With the first reported cases at the end of 2019, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has since spread like wildfire throughout the globe, infecting millions and taking the lives of a shocking number of people. COVID-19 has changed the face of the world as we know it. We are being made timid to travel within our own countries, let alone overseas. But we must somehow adapt ourselves to such new realities.
The RubyWorld Conference 2020 has not escaped the ongoing disturbances. While it is true that the host prefecture of Shimane has a naturally shrinking population, which means there is a comparably smaller risk of infection than in other places, organizing an annual international conference as we have since 2009 is simply not a good idea. Instead, we have decided to try something we have never tried before - making the conference happen online with its schedule scaled down to a single day.
As an organizer, it was not an easy decision to make, since the original idea of the conference was to invite many people from around the world to Matsue - the hometown of Ruby - so that they could network and connect directly with each other, which in turn would help our community prosper more. Some may find it easier to participate because it will happen virtually, but I am afraid that the lack of opportunities to mingle with other participants in person may impair some of the appeals of the conference.
But this is not a time to cry over spilled milk. Regardless of our feelings, the world has changed. What we must do is come to terms with the new realities of our world.
Some of you may not be used to online conferences and may feel uncomfortable about the arrangement. But I'm sure that you will agree when I say that our attempt to design a new conference for the new world will not be for naught. Rather, let us think of it as a way for all of us to actively participate in the process of adding new pages to the world that Ruby has shaped so far.
Welcome to the new world. Join us in making it better, together.
Chairman of the Execution Committee of the RubyWorld Conference