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Re: "Breaking Cliques at Events"

On Tue 2017-12-12 11:18:13 -0700, Bdale Garbee wrote:
> I know it drove some people crazy, but this is why I really *liked*
> the old model in which we did keysigning by getting in a big loop and
> actually making contact with everyone else at the event, even if
> briefly.  For anyone I'd met and signed keys with before, it was a
> chance to have a moment of re-connection.  For anyone new to me, it
> was a chance to say hello and trade at least one piece of personal
> information.

I think my experience of the big loop model of keysigning was the exact
opposite of yours, Bdale :)

That is, in the big loop, i get basically ~30 seconds for a face and a
name and some novel form of (maybe) gov't-issued identification before i
feel pressure to move on to the next person to avoid holding up the

I'm bad at names-and-faces already, and this does *not* facilitate a
good connection for me.  And it's exhausting.

otoh, the keysignings i've been in more recently, where we're broken
into a arbitrary small groups (potentially in two different breakout
patterns to increase the density of the cross-signings), the small
groups are really good opportunities to get to know people.

in the small-group setting, each person introduces themselves to the
rest of the group, and has a chance to speak briefly about what brings
them to debian (or what they personally do or hope to do in debian),
often riffing off of what other people have said.  a small conversation
often starts up, and everyone involved in the conversation has been
explicitly encouraged to participate, both in speaking and in
listening.  I've had more than one such small group result in side
conversations that spiral out into the rest of the conference, or plans
for future hack time to explore mutual interest.

It's sad that this isn't doable at the same scale as a "big loop"
keysigning.  But i never get to know everyone at the conference at the
same level of depth.  This is a function of resource limitations:
meeting people and really connecting takes time and effort, even for the
most sociable folks, and you simply can't connect at that level to every
participantfor a conference as large as debconf is these days.

A big loop keysigning "connects" each person to more people (so the
graph looks more complete and less cliquish), but a keysigning which
forces people into arbitrary small groupings does a better job at
actually breaking up cliques because the edges formed offer more
opportunities to engage meaningfully.


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