IRC Mtg - Drupalcon Programming: Tracks and Session selection

farriss's picture
2009-10-01 11:00 - 12:00 America/Chicago
Event type: 
Online meeting (eg. IRC meeting)

We'll be discussing: Programming: Tracks and Session selection in #drupalcon.


Can't make meeting.

Slurpee's picture

Sorry, but I can't make it to this meeting. I will be available for all of the other meetings.

Are we going to continue with meetings every other Thursday at 11:00 AM CST? Can someone make sure to post the log?

Sadly I am "stuck" in Fiji. I will be flying over the Pacific ocean when the meeting is going on :(


gdemet's picture

[10:59am] farriss: hey folks -- we'll get started with the Drupalcon North America Regional ORganizing Group meeting about Programming: Track and Session selection in 2 mins.
[11:01am] farriss: Welcome everyone! Today's topic will be Programming: Tracks and Session selection (cf:
[11:01am] Druplicon: => Drupalcon North American Regional Organizing Group => 0 comments, 1 IRC mention
[11:01am] gdemet: good morning!
[11:01am] Druplicon: Somewhere in the world...
[11:02am] farriss: Our last meeting set an agenda for topics to be discussed today. Our goal is to try to arrive at a consensus position that we can publish for comment.
[11:02am] farriss: The topics were:
[11:02am] farriss: * How many tracks and sessions?
[11:02am] farriss: * What is the right ratio of presentations and BOFs offerings to conference attendees? How do we determine more sessions vs larger rooms for sessions.
[11:02am] farriss: * What should the tracks be?
[11:02am] farriss: * Should there be track chairs and, if so, what are their responsibilities?
[11:02am] farriss: * When should the call for submissions be opened? For how long should it be open?
[11:02am] farriss: * How far out from the conference should the schedule be announced?
[11:02am] farriss: * What is the right balance between offering popular (e.g. voted) sessions and curated cohesive conference program?
[11:02am] farriss: First off, does anyone have any topics they'd like to add about tracks and the selection process (only)?
[11:03am] gdemet: farriss: i posted a bunch of comments on g.d.o, but i may have gone into too much detail for this discussion
[11:03am] farriss: Ok, this is going to be a really short and boring meeting. Or alternatively, there is a huge consensus and we're going to be very productive.
[11:04am] farriss: Let's start first: how many tracks and sessions should there be?
[11:04am] farriss: For DCNA 2011, we're estimating ~2500-3500 attendees.
[11:05am] farriss: Aside from the keynotes, what do folks think the right number of simultaneous tracks should be?
[11:05am] gdemet: farriss: would this include not just regular session tracks, but also "alternative" tracks?
[11:05am] farriss: for now I'm just looking at regular scheduled session tracks
[11:05am] farriss: in DC there were 1400 people and 109 sessions.
[11:05am] farriss: (There were 100 BOF sessions)
[11:06am] gdemet: well, it would seem we would want enough tracks to allow most attendees to be able to attend sessions simultaneously
[11:06am] farriss: They had 7 tracks excluding keynotes: business side, code & development, design & usability, community, performance & scaling, showcase & strategy and site building
[11:07am] jastraat joined the chat room.
[11:07am] farriss: note allocation of sessions per track was not even.
[11:07am] gdemet: and some sessions were definitely more popular than others
[11:08am] farriss: gdemet: to a certain extent that is a venue question, but it also raises the question that I'm hoping this group will discuss about whether we want a few really huge sessions or a broader mix of small, medium and large sessions
[11:09am] farriss: How do folks feel about those tracks? Can I get a +1 or suggestions for what is missing from that session track listing?
[11:09am] gdemet: one of the issues we've had in the past is identifying which sessions will attract more attendees and thus making appropriate room allocations
[11:10am] farriss: dougvann mentioned last time that he wanted to see a beginner track. Any support for that?
[11:11am] farriss: Does it need to be a full track or do we need to designate levels on sessions so that any session for any track could be beginner?
[11:11am] gdemet: i'd +1 a beginner or "training" track; i definitely ran into people at DC who were new to Drupal and overwhelmed by many of the sessions they found themselves in
[11:12am] siliconmeadow left the chat room. ("Leaving.")
[11:12am] farriss: what do folks think about the difference between business side and showcase & strategy sessions?
