EmacsConf 2015 Planning Doc

Emacs Conference 2015! – http://emacsconf2015.org

Let's make it happen! Contribute to this repository at https://github.com/emacsconf/emacsconf2015, or e-mail sacha@sachachua.com . Web version: http://emacsconf.github.io/emacsconf2015/

Interested? Register for EmacsConf 2015 by going to http://emacsconf2015.org/ or by emailing register@emacsconf2015.org with your name or nickname.

Want to help plan the conference? Join the IRC (#emacsconf on irc.freenode.net) and our Discourse: http://discourse.emacsconf2015.org.

Also, check out this Google+ event - Aug 29, 2015? https://plus.google.com/events/cgd1kva6f473osvgvq6biuinhn4

What is EmacsConf?

EmacsConf is a conference about the joy of Emacs, Emacs Lisp, and memorizing key sequences.

EmacsConf is about bringing the people that use Emacs together. EmacsConf, like Emacs itself, is wholely owned by the community, and anyone may contribute to it (see "How to get involved!").

When & Where?

EmacsConf will be on August 29nd (a Saturday). The IRL component will be in the GoodShop San Francisco office at 550 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA, and Sacha will be hosting an online component. All of the talks and events will be livestreamed.

How to get involved!

First, join our google group emacsconf-org (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/emacsconf-org). All important messages & announcements go through there. If you want to help, please ping the list or our IRC channel! We're super friendly, so don't stress about getting in contact with us :)

If you have a small idea or improvement, send us a pull request or open an issue!

To-do state explanation

  • IDEA (or none): Might be a good talk. No one has signed up for it yet
  • IDENTIFIED: Potential speakers for this have been identified
  • INVITED: Someone has actually reached out to the potential speakers and invited them =)
  • ACCEPTED: A speaker for this has accepted
  • SCHED: We actually have a timeslot and everything =D

Current plans

  • Baseline: Google Hangout all day, very informal, might even just be a couple of people learning about Emacs and occasionally talking about what they discover.
  • Better: Google Hangout, spontaneous talks occur. Sacha edits the videos afterwards and posts highlights.
  • Even better: There are scheduled talks which people prepare for. (See talk ideas below.) Sacha edits the videos afterwards and posts chunks for easy reviewing.
  • Amazing: We have so much planned, we end up with parallel tracks or additional Hangouts.

Ideas for sessions

IDENTIFIED The State of Emacs

The kernel of this idea is basically to have a "State of the Union" address, where the Union is Emacs. I think it would be awesome if someone really embedded in Emacs development (specifically thinking of Stefan) talked about the current state of Emacs development with regards to

  • how development today is functioning. What are major development process problems that need to be fixed but haven't? What do the maintainers of Emacs stress about (letting patches rot in debbugs, having bugs rot in debbugs, being unsure of the general brokenness of Emacs because of the lack of testing), and what processes can be put in place to ease their anxieties?
  • new contributors. Making Emacs easier for new contributors was a huge topic in the Fall of 2014 on emacs-devel. The switch to git was seen as the first step, what were the next steps and how did they work?
  • whether anything surprisingly good/bad has happened this year.
  • the general state of emacs-devel.
  • and what we can do to help! :D

(suggested by Samer)

Possible people:

  • Stefan Monnier?

IDEA What's new in Emacs 25?

Roadmap, how we can help

  • What's new for users?
  • What's new for developers?

IDEA Hearing from Emacs beginners

:interested: Daniel Gopar and Miguel Flores

  • What's the experience like?
  • What got you interested?
  • What helped?
  • How can we help more beginners like you get deeper into Emacs?

IDEA Q&A for new Emacs users

IDEA Things you want more people to know about Emacs

  • Tips, tricks, workflow ideas

Updates on interesting things

  • IDENTIFIED Guile Emacs

    I think it would be awesome if Robin Templeton or BT Templeton (there is a chance that they're the same person, I'm still not clear on that…) talked about the state of Guile Emacs.

