Organizing a conference with bots

Organizing a conference with bots

Last year, Ela Conf organizers and I relied on Google Forms for women to submit anything from talks to volunteer applications. Forms worked well for us, but reviewing abstracts in a spreadsheet wasn’t exactly a fun thing to do. With the help of Zapier, I created some efficient little bots that keep us organized and motivated.

Volunteer, proposals, and grant bot

Every time someone submits a volunteer application or an abstract, a new GitHub issue is created in our private repository and then our organizer Slack channel receives a ping:

abstract volunteerbot

:raising_hand: Under the hood: First, I created a GitHub account @elaconfbot (to not inflate my GitHub graph, make it clear that I’m not creating new issues, and because bots are cute). I made a zap in Zapier that will submit a new GitHub issue by @elaconfbot once a new row in the form’s spreadsheet is added (aka someone fills out the form). We also have a Slack integration that watches the repository for new issues.

With Zapier, you can also assign labels and even add issues to milestones as someone submits a form. Now instead of reading a spreadsheet, we’ll be able to comment on each abstract and use all GitHub’s organizational features. I absolutely adore this workflow.

We have this workflow set up for all our forms:

form workflow

Welcomebot

Every time a someone requests to join our Slack channel, we get pinged in our organizer channel:

welcomebot

:wave: Under the hood: Zapier listens for additions to the spreadsheet and sends a message to our Slack channel. We can now add women to our community even faster!

zapier workflow

Ticketbot

Every time someone buys a ticket, we get pinged in our organizer channel:

ticketbot

:ok_woman: Under the hood: I created a catch hook in Zapier and entered it in nvite’s RSVP webhook setting (thanks for being a sponsor, nvite!) as the trigger. I think this is our favorite bot!

ticketbot

Bots, bots, and more bots

Every time we get a ping from our :raising_hand: :wave: :ok_woman: bots, we all get excited. Seeing women wanting to take part with and at Ela Conf in real-time is much more magical and meaningful than I think we all anticipated.

It’s also going to be fun watching @elaconfbot’s contribution graph:

contributions

Can you tell when we opened our call for proposals?

My next challenge will be building an anonymous feedback system for our speakers. I have a suspicion that it will involve a form, GitHub, and then a delivery service. I cannot wait to get started!

If you enjoyed this post, love bots, awesome systems, and advancing women in tech, please consider becoming an Ela Conf sponsor!


Did you enjoy this post? Support Black Girls Code. Black Girls Code's empowers young women of color ages 7-17 to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders and creators.