Mar 102011

It seems that the northern hemisphere spring is the regular season for submitting papers for two of my favourite conferences. So I guess that means it’s the regular season for reminding y’all, and being reminded of the different styles of conference.

First up, because the deadline for abstracts is Monday March 14, is Northern Voice, Vancouver’s personal, non-work, conference aimed at helping people find their voice online, whether that be through blogging, twitter, facebook updates, or photos. I’ve been on the organising committee since the beginning of Northern Voice, and have been consistent in wanting a conference that isn’t corporate, doesn’t give sponsors keynote slots, isn’t oriented towards business and making money. What Northern Voice is oriented towards is what people find important for their personal lives, whether that be the perennial question of blogging under a real or an assumed name, or giving advice on how to cope with too many emails (ok, that one could also be useful in business). More details at the web site.

In contrast there’s Balisage, which is not at all about how to get good photos of your cat, but rather a venue for deeply technical talks about markup in all its forms. It still isn’t corporate in the sense of selling keynote slots to big sponsors (you notice a trend here?) and its audience is limited to those who do enjoy intense discussions of how best to structure their information, and for whom the finer details of the XML specifications are not insignificant. For this conference abstracts aren’t enough, you need to write the full paper, in XML, and submit by April 8th. I review papers most years, and look forward to seeing what’s happening in the bleeding edges of XML-related technologies.

Hmmm, it’s probably not a coincidence that both of these conferences are small, and run by people who care passionately about the conference and the respective communities that they serve.

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