    • What works? What's left to be done?
    • What does Guile replace in the core Emacs engine?
    • Is Guile Emacs the future of Emacs? Is Guile Emacs going to happen and be merged into trunk at some point in the future? If so, what's needed to get us there, otherwise, why not?

    And what can we do to help! :D :D

    Suggested by Samer

  • IDEA Emacs forks and variants?

    What's going on with Emacs variants? Interesting news?

What are good workflows for common needs?

  • Programming
    • C/C++
    • Rails
    • Javascript
    • Java
    • Clojure
    • Scala
    • Python
    • IDEA interactive development

      I'd love some talks about interactive development with Emacs: making changes in code and getting immediate feedback. (Think lighttable.) The Emacs Rocks episode about swank-js is a perfect example of what I mean: http://emacsrocks.com/e11.html.

      Suggested by Tikhon Jelvis

  • Writing and research
    • Reproducible research
    • Writing prose
    • Org for publishing
    • Knowledge management
    • Efficiently managing and using bibliographic databases
    • IDEA Reproducible research
      • How do you manage your literature review?
      • How do you analyze your data?
      • How do you work with charts and graphs?
      • How can you publish in the required formats?
      • What have your experiences been like using this? Advantages? Gaps?
    • IDEA How can a student use Emacs/org-mode effectively?
      • Note-taking
      • Agenda
      • Scheduling
      • Writing papers
        • Outlines
        • Export
      • Attachments
  • IDEA Data science
    • ESS
    • Org Mode and reproducible research

ACCEPTED How to start an Emacs Meetup!

Talk by Harry Schwartz, founder of the NYC Emacs Group

  • Experiences
  • Encouraging people to give talks

:interested: Harry Schwartz

Maybe also hear from the London Meetup?

  • Identifying people by area who might be interested in an Emacs meetup

    See also Samer's Google Form

    • San Francisco: Samer

IDEA Introductory Emacs Lisp

:interested: Harry Schwartz

  • How to read Emacs Lisp
  • How to start writing your own
  • Modifying other people's code
  • Writing your own

IDEA Talk on engine-mode (and defining other conveniences?)

:interested: Harry Schwartz

This would be a great short demo. If you want, you can also flesh it out into a behind-the-scenes "this is how to write stuff like this", or describe other little conveniences along these lines that people can use. - Sacha

What are some surprising uses of Emacs?

  • IDEA Update from the Emacs music scene?
  • ACCEPTED Literate Devops

    Howard Abrams

    • Why sysads should consider Emacs
    • Neat things you can do
    • Demonstration

IDEA How can people contribute to Emacs core?

Walkthrough of how to:

  • find a small bug to work on
  • navigate the source code
  • prepare a patch
  • work with emacs-devel

IDEA Where is the Emacs package system going?

Nic Ferrier? Steve Purcell? Milkypostman? Tom Tromey?

What can we build with interesting capabilities available in Emacs? How?

  • IDENTIFIED What can you do with a web server?
    • httpd, elnode, skewer, impatient, etc. - @skeeto or Nic Ferrier?
  • IDENTIFIED What can you do with REPLs?
    • comint, NREPL

IDENTIFIED Design and Evolution of Spacemacs by @syl20bnr

  • Why evil + spacebar
  • Why guide-key
  • Why layers
  • Vim concepts being brought over - Vundle, etc.
  • State of evil - what is not ideal yet? what are missing features from the ecosystem?
  • How can contributors help?

IDEA What can improve the usability of Emacs?

Concrete tips, demonstrations

  • tutorials
  • discoverability
  • command mode / god-mode / composable commands
  • Hydra

People: Xah Lee? bbatsov? Steve Purcell? abo-abo?

