experiences as a jabber scribe

Mikael Abrahamsson <swmike@swm.pp.se> Thu, 24 November 2016 08:40 UTC

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Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2016 09:40:46 +0100
From: Mikael Abrahamsson <swmike@swm.pp.se>
To: ietf@ietf.org
Subject: experiences as a jabber scribe
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I wrote a similar email after IETF96, so I thought I'd write one again 
after IETF97.

If I am attending the entire session, I typically volunteer as a jabber 
scribe. This helps me learn names (I have a problem with remembering 

So I do this:

Sit down on the chair marked as "reserved for jabber scribe". Nowadays 
this is typically located to the right of the frontmost mic, which is a 
perfecet location.

Open my computer and in Chrome, turn off the sound in my computer, I open 
the Meetecho page for the session. This Meetecho session page contains a 
text window, a video feed of the slides, a video feed from the presenter 
(in the pink box!), and the sound from all the microphones in the room.

Meetecho page can be found on this URL:


The text window is "jabber" and just works without the typical hassle of 
getting Jabber working. So I just sit there and as people get to the mic, 
I look at their name tag, I then type "<Firstname Lastname> at mic" as 
they start speaking. If someone isn't wearing a name tag, I scold them. I 
typically encourage the minute taker to also have meetecho up, so they can 
see in real time the name of the person speaking, making their job easier. 
Lots of people speak their name very fast into the microphone and they 
also have spelling of names that is unfamiliar.

If someone writes something into jabber that I interpret they want relayed 
to the mic (or they explicitly say so), I go to mic and say what they 
wrote. Nowadays people can remotely ask the question themselves, so there 
is less relaying lately.

The end result is that on the Meetecho recording, you get a video feed of 
the slides, video feed from the presenters, sound from the session, and 
just as they speak, you get the name of the person speaking in the "chat" 
(jabber) window. I imagine this makes it very easy for the minute taker 
and chairs to later figure out who said what. It also means remote 
participation experience should be better in real time.

What not all people know is that Meetecho crew is "summoned" by typing 
something into jabber with the word Meetecho in it. So whenever the camera 
wasn't aimed at the correct place in the room, I would type "meetecho, 
please aim camera at presenter" and then 'magically' the camera would be 
re-aimed correctly in 10-30 seconds. Brilliant service.


1. Some rooms have multiple microphones. This makes it a lot harder to be 
jabber scribe. I took to "disabling" microphones by turning them down, so 
people were forced to use the single microphone that was next to me. This 
makes it harder for people at the mic, but it makes it better/easier for 
remote participants, jabber scribe and the minute taker. I think this 
tradeoff is a good one. I would like to it see done by default. Most room 
only need a single microphone for attendees to ask questions or make 

2. A lot of people aren't aware of Meetecho and the layout of what 
Meetecho records/presents to the user. I would like to see especially WG 
chairs know and understand what Meetecho is nowadays. Lots seems to not be 
aware of the fact that Meetecho now contains "jabber". Something for the 
next Chair lunch to spend 5 minutes on? Meetecho is a brilliant tool to 
record our sessions in a single place that makes it easy to follow in real 
time and afterwards what happens/happened in the session.

3. Historically slide numbers have been called out on jabber. IETF96 some 
people still did this, and I asked in each session if someone wanted this 
done. Nobody requested it. IETF97 I didn't even ask, and this wasn't done 
in any session I attended.

4. Previously there have been some minor hiccups with Meetecho and the 
room setup. At IETF97 I encouraged no problems at all apart from being 
disconnected from the wifi on one occasion (which isn't Meetechos fault). 
I would like to thank the Meetecho crew for such a excellent job and 
smoothly operated implementation.

Thanks also to the NOC team for the wireless access solution that worked 
excellently. I had very minor problems this time!

Thanks everybody who makes this possible!

Mikael Abrahamsson    email: swmike@swm.pp.se