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Hacking GDC 2009 – who’s speaking?

Don’t get excited :). The title refers to experimentation with stuff you’re allowed to use, rather than cracking (deliberately breaking in to stuff). Unless you submitted proposals this year, you won’t be able to do anything.

This year (for next year’s GDC) the submission process for speakers has changed; according to the site, speakers should hear back between “August 11th and early September” whether they are POSSIBLY chosen to speak, and requiring them to send back an outline presentation for the board to make a final decision.

I haven’t received any email about this, neither acceptance nor rejection (in the past CMP/GDC usually didn’t get around to telling people they’d been rejected until much later than this, although they’ve been noticeably faster about this the last few years, so I’m hoping this year they’ll be pretty quick again), so I thought I’d login to the GDC speaker-submission system and see if perhaps the system would show my submissions as rejected already.

You can’t, of course, get in to the submission / management system just by going to the GDC website, that would be far too easy. But when you submit a talk they send you a “magic URL” that logs you into the submission system. And they tell you to save that URL, and invite you to keep using it to check up on your talk, or make changes as necessary.

NB: I remembered about this URL mainly because the URL they sent me is technically illegal, including the caret (^) character, which causes all my email clients to refuse to follow the link. I did tell GDC/CMP about this a couple of years ago, emailing the webmaster etc, but this year they’ve got the same bug, so they appear to have still not fixed it.

c.f. the internet standard, RFC 1738: “All unsafe characters must always be encoded within a URL.”; “Other characters are unsafe…These characters are … “^””

I dug out the email, which had a bit something like this:

*IMPORTANT* Please save this message as a receipt of your submission and so that you
can review the important details via the following personalized links:

Until 8/11/2008 you can submit more proposals here:

Or, add additional speakers to this proposal (please include the speaker’s direct contact
information and bio) here:

To update your contact information, go here:

To update your biographical information, go here:

To return to the submission acknowledgement page, go here:

Submit another proposal?

The submission form is still live. Interesting; in previous years the form usually got taken down sooner or later. Fairly obviously, it didnt get disabled immediately at the deadline for submissions, even though the link was usually removed from the conference website – with several hundred speakers EVERY YEAR, the organizers are always going to have some people dropping out, and it makes sense to leave the form live for them to ask additional speakers to put a talk into the system at the last minute. I would expect it to have gone bye-bye by now though.

I didn’t try it, though. If you’re bored, try it out (if you have a magic URL of your own)

Confirmation is fun…

The other URL’s weren’t very useful, and actually got me a bit worried. I submitted two proposals this year, and when I submitted the second one, every page had links at the bottom to both the original proposal and (when I got to the end of the process) the second one. No such links any more. Oh noes! Had they lost the submissions completely? (NB: the GDC system has lost data I’d submitted before, the entire contents of the Biography section, which updated, and then reverted a few months later)

Never mind. I’d probably just been rejected :). But then I tried the link to “return to the submission acknowledgement page” in case it said this explicitly, and things got interesting. This page is where you used to go to if you clicked on either of the links for my two submitted talks (the two links that had vanished). So when I went there, I didn’t see my talks (fair enough, makes sense if the entries have been removed from the system). Instead … I got a general search page for all speakers and sessions. I tried it – maybe it would just show my own sessions (maybe even their status?).

What, 2008 speakers and sessions?

No, because when you do a search, the search results show sessions for “Monday, March 23, 2009”.

There’s only four people, and two sessions, in there at the moment. But it could be interesting to watch what happens as time goes by, see which sessions get confirmed first. Especially if you see your *own* sessions appear there :).