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Questions after talks at DebConf (idea)


I noticed yesterday [0] that the PyCascades conference [1] explicitly
does not permit any questions and answers after a presentation.

Finding this intriguing, I followed up to ask for more information and
was given the following reply:

  No live Q&A after talks makes it a more friendly environment for
  first time and new speakers. @ericholscher has written about this and
  explained it better than I can in a tweet :)  [link removed]

    -- https://twitter.com/mariatta/status/1038110484673622016


Here is the salient section from the linked page by Eric Holscher:

  There are two primary audiences that have issues with questions:

    - Speakers
    - The audience

  Let's start with speakers. Many first-time speakers that I know have
  an intense anxiety around having the audience ask questions. They
  think, "I am going to go up and give a talk, and then someone in the
  audience will contradict or embarrass me for lack of knowledge
  afterward." Audience questions after talks are one of the biggest
  sources of stress for speakers.

  Now for the audience. They have chosen to attend a talk to hear from
  a specific speaker about a topic they are knowledgeable on. If there
  are 250 people in the room, each minute of the talk is over 4 hours
  of combined time. When you offer up a microphone to anyone in the
  audience, you are now offering 4 hours of peoples life to an
  unaudited question and answer that likely only provides value to a
  small minority of attendees. This is not a good use of anyones time,
  and often audiences feel trapped in a talk room during Q&A time.

    -- http://ericholscher.com/blog/2016/nov/12/questions-at-conferences/


Anyway, whilst I am in no way suggesting DebConf takes an identical
approach (!!), I would be curious to know whether if we are missing any
new contributions this way.

This is naturally a difficult question to answer on this list as anyone
subscribed is likely a DebConf regular and thus somewhat less likely to
be a first-timer.

Such an idea could potentially be accomodated in a similar fashion to
the "Record talk? [Y]/n" question for a talk proposal; an "Allow Q&A?
[Y]/n", also defaulting to "yes".

Just to underline, I'm not suggesting DebConf changes anything, just
sharing an somewhat-random and hopefully thought-provoking idea I
came across.

 [0] https://twitter.com/mariatta/status/1037907132954292224
 [1] https://2019.pycascades.com/


     : :'  :     Chris Lamb
     `. `'`      lamby@debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk

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