Re: [108attendees] Successful IETF 108

Keith Moore <> Tue, 04 August 2020 02:32 UTC

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From: Keith Moore <>
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Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2020 22:32:34 -0400
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Subject: Re: [108attendees] Successful IETF 108
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On 8/3/20 10:17 PM, Bron Gondwana wrote:

> There's an assumption in here that the presenting of the slides 
> doesn't have any benefit, which I don't believe is true.
> As the presenter talks through the slides they are aligning the 
> thoughts of everybody in the room (including themselves) and hence 
> when we get to the conversation, everybody has the cache state loaded 
> into their brain and the conversation can be productive.  I don't 
> think that "read the slides in advance and come with questions" will 
> give the same alignment.
> I'm not saying "there's not better way", but it's worth considering 
> the positives of the existing patterns and seeing how we can preserve 
> them.
I think it makes more sense to say "given that meeting time is precious 
even when people don't have to physically travel to the meetings, what's 
the most effective way to use that time to further the goals of the group?"

I remember when IETF meetings didn't use PowerPoint and video 
projectors, and instead used film transparencies that could be written 
on in real time.   When PowerPoint was introduced, the meetings became 
much less productive because far more time was dedicated to presentation 
and correspondingly less for discussion.   With film transparencies, 
speakers were more likely to lead discussions and refer to a slide only 
when necessary for illustration, and less likely to simply read from 
their slides. Powerpoint made it too easy to just type text to be 
displayed on the screen while that text was read or summarized by the 

(the presentations are, however, useful, especially at letting a 
participant quickly catch-up before, during, or after a meeting.)

The other things that I recall making meetings less productive were (in 
no particular order):

- widespread adoption of IP-over-radio (first proprietary, later WiFi) 
with the result that meeting rooms then had Internet access, which meant 
that many people who were physically present in a meeting room were not 
paying attention and thus distracting from the discussion in some ways

Fully-remote meetings seem present less of the distraction problem, 
because the people who aren't paying attention are not as obvious as 
they are in an in-person meeting.

- Introduction of the microphone queue which again drastically reduced 
the time available for discussion due to the overhead of "media access" 
(i.e. managing the microphone queue)

The microphone queue was introduced to facilitate better remote 
participation especially to allow time for remote speakers to get access 
to the floor.   In a fully-remote environment, maybe we don't need that 
queue any more, at least most of the time.