I sent this out on 1999-05-06... Comments welcome.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RFC: a meta-schedule, of sorts, for the group [long] Date: Thu, 06 May 1999 10:51:36 -0400 From: "John M. Klassa" <email@example.com> Mornin', Megan Alexander, who recently volunteered to help plan RPM events, has been doing a bit of brainstorming. She's laid out some of her thoughts in what follows... I think this is good stuff -- worth implementing. What do y'all think? In the interest of keeping volume on this list low, so that some of you aren't tempted to run, screaming, for the doors :-), please reply directly to me and Megan (my reply-to should be set appropriately; if not, her address is firstname.lastname@example.org). We'll either summarize the feedback we get, or will send out one, huge digest (to spare y'all a constant dribble of mail into your mailboxes). Thanks, John == Proposal == We are thinking of devising a list of categories for presentations so that each proposed topic can fit in a category. The reason we are doing this is because we would like to better organize the presentations and figure out what kind of programming (discussions, presentations, panels, etc) to offer at meetings. We are thinking that by organizing our topics into categories, we will better be able to: 1. ensure variety in topics 2. think of more ideas 3. find speakers more easily 4. ensure variety in presentation format 5. plan for speakers in advance Here are the 5 categories we came up with for starters: 1. perl language and internals - symbol table, lexical analysis, features of the next version of perl, references 2. perl and other languages - java, cross platform, tk, comparisons to other langs 3. perl and software engineering concepts - OO, optimization, maintainability, security, perl and (fill in operating system here) 4. perl as a tool - using perl for automation, for graphics, for web stuff, whatever 5. perl frontiers - cool, new, exciting stuff Does this general framework make sense for most of the topics people have wanted to present in the past? Is is fairly scalable for new topic ideas? Do your topic ideas that you have had in the past fit into one of these categories? Does anyone see other categories, categories that can be combined, etc while still keeping the number of total categories low, no more than 4 or 5. This doesn't have to be a perfect list, but just a general framework. The basic idea is that we could eventually move to an organization like this: Every month we could do a longer presentation on a topic from one of the categories #1-4 (on a rotation), and a 10 minute quickie on #5 (perl frontiers). This way we are guaranteed to have a variety of topics and not get too heavy in one area. If we like this, then we can start now - May's meeting is from category #3 (OO), so that means June's meeting should be something about"perl as a tool" (category #4). The next meeting after that will be about something from the "internals" category, the next meeting about "perl and other languages", etc etc down the list. Any time we don't have a speaker, we can either do a social hour and a moderated group discussion, OR some other kind of group thing. For example, suppose we don't have any speakers for "perl as a tool" this time around. We can instruct everyone in advance to bring a 5 minute description of their favorite cool perl program that accomplished a particular task. Then we can discuss each of them for 5 minutes. This way people can show off their own stuff and learn from others. The key is that the discussions are moderated - that will ensure that everyone gets something worthwhile out of the meeting. Plus it takes the pressure off of just one person having to present every month. Every month we'll have a brief, 10 minute FAQ or announcement about something cool and new from category #5. This brief peek into the cutting edge might give people ideas for things they would like to discuss in the next month's meeting, or in an upcoming meeting on that related category. Categorizing our topics will help people decide if they can talk on a particular issue or not. Also, by grouping our talks, it will give people the motivation to place particular topics in a category and to think up topics that address a particular category. Make sure we are well-rounded and force us to think about different topics - branch out and try new things. Also, it guarantees at least 2 presentations from each category per year. So people can't say we're not addressing their needs. Finally, some topics are better suited to a panel, others to a round-robin discussion, others to a single presenter, etc., so by categorizing these, we will avoid getting into a rut of always doing single presenters, always doing discussions... Comments? == End of Proposal == -- John Klassa / Alcatel USA / Raleigh, NC, USA