[kwlug-disc] New user breakout sessions

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Wed May 5 17:12:47 EDT 2010

Paul Nijjar wrote, On 05/05/2010 4:01 PM:
> 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
> happened. 
> 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.

The bizarre thing about all of these threads for me is, I can't think 
of too many other groups that are more new user friendly than we are. 
We've all been there, and most are only too eager and happy to help 
anyone in any way they can think of, most especially including I don't 
know but George over there might, let's go talk to him.

I know the help is present, are we really talking about an 
'intimidation factor'?

And if so, how do we reduce it? Is that the crux of the issue?

Mind you, this is talking about the casual, informal, aspects. Are we 
(also?) really talking about making more up front and in your face "If 
the presentation topic seems too far out of your headspace at the 
moment, here be other not so esoteric aspects that may be useful?"

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