[Summit] Summit and FOSDEM post-mortem

JC Brand lists at opkode.com
Tue Feb 6 15:50:25 UTC 2018

Hi folks

I had a great time as well, thanks to everyone who made things happen.

I love the ideas that Seve mentioned in his email and want to help bring them
to realisation next time we're at a conference (either FOSDEM or something
else). Would coordination for this fall under the SCAM workgroup, or something

I have more replies inline below...

On Tue, Feb 06, 2018 at 09:04:11AM +0000, Dave Cridland wrote:
> On 5 February 2018 at 21:38, Severino <seve at openmailbox.org> wrote:

> Indeed - many thanks to Guus, Kev, Ralph and Edwin in particular.

hear hear!


> > 1) I think we should have an official (or not) FOSDEM MUC. A place where us
> > and other people could hang out. An interesting idea would be to place a QR
> > code to promote the MUC. I'm not aware of FOSDEM rules, but if we could
> > print some copies of the FOSDEM's MUC information (QR code) and put them on
> > some walls would be nice. It's not a big deal to remove them afterwards.
> Some estimates of the attendees come to ~14k, which might be tricky...
> But, we could also very easily mutate this idea in a couple of ways:
> a) Run a chatroom per devroom (and maybe, optionally, one per stand even).
> b) Have a bot to "broadcast" messages from FOSDEM itself to all the rooms.
> c) Have a JS chatroom app for anonymous access (we might tweak things
> to note these people are Anonymous).
> If we ran the service actually on the FOSDEM network, it might even
> work. It'd require a bit of agreement/support from FOSDEM themselves.

If we got buy-in from FOSDEM, we could potentially also advertise the MUCs via
their channels, for example via their website and by putting a QR code on
FOSDEM posters.

> > 2) In order to make people engage with XMPP, we could organize a raffle. The
> > idea would be, make people join the FOSDEM MUC and do a giveaway for
> > participants in it.
> > They would sign up using a bot on the MUC itself or just sending a message
> > to a particular JID.
> > This would make people get an actual JID if they don't have one already, and
> > let them discover XMPP by using it. If they enjoy the time on the MUC, I'm
> > sure they will keep XMPP in their minds.
> > For people that don't have an account nor a client, would be interesting to
> > have someone on the Real Time Lounge with a laptop to help people get an
> > account. We could grab a public server list or whatever. Also help them
> > getting a client to participate on the MUC. We could advertise this on the
> > posters from my previous thought 1).
> > I don't know what the gift could be, if I had an old laptop I would offer
> > it, or maybe collecting some money to buy one. This is just an idea, it can
> > be anything, this could be discussed if people like it.
> > But in any case the important thing of this is, that it would help us to
> > make some noise at FOSDEM and let people know about XMPP, and how cool it
> > is. Ideally, the giveaway would be done the last day or so, to retain people
> > joined for some time. The only issue on this would be the bad connection one
> > has in the building.
> Actually, a few raffles to give away a free t-shirt, and - if we're
> talking a bot - a raffle bot that stands could use to run their own
> would be pretty cool.

I like the idea of opening this up for other stands to participate, which has
the potential of generating even more buzz.

> (As far a bad connection goes - see above. I think it's the uplink
> that's overloaded, not the actual Wifi).
> > 3) An additional idea, would be to make a real time quiz on the FOSDEM MUC.
> > I don't know about what the prizes could be, and I haven't thought about the
> > topic, but it would be cool to just give some little things to winners. This
> > would make people participate actively on the MUC, making them enjoy the
> > time there and inviting some others, probably.

The VLC people did a great job at luring visitors and making their stand fun.
They had the "wheel of fortune" thing going. The prizes weren't expensive, they
were stickers and funny postcards, but they were good enough. I think the trick
is to have fun with it and to make the prizes exclusive, i.e. you can only get
something via the quiz.

We could perhaps set up a large screen which shows the MUC with the quiz bot,
so that people can watch and engage.
> Quizzes, rather than raffles, sometimes come under different laws.
> We'd need to check that for Belgium.

> > 4) We don't have any booklet about what XMPP is! We have the server setup
> > guide, but anything explaining what or why! We should definitely create a
> > booklet aimed to end users, to let them know what, why and how to use XMPP.
> > Some people don't want to install any server, just chat!
> > I'm thinking on some kind of diagram to explain federation (in a very quick
> > way, remember we talk about end users), and so on. Non techie, please!
> >
> I'm a sucker for a simple looping video. I liked Erlang Solution's one
> - it gives a compelling reason to hang around the stand.

Something that was funny/weird for me about the Erlang Solution's looping
video, was that they were criticising a "bad" solution before offering XMPP.

I started watching the video midway, and it was saying things like
"Doesn't scale", "Costs a lot of money" etc. It was a bit surreal, I looked at
the stand, and I saw XMPP everywhere, and then this video that says "Doesn't
scale", "Costs a lot of money". Obviously the video wasn't saying this about
XMPP, but it appeared that way in that moment. It was kinda funny, and shows
a pitfall when making such a video. In other words, it's much better to
emphasize your strengths, rather than pointing out the weaknesses of the
competition, since that might backfire when used out of context.

> > Also, the following one maybe is too humorous but just as an example that
> > there are plenty of things we can do, we could build FOSDEMatch, where
> > people could provide their jid and be matched with a potential partner to
> > find love using XMPP at FOSDEM :D
> >
> > Even if I'm joking, is just to say that we should try to make sure people
> > attending FOSDEM hears about XMPP.
> Totally agreed, these are awesome ideas.


Concerning the realtime lounge at FOSDEM. This year I wasn't convinced that we
were making the best use of space (especially on Saturday). We had two tables
but in effect only one was being used (because the other one was skew and
facing the lift/elevator). If we kept the original layout (which
admittedly didn't allow for the bean bags), then more people could have sat
behind the tables and we could have had more demonstrations.

The bean bags are a nice idea, but it didn't fully translate into reality for
me. I don't think I ever saw any visitors chilling at the bean bags, and I
personally didn't get a "lounge" atmosphere.

In light of this, I'd propose that we reconsider the layout next year. XMPP, IM
and IoT are interactive by nature, so by fully using the available table space
we could have more demonstrations and more room to, for example, help people to
create new accounts and join/view the FOSDEM MUCs.


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