other proposal does represent the topic well enough.

Speaker Guidelines

By seeing what other do, speakers get a better picture of what works and what doesn't. If a speaker sees that a topic had great votes, it will give him an idea of what makes a good topic. If the score is low, then he'll know what to avoid. In any case, it's good to know how others do it.

Also, consider a speaker whose proposals got low scores. He can try to figure out what's wrong and fix it, or propose different topics that he believes are more appealing to the public. No more getting feedback when it's already too late (and hope to see you next year)!


Once the papers are selected by the committee, creating a timetable is not an easy task. The ConFoo team spends weeks every year trying to find the best arrangement. With all the votes that will come in, we will be able to better determine the appropriate room size based on popularity. We will also be able to see which topics the same attendees are interested in, and schedule them at different times as much as possible.


The more attendees we have, the better conference we can deliver. We hope that the speakers will promote their proposals in order to get votes, thus letting people know about ConFoo. More attendees also mean a bigger audience for speakers, so spread the good word!

Follow @confooca and share with the #confoo tag.