[kwlug-disc] New user breakout sessions

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Wed May 5 16:01:27 EDT 2010

On Wed, May 05, 2010 at 04:17:18PM -0400, Lori Paniak wrote:
> This starting to sound like TLUG and NewTLUG...  I like the strength
> through diversity angle myself.  Once we start having groups breaking
> out from each other, the fractures have begun.  Isn't a friendly,
> no-pressure, "questions if you've got 'em" at the beginning of each
> meeting sufficient?

The key is that the breakout sessions would be flexible. There would
be sessions (such as Raul's programming language one) that I imagine 
many newbies would attend. I certainly am not advocating segregation.
Nobody will be making people show their LPI certifications before
letting them watch the main event. 

I am also not advocating that every main meeting topic be geared
towards new Linux users. Some of them should be, and some of them
should be more technical. 

I do notice that even in our regular meetings not everybody is that
engaged with the presentations. I also recall that in the final months of
meetings at 43 Queen, there would be a group of "cool kids" hanging
out off to the side. Having a breakout room would not be so different. 

I don't think "questions if you've got 'em" at the beginning of
meetings works well. It's too intimidating, especially for users who
don't know the lingo. There are brave assertive souls who are good at
making their voices heard. There are other people who are more shy and
would benefit from 1-on-1 interaction. 

I agree that having a breakout room might end up being fractious. It
also might be interpreted as disrespectful. But I don't know this for
sure, which is why I would propose trying it out for a few months to
see how it works. In the worst case it doesn't work, we degenerate
into warring factions, backstab each other at every opportunity, never
speak face to face, cause volcanoes to erupt, hasten the heat death of
the universe and grind civilization to a brutish bloody halt. Then we
can revert to our old habits and pretend this experiment never

I am also totally open to reviving pre-meeting Q&A, but because I am
running around doing setup I can't personally do much Q or Aing. 
If (in addition to the very helpful elves who show up for setup now)
we have some people willing to help with Q&A we can advertise this as
of next meeting. 

- Paul


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