Each year VMware saves a small chunk of VMworld session slots that can make it through what they call Customer Choice which can be voted on by anyone through the public voting process which is going on right now through tomorrow.
You may have noticed that the public voting process has changed this year. In prior years you could vote for a session much like you would do in an election, you would click a star next to a session to vote for it. In this manner you could only positively impact a session’s chances of being approved if it garnered enough votes. This year they have changed it and you can now rate a session from 1-5 stars, more in line like you would rate a movie with 1 star being you hated it and 5 stars being you loved it. With this change anyone can now either positively or negatively influence session approval.
I’m not sure I like this change that much as it opens up the opportunity for abuse of the system, were anyone that has a grudge, who doesn’t like someone/company or just wants to screw around can shoot down a session chances of making it. Because of this change VMware yanked most of the partner sessions from the public voting a few days after the voting opened as partners could and probably did cast negative votes against their competitor sessions. Apparently VMware pulled them as a direct response to complaints from partners about this very issue.
Now sessions are all scored and judged both internally by VMware and by a hand picked content committee, the public voting part is just merely another component that can influence session approval or denial. I’d really like to see it go back to the old way, let people just give a thumbs up for sessions they like and keep the negative influence out of it. Hopefully after they see the impact of this change they reconsider and go back to that. If you haven’t voted yet, please consider doing so, the voting closes at the end of the day tomorrow.