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  03/13/08 - Crowdsourcing the Black Hat CFP

I've always said that Black Hat works on two levels. Our delegates are exposed to new content through our presentations and trainings, but they are also presented with a wealth of new ideas from the social interaction that is an essential part of any Black Hat event. In 2008 I'm hoping to turn up the volume on both levels.

briefing graphicThe first idea is one we're really excited by. For the first time, paid Black Hat attendees will be allowed to help review and rate the Call for Papers submissions for the conference they're attending. This means that our paid delegates will have the opportunity to let us know which talks interest them most, and to give feedback that can help shape presentations in progress. We are excited about this for a few reasons.

  • Trendspotting: delegate input helps us pick the topics you find most interesting and helps us triangulate hot security trends as they emerge

  • Quality Control:It helps to encourage not only better submissions (we hope) but provides less incentive to try and slip a fast one by us.

  • Improved Feedback: The CFP submitters get better feedback from their target audience, allowing them to grow professionally and focus or refine their work.

  • Community Building: Black Hat is your conference - everything we can do to increase your involvement helps make a better show.

Let me be clear, the review committee will still make the final decision when selecting presentations. The hope here is we can help the review committee make their decisions and broaden their scope with your insight and participation.

It works this way: once you register you will be prompted to create a CFP review account if you are so inclined. This account allows you to log into and see all current submissions. You will also be able to see what submissions you've already viewed, and which submissions are generating the most comment.

Once you begin the review process you can leave feedback visible only to the review committee, feedback that will be shown to the submitter, and an overall rating. Yes, we screen the submitter feedback and remove any nonsense before passing it on.

When it comes time to make a selection the review committee will take into account their own internal reviews as well as the overall attendee ratings, and if necessary will ask further questions to the submitters to help clarify or refine a CFP.

In my next post I'll talk about some of my plans to increase the social and professional interaction between attendees and presenters.

Jeff Moss

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