It is a CHAOSS conference

๐Ÿ‘ฅ Form organizing committee

CHAOSScon is a community organized event. We do not have dedicated event staff and rely on volunteers.

A combination of methods can be used to ask for volunteers:

  • CHAOSS general mailing list

  • CHAOSS events mailing list

  • Weekly meetings

  • Reach out directly to individuals

A good organizing committee has volunteers with different skills and interests. The following sections detail what needs to be done to organize CHAOSScon. An organizing committee of about 7-10 volunteers has been effective in executing all tasks.

๐ŸŽช Secure venue

What venue we use depends on when and where we plan CHAOSScon.

CHAOSScon North America (NA) should be co-located with the Linux Foundationโ€™s Open Source Summit North America (OSSNA). CHAOSScon can share the same venue. To secure the venue, we need to file a request on the OSSNA website or contact someone from the LF events team.

CHAOSScon Europe should be co-located with FOSDEM in Brussels Belgium. Bitergia has secured a venue in the past.

The organizing committee can determine how many rooms they want to use. A second room can be used for socializing and workshops.

๐Ÿ•™ Time for CHAOSScon

It is easier to end the event earlier than run late.

Consider other events that are happening on the same day.

๐Ÿ“— Release and advertise CFP

The Call for Participation (CfP) invites speakers to submit topics for talks, workshops, or tutorials.

We can re-use the same CFP from the last CHAOSScon. CFPโ€™s are stored on GitHub in the chaoss/website repository and can be retrieved by looking at older versions of files.

The form for speakers to submit talks is a Google form. E.g. CFP for CHAOSSconNAโ€™19

๐Ÿค  Find sponsors

We have a funding prospectus that needs to be updated.

Share sponsor prospectus:

  • Mailing list

  • Twitter

  • Specific people the organizing committee knows

Work with sponsors to fulfill promises to sponsors.

๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Decide on Speakers

When the CFP closes, we use a spreadsheet for evaluating submissions. Each submission gets a row in a table and each organizing committee member gets a column to insert +1, 0, or -1 to vote on submissions. The sum of votes is the basis for discussion.

During a committee meeting, the spreadsheet with submissions and votes is reviewed. Topics and speakers are selected. Based on the selection, a schedule is assembled.

A person selects the action item to inform speakers and confirm their participation.

๐Ÿ“† Keynotes

Keynotes get more time than regular sessions.

Keynote speakers should have a message that we as a community want to elevate. We either invite keynote speakers or we ask if a CFP submitter would be willing to extend their talk to a keynote.

๐Ÿ“” Launch registration page

For CHAOSScon North America, we like to partner with the Linux Foundation to have CHAOSScon be an option for registrations to Open Source Summit North America. The Linux Foundation can also provide a stand-alone registration for CHAOSScon only. The latter is the form we link to from the CHAOSScon website.

For CHAOSScon Europe, we used Eventbrite.

โœ๏ธ Release and advertise the schedule

The CFP has a date for releasing the conference schedule. On that date, the schedule contains all speakers that confirmed. Speakers who have not confirmed yet will be added later or left off the schedule.

The schedule is added to the website by updating the corresponding markdown page on GitHub.

To advertise the schedule:

  • Send a message to CHAOSS mailing list, ask everyone to spread the news

  • Post regular messages on Twitter

  • Reach out to individuals who expressed interest in CHAOSScon

๐ŸŸ Confirm catering

We typically have coffee, tea, and snacks at CHAOSScon for breaks.

Make sure to have name tags at CHAOSScon.

When co-locating with Linux Foundation events and using their registration system, the LF will provide name tags (i.e., lanyards).

๐Ÿฅณ Determine Master of Ceremony

The Master of Ceremony (MC) is responsible for:

  • welcoming atendees

  • announcing schedule

  • work with speakers to make sure they get set up with their laptops

  • keep everyone on schedule

  • adjourn the meeting

๐Ÿ’ป Upload Presentation Slides

In the week before CHAOSScon, email all presenters to ask them for their slides. Ideally, all slides are uploaded to the conference page before the event starts. Some presenters prefer to work on slides last minute and provide them on the morning of the event. We need someone at the event who can accept USB sticks and will upload the slides to the website.

On the conference website, links to slides are added in a column of the schedule. The slides are uploaded, ideally as PDFs, to GitHub. The chaoss/website repo is setup to produce a URL that can be linked to.

File: [](

URL for website: []( 

๐Ÿ“€ Prepare venue

In preparation for CHAOSScon, work with venue to:

  • Print the schedule to post it at the venue

  • Print signs with the hashtag for the event

  • Print arrow signs, in case we need to direct attendees to the right room

On the day of the event (check with venue what is allowed):

  • Hang up schedule and hashtag signs

  • Set up a table to give out name tags

  • Provide a place for sponsors to put swag

  • Set up video recording

๐Ÿ“ท Video-tape talks

We like to record presentations and upload them to the CHAOSS YouTube channel. This increases the range for presenters and creates an archive to reference talks.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha has in the past brought a camcorder, processed the videos, and uploaded them.


After the event, thank speakers, share links to videos, ...

Feedback and suggestions from CHAOSScon NA 2021

To-Do: Move these suggestions that we decide to do into above sections and make them part of our regular planning process.


  • More communication before event: in-person/virtual formats, use of Slack, schedule updates, coffee/lunch breaks, after conference activities, social media hashtag

  • Increase promotion of the virtual live stream. Sign-ups for email reminders and additional information like slack channel and schedule.

  • Make easier to find the Slack channel. Maybe show the slack channel on a screen so everyone can see what's happening there without having to open it on personal device.

  • Have the schedule printed and posted in the room.

  • More breaks: Add 2 minutes between sessions in schedule for changing speakers

  • Shorten virtual talks: Keep virtual talks to 5-7 minutes only. The energy in the room dropped with each virtual talk. It's a great way to include more speakers who can't travel, but it's hard to do.

  • More interactive sessions: Have more interactive, workshop-style, sessions for getting into the weeds on CHAOSS work. Maybe do 1/2 day talks and 1/2 day hands-on sessions.

  • Roles - Have a dedicated social media person who shares pictures and tidbits throughout the conference and engages with others who are posting about the conference.

  • Roles - Slack manager: Similarly, have someone dedicated to watching the Slack channel, compiling questions for the QA session, and seeding conversations there.

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