Deadline for Papers for CrowdConf Extended: Sept 6

There is a new conference on crowdsourcing that is taking place next month:

CrowdConf 2010: The 1st Annual Conference on the Future of Distributed Work
October 4th, 2010, San Francisco, California at the St. Regis Hotel.

I really wanted to speak at it. I had every intention of doing so, however, when I got to the “call for papers” section, I was paralyzed – and still am.

For some reason, I can’t make heads or tails of what I’m supposed to do to submit to present at the event. I don’t know if it is just that my brain won’t compute (and yes, I’ve had my coffee) or if this is simply a process for sourcing speakers that I’ve never encountered before.

For example, the information below is pretty much Greek to me:

Specs for papers:

Unpublished, 10 pages max., ACM format, include an abstract of < 250 words. May be selected for publication in the conference proceedings, and/or for “full” or “spotlight” presentations.

Specs for posters, presentations, or demonstrations:

Must be an abstract of < 500 words. May be previously published or presented. Are eligible only for “full” or “spotlight” presentations.

I look at this, and I immediately stumble at “AMC,” at “abstract,” at “posters.” I feel like I’ve entered a world with new words and language and expectation that my already enormous fear of submitting presentation descriptions and summaries to conferences is exacerbated. I panic that I don’t have the right credentials, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, that I can’t figure out the format.

I’ve struggled all my life with filling out forms but somehow push through that fear to submit to conferences to speak (mostly rejected). Suddenly, I’m faced with a new process. The world flips upside down in my head.

I was really excited about the information I wanted to share – an actual case study of a wine company crowdsourcing input from their “crowd” on their Facebook Page to influence the name, logo and labels of several new wines that hit the shelves this year. Crowdsourcing product development for a consumer product using a social network! That seemed interesting, to me at least.

But I got to this step for submission and froze:

Follow formatting guidelines used for WWW 2010. Those guidelines are available here.

WWW 2010? Formatting guidelines? The language on the instructions page only escalated my feelings of inadequacy:

Refereed papers and posters must be submitted as PDF documents. No other format will be accepted. It is the responsibility of all authors to produce PDF documents that can be read and printed on any platform. Please check to ensure that you can produce PDF documents well before the submission deadline. The inability to produce a PDF document will not result in an extension of the paper submission deadline.

Refereed papers? Posters? I was so confused by those words that the fact that I know how to produce a PDF was no solace to me. Even something as simple as this sentence made me cringe:

Refereed papers can be prepared using either LaTeX or Microsoft Word.

What was LaTeX? Certainly not a rubber-like substance. And Microsoft Word? What if I boycott Microsoft and only use NeoOffice? Would the Save as Microsoft Word doc function be acceptable?

I finally gave up when I got to this sentence:

These are modified versions of the ACM proceedings style files.

ACM proceedings. I tweeted about this and a friend informed me that it meant that this was an academic something or other kind of event.

That’s when I knew I couldn’t submit. I’m not an academic. I don’t even have a college degree. I’ve had a long, successful business career and never once felt that my lack of a college degree stood in my way…until now.

But don’t let my neurosis and funky brain keep you from submitting a paper or a poster or a presentation with the very specific formatting. I know you can do it. You are a stronger woman than I.

Can anyone out there please offer some tips and translation to other women who may want to submit something but don’t have the experience responding to these kinds of formal calls for paper?

About Aliza
I'm a human being, wife, mother, author, and speaker. Online since 1987. Web pioneer (founded Cybergrrl/Webgrrls in 1995). Author of 12 books. Freelance writer.

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