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RIPE 86 Programme Committee Meeting


PC Chair: Franziska Lichtblau

PC Members:
Alexander Azimov, Dmytro Kohmanyuk, Brian Nisbet, Moin Rahman, Massimiliano Stucchi, Wolfgang Tremmel, Jan Žorž

RIPE Chair Team: Mirjam Kühne, Niall O’Reilly

RIPE NCC staff: Marita Phelan, Alexandra Vos

Minutes: Kjerstin Burdiek

  1. Feedback from RIPE 86

The PC discussed feedback about the Opening Plenary, which featured a talk some attendees found controversial. Others had praised the schedule of this session. Another presentation topic, on geolocation, had received some mixed responses, indicating this was a topic to be mindful of going forward. There was positive feedback about how chairs had managed their sessions throughout the meeting.

Newcomers especially had been enthusiastic about the meeting programme, and this meeting had received many presentation submissions. Attendees were very diverse as well. Some veteran community members had said they would like to see more technical topics in the opening plenary, but several PC members felt it was more useful to keep the plenary general in nature. Technical topics would fit better in Working Group sessions.

  1. The meeting venue

The PC had received some negative feedback about the meeting venue and hotel(s) being separate. Offering passes for public transportation had made this easier, as there was good available transportation and hotels not far away from the venue. PC members noted that there were good gathering spaces at the venue in the coffee break area, but there were not many workspaces, which was a bigger challenge when attendees could not easily go back to their hotel rooms to work. One PC member suggested reminding attendees when they checked in to check in for the GM as well and also letting them know that face masks and COVID-19 tests were available.

The venue’s meeting rooms were praised for their size and layout but criticised for their lack of power banks to charge laptops. However, the side room functioned well as an overflow room to work and watch presentations. The chairs and tables for session chairs were a nice addition. The PC discussed the microphone placement for the audience and decided it was better to keep microphones close to the stage so speakers could see them and stenographers could quickly get audience members’ names and affiliations.

The PC noted there were a number of issues regarding lunch. Lunch was served by staff, not by attendees serving themselves, leading to long queues. Food sometimes ran out and was not properly labelled with its ingredients, creating concerns for attendees with allergies or other dietary restrictions.

  1. Meeting planning and the PC

The PC discussed when they should inform submitters about whether their presentations had been accepted. Some people would need advance notice in order to plan their meeting attendance. However, the PC did not want to have too much back-and-forth with submitters. The group considered having talks on standby should one presentation fall through, but as not many presenters would accept being on standby, they decided it would be acceptable to miss a slot if someone became unavailable at the last minute.

One attendee had asked for the PC to be more transparent about its members’ performances. The group discussed if voting records could be a solution to this, but they decided this was unnecessary as there was already a quota for PC members to vote on proposed talks. For attendees who wanted a better idea of which PC members to vote for in elections, it was recommended that they reach out directly to PC members about their voting decisions and ask them about their reasons to run again.

One PC member brought up the PC mailing list and requested that the group be asked for permission before new people were added, which other PC members agreed with. Several PC members also noted that a community member had been questioning new candidates for the PC to the point the candidates felt uncomfortable. Two PC members agreed to speak to this community member and request that this person stop, as their behaviour could intimidate potential candidates.

The group discussed the election for new PC members. It was noted there would be a runoff election since there were five candidates. Additionally, the group considered whether to keep the option to nominate others, as in some cases it seemed people were nominated without their consent or even knowledge. They decided it could be better to only allow people to nominate themselves.

The PC next discussed the meeting submission system. Marita Phelan shared that the RIPE NCC was too busy with transitioning a number of web services to create a new submission system but could make some changes to the current system if needed. In the meantime, the PC should share what features they would like, such as ones from the tool Pretalx that the PC had recommended at RIPE 85. Several PC members mentioned desirable features, such as hidden submitters’ ratings to avoid bias and more fields to denote the type of talk. It was also suggested to remove the length options for talks. The PC discussed whether they should be able to make changes to the meeting plan directly, but as this was not possible without access to editing the whole meeting website, the group decided this was not a good idea. Marita said she would share a test instance of the updated submission system for the PC members to try out.

  1. AOB

The PC thanked Franziska Lichtblau for her work as chair. They discussed the process for electing a new PC chair.

The PC also agreed to open the call for presentations for the next RIPE Meeting directly after RIPE 86. They would need to send a reminder in several months. The PC then planned to finalise the lightning talks in the programme after lunch and closed the meeting.