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Re: DebConf 2 post-mortem

On Mon, Jul 08, 2002 at 10:17:22PM -0400, Joe Drew wrote:
> DebConf 2 is over, and in my mind at least was quite a success. However,
> there were also some things that I thought didn't go so well, which I'd
> like to improve upon.
> I've written "The Story of DebConf 2", which is available at
> http://people.debian.org/~drew/ . In it are my thoughts as to what
> worked and what didn't, along with hints to myself and others as to what
> to do next time.
> I'd like to hear from others who attended DebConf as to just what
> worked, and what didn't. Where could it have been improved? What should
> stay the same? I welcome any comments, on- or off-list.

	Just some thoughts that came up.

It was difficult to get to know each other, because although we knew who
everybody was; we had difficulty putting names to faces.  Getting big
rolls of those adhesive "Hello, my name is" stickers and some thick
black marker would have helped most people locate other people.
(Actually, I was thinking of dropping by Business Depot to pick some up,
but I forgot.  *sigh*)

	I think that having Debconf be fee-less was actually very good;
and it allowed us to be open and transparent.  For people who asked you
about Debconf at the last minute, you could have copy-pasted a form
"Please read all the details on this webpage" and pointed them to a
webpage with a schedule, locations, and breaking news.

	A moderator for the talks would have been very nice.  Most
people are not professional public speakers, and have difficult keeping
their talks focused.  I would have given speakers 15 minute grace
periods after their scheduled talk was over, before cutting them off.
If you factor in a 30-45 minute break between each talk for
leg-stretching, people-meeting, and hacking; this can work quite well.
As well, it would help if a moderator was there to suppress questions
until the end of the presentations.  I found that a lot of questions
would ask about things that were covered later in the presentation; and
would have been answered if the inquisitor had been more patient.

	Internet access was great when I finally hooked myself up on
Sunday.  I was typing summaries of the talks over IRC to some people who
wanted to attend, but couldn't make it.  It would have been very nice to
have received presenter's slides ahead of time, and put them online so
that people outside the conference could look at them.  Streaming audio
(not video yet, alas) would have been most beneficial and we could
archive the talks for other people to follow.  I know there was someone
video taping the whole affair, when can we get these videos up on a
website somewher?  I think it would have been EXTREMELY cool to have an
IRC client projected on the wall during question periods so that remote
conference goers can participate.  Because Debian is such a global
thing, and travelling is difficult for many people; I think we really
ought to consider making these proceedings readily accessible.

	Signs pointing to the conference and maps of York University
would have been ultra useful.  We went around looking for parking for a
while, and then went around looking for the Computer Science building
until we bumped into a helpful student.  We then stumbled around until
we saw a lonely sign pasted to a door that told us to go to Lecture Room
C.  I know that big signs on easels with friendly arrows are a good way
to go.


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