Allison Kaptur

An occasional blog on programming

Rejected PyCon Proposals

“All accepted proposals are alike, but each rejected proposal is rejected in its own way” – Tolstoy, if he were on the PyCon talk review committee

I’m building a collection of old PyCon talk proposals, particularly rejected ones. I think rejected proposals are more interesting than accepted ones, for a couple of reasons:

See examples of anti-patterns

Flipping through these proposals, you can see concrete examples of the talk committee’s suggestions for what to avoid. There is an example of a “state of our project” talk and one of “here’s some code I hope to have written by the time the conference rolls around.”

“I can do better than that”

Being a great or famous programmer doesn’t mean you’ll give a great talk or submit a great proposal. You’ll notice that you can write a better proposal than some of the ones from people you’ve heard of. (This fits with the Kill your heroes theme from Julie Pagano’s great talk on impostor syndrome at PyCon 2014.)

Empathize with the talk committee

Any application is an exercise in empathy – you need to imagine what the people who will be reading your submission are thinking. What do they care about? Where are they coming from? You can read past proposals and decide if you’d make the same decision the committee did. When submitters have shared the feedback they received, you can see exactly what the committee members thought. This helps you write a proposal that will address their concerns.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Monday, September 15th. I encourage you to browse through the collection of past proposals to get inspiration or to improve your proposal. Once you’ve submitted a proposal, please add it to the collection!