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RIF Telecon etiquette (IMPORTANT - Please read)

From: Christopher Welty <welty@us.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005 12:04:56 -0500
To: public-rif-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFE2796BD1.F8C27DAE-ON852570DE.0058363C-852570DE.005DD5D2@us.ibm.com>

RIFers,

This is simply a huge working group in my experience and the telecons are 
going to be a real challenge to manage.  It is really quite critical that 
EVERYONE try to do the best job they can adhering to a set of accepted 
"good behaviors" while on the telecon.

1.  MUTE YOUR PHONE when you are not talking.  This is so important.  Many 
phones produce an echo, especially if you are using a speakerphone or a 
(cheap) headset, and pick up a lot of extraneous sounds that you might not 
even notice (breathing, typing, coughing, throat-clearing, moving your 
coffee mug, children, colleagues, doors closing, etc. etc.) but when 
combined with 50 other people on the call can cause interruptions, block 
out the speaker, and makes it especially difficult to understand people 
with different accents (I'm talking about the English, of course ;-)). 
Note that in some cases, muting your phone with a mute button does not 
clear up an echo, in which case you must use the Zakim mute feature (see 
subsequent message).

2. understanding some of the basics of Zakim is incredibly helpful.  Zakim 
is an "agent" that sits on the IRC session and also monitors the 
teleconferencing system.  It reports people joining and leaving the 
telecon, and can associate IRC nicknames with telecon ports.    When there 
is noise on the line, Zakim can help us identify the source, and if your 
phone doesn't have a mute button (or even if it does), Zakim can handle 
muting, and helps us to manage the speaking queue.  But in order for this 
to work properly, we have to know who is on each incoming phone line 
(port).  I will send out seperate instructions for using zakim, irc, and 
the telecon.  Full documentation of Zakim's commands are at: 
http://www.w3.org/2001/12/zakim-irc-bot.html

3. Identify yourself when you speak.  In many cases the chair will do this 
when he recognizes a speaker, but it is best to start with "This is ...".

4. Do not talk on and on, do not repeat yourself.  Do not give sermons. Do 
not advertise.  Several people in the group have already exhibited the 
tendency to say the same thing over and over, in a slightly different way 
each time.  With such a large group and 90 minute telecons, we do not have 
time for it.  The chairs will become increasingly "agressive" about 
cutting people off when we judge you are not adding new information.  Note 
that the point here is not to prevent people from speaking, but to make 
the information flow more optimal. If you have said your "peice" and are 
just restating it, you may be cut off.  Occasionally our judgement may be 
incorrect (i.e. someone listening may still not understand what was said), 
in which case it will be fine to try restating your point.  Don't be 
offended or take it personally if you get cut off. 

5. Use the IRC first.  There are many simple things you may want to say 
that is much more appropriately said on the IRC, the most common of which 
is "I agree with ...".  Try using the IRC for that instead (we are 
watching it).  The simple IRC notation for saying I agree is "+1".  This 
follows the previous point as well: in addition to not repeating yourself, 
it is also good practice not to repeat what someone else said, just so 
everyone knows you agree.  As with other things, this is not hard and 
fast, we must all use our best judgement.  But you will start to hear us 
challenge people, "are you adding something new here?".

6. If you are using a non-obvious IRC nickname (like your initials), 
please be sure to let the scribe know who you are. 

7. Watch the IRC session and, if you have spoken, check the scribe's 
record of it and correct your name or what was captured. 


This will be a learning process for many people, and I don't think even 
the most experienced of us has dealt with a group this large before, so 
bear with us.  Things will smooth out as time goes on.  Special thanks to 
Jeremy for agreeing to scribe our first telecon and providing some 
suggestions.

CC&S
Received on Wednesday, 21 December 2005 17:05:05 GMT

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