  • Improving discoverability

    With all the tools that are available, this could be a separate talk:

    • Ido
    • Ido Ubiquitous
    • Smex
    • Guide Key
    • Helm (helm-M-x, helm-descbinds)
    • Hydra

IDENTIFIED What are good development practices for Emacs Lisp?

  • Automated testing
  • Continuous integration and testing on multiple Emacsen
  • Code coverage reporting
  • Emacs Lisp style and package linting
  • Refactoring
  • Performance

I'm working on a series with John Wiegley on this topic, so we might be able to spread this one out over lots of little demos. - Sacha

  • IDENTIFIED Useful utilities

    Maybe with before/after code?

    • s.el
    • f.el
    • dash.el
    • writing asynchronous code

    I think Magnar would be able to talk a lot about this. =) - Sacha

How can we get more people from beginner to intermediate?

IDENTIFIED How can we get more people to begin using Emacs and stick with it for a while?

Lightning talks: Workflow tips and favourite packages

  • Magit
  • Ebib
  • EWW
  • ESS

    abo-abo, naturally. I'd love demonstrations of what people use this for =) - Sacha

  • Org contrib


  • How can you create a package and submit it to the Emacs package repositories?
  • How can you add tests and coverage reporting to a package?

    I can prepare something along these lines - Sacha

  • IDENTIFIED How can you build better interactive tutorials?
    • Phillip Lord?


Harry Schwartz

  • A/V
  • Drum up speakers
  • General volunteer work
  • emacsconf2015 planning

Aleksandar Simić (dotemacs)

  • (potentially) being responsible for our twitter, emacsconf.org domain, heroku accounts.

Sacha Chua

  • Hosting hangouts
  • Keeping an eye out for questions
  • Managing our Google+ EmacsConf & hangouts pages.

Samer Masterson

  • Drumming up interest
  • emacsconf2015 planning

Ryan Rix

  • emacsconf2015 planning

Sufyan Adam

  • emacsconf2015 planning

Carlos Sosa

  • emacsconf2015 planning


DONE Collect ideas for sessions

What makes a good session?

  • Something that's great as a demonstration instead of a blog post with screenshots
  • Something that people have lots of questions about
  • Something that benefits from multiple perspectives (like a panel)

DONE Set up some kind of mailing list for announcements

DONE Decide on a date - Aug 22?

August, maybe a Saturday?

TODO Find speakers   ryan

  • TODO make list of potential speakers   ryan
  • TODO reach out to potential speakers   ryan

TODO Set up schedule

TODO Facilitate sessions and questions

DONE Gather list of companies to contact for space

  • DONE SF   samer ryan sufyan 
    • GitHub
    • Internet Archive
    • UCSF (Golden Gate Ruby Conf was there)
    • Stanford
    • UC Berkeley
    • Stripe
    • Goodsearch
    • Uber
    • Dropbox
    • Yelp
    • Twilio
    • Rackspace
    • Scribd
  • DONE NYC   harry
  • DONE Boston

    (only if we can get some allies in Boston, talk to mattl)

    • MIT

DONE Contact companies for space

  • DONE outreach template email   samer


  • CANCELLED rackspace   ryan
  • CANCELLED twilio   ryan
  • CANCELLED uber   ryan
  • CANCELLED UCSF (through Golden Gate Ruby Conf)   ryan
  • CANCELLED yelp   samer

    sent an email to feedback@yelp.com reached out to SF Big Analytics & Designers + Geeks b/c they both use Yelp's meetup space.

  • CANCELLED uc berkeley   samer
  • CANCELLED stanford   samer
  • CANCELLED stripe   samer

    reached out to a friend

  • CANCELLED dropbox   samer

    reached out to a friend

  • DONE zendesk   sufyan

    not interested

  • DONE goodsearch   sufyan

    Will host

TODO misc

  • TODO verify 30-50 people   samer

    w/ dotemacs person, nic, or sacha.

  • DONE send this to harry   samer
  • TODO talk to mattl & the fsf   samer

    see if boston would be interested in this.

