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RIPE 84 Programme Committee Meeting

Wednesday, 18 May 2022


PC Chair: Franziska Lichtblau
PC Members: Peter Hessler, Dmitry Kohmanyuk, Franziska Lichtblau, Wolfgang Tremmel, Jan Žorž

RIPE Chair: Mirjam Kuehne

RIPE NCC Staff: Hisham Ibrahim, Marita Phelan, Alexandra Vos

Minutes: Boris Duval

Franziska welcomed the participants to the meeting.

1) Impressions from RIPE 84 (onsite and remote)

Alexandra Vos shared that the Meetecho platform was working well.

Jan reported that some presenters were complaining about a delay caused by the slide clicker.

Alexandra said there was always a delay with the clicker for onsite meetings.

Franziska asked if any of the people following the online meeting were using the Q&A.

Hisham replied that he had seen some people using it.
Alexandra said that the number of absentees was similar to that of other meetings, but that some people had had to cancel because of COVID-19.

Jan asked Alexandra if this was the first RIPE Meeting she had organised on her own.

Alexandra answered in the affirmative and received a round of applause from the PC.

Franziska asked Marita if there were any technical problems to report.

Marita began by saying that there was a good atmosphere at the meeting, with people happy to be back at a RIPE Meeting in person. She noted that some presenters had small problems with the slides and sharing their screen via Meetecho and some problems with the RIPE 84 website related to Safari and screen size. She also reported that participants were evaluating the presentations, which was positive.

Dmitry proposed a technical solution to Marita to solve the screen size problem of the RIPE 84 website.

Dmitry reported that the meeting was well attended. He also noted that most of the questions came from the audience present and not so much from those participating remotely. He also indicated that three microphones, a text queue and an audio queue might be too much for the chairs to monitor.

Peter proposed to make the online queue more visible to presenters.

Hisham said the initial idea was to have everyone in the same queue via the Meetecho Lite app.

Jan said that it was complicated to know who was first because some people did not use the application and went straight to the microphone.
Peter said that the meeting was going well overall. However, he noted that he wished people were taking COVID-19 more seriously.

Mirjam replied that the masks that were available at the registration desk had gone out but that few people were wearing them.

Peter said that he had received comments about the size of the slots, as the working groups had slots of different lengths, which was strange for some people. He also said that some people were unhappy with the distribution of condoms by BCIX at one of the social events and that this was part of a wider set of problems experienced at RIPE Meetings.

Mirjam mentioned that they had spoken to the sponsor beforehand and warned them that this could backfire.

Peter also said that it was relatively easy not to drink alcohol at social events as the venue offered good alternatives and that the meeting organisation should probably stress a little more that it was socially acceptable not to drink alcohol.

Peter shared that the plenary sessions were appreciated but one person mentioned that there were too many presentations on DNS. Franziska said she had heard the same comment about RPKI and suggested that they should consider grouping the presentations by topic.

Peter said that the PC should also look at the feedback from participants to see what could be done in terms of planning. Dmitry proposed to add this question to the feedback survey.

Mirjam mentioned that the changes in the calendar were due to the General Meeting being moved earlier at the request of the Executive Board, but that this could still be reviewed.

Peter mentioned that the problem with the slots had more to do with the difference in size allocated to each slot rather than the fact that they were shorter.

Dmitry said that as a chair you should not log in to the Meetecho Lite application as it automatically downgraded you to participant status in Meetecho. He also indicated that he would like to be able to detach the Q&A panel in Meetecho.

Regarding the Meetecho Lite app, Alexandra said that this was because chairs were upgraded manually.

Franziska shared that people were generally very happy to come back to a RIPE Meeting in person and that they did not ask too many controversial questions. She added that the queue for questions was not too difficult to manage and that new participants were impressed by the meeting and felt welcome. However, she received feedback from Emile Aben that some newcomers found it difficult to submit a presentation.

Jan mentioned that if some PC members could not attend the meeting, alternatives should be put in place as otherwise it was too much work for the remaining PC members. He also commented that the Meetecho queue worked surprisingly well.

Wolfgang said that chairing a session was relatively easy technically, but suggested getting rid of the Meetecho audio queue, as it might be easier to handle text-only questions.

Franziska replied that as not many people used it, it might be interesting to have this option open as it was not too complicated to handle.

Wolfgang noted that having a standing table helped him to monitor Meetecho on his laptop during the session, but that a simple monitor showing Meetecho could also be very useful.

Alexandra shared that some participants used the Meetecho Lite application to chat with other people.

Wolfgang said he also used it for chatting, but had to close the video for it to work.

Mirjam said that the PC had done a great job so far, considering the lack of PC members onsite. She also heard positive comments about the content and the general atmosphere. Mirjam also noted that there were many more students than usual because they have received free tickets. Some LIRs also used their free tickets to give to students.

