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Rick Heiges

News about SQL Server and the SQL Server Community

PASS Program Committee - Comments and Action

Once again, I am serving on the PASS Program Committee this year for the App Dev Track.  As we are about to start the reviewing process, I had some thoughts that I wanted to share.  Last year, we had approximately 200 abstracts to review.  It should be a similar volume this year.  For me, abstracts usually go into three piles - Excellent, Very Good, and Good.  There are only a few "Excellent" ones and a few "Good" ones with most being "Very Good".  There is a numerical rating system that is used, but I am using verbal descriptions here. I made it through about 130 abstracts last year and I entered a comment on every one that I reviewed.  Sometimes my comments were brief, but with a large number of abstracts and limited time, I did what I could.  Some on our committee were very complete in making comments which also helped when we had our conference call to discuss them.  My goal this year is to be more complete with comments and to get through more abstracts.

As we discuss and rank the abstracts, we have some criteria that tries to keep things in balance.  We might get 5 Excellent abstracts for a particular subtopic, but obviously we only have a limited number of slots and can't select all 5 as other subtopic areas would not get attention.  When the selected abstracts are announced, I'm sure that a debate will surface over the process.  The process isn't perfect, but it has worked well for the Summit in the past getting some of the best content for the attendees.  Also, the committee members are looking at the abstracts "blindly" as the submitter's name is not disclosed to us.  Submitters take time to craft their abstracts and have a lot of personal pride in there.  It is hard for anyone to take a rejection and not feel personally jilted - especially if there is little to no explanation of why or how it could be improved.

If you receive a rejection this year (and odds are that you will), I'd like to offer a suggestion to channel your passion in other areas besides an online debate.  PASS has a plethora of Virtual Chapters that need content.  Local Chapters are also in need of speakers and great content.  Some chapters even do remote presentations so that you don't need to travel.  SQL Saturdays are another great avenue for delivering content and are a lot of fun as well. Find another avenue to get your content delivered and show that evil Program Committee just how bad we messed up.  :-)

Published Monday, March 30, 2015 11:58 AM by RickHeiges

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andyleonard said:

Thank you for all you do for our community, sir. You and those serving with you on the Program Committee.


April 1, 2015 11:34 AM

Tammy said:

Thanks Rick, I know it's a thankless job but I am glad you are doing it.

Also if you don't submit you don't get rejected, that's my motto this year!

April 4, 2015 2:52 PM

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