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RIPE 86 Working Group Chair Meeting Summary

25 May 2023
Rotterdam Ahoy

Ignas Bagdonas, Erik Bais, Markus de Brün, Massimo Candela, Ben Cartwright-Cox, Rob Evans, Ondrej Filip, Will van Gulik, Julf Helsingius, Paul Hoogsteder, Raymond Jetten, James Kennedy, Florence Lavroff, Jen Linkova, Remco van Mook, Moritz Müller, Marcos Sanz, Peter Steinhäuser, Benedikt Stockebrand, Stephen Strowes, William Sylvester, Willem Toorop, Leo Vegoda, Denis Walker, Peter Wehrle, Martin Winter

RIPE Chair Team: Mirjam Kühne, Niall O’Reilly
RIPE NCC staff: Antony Gollan, Marita Phelan, Alexandra Vos
Scribe: Kjerstin Burdiek

1. Welcome

Mirjam welcomed new WG Chairs Peter Wehrle (Internet of Things) and Ben Cartwright-Cox (Routing). She also thanked outgoing Chairs Sandoche Balakrichenan (Internet of Things) and Job Snijders (Routing).

2. General Feedback from RIPE 86

There was general agreement that the meeting had gone well with no major issues. However, there were a number of small issues that were noted. First, there had been some technical problems. In one morning session, the clicker had malfunctioned and moved presenters’ slides in both meeting rooms. The chairs also noted that the microphones were not automatically kept on during sessions so that they had to motion to the technical staff to turn the microphones on any time they wanted to speak. This made it difficult to moderate speakers who had gone over time or to interject with comments. There was a delay even when the microphone was turned on, wasting time as speakers had to pause before they could speak. Sometimes the microphone could not be heard in the room but could be heard on Meetecho, creating some hot mic issues, and there were only two microphones, while some sessions had three chairs. Another concern was that there were few power strips in the room so few people could charge their laptops during the sessions.

There was some discussion about how to best manage queues for the Q&As at the end of sessions. It was hard to keep track of the order between the Meetecho queue and the in-person queue at the microphone. Some chairs expressed interest in having a numbered queue in Meetecho and the ability to close the queue there as well. It was suggested that in sessions with two chairs, one could monitor the in-person queue and the other the Meetecho queue. Another suggestion was to have a screen behind the presenter showing Meetecho. It was also noted that chairs could tell attendees to sit down if they started queuing at the start of a talk or queued several times in one Q&A. In general, there were still challenges with remote participation. Some chairs wanted a way to carry out humming remotely. Others wanted to have a camera facing the audience so remote attendees felt more involved, but RIPE NCC staff noted that there could be legal complications with this. Some chairs felt that incorporating co-chairs who started virtually or carrying out the mentoring remotely was very difficult.

Regarding the venue, the chairs thought that the meeting rooms were a good size and layout. There was plenty of space outside of the meeting rooms to have conversations. However, there were not a lot of quiet areas to sit and do work. This problem was exacerbated by the fact the hotel was separate from the venue, so attendees could not simply go to their rooms to do work. The hotel being separate also caused attendees to lose some meeting time to commuting and made it harder to socialise, especially after the days’ sessions ended and attendees were asked to leave by venue staff. The venue was located rather far from restaurants as well. At lunchtime there were long queues, and food sometimes ran out. Some chairs suggested a self-service buffet would be faster than having venue staff serving attendees. Another major concern was the lack of clear information about what ingredients were in the food, presenting a problem for attendees with dietary concerns or allergies. There had also not been enough water available.

Another main topic discussed was the agenda. On a positive note, there had been a high number of talk submissions this year. There was some criticism of the content; some chairs felt one of the Plenary talks had been controversial, and others felt that there were too many vendors pushing a product. Chairs did praise the abundance of RACI content. For the Working Group sessions, several chairs expressed a desire to give each Working Group 90 minutes rather than some being left with 60, though some chairs were fine with the shorter slots. Shorter slots sometimes ran into the break, as there was a lot of content to cover. It was suggested that chairs could note other Working Groups they did not want to run alongside theirs, as this could force attendees to choose between sessions with similar content. Another solution was for Working Groups to hold remote interim sessions to cover some content outside of RIPE Meetings. Mirjam noted the shorter sessions were the result of the RIPE NCC General Meeting being moved to an earlier slot. She was discussing this with the RIPE NCC Executive Board and would share this group's feedback with them.

A lot of positive feedback chairs had received had come from newcomers, several of whom stated that the community was very welcoming despite its large size. One suggestion to bring in even more newcomers was to allow people to state their age group when registering so this demographic data could be tracked and to link to Working Group pages from the meeting plan, so newcomers could get up to speed on the discussions. It would also be good for chairs to have their Working Group listed on their badges. Chairs were encouraged to send in their agendas early next time and to ask speakers for biographies and presentation abstracts so the meeting plan would be more informative.

3. AOB

Several chairs announced they would soon be stepping down, and the Address Policy Working Group had changed its term limit to three years to better stagger chairs’ terms. The RIPE Programme Committee was also selecting new members and had a number of candidates to choose from, and it was noted that Working Group chairs could use the same talk submission system that the Programme Committee used to help influence the meeting plan.

A proposal was put forward to link Working Group sessions in the meeting plan to the respective Working Group's webpage. This proposal was accepted by the RIPE Chair Team.