If you have never attended a Pittsburgh Perl Workshop before, you might be wondering what it is like: What kind of talks will you see? What kind of people will you meet? What should you wear? Here is a little primer to let you know what you may expect. We will also outline a little bit of what is expected of you.
The Culture of PPW
PPW might be best described as a "Business Casual" kind of event. You will see most of the attendees wearing blue jeans and t-shirts from past Perl events. The majority of our attendees have an interest in writing Perl code, either as systems administrators, researchers, or software engineers. For some, writing Perl code is their job description. For others, Perl may just be the glue that makes their jobs easier.
A large part of what makes Perl events so special is the social aspect. Indeed, you can often learn just as much from the "hallway track" as from attending the talks. You will find that members of the Perl community are very accessible and welcoming.
While you might find an academic talk here and there, PPW tends to prefer talks that focus on practical solutions to real-world problems. We want to know ingenious new solutions that people have discovered to solve problems that plague Perl developers everywhere.
Talks do not necessarily need to involve Perl code, they just need to be relevant to Perl developers. Successful subjects in the past have included: Revision control, Tools for developers, Integrating other languages with Perl, Job hunting / recruiting, Personal health topics, Project management, and Perl community related talks.
Ultimately, the litmus test for any talk we select for PPW is: "Will our attendees find value in this talk?"
PPW is brought to you this year by Robert Blackwell and Dan Wright. And, of course, we would be lost without Autumn who runs the front desk and keeps us all in line. Dan and Robert have been involved in the running of PPW since its charter event in 2006. Autumn joined us in 2009. We also have a seasoned corp of volunteers that help out with the event.
It is important to understand that running events is not our day job. We do this as a hobby. We enjoy conferences. And we enjoy supporting Perl. We do not get paid for this. In fact, it is usually the case that we end paying out of our own pockets to make sure you have a great time.
We want you to have a spectacular event. If you encounter a problem, please bring it to our attention. We will try to help if we can. But please keep in mind that we are volunteers giving our time freely so that you can enjoy a high-quality, low-cost conference.
The break room test
If you worked in a large-sized north-american company, and were having a discussion with a group of coworkers in the break room, perhaps some of whom you do not know that well, what kinds of behavior and topics of discussion would be appropriate? We ask that everybody try to apply the same level of scrutiny when interacting with each other at PPW.
Code of Conduct
We, the organizers of PPW declare that PPW is an event for professionals. We believe that when you start imposing high school level rules on people, high school level behavior will soon follow. Conversely, we have found that when we treat people as adults, adult behavior does follow. When things are going as they should, understanding the culture of our workshop is enough. People might make mistakes, and others are here to gently remind them of the what's expected.
If you encounter a problem while attending PPW, we encourage you to share it with the organizers. If we can help, we will certainly try to do so. If not, we will do our best to put you in contact with somebody that can. We are not qualified to assume the roles of investigators or law enforcement officers, and will not do so. Although we do believe Pittsburgh to be a safe, friendly city, we will not guarantee your personal safety 24 hours a day while attending our event.
Participation in The Pittsburgh Perl Workshop is voluntary and is contingent on conducting yourself in a manner appropriate for the event. If somebody (by their own actions) places themselves outside the culture of our workshop, we may ask them to correct their behavior or leave. We do reserve the right to remove any person from our event without refund for any behavior we determine to be unacceptable. The decision of the organizers is final. Historically, this has never been an issue. And we hope it is something that will never be needed, but we are ready to use it if the situation requires such action.