Re: [108attendees] Fwd: Introducing the Meetecho Virtual Hum tool

John C Klensin <> Tue, 28 July 2020 00:17 UTC

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Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2020 20:16:51 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Bret Jordan <>, John Levine <>
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Subject: Re: [108attendees] Fwd: Introducing the Meetecho Virtual Hum tool
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--On Monday, July 27, 2020 13:03 -0600 Bret Jordan
<> wrote:

> It seems like the pseudo anonymous voting aspect of the
> "hum" could be done in much easier ways using electronic
> means.   
> Some legacy things that were done before better alternatives,
> just just go away. 

And some legacy things need more thought than this seems to have
gotten in switching from one type of environment to another.
Three examples come to mind from today's experiences:

(1) One of the problems with a complex hum sequence even when
most or all people are in the same room is keeping track about
what is being hummed about.  A hum frame that doesn't identify
the subject of the hum just doesn't cut it and, even when it is
over-long (with or without Jeopardy music) [1] can be confusing
enough to make interpretation of the results dubious.

(2) If I'm chairing a WG or otherwise leading a hum in a f2f
environment, I can look at the room and form a judgment of how
many people are humming, how many are staring at their screens
and doing email, and how many are sitting there with either
blank or hostile looks on their faces.  That is important
information.  I have to wonder whether that simple five-point
scale would change significantly if it were somehow rated by the
number of people who bother to respond.  

(3) The two "hum softly" and "hum loudly" choices make sense for
a question similar to "do you support..." or, better, "how much
do you like...", with essentially three choices --loud, soft, or
silent [2].   If does not make sense for an "agree or disagree"
question.  For those, we may use two hums in a f2f meeting, but,
as suggested above, when used f2f, there is much more
information present.  For an online situation, the choices
really need to be 
   agree strongly
   indifferent or neutral
   disagree strongly
maybe that means whomever is initiating the hum should have a
choice between a two-point scale (soft vs loud) versus a
five-point one (see above), but that obviously makes things more


[1] During the test session I participated in, people had a good
deal of trouble navigating the new Meetecho UI and, especially
for those who were trying to watch the Jabber discussion in the
Meetecho window (and hence not seeing either the
Participant/Queue/Speaker pane or the hum one very often),
navigating the UI took several extra seconds.  So, maybe, at
least for them (including me during the test session but, having
learned my lesson (again) not today), that long period is not
actually excessive.   What it does imply is another reason why
some sort of yes-maybe-no hum, or the suggestion above, is
important: one 35 second hum may be tolerable, while two or
three to get a simple "in favor/ opposed" response is much less

[2] Noting the difficulty of telling "deliberately silent" from
"indifferent" and from "tuned out".