• SotM 2020 – a few thoughts on the experiment | Imagico.de

    The #pads for collecting questions and comments on talks worked great. This is definitely a concept that could play a central role in future #distributed #conferences.

    None the less what also became clear to me during the conference is that the willingness of people to engage in communication was very clearly in the order written conversation > audio communication > video. I think this is an observation to consider for any audio or video conversation in the OSM context. Video meetings might be very convenient for heavily engaged extroverted community members with a pre-existing prominence but for many people this can be a source of discomfort. And cultural and language barriers can be strongly emphasized by use of real time #audio and especially #video communication.

    A few further ideas on what possibilities a virtual conference format could offer beyond what has been tried this year:

    In a distributed conference the hurdle to submit a talk proposal would be much lower because it does not require a commitment to make an expensive travel to the conference location. I can already imagine people fearing the program committee might be drowned in submissions. The solution to that is to not think of this in terms of a physical conference. You don’t actually need to make a pre-selection of talks based on abstracts submitted, you can let people simply submit their pre-recorded talks. That would require more effort on the side of a presenter than submitting a bloomy abstract which would filter out any non-serious submissions. And assessing a talk based on scrolling through the video for a few minutes is much fairer than doing so based on just an abstract. So having the program committee select talks rather than abstracts is likely the better and fairer option for a virtual conference. Alternatively you could skip the selection of talks altogether and simply make all submissions accessible to the conference visitors. After all a virtual conference is not subject to the physical limitation of available rooms. That you might not necessarily be able to offer a moderated live Q&A for all talks is clear – but there are options to solve that with some creativity.

    The other idea is that a virtual distributed conference might be set up not only removing the constraint to a specific place but also spread out the conference in the time domain. Time zone differences are a serious issue with an international real time online conference – this could be observed at SotM 2020 quite well. So why not forego squeezing the conference into two days but instead spreading it across something like one or two weeks. A few days before the beginning of the actual real time part of the conference you make available the pre-recorded videos for everyone to watch at a time of their choosing. And they have the option to comment and ask questions asynchronously then. The speakers of the talks then have also some time to consider the questions and comments carefully before there is a moderated real time video session where the written feedback is discussed and further real time discussion is possible. The whole thing could be wrapped up by an integrated mechanism to allow speakers to provide some followup to the discussion in the days afterwards.

    With Allan’s keynote we had already a demonstration during this conference giving a bit of a glimpse on how this might work. There was no Q&A immediately after the talk but there was a longer Q&A later in the evening in form of a self organized session. Conference visitors in addition to asking questions during the talk streaming could afterwards for several hours re-watch the talk using the re-live feature and ask further questions and make comments. It was a bit unfortunate that Allan did not have more time to more carefully read the questions and prepare more elaborate answers which could have been the basis for a more interesting live discussion or later followup comments. But overall i think it was already visible how a more slowly paced dialog between presenters and visitors of the conference could facilitate a more productive and meaningful discourse.

    Explication du fonctionnement sur le site du SOTM 2020 :

    How is my talk presented?

    There will be an introduction session shortly before the conference for all speakers and session hosts. We will use the following workflow during your talk: 10 minutes before the talk the speaker and the session host test their equipment and connectivity with the video team. The talk takes place in a Jitsi session which will be streamed publicly. In the first 2-3 minutes the session hosts gives a short introduction about the speaker and the talk. Then the pre-recorded video is broadcast. During the broadcasting of the video the audience has the opportunity to ask questions on the Q&A pad of the talk. After the video the session host and the speaker go through the questions of the talk. We have allocated about 20 minutes for that.

    How can I participate it the Question & Answer session of my talk?

    You have to join the Jitsi session of your talk and talk with the session host about the questions from the audience. You can watch all incoming questions in the Q&A pad (hackpad) linked in the detail page of your talk. It is the task of the session host to make a kind of pre-selection of the questions, sorting them and leaving out those that are inappropriate.


    Les vidéos de l’événement ont été prises en charge par les gens du CCC (Chaos Computer Club) https://c3voc.de

    Quelques liens au sujet des confs vidéos :

    https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/State_of_the_Map_2020/Tutorial_Pre-Recorded_Talk : Tutorial Pre-Recorded Talk
    https://c3voc.de/wiki/start : Working group in the Chaos Computer Club on event recording and streaming
    https://gitlab.com/billowconf/billowconf : BillowConf is an online platform for virtual conferences. It supports different rooms that people can join and interact with. Presenters give talks and can enagage with the audience in real time through text (IRC) and video.