Rahul Kumaresan

PyFlames 2 2021

The second edition of the Pyflames event for the upcoming PyCon event happened on the 7th of this month where the python chapters across the nation came together to organise it. While the last edition was a series of talks this one included a very relevant panel discussion and a set of lightning talks.

The Panel discussion was moderated by our very own Abhiram and included the following panel members:

Firstly the panel shared their experience about being part of a community where Anand Pillai recalled the origins of Bangpypers about how a call for the meetup was made on the then-active communities of PERL and PHP and how people showed up only in the final minutes at a hotel in MG road. Most of the panelists recalled of how their beginnings at communities were through IRC chatrooms and mailing lists. Noufal had a good instance to share about hosting few folks from Switzerland whom he had only met on an online emacs community when they were here in India. Vandana gave us a sneak peek into the infosec community and how she was introduced to the community through a by chance meeting with NULLconf and OWASP leads at the time and how the community has grown from a group of 20 where she was the only woman to its current scale.

When asked about the sort of changes and shift seen over time in their respective communities in terms of collaboration and the attitude of the participants the panelists had the following things to share- Anand P picked reference from the Data analysis that he put together for the Bangpypers’ 100th meetup to denote how the internet penetration had transformed the communities from being small pockets of active passionate people to massive groups of people across age groups and professions. He also laid stress of how the blowup in participation has taken out the true essence of sharing in communities where the people attending do not indulge in organic participation, these days they are mostly here to consume and move on to the next big thing that catches their eye. Anand C drew the importance to how the face-to-face meetups had so much more closure to offer than just collaborating online and denoted how we have moved away from mailing lists and that we have to embrace it for it gives an unique offering to collaborate through its simplicity and transparency. Noufal also seconded the previous panelists when he discussed the shift in forums and platforms away from mailing lists that the communities are using these days. He also made a convincing point of how the Communities are turning into strategic gatherings for the organisations just to scout for talent and publicise their product removing the core interest of the group which was the reason they initially gathered there for, the plea was that this is acceptable an informal consequence in the early days but now it’s taking a wrong turn and has to be checked to retain the interests of the communities going forward. Vandana highlighted how the communities are opening up learning and guidance opportunities to students, and how learning as a group gives a healthy motivation and a sense of closure in their journey to explore new technologies and pick nuances of the work from the seasoned member of the community. She also pointed that the communities and meetups have led to the popular adoption of FOSS and have paved the way for the emergence of developer advocacy.

Given the current scenario and the popularization of online meetups and conferences, when asked about the effects of these over the on-premise in-person meetups, the panelists had the following things to say.

Anand C pointed out how the shift to online meetups has removed the opportunities and discussions that cropped up through Hallway chats which are very difficult to replicate in the current setting and how unnatural those would seem even if we manage to replicate them. Vandana highlighted how things have taken a fast-paced turn in the online era of meetups to an extent that it is removing the essence of these meetups.

The Panel session was followed by a bunch of lightning talks-

  • Vandana Verma presented her journey of starting a community from scratch. Find out about InfoSecGirls, a community she founded and is heading here.
  • KraceKumar(@kracetheking), a veteran BangPypers member introduced the Koans he had developed on Python typing to help developers learn by doing, find the koans here.
  • Shreyas Kapale, a programmer finishing his bachelors shared his story of how he converted his normie router into a cloud-enabled router using a telegram bot and different python packages that harness the web interface provided by the Internet service providers, you can find the his work here.
  • Jatin Goel dwelled into few of the Metaprogramming constructs of the language calling them the MotaBhai of python. He took the audience through the init construct, singleton construction. You can find another talk of his around this here.

This event saw an attendance of around 56 people was aimed at publicising the PyCon India 2021 scheduled to happen from Sept 17th through 20th, workshops will take place on the 18th & 19th and the DevSprint on the 20th. There are 4 Keynotes, 28 talks, 6 workshops, 3 Panel Discussions and Poster presentations lined up for the conference. Find details about the event and the schedule here.