We don’t have the answers, but we can find them out... together

Together with @oli-kitty, we decided to hold the 2nd Organisers Summit, during ScalaLove, Feb 13th, from 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM PST / 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM CET, right after Martin’s keynote.

Before I can open the call for the 2nd, I owe it to everyone to publish details from the last one, back in March 2020. Excuse the delay, I hope it’s better late than never type-of-a-thing!

The following text was authored by Ida Bzowska, back in April 2020. Thank you Ida!

Minutes from Online Scala Organizers Summit

TL;DR: On the 26th of March, 2020 around thirty organizers of Scala conferences and meetups gathered to talk about tools and experiences of online eventing.

Every niche has been struggling with the current situation, tech communities and knowledge-sharing initiatives are no exceptions. Scala Center has been aware of the problem for a long time. Many, many conferences and meetups were postponed or canceled during the past few weeks. That’s why the Executive Director of Scala Center, Darja Jovanovic decided to set up the open meeting for community coordinators.

  • The main goal of the Zoom call was the knowledge exchange between those who had already organized an event during the pandemic (NEScala) or were planning to start such in a short term - ScalaUA, Scala Love Conference.
  • The second thing was the support for the initiatives.
  • Finally, the attendees shed some light on tools and solutions to keep the Scala Community vivid.

It is worth mentioning that running the events online is not the same as running the traditional ones . This is an entirely new formula of knowledge sharing. “Virtualization” of the traditional setting understood as a mere copy/paste of the actions is impossible under these conditions.

A prelude

After a brief introduction and getting to know each other, there was a short warm-up - participants listed the pros and cons of online events. They are as follows:
Strenghts: no limits of attendees (more attendees from all around the world can gather online in one time); no traveling issues - costs/jet lags/carbon footprint; lower organizational cost - no need of having a venue/food/logistics.

Weaknesses: the physical distance, it is hard to socialize in this formula; sponsors would feel passed over; there’s no need for speakers are obliged to come up with a new topic every time (see: no limits for attendees).

After then the participants started brainstorming the main topic. There were a lot of questions:

  • What are the goals of the online conferences and how are they different than in-person ones - how those goals can be met?
  • Should conferences become more topic-oriented (or: how to differentiate the conferences)?
  • Where would the content live afterward - is it even a good idea to record such events?
  • Can cross-promotion be done better?
  • Maybe focusing on small events is better because the full-day format is not as effective online?
  • And finally: What is the difference between conferences and meetups?

Not all of the above were fully covered. The problem is quite new and it’s apparently hard to find the golden ratio

Part two: the real life example

Two weeks before the meeting, the NE Scala Symposium had taken place. Thanks to that Justin Waks shared some observations:
The conference was held on two platforms - Zoom and Slack. Sponsors had a presence through the Slack channels; talks were presented via Zoom. Zoom also included breakout rooms for socializing - engagement seemed good, but lacking the “hallway chatter”. The serious problem was feedback for the speaker after the talk - no applause, no emotions, but emojis; plain Q&A without bigger discussions.

NE Scala Symposium organizers made the first step, and they shared their experiences with others. ScalaUA and Scala Love Conference organizers will follow with further steps.


The meeting has initiated a wider discussion. The participants highlighted some issues and chose further topics to explore, e.g.: alternative tools (Twitch, remo.co), moderation, diversity & inclusivity. There’s a lot to be done.

It’s worth highlighting that the whole meeting was immensely valuable and gave an exquisite opportunity to integrate the Scala community members.

Nevertheless, the main takeaway from the call was: as much knowledge as possible should be collected and shared; mutual support is crucial because everyone is in the same, uneasy situation and cannot be left alone without help.

Those who didn’t attend, but want to take part in further works on the topic can join the Scala Slack and follow the updates on Discourse (here) and [Scala Twitter]( https://twitter.com/scala_lang].