Re: [108attendees] Successful IETF 108

Ted Lemon <mellon@fugue.com> Tue, 04 August 2020 21:26 UTC

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From: Ted Lemon <mellon@fugue.com>
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Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2020 17:26:13 -0400
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To: Jeffrey Haas <jhaas@juniper.net>
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Subject: Re: [108attendees] Successful IETF 108
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On Aug 4, 2020, at 5:20 PM, Jeffrey Haas <jhaas@juniper.net> wrote:
>> I consider this a serious problem.  The point of getting together in realtime to have verbal discussions is that synergy happens when we do this. The best mic-line discussions are the ones where ideas are going back and forth between people quickly, not the mic lines where everybody gets to have their say, linearly. That’s just not how human beings best communicate.
> 
> Communication is a scalability issue.
> The types of conversations that are good back and forth require a small enough set of people to have that naturally occur with people that play nice together.

Yes, and this set of people is invariably no smaller than the group of people who get up to speak at the mic, even in the busiest wg sessions. My meditation classes work well with 30 attendees; I’ve never seen that many people in line during a working group session.

> Scaling that a small level with a moderator, as you know, means the moderator is actively building sub groups for discussion.

In this case, I think the author can do the sales job; the moderator just has to pay attention to the people who show up for the discussion.

> Once you've gotten over a certain size, you simply can't do that.  If you're in person, and you've got people that place nice while waiting in the mic line, people will bounce the mic amongst themselves.  But that's often at the cost of a narrow time window for verbal discussion to hit all of the people in the line and it can become unfair.

I would argue that if you have reached that size, you need to subdivide, as you suggest. But I’ve never seen the IETF get into this situation.

> IMO, you have to set your discussion style based on the scale of the conversation.  If you want serious back and forth, the timeslot in question should be mostly verbal and only a little slideware.  That's a chair problem.  The chair usually asks "how long do you need to present".  What is intended is "present... and take reasonable discussion?”

Yes. If this problem is interesting to you, I heartily recommend switching over to SHMOO. IMHO you are pointing in exactly the right direction.