Introducing Yak-Bak

You may have noticed that PyGotham’s call for proposals site looks different this year. That’s Yak-Bak, the new system we’re building to run our call for proposals in its entirety, including accepting proposals, anonymization, public voting and review, and talk selection. We’d love your feedback, and if you organize a conference that shares PyGotham’s CFP goals, we hope this tool will make your proposals process easier all around.


Since starting in 2011, PyGotham has used four different CFP setups: two that were part of two different conference website packages, PaperCall, and now Yak-Bak. We switched to a static website generator in 2017 to simplify the site’s hosting needs and free up time to focus on other parts of running the conference. In 2017 and 2018, we used PaperCall for our CFP. We had a great experience with it and will happily recommend it to smaller conferences. PaperCall significantly eased the process of collecting proposals, but we supplemented it with additional tools both years to help implement our voting, anonymization, and selection process.

PyGotham’s CFP process

The details of this process continue to evolve, but they always center around the following stages:

In 2017 and 2018, we accepted talk proposals via PaperCall and used other off the shelf and customized tools for review and voting. These were all connected by one-off migration scripts between each stage. In order to effectively review 250+ proposals each year, we need everything under one roof. We also used this as an opportunity to address some features high on our wish list, including multiple presenters on a talk and a proposal form more tailored to our needs.

Enter Yak-Bak

Yak-Bak is an opinionated tool designed to support PyGotham’s CFP and talk selection process fully out of the box. PyGotham 2019 marks its first production use. In the future, we’d like to offer this as a managed service for conference organizers. If you’d like to support that effort, you can:

If you have questions that aren’t answered in this post, or if you’d just like to talk more about Yak-Bak in general, feel free to reach out.

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