Submission FAQs

Welcome to the Submission FAQs.

Thank you for taking the time to consider presenting at FOSS4G North America 2018. Your submissions make up the heart and soul of our conferences, and we look forward to reading your proposals.

Please be sure to read the Call for Papers page as well as these FAQs.

When is the submission deadline?

The last day for proposals to be submitted is February 8, 2018.

Are speakers compensated for speaking?

Speaking at our events gives you exposure to an audience of highly skilled developers and other software professionals from around the world. We are not able to compensate speakers. However, each workshop "earns" two free conference passes, which go to the first and second speaker listed on the workshop. All other speakers register for the deeply discounted price of $250.

Who is choosing the program?

The program committee, made up of volunteers from the community, chooses the program. See this About Us page for more information on the program committee.

When will I know if my talk has been accepted?

The accept/decline notices are expected to go out in late February. The full program schedule will be published on the website by mid-March.

How do I submit a talk?

You must have an account before you can submit a talk. If you already have an account, log in using those credentials.

If you need to create a new account, follow these steps to create and activate your account:

  • Click on the "Create account" link at the top of the conference home page, and follow the instructions to create your account
  • Look for an email with instructions on activating your account, and follow those
  • After your account is activated, use the same credentials to log in to the conference website via the "Log in" link at the top of the page; this will validate the account on the conference website; note that this final login / validation step is required; you cannot submit a talk or be added to a talk until this is done!
  • If you need to reset your password, go to the account login page and follow the instructions there
  • Please note that your personal information (photo, bio, organization) is added or updated via the account user interface; this is not done on the conference website
  • If you are still having trouble, email the webmasters

Required fields on the submission form:

  • Session Title: Enter a short, descriptive, and catchy title
  • Speaker: The form auto-fills the name of the current user; to add a co-speaker, enter an email address and the system will locate the additional speaker (if no correct value is returned, then the additional speaker does not have an account, and must create one using the instructions above)
  • Track: Choose the category, based on the information on the Call for Papers page
  • Session Type: Choose Talk or Workshop
  • Experience Level: Choose Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced, based on what the audience should know
  • Description: Before writing, read the advice below on increasing your chances of being accepted

Optional fields on the submission form:

  • Slides: If you have your materials in a file, upload the file here
  • Slides (External URL): If your materials are accessible on line, add the URL here
  • Tags: Enter your choice of keywords to help describe the content of the session

Please note that the submission system does not send an auto-email to confirm that your talk was successfully submitted. To verify that your talk is in the system, use the filters on the list of submissions page to locate it. If you don't find it, please send email to

How can I change the speakers on my talk?

You may edit your submission and change who is designated as a presenter on your talk up until the submission deadline. After a talk has been accepted, you must email us at if you want to change the presenter on a talk.

How do I tell if someone comments on my talk?

The submission system will send you an auto-email if someone comments on your submission.

What can I do to increase my chances of being accepted?

  • Choose the Session Type, Track, Experience Level, and Tags carefully – try to get it right the first time.
  • If you receive an email from a program committee member, respond promptly.
  • Be prepared to work with the program committee to modify your talk to fit into the program; this can mean changing the abstract, combining it, etc.
  • Take time to write a good Session Title – descriptive, yet short and interesting.
  • The bar is higher for Workshops! For Workshops, it's a good idea to include an outline that covers the content and the hands-on exercises you expect to offer.
  • And above all, make sure your Description is good – if your Session Title is longer than your Description, you have more work to do. All Descriptions should indicate
    • What you are presenting
    • Why it is important
    • What someone can expect to take away from the presentation
    • What makes your presentation unique

What are some useful tips to know before submitting?

After each conference we survey the attendees, and they have been consistent and clear about how to improve our technical talks. You will have a better chance of being selected as a speaker if you do the following:

  • Tell your story. Technical deep dives are interesting. But so is your experience! What have you been doing? How have you combined various technologies? Did everything work well? What have been the problems and how did you solve them?
  • Provide your presentation materials ahead of time. Either upload a file with your submission, or choose a file-sharing site for your materials and add the URL to your Description. Providing advance materials is a great advertisement for your talk and increases attendee interest in your presentation. It helps the attendees pre-select sessions, providing you with an audience that is already interested in your topic.
  • Be clear about requirements and expectations. Should attendees have software pre-installed? Should they know how to use a particular app in order to get the most benefit from your session? Should they be proficient in a certain technology? For Workshops, this type of information is required.
  • Provide detail about your talk. Have you given this talk before? If so, where and when? Will your talk include a demo? Hands-on exercises? Singing and dancing?
  • Get organized before your talk. This is especially true – and required – for Workshops. Instead of spending the first thirty minutes helping attendees install software from a USB drive, use your Description to tell attendees how to prepare for the session, and provide a link to items they should download ahead of time. Then you and your audience can get to the interesting stuff right away.
  • Upload a photo and bio to your user account. Use the bio to explain why your experience, knowledge, and presentation skills will help make your talk worthwhile.


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