Skip to main content

PyCon US 2014/2015 and Passover

At PyCon US 2013, it was brought to our attention by an attendee that we scheduled PyCon US in conflict with Passover in both 2014 and 2015.

Obviously, this kind of scheduling error is a major failure on our part, but our response to the incident was mishandled, and we'd like to fix that now, in full view of our community.

Here's what happened:

Planning an event as large as PyCon requires a lot of lead time. In 2012, Python Montréal (in conjunction with Tourisme-Montréal) proposed a series of dates that were available for the conference in 2014 and 15. Nobody involved in the planning phase was mindful of the major Jewish holidays. We failed to note the conflict, and proceeded to sign multiple binding contracts for those dates, each specifying stiff financial penalties for moving or breaking the engagement.

When the date conflict was brought to our attention, we frantically reached out to our contacts to see if there was any way to move the conference dates. There were no free dates at the contracted locations for the conference, and changing locations would have triggered a breach of contract. We worked as best we could to find a solution, brainstormed to come up with creative workarounds, and came up empty.

There's simply no magic wand for us to wave and fix this.

It's a bitter pill to swallow, but we are stuck with these dates for 2014 and 2015, both legally and practically. The only alternative is to break our contracts, which would expose the Python Software Foundation and our organizer volunteers to massive legal and financial liability. As a foundation, we have flirted with financial ruin of this type before—in the wake of PyCon missing contractual obligations to our host hotel in 2008. We're unwilling to roll the dice again when the stakes are the foundation and PyCon itself.

We're moving ahead with the only practical choice left to us—holding the conference despite the dates, incredibly saddened that we are excluding our friends and community members, sadder still that we won’t get to see them there. Sometimes the worst mistakes come not intentionally, but through simple ignorance.

We've already taken steps to ensure that this kind of failure doesn't occur again. Getting thousands of people together in a single location always involves some amount of scheduling conflict, but we'll be more mindful of major religious and ethnic holidays when selecting sites and dates. Moreover, in our role as mentor to smaller regional conference, we’re letting them know about our experience, making them aware that they must give scheduling its due diligence or risk excluding entire groups from their events.

Our second apology is for failing to keep you, our community, apprised of our efforts. We should not have remained silent on a matter of exclusion — not for one minute, not for one month — and yet we are only making this announcement now, almost a year after it was brought to our attention. Given our track record on matters of diversity and inclusiveness, this scheduling failure is compounded by our inability to live up to our community standards. That we made efforts behind the scenes is good, but not enough — by being opaque, we've let a lot of you wonder if our ideals were conveniently forgotten in this case.

They weren't, and we're sorry.

The Codes of Conduct (PyCon, PSF) we strive to adhere to and the goals they outline provide no guarantees of perfection, only guidelines. They represent what we want to be, and sometimes we fall down on those promises. The road to where we are now was paved with good intentions and hard work on the part of everyone involved. We very much want to get back on the right track with our community.

We're seeking suggestions when it comes to making amends to those excluded from the conference due to our oversight. Nothing we can do can reattach those we've severed from our community due to this incident, but if you've got an idea for something we can do, we'd like to hear it. You can email Jesse Noller directly (or via twitter) with thoughts which will be communicated to the rest of the Foundation and PyCon organizers.


Jesse Noller
Chair PyCon 2012/2013
Vice President, Python Software Foundation
On behalf of the PSF Board of Directors and PyCon staff

Popular posts from this blog

PyCon 2018 Registration is Now Open!

We’re thrilled to announce the opening of registration for PyCon 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio! The prior six PyCons have sold out, so prepare for another one and get your tickets early. The first 800 tickets sold are priced at an early bird discount, saving over 20% on corporate tickets and over 12% on individual tickets. Students save $25 if they purchase early!

To get started, create an account and head to to get your tickets!

You get a package that is hard to beat when you register for PyCon. The conference itself is three days worth of our community’s 95 best talks, amazing keynote speakers each morning, and our famed lightning talks to close out each day, but it’s much more than that. It’s having over 3,000 people in one place to learn from and share with. It’s joining a conversation in the hallway with the creators of open source projects. It’s taking yourself from beginner to intermediate, or intermediate to advanced. For some, it’s getting st…

PyCon Opens Financial Aid Applications

Even though PyCon prides itself on being an affordable conference, registration is one of several expenses an attendee must incur, and it’s likely the smallest one. Flying, whether halfway around the world or from a few hundred miles away, is more expensive. Staying in a hotel for a few days is also more expensive. All together, the cost of attending a conference can become prohibitively expensive. That’s where our Financial Aid program comes in. We’re opening applications for Financial Aid today, and we’ll be accepting them through February 15, 2018.
Once you have an account on the site, you can apply here or through your dashboard.
We offer need-based grants to enable people from across our community to attend PyCon. The criteria for evaluating requests takes into account several things, such as whether the applicant is a student, unemployed, or underemployed; their geographic location; and their involvement in both the conference and the greater Python community. Those presenting at …

Introducing the PyCon Hatchery Program

PyCon is known around the world as the Python community’s premier event, attracting people from 39 countries. Outside of the main track of talks, PyCon is home to a growing number of additional events such as Young Coders, the Education Summit, Language Summit, Poster Session, among others. The conference strives to be globally representative by promoting diversity and inclusion through these additional events and outreach programs.
Our community works to meet these goals year on year. In the past, we have received requests to add events to PyCon but have not had the resources to make them work. Although we are still limited on staff resources, we are proposing a stepping point that may lead us in the right direction. What is the end goal?We want to support our community and enable them to add events to PyCon that are important to our community. The long-term goals of this program are to support and grow sustainable events that will become a recurring part of PyCon itself or find a home…