Committee Meeting - 15th March 2016

Ruby Australia Committee Meeting Minutes

15th of March, 2016 - 7:00pm AEDST

Held via GoToMeeting

Committee Members Present

  • Leonard Garvey (President)
  • Melissa Kaulfuss (Vice-President)
  • Jo Cranford (Treasurer)
  • Rebecca Skinner (Secretary)
  • Rob Jacoby
  • Lauren Hennessy


  • Amanda Neumann
  • Angus Scown

RubyConf AU 2016

  • It was good! Everyone had a great time and loved it!
  • Jo has written lots of notes about things she’s learned, for next year’s organizers to help them out.
  • Rob has not written any notes yet, has been super busy with work
    • When he gets some time, will write them down and also finish adapting Pat’s notes from previous years for general consumption.

RubyConf AU 2017

  • No emails received about wanting to organize next year’s conference.
    • Phil Arndt expressed interest in hosting a conference in Wellington, which may be possible sometime in the future but not next year.
  • Current committee members who are willing and able will get the ball rolling for next year’s conf, and then the call can be put out again to get more assistance when necessary.
    • Len and Jo both put their hands up for this, with Mel in a secondary role.
  • To organize a conference well you need at least one organizer in the local area, and all three volunteers are in Melbourne.
  • Most of the major sponsors will be from Melbourne too, based on sponsorship enquiries so far.
  • A decision has to be made sooner rather than later, so Melbourne looks like very likely to host the event.
    • Action item! Mel to tweet about hosting RubyConf AU 2017 in Melbourne, calling again for volunteers to help organize it.
  • Tasmania should be kept on the agenda as a future hosting spot.
  • Given that this is the first year of the sponsorship system, a safe location is better for now.
  • Melbourne it is! Lock it in Eddie!

Sponsorship prospectus

  • REA and Envato have expressed interest in a Ruby sponsorship, as have CultureAmp.
  • Lookahead have also expressed interest, but want to sponsor coffee at All of The Events
  • Rails Girls has been a point of confusion so far
    • The original plan was that Ruby AU would offer some support with annual sponsorships, but organizers would still be free to seek their own sponsors if they wanted
    • Venue sponsorship is common with RG events (companies that provide space to host the events), so that may need to come outside an annual sponsorship
      • RedBubble and REA are both keen to host Melbourne RG events.
    • Other in-kind sponsorships are common so those combined with the smaller Ruby AU sponsorship packages could work well.
    • We wouldn’t be saying any existing RG teams have to change the way they do things, just offering them other options and potentially a helping hand with money handling and financial support.
    • Tasmania is starting up a RG event! - Giving them a boost would be great.
    • Sponsorship is not limited to Melbourne and Adelaide - this was just an initial proposal based on organizers that have been talked to so far.
    • Most of the RG organizers seem to be on board, even just from a bookkeeping perspective to make their lives easier.
    • The committee isn’t out to dictate who can run events or where, so we should leave the sponsorships open because events are still popping up everywhere.
  • The main focus of the prospectus wasn’t Rails Girls (although of course we want to help them out!) - it was larger events like RubyConf, Railscamps, and possibly Melbourne and Sydney RORO.
  • Discussion about the top tier sponsorship…
    • It was designed that there only be one Ruby sponsor, and this adds an element of prestige
    • It would be best financially for the community if all three interested parties (REA, Envato, CultureAmp) all agreed to share top billing
      • The price for the top tier could be slightly lowered to compensate for the prestige factor
      • We would also have to deal with fewer companies for more money, so less time spent on administrative bookkeeping
    • (Wouldn’t it be funny if we made the companies bid for the top tier sponsorship? Not a serious suggestion)
    • From a conference perspective, it would mean having three big swag tables
      • Does this commercialize the conference too much?
      • It wouldn’t be as bad as other events, where they have exhibition halls full of vendors, and barcode scanning on name tags
      • No slimy sales events!
      • Guidelines may need to be created about what would be suitable
      • Try it for one year, see how it goes? Adjust the packages afterwards if it doesn’t work out
    • It would mean more money for the community if all three companies agreed to share a Ruby sponsorship at the top price, instead of one taking Ruby and two downgrading to Emerald.
      • But exclusivity is worth something in the negotiations…
    • Propose the companies sharing the sponsorship, and possible price negotiation.
    • Update! CultureAmp has agreed to take an Emerald sponsorship, leaving just Envato and REA duking it out for Ruby.

New website/membership database

  • Yes, we want a new website, but no, we haven’t done anything about it yet :frowning:
  • Mel and Amanda were getting together to do some high-level wireframing and planning
  • Open it up to the community to build it?
    • Feels a lot like spec work though…
  • Hire a designer to do some designs, and then we can build it
    • Mel will be the product owner, as she is picky about design
    • Mel also knows a freelancer who can do some design work - will get a quote from them
  • We need a membership database!
    • The current form on the website may link to Campaign Monitor
    • Moving away from the current statically-generated site to a proper site with an administration panel etc.
  • Can we please use the rubies for the new website as we’re a Ruby community and all that stuff?

Communication channels

  • Announcements on Google groups about events, meetings, etc. are pretty good
  • We could do a better job with managing our Twitter account, like, actually using it for example
    • Create a Slack channel to share links we could tweet out, and commit to posting regularly
    • Kind of like at RORO where we ask “what’s happened this week?” and someone will shout out “new version of [library]”
    • Anything Ruby- or community-related is relevant to be shared
    • Integration with Slack to share all the Ruby AU tweets
    • Mel is very good at Twitter and using many emojis (and starting a conversation)

Update on RailsCamp 19 (Radelaide edition)

  • 14 tickets sold so far
    • Sounds bad, but it’s pretty good for 4 months away!
  • Ticket cut-off date to be approximately a month away from the event
    • T-shirts and caterers require about a month
    • If you let the t-shirt company (eg. PSI) know early they can put the run into their production schedule and save your slot, even if you don’t have final numbers yet
  • The Railscamp Twitter account should be delegated to people who are good at this stuff
  • CampaignMonitor can be used to remind people about the camp and where to buy tickets etc.
  • A lot of people are going to go but just haven’t bought tickets yet.
    • Ping people at meetups, remind sponsors to send their people to the camp, etc.

A very brief Code of Conduct discussion

  • Our Code of Conduct should be brought more in line with existing well-regarded codes of conduct eg. Geek Feminism
  • Publishing contact information, and having an internal plan on how to handle problems
  • The current CoC focuses heavily on in-person events, and should be amended to include online spaces such as Slack
  • Lauren has a few issues with the wording in the existing CoC, and will open pull requests to start addressing them
  • A checklist of things to do in case of a report, for event organizers, should be created/sourced
  • We should keep all CoC-related discussions open, transparent and public
    • Opening pull requests for any issues means that anyone in the community can have a voice
    • Typos or burning issues can be addressed immediately, but major issues could be discussed at a General Meeting
  • A code of conduct for the Slack community and online spaces can be discussed and created now, as we have the community here to discuss and okay it
  • We really need to keep things focused and moderate discussions - trolls not welcome
    • Constructive and maybe even contentious is fine, but always polite
  • Having a code of conduct is not up for debate - we already have one and we are keeping it!
  • An integration can be set up for Slack so the committee sees any activity on opened issues, and we can keep on top of things

Wrap up

  • Insert children heads popping on screen, many dogs barking, animated gifs
  • The next committee meeting will be held on Tuesday April 19, at 7:00pm EST.