Session Guidelines

Please read the Session Guidelines carefully. They are prerequisite for participation. You have to confirm that you've read them when you submit. Helpful hints can be found in the FAQs. Please also read them, even if you've participated before - a few things have changed since last year.

Why do I have to accept the “Session Guidelines” before I can submit my proposal?

Holding a session takes time in its elaboration and preparation. When submitting your proposal, you agree to meet the Session Guidelines’ minimum requirements for the development and organisation of a session. We do not recommend you take part in the Call for Participation (CfP) if you are not ready or able to enter into this commitment.

How important are spelling, grammar and correct punctuation?

Spelling, grammar and proper punctuation are important. You wouldn’t send off an application with unfinished sentences and typos either. It’s therefore advised to have your submission proofread before handing it in.

Here are a few key points:

  • Use both upper and lower case letters for your title. Please don’t write your title only in caps or with all the words in lower case.
  • Punctuation brings rhythm and balance into your thoughts. So don’t be afraid of commas, catchwords, colons and exclamation points!
  • Look out for copy & paste mistakes! Seriously! They happen more often than you’d think.
  • Read your description to someone else (ideally someone who doesn’t know your topic that well). They can then give you feedback regarding if what you are trying to communicate is understandable.
  • AND: even if your concept seem clear and coherent to you, don’t forget that most people who will be reading your description have a different background than you.

A couple more points on the length of the texts:

  • The title can have a max. of 100 characters (we radically edit anything exceeding this).
  • The short thesis aka tldr; cannot be longer than a max. 350 characters.
  • The session description has a max. of 2,000 characters (longer texts will either not be assessed or only up until 2,000 characters).

What constitutes a good TITLE?

Sure, funny titles are catchy. On the other hand, your title will be up against many other titles, vying for the attention of the visitors. The more straight-ahead and descriptive your title is, the better. “All you need is love: Social media strategies for confronting hate online” is better than “Why all you need is love”.

How long can my title be?

100 characters is the maximum. While we don’t have any automatic restriction, the title will end up being automatically shortened when it gets to the programme flyer and the upload of the session video. And you don’t want your great title cut off, do you?

What is the short thesis and how long can it be?

It really should be “short”, up to 350 characters. Only state your basic proposition and how you will be discussing/ covering it.

How long should the description be?

No longer than 2,000 characters. Even though we haven’t set up an automatic restriction, we only assess the first 2,000 characters. There isn’t any time for the evaluation of long essays. This will be the text that is published should your idea be accepted. It should be as concise and easy to understand as possible.

Can I change my submission after the Call for Participation has ended?

No, you shouldn’t do that. While it is technically possible, we can see when you’ve made changes in the backend. The additional editing complicates the curatorial work for us and the programme committee. For this reason, we do not accept changes made after the end of the CfP deadline without prior consultation! Only make changes to your submission if and when we ask you to do so (for example, with suggestions for improvements) or let us know ahead of time that you want to change something, and we will decide on a case-to-case basis.

Can I submit multiple proposals during the CfP?

While it is possible to edit and submit multiple proposals, we will only be taking the most recent submission into account and, only with exception, will we consider a second proposal following the expiration of the final deadline. Quality, not quantity!

What are my responsibilities if I submit a session that features more than two people participating (talks with 2 speakers, panels, workshops)?

  • If you submitted a session featuring multiple people on-stage, then you will be the contact person for all questions concerning that session.
  • You are the organiser and will also feature as a speaker in the session.
  • You are responsible for making sure the co-speakers register a speaker profile.
  • You add the co-speakers to your session (see FAQ "How do I add co-speakers?")
  • You are responsible for communicating all necessary information to your co-speakers
  • You can only be responsible for one session.

What should I pay attention to when aiming to put together a “good” panel line-up?

The most interesting sessions offer space for different perspectives. When putting together a panel, remember to keep the fundamental characteristics of a diverse panel in mind:
DIVERSITY and GENDER BALANCE should be understood as a key commitment and component for an empathetic and inclusive community – they represent our values as event organisers.
All panels should comply with the following guidelines:

  • Gender balance (with this, we obviously include persons who do not feel represented by the binary gender paradigm)
  • Diversity as regards ethnicity and cultural background or field of work
  • A variety of backgrounds in education and work
  • A variety of positions and opinions from across the entire (democratic!) spectrum

I want to submit a panel discussion: do all the speakers have to be confirmed already?

Yes, the planned speakers should all have at least been informed and invited. They should also be confirmed and added to the session by the time the Call for Participation (CfP) deadline expires (please note: each speaker needs their own speaker account, see FAQ "How do I add co-speakers?").
If you organize a panel it is your responsibility that all speakers add information to their profile and manage these themselves – see also: person responsible for session. Only propose a panel that can actually be realised in that constellation of participants.

Can I propose co-speakers for my session who I haven’t reached yet?

As the listed speakers influence the selection process, we’d like to urge you to have confirmed the panellists by the end of the Call for Participation (CfP) phase. You can still enter the desired speaker into the comment field, plus your relationship to them or why you assume they will confirm. If you are that they'll be part of your panel it is better to submit a solo talk.

How many co-speakers can I add to my session?

Each format has a maximum number of possible speakers. Please keep GENDER BALANCE in mind – each session should have a 50% female line-up (the presenter does not count as a speaker).

  • Talk 1-2 speakers (same goes for readings or fireside chats)
  • Panel discussions 3-4 speakers (including presenter/moderator)
  • Workshop 1-2 speakers
  • Meetup 1-2 hosts

How do I add co-speakers?

Your co-speaker must already be registered, have set up an account and have given themselves a username. You will need those before proceeding. When creating a session in the CfP form you will find the “Speaker(s)” box further down.  Click "Add item" to create a new speaker box and fill in the user name of one co-speaker. Make sure to wait for the autocomplete that verifies the speaker name with our database. You can add the further speakers once we accepted you proposal. Enter the first letters of the co-speakers username, auto-complete will show the correct person should they exist in the system. Save. Done.
Only add people you have confirmed and who have agreed to participate in the CfP! Unsolicited adding of people can lead to exclusion.

Do I have to organise a presenter/moderator?

The presenter/moderator is a neutral party in a conversation or a panel discussion. They keep the conversation on-topic and guarantee a balance of viewpoints. You should have both your presentation and your speakers already confirmed. If you have difficulties finding the right person, the programme team will be happy to help. We know lots of competent presenters. Contact us at programme [at]

How do I determine the level of difficulty for my submission?

Our suggestions:

  • "Beginner": for people with little or no prior knowledge
  • "All": for anyone who has already superficially dealt with the topic
  • "Expert": for experts, meaning anyone who works in the field, does research or reports on it (but still open to everyone)

I have a product or a service that would be of interest to the audience. Can I submit a session proposal to promote my idea?

Blatant advertising and marketing pitches have no chance in the Call for Participation (CfP). The audience, the programme team and the programme committee are expecting compelling and well-researched content that engages with solutions and the challenges facing our digital society. They have no interest in marketing pitches disguised as informative sessions.

That doesn’t mean that visitors aren’t also interested in the newest digital products or services. Should you want to present your innovation, please get in touch with our colleagues in partner management, who will gladly pass on further information on the many possibilities for participating: