Re: GNOME Travel Committee & Travel Policy: A proposal for consideration and feedback

On Wed, 2009-02-18 at 10:09 +0100, Dave Neary wrote:
> Hi Bruno,
> Bruno Boaventura wrote:
> > I'm with Claudio on this issue. Last year I could not go to GUADEC if
> > I had to pay 200 € (wait to be reimbursed has been difficult). GUADEC
> > should be a special case.
> You are making an assumption of unlimited funds!
> This year, we have allocated a provisional travel budget of €30,000 - it
> may go over that, butu this is our provisional budget.
> Do you remember how much it cost you to get to Istanbul, Bruno? With
> accommodation, perhaps €1000? Baris told me that last year we funded
> people for $60,000 - which covered travel and accommodation for...
> flights for 27 people, and accommodation for 35 people. Do you think
> that perhaps we could have used this money more efficiently to benefit
> 60 or 70 people?
> So which has more value? Being able to cover 30 people, or being able to
> cover 40 people, because we ask people to pay what they can afford when
> we agree to fund them?

Certainly it is a trade-off, and I'm not sure if those numbers are
comparables at all.  The same 30 people are not included in the group of
40, they may be 10, 15 or 20 in common.  Personally, I'm not in a
position to say which one is better.

Some people are not aware of the value of their contributions and they
only realize it once there.  Afterwards, I see them increasing their
contributions, became part of other teams and even became part of the
board.  I personally I've encouraged people to try their best to attend,
specially when they didn't think their contribution worth to ask for any
kind of sponsorship. 

I'm for sure you support case-by-case if asked.  But, it is not enough.
IMVHO, it should be clear for everybody they can ask.   It's a matter of
communication, not intentions.

Also, I would suggest to the Travel Committee to try to work with
deadlines. I know it depends on approval of abstracts, getting sponsors
and so on,  people need to be aware if they could attend and when they
should expect the refund.

At last but not least, don't think that people who gets 100% of
travel/accommodation funds don't make a sacrifice, just to stay there:
      * some of them will spend more than € 200 (visa fees, local
        transportation, foods), so you are asking for extra € 200.  The
        self nominated "Cheap Bastards" group exists for a reason
        (almost truth, almost joke), they can eat only baguette +
        watter/coke the whole conference just because it is the cheapest
        and/or affordable food.  Even though, it could cost more than €
        200 in total.
      * some of them will attend using their holidays, or asking
        permission without earning anything those days.
      * € 200 are not the same for East-Europeans or Latin-Americans
        than North-Americans or West-Europeans.

Kind regards,

Germán Póo-Caamaño
Concepción - Chile

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