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Re: Schedule proposals

also sprach Maximiliano Curia <maxy@debian.org> [2014-09-05 00:51 +0200]:
> I've been thinking about the schedule distribution.


I have also been thinking a lot about this, as I am sure have
others. It's good that you are starting this debate early, and on
this list.

But we must not wait too long to take this to dc-team, I think, or
else the discussion will start there too, and then it'll be hard to
consolidate, or at least spell extra work for us.

Therefore, how about we tell dc-team that we are going to discuss
this internally and will write to the whole list with our
proposal(s) by the end of September? If we agree on a shared vision
by then, great! If not, then we produce a wiki page comparing the
different ideas, to bootstrap the discussion on dc-team.

Would this be okay with everyone?

* * *

I have a few comments to your mail, Maxy, which I will make inline.
My own ideas for the daily scheduling follows further down.

> One of the comments I've heard in debconf this year was "having
> the first talk just after breakfast and the last one after dinner
> makes a really long day"

That's only if you keep breakfast early and dinner late. ;)

> I really like the idea of having hacking blocks, but, these were
> too interrupted, also the adhoc talks/bofs were scheduled on top
> of these and then the days were packed with talks again.

We are reintroducing DebCamp for continued hacking, and I think this
alleviates the burden of having to create blocks of continuous hack
time during the conference.

But I understand your concerns and I know there are many who want to
hack during the conference, too. However, there comes a point where
they have to decide for themselves what to do with their time and we
won't be able to help them.

What we can do, however, is prevent "packing those blocks with talks

DC14 experimented for the first time with irregular schedules.
I thought it was great, although it was a bit confusing at times,
especially with respect to the ad-hoc scheduling, which we quickly
overengineered due to the small supply of rooms and time slots.

In this context:

> One of the ideas that was mentioned by members of the Talks team
> is to only accept talks (not bofs) prior to DebConf, and schedule
> bofs and discussions only after the official schedule is
> announced.

I am glad we are heading this direction. BoFs have always been of an
ad-hoc nature. DebConf was the only conference I know that
"scheduled BoFs" and it always baffled me. This year, we introduced
ad-hoc sessions only to reclaim the void. Next year, we can learn
from the experience and hopefully do it better.

I think at DC15, we should definitely have "unconference blocks",
which our attendees should use however they want. Some may hack,
some may organise ad-hoc sessions, others may play. However, I feel
that coordinating this beyond allowing for resources to be
self-scheduled would harm the whole programme. Sessions that are of
wider interest should have been scheduled in the main programme
already. Anything else is ad-hoc and if anyone feels strongly about
them, then they should get involved in the self-scheduling.

>  coffee    16:30-17:30

I do like the idea of a coffee break on days with presentations, but
it means we lose a full slot each day… definitely worthwhile to
consider though! This will also be a good slot for the group photo,
and just to get some fresh air…

>  breakfast 08:00-09:30

This surprises me, as my general understanding was that most people
wanted the schedule to move backwards and days to start later,
especially as the week progresses.

How about having breakfast until 10:00, starting the day with
a plenary session at 10:30, followed by lightning talks on some
days, or a keynote / broader plenary presentation on others, and one
session slot. Then there's lunch from 13 till 14:30, then sessions or
free time until dinner, and maybe another presentation after dinner:

        Presentation days         Free days (dto. means "same")
10:00   Breakfast ends            dto.
10:05   Orga team meeting         dto.
10:30   Plenary                   dto.
11:00   Lightning talks / keynote dto.
12:00   Session slot              dto.
13:00   Lunch                     dto.
14:30   Session slot              Free time
15:30   Session slot              Free time
16:30   Coffee break              Free time
17:30   Session slot              Free time
18:30   Session slot              Free time
19:30   Dinner                    Dinner
21:00   Free time / session slot  Maybe session slot

I would suggest that we consider experimenting with session lengths
too. Many presentations I have witnessed at past DebConfs would have
been better suited for a lightning talk, or maybe a 10 minute
presentation, or maybe 25 minutes, instead of always having 45

Having more than one session of lightning talks (and also not only
on the last day) would help this. And I would also like to think
about the concept of back-to-back sessions that many LCA miniconfs
use, e.g. you have a 50 minute slot (organised by a single person),
but there are 2–4 presenters during this time (slides preloaded,

Conversely, maybe one room could be set aside for a workshop track,
e.g. 2–3 hour slots that can be used like sprint sessions, as you
suggest, or tutorials.

I also felt that at DC14, the need for ad-hoc sessions and playtime
increased towards the end of the week. Therefore, I would like to
offer the following food for thought, which is a schedule that
morphs as the week progresses:

Opening weekend: presentation days, possibly starting earlier
in the day because we are all still rested, possibly jetlagged, and
we might want to offer visitors more. So there are presentations,
workshops, lightning talks, maybe plenary discussions, etc.

Monday could be the first "free day", followed by another
"presentation day" on Tuesday. Or the other way around. This really
depends on how many presentation submissions we get, and how many of
those we feel should be scheduled at full length etc.

Wednesday is day trip and conference dinner. I feel that works well
together and leaves more time on the other days.

Thursday and Friday might just be "free days", because by now,
attendees have all kinds of ideas they want to discuss in ad-hoc
sessions, and presentations just get in the way.

Finally, Saturday afternoon would bring the final set of
presentations in plenary form.

I realise that all this free time cuts off a lot of the slots for
presentations. However, I hope that lightning talks and back-to-back
sessions could help ensure that we still deliver the same breadth of
events that our attendees are used to — just not always at full 45

And teardown has to be done by Sunday noon-time, so we might need to
start on Saturday already, e.g. by closing down some of the rooms
and moving the final presentations into the plenary room.


 .''`.   martin f. krafft <madduck@debconf.org> @martinkrafft
: :'  :  DebConf orga team
`. `'`
  `-  DebConf15: Heidelberg, Germany: http://debconf15.debconf.org
      DebConf16 in your country? https://wiki.debconf.org/wiki/DebConf16

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