The alcohol problem at tech conferences

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This was posted earlier this year, but I only just ran across it.

Summary: Alcohol seems to pervade (javascript) culture. Big boozy events are at every conference, and this is exclusionary.

Is this a problem at Sysadminly conferences?
I'm not so sure. I've only recently been able to really go to any of 'em, and in my shallow experience it isn't as strong as Ryan points out. The two biggest ones I've been to are LISA (2011) and BrainShare (2005-8), and they both seem to outsource their boozy-parties to vendors.

Brainshare did have it's share of big boozy parties, but they were all thrown by vendors. GWAVA had a memorable tradition going before I stopped attending. The actual events were pretty booze light (maybe that's a Utah thing), but the big arena-concert party was the glaring exception. They only served lite beer and some wine, so you had to really work to get hammered, but it was designed as the big letting-loose night of the conference.

The one LISA I've been to didn't have a big getting-drunk night. The one time I remember the conference serving alcohol was the last night, and the bar was provided by the hotel. Vendors were much more into boozing up the attendees than the conference was (the Puppetlabs party was quite memorable). Heck, even LOPSA had a bar-party one night. The after-hours conversation happened in the after-hours hangout spots like the Hotel bar, but at least the alcohol was there to keep people talking ebulliently rather than hoooooooting up a party.

I don't have the same I'm sick of this, and I'm not going to put up with it anymore attitude Ryan has, but I can definitely see where he is coming from. I deeply dislike socially required drinking, but will happily do so if the conversation is good.

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I frequent a lot of local meetups in Australia, often beer and pizza is provided by the hosting company and then a group will continue the conversation at a bar afterwards.

Maybe it's a difference in cultures, but here (in the tech circle at least) not drinking is perfectly acceptable. If its at the meetup or after at the bar, no one is "judged" or forced to drink alcohol. I remember reading Ryan's post on this, and still after reading yours I don't understand where its coming from personally.