Community Conference Sponsorships

In A Recipe to Promote your Site we noted that we would match community effort with funds:

Any community that shows sufficient effort and innovative ideas to promote their site will be offered a budget and resources to make those ideas happen. Think of it as matching funds -- except we're matching effort, innovation, resources, and ideas from the community. And it has to come from within your community. You're the experts, not us! Matching effort with funds assure that recipients have a stake in helping the site work, and communities know that their efforts to help themselves make their site great will be reciprocated.

We're still in the early phases of figuring this stuff out, but we know that sponsoring community leaders to attend interesting, relevant, useful conferences is strongly reflective of our core values, and we want to get started now.

So we are! I'm proud to announce that, after asking on each site's respective meta, we've sponsored 3 community leaders by fully covering their airfare, hotel, per diem, and of course the conference fees:

In response to our meta post, Kirk volunteered to attend the 2011 ESRI Developer summit in Palm Springs, CA on behalf of the GIS community.

GIS profile for Kirk Kuykendall at GIS, Q&A for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals

In response to our meta post, Jesse (aka Tetrad) volunteered to attend the 2011 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA on behalf of the game developer community.

Game Development profile for Tetrad at Game Development, Q&A for professional and independent game developers

In response to our meta post, Rory volunteered to attend the San Francisco Security B-Sides conference on behalf of the security community.

IT Security profile for Rory Alsop at IT Security, Q&A for IT security professionals

Congratulations Kirk, Jesse, and Rory -- thank you for electing to be the guinea pigs in our experiment. I wish you safe flights, and I truly hope you enjoy the conferences.

Sending community members to conferences is something we are very serious about, because we believe so deeply in learning. Going to a conference to speak or participate -- and bringing that experience back to our community -- is a great way to share what you've learned. That's the very principle our communities are founded on, this idea that we're all there to learn from each other.

And that's all that we ask in return -- that these community members share their experiences with their respective communities, and the greater internet, in some way. It doesn't need to be (and shouldn't be) a chore. The sharing can be anything from a few blog posts about the experience, to actually speaking or having a roundtable at the conference, or something else entirely. And of course, we will supply you with plenty of swag to take with you and share with your fellow conference attendees at your discretion.

If this sounds exciting to you, get started on your own community! Open a meta question asking which conferences it would make sense for someone from your community to attend -- so that we can all benefit from their experience.

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