[kwlug-disc] Review: Short presentation night

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Wed Jun 9 13:48:42 EDT 2010

On Tue, Jun 08, 2010 at 11:19:48AM -0400, Richard Weait wrote:

> What did you think?

It was okay, but if Richard had not kept his presentation to five
minutes then it would have been pretty bad. I know I went overtime and
I feel bad about that. 

I liked the presentations a lot, though. I was not expecting to be as
engaged by them as I was. 

> Were the topics too different and thus no audience was served adequately?

To some degree. I talked with another newbie yesterday and he found
that he did not get too much out of the presentations. However, he
also appreciated the enthusiasm the group showed during the

On the other hand, I personally found that the diversity of topics
(and presentation styles) worked pretty well. 

> Did the diversity of topics provide something for everyone?

It's not clear to me. The newbie I was talking with felt that he
related most to the screen presentation because he uses the command
line a little. But I got the impression that all of the topics may
have been over his head, which surprised me. 

I have read through the other threads advocating multiple
presentations on the basis that there is something for everyone. I can
see that point, but if you are coming only for one out of three
presentations you might be bored by the others. If there is one topic
then you either come or you make a decision not to come. 

> How soon should we consider doing another short topic night?

There are a number of presentations that have been booked. If those
presenters would like to share their nights, they could give 40 minute
presentations and we could slot in additional presentations for those
nights. (I don't think people should feel obligated to do this,
however.) Maybe people who are interested can contact me off-list, and
I will summarize the openings on-list. 

Of course, we can make March a short topic night as well. 

In terms of threads: we could do this but it makes scheduling
trickier. I also think that thread continuity cannot be taken for
granted -- the roster of people who come to meetings does change.
There are a bunch of people who come in to every meeting, and several
others who pop in once in a while. 
> What changes should we make to improve the next short topic night?

In the future I think we should not have any more than three
presentations in one night, and maybe this idea of having two
presentations is pretty good. I certainly felt bad for going overtime,
and I also felt that there were points that went over people's heads
and could have done with more discussion. I should definitely have
chopped off some topics and gone deeper. 

I think different people have different approaches to presentations. I
don't think people should feel obligated to fill 90 minute timeslots,
but I think that it works well for some presenters and some topics
(certainly I find longer presentations easier to put together than
shorter ones, and I find gongs pretty stressful). I don't feel that
the full-length presentations we have been having were full of filler
just to fill space. 

On the other hand if people like Darcy are more willing to present
with shorter presentations then that is cool too, and we can certainly
schedule those presentations in as well. 

In my opinion presentations are a gift from the presenters, because in
general getting people who are willing to present on interesting
topics is a scarce resource. Therefore I believe we should try to be
flexible to what the presenters want. 

I think that all meeting nights benefit from a short break in between


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