Jan asked about the status of the RACI and the RIPE fellowship, as they did not take place at this meeting.

Hisham replied that it was complicated to carry out these two initiatives at the moment because of COVID-19 as the participants might get sick while travelling, which would cause a lot of problems as the RIPE NCC was responsible for them.

Mirjam noted that there was still some confusion about how to submit presentations and said that it might be easier to have a more transparent system.

Franziska suggested asking experienced presenters in the community to help guide potential new presenters through the submission system. She added that this could also be a good first point of contact.
Jan also proposed to make a video to explain the submission system.

Peter asked if Franziska already had a list of people who would be available to do this. Franziska replied that she did.

Dmitry mentioned that some new presenters may not know that they had to pay for their tickets.

Franziska suggested adding a disclaimer to the acceptance template.

Mirjam mentioned that offering a ticket to presenters could change the type of presentations you get.

Peter said that it is now quite normal for meeting organisers to offer free entry to speakers and that they sometimes also paid for travel and food. He added that RIPE could at least offer a ticket to people who submit a presentation.

Dmitry proposed to offer tickets to the presenters as an option if they could not pay themselves so that they could still attend the meeting.

Mirjam mentioned that this issue was raised from time to time and could be discussed further.

Franziska mentioned that in the past the PC thought that people would submit a presentation just to get a free ticket but she added that the PC could always decide not to give free entry if the presentation was terrible. Peter agreed and proposed to share his experience at other conferences regarding this topic.

Mirjam said that we could always discuss this with the RIPE NCC.

Hisham said that the content was excellent and that there was a strong participation in the plenary session. Regarding presentations, he said that some working groups published their agendas very late and that sometimes there was no call for presentations.

One of the negative comments he heard was the lack of diversity in terms of speakers.

Jan replied that this reflected the presentations they received.

Wolfgang shared that he did not deliberately look at a presenter's name when reviewing a presentation.

Hisham also asked if the speaker rating could be a problem when selecting speakers as this might introduce a bias.

Franziska said that the PC ranked the content and then filtered the submission ratings when they had calls to talk about the content but that the speaker rating was never used.

2) Talk shortage / attracting new speakers/ process clarification

Regarding the talk shortage for this meeting, Franziska shared that she was expecting more submissions.

Peter replied that he wasn’t expecting a lot of talks as due to COVID-19 a lot of people didn’t have the time to put together presentations.

Jan shared that the NANOG PC was having the opposite issue with too much content to choose from. Jan also mentioned that the PC did approach some community members to get extra talks.

Dmitry proposed to measure submissions version presentations from this meeting and past meetings to get a better understanding of the evolution.

Franziska said that this could be improved at the next meeting and suggested asking PC members to engage their personal communities to try to motivate people to submit presentations.

3) General participation within the PC

Franziska opened a discussion on PC participation and mentioned that it would be good to have an option to remove a PC member if there was no response from them for a very long time. She also stated that the lack of participation of PC members degraded the experience of others attending the meeting as the PC was forced to do less.

Mirjam mentioned that it was possible to remove a PC member for lack of participation, but that it was a complicated process.

4) PC voting in a hybrid meeting world

Franziska mentioned that voting for the PC in a hybrid situation should be reviewed and proposed to give the right to vote only to participants who are checked-in.

Peter added that with the current system, it was trivial to generate many RIPE NCC Access accounts to vote.

Marita mentioned that few people checked in online, even though this option existed.

Alexandra said that in order to vote in the NRO elections, people must first check in, which could be an alternative.

5) AOB

Mirjam asked if there was any feedback on the diversity of the PC candidates.

Peter mentioned that there were some younger candidates but that this was not enough to be considered as diversity.

Franziska said that she wanted to correct some things in the PC, so that the person replacing her would not face the same problems. She said that Jan and Brian's presence in the PC was really useful because they have a lot of knowledge, but that it might be good to write down some of it.

Mirjam asked if anyone remembered what happened with the local host representative role.

Wolfgang shared that he was the original local host representative for RIPE 80 and then chose to run for the PC elections.

Alexandra said that she would be looking into the exact role and expectations of the local host representative.

Jan mentioned that there was a document on the expectations of PC members and suggested perhaps reviewing it periodically.

Jan asked about the status of ENOG and the ENOG representative.

Hisham replied that he would talk about it during his presentation to the community plenary. He mentioned that ENOG 19 has been postponed for the moment and that it was not the role of the RIPE NCC to stop ENOG. He said that technically ENOG has not been dissolved and that there would be further discussion at RIPE 85. He added that for the moment the seat of the ENOG representative was empty.

Dmitry mentioned that the ENOG chair and co-chair had stepped down after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.