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RIPE 87 Programme Committee Meeting

Date: Wednesday, 29 November 2023


PC Chair: Massimiliano Stucchi

PC Members: Alexander Azimov, Doris Hauser, Dmitry Kohmanyuk, Brian Nisbet, Antonio Prado, Moin Rahman, Khalid Samara, Wolfgang Tremmel, Clara Wade, Jan Žorž

RIPE Chair Team: Mirjam Kühne

RIPE NCC Staff: Sandra Gijzen, Phill Oldham, Marita Phelan, Wan Min Huang

Minutes: Ulka Athale

1. Feedback from RIPE 87

The overall feedback about the agenda was really positive and the talks were largely of high quality. While people want to see topics of interest with the latest buzzwords, it’s important that these are also from an operator perspective and not just from the academic one. The Rob Blokzijl Award Committee thanked the PC for being flexible in adjusting the agenda timings to accommodate the ceremony on Monday instead of on Thursday as originally scheduled.

2. The Meeting Venue

The Main Room had only one row of tables and very few power sockets. Sandra clarified that the power supply in the Main Room was not as stable as the Tech Team would have liked, leading to the power outage on Tuesday morning, and as a consequence it was not possible to add more charging points.

The venue was a bit spread out, which meant that the coffee break area was a few minutes away from the Main Room making it harder for people to take short breaks and to get the audience into the rooms when breaks ended. The overall accessibility could have been improved, but it was good to see a ramp provided to make sure the stage was accessible. The location of the hotel was not the best, and better connectivity would have been appreciated.

The meeting felt a bit inaccessible, particularly to students, and funding options such as student tickets and Fellowships should be advertised more. The RIPE NCC should also take on board the suggestion to allow the community to fund tickets for others. Sandra clarified that this was being looked into.

3. Opening the Call for Presentations Early

There was agreement that it had been good to open the call for presentations early. There had been high quality submissions. It was pointed out that that the PC often passes on relevant submissions to Working Groups, but do Working Groups also pass on talks that might be interesting for the plenary? It was clarified that this takes place more informally, and often speakers are told to submit their proposals directly via the PCSS, which means that all PC members might not be aware that the talk was initially submitted to a Working Group.

4. New Submission System

The RIPE NCC Web Services team are busy working on migrating the website and consolidating their tech stack to python and Wagtail. This means they will move away from Plone and Wordpress over 2024. A new Programme Committee Submission System (PCSS) will definitely be required by RIPE 90. Their next big project after the migration is choosing and if needed developing a new PCSS. Pretalx, Indico and NANOG’s system are all being considered, but preference would be given to an open source and free system. Marita reminded the PC to participate in trialling the different systems so that a sound evaluation can be made.

5. Feedback for Proposers

People whose talks are rejected often want to understand why their talk was not accepted. Mirjam suggested providing more feedback to presenters so that they do not get discouraged from submitting proposals in the future. This feedback was shared in the past but as the number of submissions has grown it can’t just be left to the Chair and should be distributed.

Another presenter’s talk was rejected during the first call and they received a standardised email rejecting the talk owing to the high number of submissions. However, the second call was opened shortly thereafter, leading to confusion about why the talk was rejected. One was to send rejection emails after the second call, while another suggestion was to share some of the feedback that the PC leaves as comments while selecting talks. Also discussed was to have a list of reasons why talks are typically not accepted, and to share the reasons relevant to that talk with the submitter. This could be set up as a template, minimising the workload while still providing relevant and timely information to the talk submitter.

6. PC Open Hour before RIPE 88

There was positive feedback for opening the CfP early, and it is worth considering opening it early for RIPE 88 as well. Given the long duration of time ahead of the meeting, would it be worth having an Open House session for the Programme Committee? This could help clarify things for newcomers, e.g. a Presenting at RIPE Meetings 101 or perhaps have office hours.

7. Deadlines for Lightning Talks and BoFs

The deadlines for accepting Lightning Talks and BoFs need to be thought through a bit more carefully. One presenter’s travel plan was contingent on their talk being accepted, and as lightning talks are accepted very late, this could create issues. Other conferences are a bit earlier with accepting Lightning Talks. One potential solution is to accept the Lightning Talks for the Monday and Tuesday slots in advance, and those on Friday in the week before the meeting. There should thus be four deadlines – two for plenary talks and two for lightning talks. The PC also needs to ensure its diligence in rating talks in advance of the deadlines

8. AOB

8.1 PC and Working Group Hats

It was clarified that a PC member can also serve as a Working Group Chair and vice versa. If the community feels that roles are being concentrated, this can be changed.

8.2 PC Wiki

There was a PC wiki that can be used for internal templates, but a lot of the information has since been moved to public webpages. Max suggested reviewing and possibly reviving the wiki for the PC’s internal use.

8.3 Feedback for Working Group Chairs

It would be good to get more information in advance about planned rotations and term limits.

Outgoing PC members Alexander Azimov and Dmytro Kohmanyuk were thanked for their contributions.

The meeting was adjourned.