  • TODO add another organizer to CoC contact list   samer

TODO website

TODO set up website

  • TODO point emacsconf.org to the ideas page?   samer alex 

    or do something nice with it email alex about this.

  • TODO figure out what to do with the emacsconf heroku app?   samer alex 

    how can we use technology to cure our ills? think about setting us up for future conferences. can we make it super easy for people to discuss talks? create a space for discussions? (potentially w/ discourse or another forum thing).

TODO attendees

  • TODO send follow up email to everyone on the list   samer
  • TODO schedule hard reachout   samer

    do after getting a hosted space


These are answered and unanswered questions regarding our plan. If you have an answer for any of these, please contact us :)

Are there expenses we may miss?

Should we charge a nominal amount?

How interested would the FSF be? How can we let them know about this? What other orgs should we reach out to?

Code of Conduct

Our goal with EmacsConf is to bring the Emacs programming community together for a conference about the joy of Emacs and Emacs Lisp.

We value the participation of each member of the community and want all attendees to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, all attendees are expected to show respect and courtesy to other attendees throughout the conference and at all conference events, whether officially sponsored by EmacsConf or not.

All attendees, speakers, exhibitors, organizers and volunteers at any EmacsConf event are required to observe the following Code of Conduct. Organizers will enforce this code throughout the event.

Why have a code of conduct? Not because we feel like we're expected to have one; not because someone told us to; not because we heard somewhere that it was important for some reason — but as part of an intentional effort to define the culture EmacsConf.

The Short Version

EmacsConf is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, or anything else. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks.

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate for EmacsConf.

Attendees violating these rules may be asked to leave the conference at the sole discretion of the conference organizers.

Thank you for helping make this a welcoming, friendly event for all.

The Longer Version

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, derisive comments regarding technical background, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Be careful in the words that you choose. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you. Excessive swearing and offensive jokes are not appropriate for EmacsConf.

If a participant engages in behavior that violates the anti-harassment policy, the conference organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference.

Social Rules

In addition to having a code of conduct as an anti-harassment policy, we have a small set of social rules we follow. We (the organizers) learned and lifted these rules from the Recurse Center, where we felt that they contributed enormously to a supportive, productive, and fun learning environment. We'd like EmacsConf to share that environment. These rules are intended to be lightweight, and to make more explicit certain social norms that are normally implicit. Most of our social rules really boil down to "don't be a jerk" or "don't be annoying." Of course, almost nobody sets out to be a jerk or annoying, so telling people not to be jerks isn't a very productive strategy.

Unlike the anti-harassment policy, violation of the social rules will not result in expulsion from the conference or a strong warning from conference organizers. Rather, they are designed to provide some lightweight social structure for conference attendees to use when interacting with each other.

The social rules.

If you have any questions about any part of the code of conduct or social rules, please feel free to reach out to any of the conference organizers.

Contact Information

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff.

If the matter is especially urgent, please call/contact any of these individuals:

  • Samer Masterson - (703) 225 8132
  • (add another organizer here)

Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.


The EmacsConf Code of Conduct is under a Creative Commons Zero license. It was forked from the !!Con Code of Conduct, which is under a Creative Commons Zero license. The !!Con Code of Conduct was forked from the PyCon 2013 Code of Conduct, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, and which itself was forked from an example policy from the Geek Feminism wiki, created by the Ada Initiative and other volunteers and available under a Creative Commons Zero license.


Contribute to this repository at https://github.com/emacsconf/emacsconf2015, or e-mail me at sacha@sachachua.com . Looking forward to hearing from you!


  • Alex, Austin Walker, Carlos Sosa, Dave Loyall, Diego Berrocal, Harry, Kracekumar Ramaraju, Phil Hudson, Phillip Lord, Ryan, Sacha, Samer Masterson, Sufyan, Swaroop C H, Tikhon Jelvis, Titus von der Malsburg…