Virtual Meetings

John Leslie <> Mon, 11 April 2016 13:59 UTC

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Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2016 09:59:22 -0400
From: John Leslie <>
To: Yoav Nir <>
Subject: Virtual Meetings
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Yoav Nir <> wrote:
>> On 11 Apr 2016, at 1:45 PM, Rich Kulawiec <> wrote:
>> Don't have physical meetings.  Then this entire problem space simply
>> vanishes...

... to be replaced by other "unsolvable" problems: but ones where progress
might be easier...

>> YES, it's replaced by a different problem space, which roughly works out
>> to "how can everything be done virtually?"


>> but given that this is the *Internet* engineering task force I have no
>> doubt that the collective expertise is more than capable of dealing
>> with that.  

   I don't 100% share that enthusiam; but I do believe we'd see visible
progress within a year or two.

> I don't believe that this technology exists.

   That makes three of us agreeing!

> People have been singing the praise of Meetecho in IETF 95, and yet
> remote participation is nothing like being in the room.

   True... I can be attending to my email, or even pouring through a
deskful of background papers, and nobody will chide me for not listening!

> And the "virtual interim" meetings are nothing like physical meetings...

   Less true... I have participated in some very effective virtual meetings.
It's a matter of how the Chair runs things. (And that _is_ variable!)

>> Particularly if all the discussion, effort, and expense going into the
>> logistics of physical meetings is redirected into virtual ones instead.
> Yeah, perhaps, some day when we're all wearing virtual reality headsets
> and our avatars are hanging out in a virtual venue, and we all have
> sufficient equipment and bandwidth to handle all that.

   It really has nothing to do with such gimmicks!

   For IETF-95 I used a $500 large-screen for the first time. It certainly
didn't give me $500 of benefit over the multiple 20-inch screens I usually
use, but large-screens don't cost $500 anymore. ;^)

   I wouldn't use a V-R headset if it were a gift. Avatars would get in
the way of expressing differing attitudes. The whole field of how to show
non-local participants needs work!

> We're not there yet.

   We're not even agreed where "there" should be.

>> I really can't take any of the platitudes about "inclusion" seriously
>> until that happens -- because as long as the IETF persists with physical
>> meetings, most people *will* be excluded due to cost, distance, time,
>> legal climate, personal safety, etc.

   Guilty as charged.

>> The IETF is, even if accidentally, selecting for the elite few who are
>> fortunate enough to be [able to] attend.

   Guilty as charged, again.

   I've had quite a number of high-school students working here who could
have become valuable participants at IETF. Exactly _one_ of them agreed to
attend an IETF week; and that one would never consent to attend another.
We are selecting mostly those whose employers send them in hopes of getting
a return-on-investment.

   I long for the days when we attracted lots of graduate students!

> Virtual meetings with the technology we have today makes it very hard for
> people with mediocre English to follow the discussion.

   It's hard for them in-person on-site, too. Why aren't we discussing
tools to help them?

> The "I don't quite follow what you're saying" look does not translate
> well to the kind of video we can use today.

   False! It merely doesn't translate to the kind of video we _do_ use

> That extends even to people with relatively good English (for non-native
> speakers) like me. 

   So, to fall back to my standard question: "What are you going to do
about it?"

John Leslie <>