Re: About the current a11y meeting and format

On Tue, 2010-09-07 at 12:13 -0700, Eitan Isaacson wrote:
Thanks API and all for doing these meetings. Sorry I rarely get to attend meetings, so my opinions should not be taken too seriously.

On Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 7:24 AM, Piñeiro <apinheiro igalia com> wrote:

During the last meeting [1], we were discussing about the current
status of the weekly meetings, and we conclude that we need the input
of more people. So:

 1. Timetable? We concluded that it wouldn't require to debate that,
   as we have already discussed and tried several different
   timetables. But just to confirm that.

I get very confused as to when meetings are, and it seems like the times accommodate European/Eastern hours better than Pacific hours, which is fine. What would really help me, is if we had an ICS or Google calendar with the meeting schedule for the next few months. UTC is also a confusing timezone.

We actually do have an ICS file that I posted on my server a while back (and will probably need to be updated soon.)  However, I'd like to get this hosted directly on GNOME's servers in a way that we all can update rather than just me (the single point of massive failure at all times, heh)   I just have put this on a backburner and should probably revisit this todo soon.

 2. We still need weekly meeting? In some way this is somewhat a
   overkill, and it is clear that due the timetable, there are some
   meetings really empty. But, in the same way, if we made that
   bi-weekly, due the timetable some people will just attend one
   meeting per month.

Well, here's another idea we could do.   The three people who pretty much diligently attend every meeting whenever possible are API, Joanie and myself in our varied leadership roles.  That means the "weekly" is more taxing on us than on most other people.   What if we had both timezones in the same weeks?

Example:  Tuesday is the 07:00 UTC meeting, Thursday is the 10:00 UTC meeting.  Then two weeks later, same cycle.    In this way, while we three would still be attending the 4 meetings a month, they're narrowed down to two weeks.

Also, I'd like to say that while recent meetings seemed sparse at the 07:00 UTC hour, we did have reasonable attendance at the start.   I'll dive into the possible reasons more specifically below, but generally speaking, I would not assume a particular hour is a failure due to a recent period of weeks or months.   There are lots of time-related reasons why people won't be attending solidly throughout the year.   Summer is definitely a meeting killer, especially in Europe where people tend to have long holidays.

I haven't attended enough meetings to judge, if folks that hold it think it's worthwhile that's great. I think it is a bit overkill, but I am not really informed.
 3. Current format: perhaps the more problematic point on the
   meeting. Some people felt that the current format is too detailed,
   and that we should orient the meeting to an agenda-item-update.

While wiki additions to encourage meeting discussions are a good tool, they're never used effectively in just about any meeting I've ever attended out there.  Thus, I would not consider that a reflection of lack of interest.   Most people in general are followers and will have their interest piqued when there's good well-managed discussions they consider relevant to them.

Meetings exist on IRC for two reasons.  1) Obviously, they are times when existing team members get together to talk and come to some conclusions and 2) Meetings *should* attract newcomers that could potentially be new users or contributors to our efforts.  People come by to listen and observe and if something piques their interest, they might dip their feet further into the waters.  So yeah, meetings are as much a marketing effort as they are a technical effort.

So, while format is important because it offers structure, good effective meetings also rely on good meeting leadership (or moderation.)  In other words, a meeting needs to be led by a person with a good bird's eye overview of the overall state of the team's domain, in this case GNOME Accessibility.  In this case, it is important to ensure that the meetings do not become too narrow.  (e.g., we've spent a lot of time lately talking about the upcoming hackfest, but if meeting attendees aren't going, they're probably not interested in hearing about it.)    So, you want to keep as broad a view as possible for these meetings.   High-level, quick status reports on each topic, and ensure there's at least one topic that has bearing on everyone in the community. 

Alejandro has done a good job thus far, and undoubtedly, its not easy.   Effective meeting management is indeed a skill that takes time to develop and I think Alejandro is getting into his groove more and more lately.  We just have to think "bird's eye view broadly" whenever we're planning the agenda.  I don't think that it is "format" that we need to change, but rather to keep working at and finessing how we drive the agenda.   It will be smooth sailing in time, this I'm sure of.

The other thing I would like to do, which is once again a question for GNOME infrastructure, like above with the ICS file hosting, is to host a meetbot on GNOME's IRC network.   I can tell you that since I started using a meetbot in meetings I've led this year, my life has become 1,000% better!  It will automate so many functions of the meeting and give better information repositories to both attendees and non-attendees.

Somehow, I think that after the upcoming Hackfest, we're going to be able to better define what the meeting agenda should include.

That's my opinion.

Bryen M Yunashko
GNOME-A11y Outreach

So, lets debate.

Opinions? Debate?

I will use this mail to share my personal opinions.

1. Ok for me
2. I think that worths the weekly meeting.

3. I personally pointed on the previous meeting that the reason this
  wouldn't work is that nobody is editing the shared weekly meeting
  and proposing items. So if we find a meeting with just 2 items, we
  have two options. Or a 10 minutes agenda-item-update a11y meeting,
  or just use the time to talk about it, as, after all, we were there
  to talk about it, and enter into detail if required.

  YES, probably a agenda-item-update oriented a11y meeting will be
  better. Problem: there aren't enough items on the agenda for that.



API (apinheiro igalia com)
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