Re: Remote only meetings? [Re: Concerns about Singapore]

Brian E Carpenter <> Wed, 13 April 2016 02:08 UTC

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Subject: Re: Remote only meetings? [Re: Concerns about Singapore]
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From: Brian E Carpenter <>
Organization: University of Auckland
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Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 14:08:47 +1200
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Cherry-picking a few points:
On 13/04/2016 00:46, Rich Kulawiec wrote:
> And the difficulties/expense of travel are only going to get worse
> for the forseeable future: they're not going to get better.

That is indisputable.

On 13/04/2016 00:49, Loa Andersson wrote:

> Let us say that we set aside enough time about half way between two IETF
> meetings and schedule all the meetings, as requested by wg chairs or
> people in charge of other meetings, as a long series.

That won't work with 4-monthly meetings as today. It might work with
6-monthly meetings.

> Let us assume that the wg meetings is on average 1.5 hours, scheduling
> 100 wg meetings would require 150 hours.

I think that's optimistic. Remote meetings go more slowly due to technology
glitches and the need for more formal patterns of Q/A. It's still faster than
email though (see Alia's message).

On 13/04/2016 03:42, Joel M. Halpern wrote:

> I believe that there would be a real cost in moving to remote-only meetings.
> Even putting aside the time zone difficulties, and the reduced effectiveness
> of in-meeting interaction, there are aspects of face-to-face interaction
> taht current remote technologies simply do not capture.

Yes. I've been on a one-meeting-per-year model once or twice for personal
reasons and it is *inferior* to attending every meeting. Some people
can manage to time shift their lives for a week for remote participation,
but most people can't; family, day job, and sunshine combine against it.
The time zone issue is exclusionary. Also, there is nothing like the
intensity of being on site with everybody.

Not to say that we shouldn't improve even more on what we can do
with Meetecho. But an important part of being able to make the best
use of remote participation is *knowing* the people at the other
end from previous in-person meetings.

> It was very helpful in BA (and at many previous IETF meetings) to be able
> to find time to talk with a small number of people concerned about an
> aspect of one working group. I did that over meals, breaks, etc. It
> sorted out issues far more effectively than email conversations (in several
> cases, we had tried to sort it out via email. 10 minutes face-to-face
> clarified what was being missed, and found a good path forward.)

On 13/04/2016 04:00, Ted Lemon wrote:
> This is all true, but the idea that it can't be replicated online is silly.
> How did you arrange to have lunch with these people? You went looking
> for them, rounded them up, and sat down to lunch. You can do that online
> as well.

You can, but it's a much more deliberate action and you're less
likely to get serendipity effects. I would probably have been in
some of those discussions in BA that Joel mentioned, but unfortunately
I was on the wrong side of the world and fast asleep.

IMHO we need the right blend of in-person and virtual meetings, and
we'll find that blend by progressive change, not by revolution.