About the Speaker Selection Process

I’m glad to inform that we have chosen speakers to WordCamp Helsinki 2017! All applicants have been contacted and we’re going to start speaker announcements soon. However, before any announcements, I wanted to share some details how the selections were made.

This year we received a total of 35 talk proposals from 28 different people. In addition to Finland, we got applications from the USA, United Kingdom, Estonia, Russia and Romania. Amazing! The overwhelming majority of those proposals were well thought out and we believe every one of them deserved to be heard. However, we knew we had room for only one track so choices had to be made. We had to set limits on the number of internationals talks also, because WordCamps are first and foremost for the local community.

We had a team of 4 organisers making selections and two rounds of process, from where the first one was based on proposed topic, anonymised description and a few yes/no fields such as if the applicant is international and in which language the talk will be. Our team read through every application and voted those on range zero to five. At this point, only one person from team did know every applicant’s name, speaker description and other information which would threaten the anonymity. Having an anonymous selection is the best way to ensure that all applicants have the same starting line, regardless of speaking experience.

Because there’s some guidelines to follow on selection process, we had the second round where un-anonymised topic descriptions, applicant names and descriptions were revealed to whole team. Before this was done, applications were ordered by calculated total votes and the first 12 were tentatively held as selected topics.

After going though the applications again, this time with speaker descriptions, we had a conference call. During this call we dismissed only a few applications from top 12 and took the next suitable topic from the list. These rejections were made because there were two topics from the same person or after consideration how well applicant knows the topic of which is sought to speak, overall gender balance of speakers and variation on topics. We also did give a little value to speaking experience at this point, because quality of speakers is a vital part of an interesting event. On the other hand, we also wanted to give an opportunity to speakers with little or zero experience.

If you applied to speak and didn’t get selected, do not fall into despair! There are regular meetups in Helsinki, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Turku and Oulu, all of which are looking for good talks and speakers. And of course, there’ll always be another WordCamp.

Our whole team believes that we did come up with a pretty good and varied list of speakers and topics. At WordCamp Helsinki 2017 there will be appealing content to designers, site owners, business owners, intermediate and advanced developers alike.

As said before, speaker announcements will start soon. If you want to be among the first to know about speakers, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to updates on the sidebar. Long waited ticket sales will also start within a few days.