Isle of Ruby 2018 Apr 13 - 15, 2018
CFP closed

The CFP closed on Feb 7, 2018 at 12:00am GMT

Thank you for all submitted proposals!

CFP Stats

94 proposals

We are always keen to encourage new speakers to get on stage or experienced speakers to try out something new. If you’ve never given a talk before, or if you’re thinking of changing your usual focus, you’re welcome at Isle of Ruby.

Topics for Isle of Ruby

Isle of Ruby is a Ruby event. We are looking for talks about programming in Ruby and topics of interest to Rubyists, as both programmers and human beings.

We aspire though to create a different type of Ruby conference. We are particularly concerned about the social aspects of the work we do. Our introductory article about Isle of Ruby on Medium should throw further light on the problem.

Our focus is on the interrelationship between programming and the ethical, political, and social aspects of software and we encourage reflexion, discussion, thinking, and action on topics such as:

  • The potential impact of programming and how it can be harnessed for societal change
  • Ethical aspects of software development
  • Intersection between software and humanities
  • Interdisciplinary efforts to analyse and improve the Web and web development
  • Working for entities other than private companies (NGOs, government) and the impact said work can have
  • Combining code and social aspects.

Rails talks are welcome, but we want to cover a broad range, so those will be limited. Talks about other languages related to the broader Ruby sphere (JavaScript, Elixir, Crystal, etc.) may be considered as well, assuming the talk is presented in a way Ruby developers will find useful.

We also accept non-talk proposals, such as workshops and moderated discussions. You can select the format in the CFP process.

Open slots and chances of acceptance

Isle of Ruby has 15-20 regular speaking slots, depending on the length of the individual talks.

The majority of slots are open and will be filled through the CFP.

We do help

Isle of Ruby operates differently to many other conferences. You do not need to explicitly ask us for help in preparing your talk. Rather, if your proposal is accepted, we will automatically offer you mentoring and support in a variety of ways.

  • We are happy to brainstorm your interests to see if a great topic is hiding.
  • We are happy to connect you with mentors early on to help prepare your submission, or you can refer to the Example submission section below for tips.
  • We are happy to review and advise on how to produce a slide deck.
  • If you need practice giving talks, get in touch, we can hook you up with local groups or set up a stage for you and a bunch of friends in advance, so you can practice in front of a friendly crowd.
  • Again, whatever else you might need, we’re here to help.

Get in touch: (just don’t use this to submit a proposal).

If you need more encouragement, check out the following site from Tiffany Conroy, We Are All Awesome that tries to convince you to speak. For guides on the practical parts, see Zach Holmans,

The selection process

We expect more submissions than speaking slots. The process helps us to select the right ones. Here is how we select speakers:

  • We anonymise submissions, so we don’t bias against anything related to the submitter.
  • Two rounds of voting:
    • The first round rates each talk on a scale from 1 to 10.
    • The top-N (~50) submissions are rated again on a 3-point scale (“meh”, “yay”, “MUST HAVE”).
  • We de-anonymise so we can (finally) bias against speaker details (e.g. to find a mix of seasoned and new speakers). We do want new speakers on the conference, so don’t fear losing out to “the pros” at the last minute.


Submit your proposal by _ Feb 6, 2018 at 12:00am GMT_. No excuses.

All talks are in English.

Talks are usually 15 or 30 minutes long (for longer talks we’d get in touch with you directly). That includes 3-5 minutes of Q&A. We will be on a tight schedule and enforce the end of a talk rigorously. Please notify us in advance how long you want your slot to be. We suggest timing your presentation in advance.

Make sure you care and make sure we see you care. Typos, sloppy formatting and all-lowercase submissions make our reading of your proposal tedious. These things will definitely count against your proposal.

Don’t overdo it either. If you need more than two paragraphs to get to the point of your topic, we need to ask you to slim things down. With the amount of submissions we get, the quicker you can make a good impression, the better.

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time” — Blaise Pascal.

Original topics. One of the things we like to do with Isle of Ruby is to push the community forward. We can’t do this if the same people keep talking about the same things all the time. Thus, we favour original content. If you want to discuss a topic that you have talked about elsewhere, try to add a twist, or new research, or development, something unique. Of course, if your talk is plain awesome as-is, go for that :)

The mentorship programme

If your proposal is accepted, we will get in touch automatically and offer you a mentor.

The perks

Our conference wouldn’t exist without fantastic speakers. If you’re selected as a speaker at Isle of Ruby, we will offer you the following package:

  • Conference pass: naturally you’ll receive a speaker ticket giving access to the full 3.5 days of the event. Your significant other will also receive a discounted ticket.
  • Accommodation costs: our conference is residential and full board. All your accommodation and meals are included. If you bring your children, we offer childcare during the day.
  • Speaker’s dinner: You and your significant other are cordially invited to dinner on the evening of Thursday 12th April.
  • Travel costs: If you need financial support getting to Devon, we can cover your travel costs (generally up to £250 if you’re in Europe and £800 if you come from outside Europe). If your company is able to pay your travel, then they will automatically be listed as a sponsor.
  • Honorarium: We value your time. If you're self-employed, a student or your employer does not pay you for your time speaking at the conference, we will pay you a small amount for your time.

Ticket sales will open before we finish our speaker selection, to ensure that you’re able to attend, you may want to purchase a ticket regardless. If you are selected to speak we can refund your ticket, but if we don’t, we can spend more money on making the conference even more awesome.

Example submission

Here’s a proposal accepted in 2012 following the same procedure (our CFP is based on the process used by eurucamp and JSConf EU):

How to be better

A lot of the principles of clean code are forgotten when writing documentation.

Have a single source of truth and don’t repeat yourself. Avoid writing brittle code. Use ubiquitous terminology and choose searchable names. Be consistent in your formatting. Test your code. Refactor and practice successive refinement. Don’t write any more than you need to.

These principles of clean code can be applied with great effect to the production and maintenance of documentation, but there’s more to it than that. Code needs to satisfy machines and coders. Documentation needs to satisfy people performing range of different tasks: from cursory inspection through to intensive development.

This talk will review relevant principles and examine real-world examples, leaving you with a practical mental checklist for writing documentation that will help your users and your software thrive.


All talks will be recorded and published on the internet for free along with a recording of the slide deck, live-demo or other on-presenter-screen activity.

We do this for the benefit of the larger Ruby community and those who can’t make it to the conference. We hope you want to help out, but if you are uncomfortable in any way, let us know and we will work things out.

Finally, since you retain full ownership of your slides and recording, we’d like to ask you to make your materials and recording available under a creative commons (we default to non commercial reuse) or other open source licence.