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On DrupalCon scholarships: We can do better

Wrote this on the post announcing the merit-based DrupalCon Chicago scholarship winners:

With 4,000 attendees

We can do scholarships for 100 people. We can certainly do better than twenty-one.

As this is a do-ocracy, i have no right to complain. I didn't do. But we should recognize as a community that this is a travesty. Yes, we should make sure first that everyone who has contributed greatly to Drupal and wants to attend gets to Chicago. We should be paying their travel and lodging and putting champaign there. (What is covered with these scholarships?) But we should *absolutely* look to bring new people as well, people for whom cost is a significant factor (which for Chicago and i'm sure for London is a lot of people). I don't know what to do (i can collect donations tax deductible but i don't have the scholarship list of course, nor can i offer appropriate publicity to people and companies who sponsor people), but people with ideas please let me know.

Congratulations to the scholarship winners! You are the folks we should be seeking out whether you apply or not (and i know Karoly did work making sure every person in MAINTAINERS.txt knew of the opportunity). There should be people who do not yet have a stellar contribution record given an opportunity also. I see no reason why we cannot offer assistance to most of the remaining 84.

Followed up replying to myself:

The Do It Yourself approach is always good new
Dave Hall is bringing universal unique IDs to Drupal entities, and making your Car Wash module if that's what you pay him for:

I really couldn't shut up about this...

Solve two participation problems at once
Smaller and medium-sized shops feel cut out of the sponsorships of recent DrupalCons-- $4,000 entrance fee is pretty steep (even for a business like Social Contxt which is sponsoring Boston's Dojo group).

Looking in the Become a Sponsor prospectus i see this was offered-- but not highly publicized?

Scholarship Sponsor

(someone took advantage of the all-caps font used in the PDF...)

In this scholarship announcement no sponsor was named?

I think it could and can be opened up: let people take their applications public and let companies choose whom they sponsor.

I'm sorry, i should have gotten involved earlier, but scholarships for 21 core contributors is not where i thought the process would end for a conference that can costs $1,000 or more to attend (though i'm paying only the conference fee and crashing with people).

How much does our free lunch cost, by the way? I'd join a donate lunch fees to a scholarship fund movement!

I'm not really joking. Chicago Drupalistas and others leading this conference (not least Palantir) are doing a great job, and i would love to see the excellent transparency of DrupalConSF matched and raised, so don't get me wrong here— but if i see another $72,000 spent on coffee instead of on 72 interested Drupalistas without comfortable cash flow, i am going to feel sick.

DrupalCon Paris had local scholarships. At least make sure everyone active in the midwest Drupal community who wants to go gets in one way or another with a comped or reduced ticket.


Searched words: 
community openness economic justice funding Drupal fairness


and followed up, in response to Tiffany's reasoned post

Thanks Tiffany,

May i note that the spent-on-coffee figure came from the organizers' own closing slides. Please do be more precise and more careful to explain why things cost what they do for the Chicago breakdown. Regardless, when more is spent on catering (even when the catering is subsidizing the convention center / hotel costs) than budgeted for scholarships, we have a problem. It's not your problem. It's a community problem.

And i don't think it reflects the actual priorities of the community, but rather, the ability to coordinate this tricky aspect of reaching the significant segment of Drupalistas who consider a world-class conference price-prohibitive-- at the same time as putting on a world-class conference.

Would it be possible for me to offer a Chicago-area applicant who did not get accepted a ticket?



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