[11:13am] timmillwood left the chat room.
[11:13am] benjamin-agaric joined the chat room.
[11:13am] • farriss notes that gdemet is in the office next to her and is wondering if anyone else has any thoughts to share about the topic?
[11:14am] farriss: Anybody? Bueller?
[11:14am] gdemet: lol, yes, please don't let me hog the floor
[11:14am] EclipseGc joined the chat room.
[11:14am] jastraat: Sorry - I got in a bit late, so I missed the opening of the discussion
[11:15am] EclipseGc left the chat room.
[11:15am] farriss: jastraat: No worries, Jess. We're trying to talk about the topics from, but it seems gdemet is the only person awake/passionate about it today.
[11:15am] Druplicon: => Programming: Tracks and Session selection => 2 comments, 1 IRC mention
[11:16am] • gdemet is caffienated this morning
[11:16am] farriss: In DC there were 109 sessions across 7 tracks. Was that too many, too few, just right for 1400 people?
[11:17am] jastraat:
[11:17am] farriss: jastraat:
[11:17am] jastraat: I may be unusual, but I thought it was too many.
[11:17am] jastraat: I would have prefered a smaller number of high quality options
[11:18am] farriss: jastraat: would you be ok with 500+ people in a session?
[11:18am] jastraat: There were a number of sessions where there were only a handful of attendees
[11:18am] jastraat: It's a tricky problem.
[11:18am] farriss: jastraat: agreed. We don't have data that I'm aware of for individual session attendance, which would definitely be helpful
[11:19am] gdemet: it seemed like the developer tracks were often overfull at DCDC
[11:19am] gdemet: sorry, the "coder" track
[11:19am] farriss: can anyone share anecdotally what the attendance was like in the other tracks?
[11:21am] • farriss thinks that maybe we should do a survey to ask folks about session number and tracks since we don't have hard numbers for previous cons
[11:21am] gdemet:
[11:21am] jastraat: That's what I was going to suggest -
[11:21am] farriss: gdemet:
[11:22am] gdemet: one of the things that SXSW did last year after they had picked sessions was put up some proposed schedules and ask via an online survey which sessions attendees would be more likely to attend
[11:22am] farriss: gdemet: can you ask Hugh how successful that was?
[11:23am] gdemet: not a bad idea
[11:23am] gdemet: i will get in touch with him
[11:23am] farriss: anecdotally it seemed not to be fail-proof given your session
[11:23am] gdemet: true, attendance for some sessions was woefully under-estimated...
[11:24am] DamZ joined the chat room.
[11:25am] DamZ left the chat room. (Remote closed the connection)
[11:25am] mortendk joined the chat room.
[11:26am] wulff left the chat room. ("leaving")
[11:26am] webchick left the chat room. (
[11:26am] superfreshdk left the chat room. (
[11:26am] farriss left the chat room. (
[11:26am] McGo left the chat room. (
[11:26am] timhomewood left the chat room. (
[11:26am] cha0s left the chat room. (
[11:26am] jastraat:
[11:26am] amye_ joined the chat room.
[11:26am] gdemet: netsplit?
[11:26am] Druplicon: WhOoOoAaAa!
[11:26am] jastraat: Wow
[11:27am] jastraat: I was going to say that I agree with your idea of having post-session evaluations.
[11:27am] amye_:
[11:28am] gdemet: farriss should be back in a sec
[11:28am] amye_: NP. The internet here threw me off, so this might be much behind the flow of conversation.
[11:28am] cha0s_ joined the chat room.
[11:29am] farriss joined the chat room.
[11:29am] farriss: sorry about that
[11:29am] gdemet: farriss: here's what happened while you were out:
[11:29am] gdemet: jastraat:
[11:29am] gdemet: [11:26am] amye_ joined the chat room.
[11:29am] gdemet: [11:26am] gdemet: netsplit?
[11:29am] gdemet: [11:26am] Druplicon: WhOoOoAaAa!
[11:29am] gdemet: [11:26am] jastraat: Wow
[11:29am] gdemet: [11:27am] jastraat: I was going to say that I agree with your idea of having post-session evaluations.
[11:29am] gdemet: [11:27am] amye_:
[11:29am] gdemet: [11:28am] gdemet: farriss should be back in a sec
[11:29am] gdemet: [11:28am] amye_: NP. The internet here threw me off, so this might be much behind the flow of conversation.
[11:30am] gdemet: amye: looks like we had a netsplit
[11:30am] farriss: Ok, here's what I'm going to suggest: we adjourn this meeting and work offline in g.d.o to draft: a survey of potential drupalcon attendees and a session submission form that includes more questions.
[11:31am] farriss: I think the association has a surveymonkey that we can use.
[11:31am] farriss: jastraat: do you want to take a crack at drafting a post-session survey and post that on g.d.o?
[11:32am] timhomewood joined the chat room.
