Speaking as a working group chair, what is important to me is the
ability to make progress on the milestones the working group is
committed to achieve. Traveling to some far away location in order
to fill the seats with spectators does not result in work being
accomplished. I require that not only can I afford to travel there
but that the half dozen active participants be able to do so as well.
We are already at the point where I and others are experimenting
with methods to improve the capabilities of remote participants to
actively partake in the working group sessions.
My belief is that working group sessions should avoid presentations
whenever possible. The working group gets two hours of face to face
time every four months. I'm not going to waste that time on
presentations meant to instruct the locals and if you don't know what
is going on before you arrive in the meeting room chances are you will
not be able to contribute in a meaningful way.
At IETF66 the Kitten, Kerberos and SASL working groups used a format
that involved wandering microphones in the audience to permit natural
dialogs among the active contributors in the room similar to that
experienced at any technical design meeting while ensuring that those
listening on the audio stream do not miss a beat. At the same time
the Jabber room was projected on a second display in order to enable
all of the participants in the meeting room to see the input of those
not physically present. This model worked so well in fact that in
SASL one of the primary document authors who was not present at the
meeting was able to lead the discussion with him typing away on
Jabber and the rest of the room responding via voice.
When I attend IETF it is rare that I ever get to experience the world
outside the conference hotel. My days are filled from breakfast
meetings to late night work sessions. There is so much that needs to
be done that I could care less about where in the world I am or what
the weather is like outside. What is important is that when I am not
in a session that there be lounges in the hotel for to use for meetings
that have working network access. For me Paris and Montreal were the
two worst meetings I have experienced in ten years because of the
separation of the IETF hotel from the meeting locations and the in
ability to provide network access in the hotel public spaces. My
productivity dropped significantly because of those failures.
The best IETF meetings from my perspective are those held in
Minneapolis. The hotel understands what we need. The lounge and bar
areas are smoke free and plentiful. There is accessible food via the
habitrails. Things just work.
To summarize, before the IETF should visit new countries folks from
those countries need to participate on the mailing lists and begin to
actively involve themselves reviewing documents and editing documents.
That is the work we do. Traveling to Casablanca is not going to help
get the work done.
The one piece of evidence that might change my opinion would be this.
Show me evidence that first time attendees at a local meeting results
in those attendees editing a document and becoming repeat attendees
in the future.
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