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Re: [Debconf-team] Report from the talks team

On 22 September 2014 02:53, Gunnar Wolf <gwolf@gwolf.org> wrote:
> martin f krafft dijo [Sun, Sep 21, 2014 at 09:20:12AM +0200]:
>> also sprach Gunnar Wolf <gwolf@gwolf.org> [2014-09-21 03:48 +0200]:
>> > If we could in some way recover the practice to prepare a small
>> > paper for a talk presentation, I think the aspects we are
>> For many subjects, it'd be hard to write a "paper". But why not make
>> this the description, i.e. require that the description be really
>> good and proof that you have thought about it already a lot.
> I agree, not every talk can be backed by a paper, and very few BoFs
> (if any) can.

FWIW, I think most BoFs could actually be usefully backed by a
"survey"-type paper -- ie, one that provided background info on the
topic that would help someone who's interested, but not fully up to
date, to participate usefully in the BoF.

That said, overall I tend to agree with Steve and Allison, in that I
don't think papers were useful enough to justify the effort when
debconf had them. YMMV obviously.

> I know you have argued for smaller and larger time slots. I do feel,
> however, having regularity in the scheduling tends to help us. When
> all talk slots start at the same time, and we have 45-min talks
> aligned to 1hr-slots (allowing for some post-session chat, video
> rearranging, attendees jumping between rooms), the conference schedule
> is regular and easy to understand+follow.

We already have some smaller vs larger time slots in the form of
lightning talks. I think that works well (though I think letting
people use their own laptops for a lightning talk is crazy -- should
be slides via PDFs and demos via pre-recorded videos only IMO...)

If you wanted to have ten/twenty minute talks on a topic, like say
different aspects of Gnome or different parts of OpenStack, I don't
see why you couldn't just schedule either one or two 1-hour slots and
have the mini-talks run within that. Maybe even run it in the same
format as a regular one-hour talk, and save questions to the end, and
have all the speakers available as a panel for the last fifteen
minutes or similar.

Since you need to allow five to fifteen minutes to move between rooms,
I think it makes sense to keep the "block size" at about an hour

> I think we have settled on
> this model as "quite good" after trying somewhat different
> incantations over the years; some talks will, of course, finish after
> only 30min, and some could benefit from some extra time, but usually
> it's acceptable to speakers and audience alike (and at most sparks
> requests for ad-hoc talks ~24h later), and easier for organization.

I didn't much like it when the talks ended quickly, fwiw -- it's like,
I was expecting an hour's worth of information and only got half that?
Weak. Maybe it'd be okay if the descriptions were better and it was
obvious in advance that the talk would only fill half the time, but
even so. That the breaks between talks were so long this year might
have been a factor.

For topics that need more discussion than can happen in an hour,
having two talks scheduled seemed to work fine for some topics this
year (eg, separate intro and in-depth talk), and ad-hoc BOFs and so
forth are great too, IMO.


Anthony Towns <aj@erisian.com.au>

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