[11:32am] farriss: gdemet: can you work on a session submission draft that incorporates your ideas?
[11:32am] jastraat: I could do that -
[11:32am] jastraat:
[11:32am] farriss: jastraat: perfect! Thanks!
[11:32am] webchick joined the chat room.
[11:32am] farriss: jastraat:
[11:32am] gdemet: farriss: yes
[11:32am] jastraat: I have noticed one thing in previous Drupalcons -
[11:32am] superfreshdk joined the chat room.
[11:33am] jastraat: Sometimes there's nothing partially bad about a presentation
[11:33am] farriss: amye: can you take a pass at drafting a survey that helps us to hone in on how many sessions and which tracks we should offer?
[11:33am] jastraat: But depending on when it is scheduled, the traffic going in and out of the room can really be a detriment
[11:33am] amye_: farriss: Can do.
[11:34am] farriss: jastraat: agreed. I think if we do a bit of market research maybe we can do a better job of predicting which sessions are going to be blockbusters and which sessions should go head-to-head
[11:34am] andrewl joined the chat room.
[11:35am] farriss: jastraat: do you have any ideas of how we can help to mitigate that phenomenon
[11:35am] amye left the chat room. (Read error: 110 (Connection timed out))
[11:35am] amye_ is now known as amye.
[11:36am] mortendk left the chat room.
[11:36am] jastraat: I don't know how feasible this is, but it might be a good idea to address what constitutes good behavior when attending sessions
[11:36am] farriss: maybe at the opening session?
[11:37am] jastraat: I know if I was a speaker and a bunch of folks left publicly 5-10 minutes into my session, it would certainly be hard to continue.
[11:37am] jastraat: That's what I was thinking.
[11:37am] farriss: I don't think that should be a problem
[11:37am] farriss: Anyone else have any thoughts before we adjourn this session?
[11:37am] amye: jastraat: I'd take it as the people who were there actively wanted to be there.
[11:37am] jastraat: Better session descriptions could cut down on indecisiveness too
[11:38am] farriss: true.
[11:38am] amye: farriss: Did we answer the questions about business case vs strategy?
[11:38am] farriss: amye: nope, crickets
[11:38am] superfreshdk left the chat room.
[11:38am] gdemet:
[11:38am] farriss: gdemet:
[11:39am] gdemet: based on my own experience having given both "business" and "case study" sessions, it seems like that while we need sessions targeted at helping people run Drupal businesses, there's not enough of them to really warrant an entire track
[11:39am] gdemet: i.e., there's usually one or two "how do people run successful drupal business" panels, and that's about it
[11:40am] amye: gdemet: I'd get bored of an entire track of 'doing the numbers', but it's really apparent that we need some sort of 'project management' sessions.
[11:40am] gdemet: amye: +1 to that
[11:40am] amye: gdemet: However, most of the PMs don't come to DrupalCons with sessions to give, it's sort of sitting on the sidelines.
[11:41am] gdemet: that or most of the PMs are back at home making sure things keep running while the rest of the company is at Drupalcon...
[11:42am] farriss: personally I can think of other business-y sessions that the community needs: like understanding IP law or why what your contract says matters
[11:42am] farriss: but I'm not sure that is really why folks go to Drupalcon
[11:42am] gdemet: what if the business sessions were compressed into a single day, or afternoon?
[11:43am] farriss: so no matter how awesome or how relevant the sessions were, would people come?
[11:43am] gdemet: that way business folks wouldn't have to stay the whole time to get that material
[11:43am] farriss: gdemet: I think that would make sense. Let's see what the survey says.
[11:43am] farriss: gdemet: jastraat: amye: can you each have your drafts up on g.d.o by next Thursday as wiki pages?
[11:43am] jastraat: Sure - I'm doing something pretty short though
[11:43am] gdemet: i should be able to, yes
[11:44am] jastraat: Most folks aren't going to fill out anything too involved after every session.
[11:44am] farriss: exactly.
[11:44am] farriss: ok perfect. Did anyone not get affected by the netsplit? i.e. does anyone have a full transcript of the IRC discussion to post to g.d.o?
[11:44am] gdemet: farriss: i have a full transcript
[11:45am] farriss: gdemet: ok cool. Can you please post it under the meeting?
[11:45am] gdemet: will do
[11:45am] zorppopstar joined the chat room.
[11:45am] farriss: ok thanks folks. This week seems to be ending 15 minutes early (perhaps in penance for the overrun last meeting). Next meeting will be same bat time, same bat channel in two weeks
[11:46am] jastraat: Thanks Tiffany