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[Debconf-discuss] BOFs as Talks (was: For the next Debconf KSP: run a "pre-KSP" BOF before?)

On 2006-05-30, Christian Perrier <bubulle@debian.org> wrote:
> Indeed, this leads me to think that scheduling a BOF/talk *before* the next
> big KSP, if it happens at Debconf 7, would be a good thing to do.
> I bet that we have at least one person, in the Debian gang, who feels
> solid enough on that topic to give a detailed talk about keysigning
> and all related issues.... Don't be shy.

If I may just point something out that is slightly tangential to this
suggestion (I dont mean to single out you Mr. P!)

This email reminds me that there is something that has nagged me at all the
debconfs I have been: a tendency to conflate and morph BOFs into talks. 

It has always been my understanding that a talk is one or two people giving
a classic lecture (in front of an audience, perhaps with prepared slides,
and a short Q&A at the end), and a BOF is suppoesd to be a gathering of
people around a certain subject to focus discussion, resolve issues, make
plans, share and learn from each other in a mutual, more horizontal way. 

I've seen many BOFs at debconfs past end up as "talks", which were
disappointing because I wanted to have a discussion about an issue that has
been difficult to resolve online. Not all of them change like this, if the
BOFs are just a handful of people on the grass the BOF is more a BOF.
However, I think there is a tendency for people to be responsible for a BOF
and then freak out because, "what if nobody has anything to say? How
embarassing to appear unprepared! I better prepare some slides just in case"
and then its just easier to run through that prepared lecture and there will
be no time for discussion afterwards (ok, maybe thats what people think).

I would like to suggest that if this were a _BOF_, then it shouldn't be one
person giving a detailed _talk_ on keysigning approaches, but instead it
could be one person who moderates or leads an actual discussion on
keysigning issues.

> The only risk, indeed, is that there seem to be as many approaches to
> KSP as there are keys in the Debian keyring...so summarizing "good
> practices" might be hard...:). That shouldn't prevent us to try.

Hence a BOF is ideal, not a talk by someone who will fail to account for
everyone's individual viewpoints. :)


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