Questions after talks at DebConf (idea)
I noticed yesterday  that the PyCascades conference  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]
Here is the salient section from the linked page by Eric Holscher:
There are two primary audiences that have issues with questions:
- 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.
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
: :' : Chris Lamb
`. `'` firstname.lastname@example.org / chris-lamb.co.uk