Working Group Minutes/EWG 2013-09-23


IRC nick Real name
apmon Kai Krueger
iandees Ian Dees
RichardF Richard Fairhurst
TomH Tom Hughes
zere Matt Amos


  • Retaining new contributors after hackdays
    • Review of impressions of the post-SOTM hackday.
    • Many hackdays seem to have problems with networking.
    • Perhaps a pre-prepared package of software, repositories and data would help?
    • We don't really have any hard data to go on.
    • ACTION: apmon to get the questionnaire into a usable state.


17:06:56 <zere> minutes of the last meeting:
17:07:06 <zere> please let me know if anything needs correcting.
17:08:20 <zere> i haven't had anything requested for the agenda today, so we can go straight to any topics that you want to discuss.
17:09:33 <iandees> (i've got nothing)
17:09:46 <RichardF> likewise
17:13:24 <apmon> Are there any more developer events planned?
17:15:29 <zere> there's one in karlsruhe soon
17:15:59 <zere> more info:
17:16:11 <apmon> Are there any lessons that were lernt from the previous SotM related events?
17:16:23 <apmon> And can they be incorporated into future events?
17:17:17 <zere> one item was whether new contributors found it worthwhile / what could be made better. but the last i remember on that was trying to put together a questionnaire
17:17:41 <zere> which it's probably too late to give to those at the post-SOTM-US hackday
17:17:52 <zere> but might be a useful thing to have for future hack days
17:17:58 <apmon> We should really use those events to identify where the real barriers are and try and address them
17:18:27 <iandees> for me, those events always seem to "energize the base" in US-political-speak
17:18:36 <zere> this might be the last thing we minuted:
17:18:46 <iandees> they tend to attract the most dedicated OSM contributors/mappers
17:19:05 <apmon> exactly, so we need to make sure that "energized base" really leads to something
17:19:13 <apmon> and doesn't get stoped by various barriers
17:19:36 <iandees> yep. perhaps we could suggest what those things are. reaching out to other devs? making OSM project X easier to help with?
17:19:59 <zere> this is all good stuff to put on that questionnaire :-)
17:20:31 <apmon> we just actually need to send out that questionair!
17:20:59 <apmon> SotM-US might already be too far back, although it won't hurt to send it to all of the people who registered on eventbright anyway
17:21:04 <zere> haha, i think we need to finish it first... it looks distinctly like a random collection of notes so far:
17:21:17 <apmon> but for the one after the main SotM, we should really try and do that soon
17:22:08 <apmon> who was at the SotM hack event from ewg members?
17:22:42 <apmon> and did they speak to any (relatively) new contributors?
17:22:42 <zere> TomH, RichardF, i think... perhaps more?
17:23:22 <apmon> It would perhaps be good to codify the subjective impressions they got from newbies into questionairs
17:23:41 <apmon> to verify if those subjective impressions hold up in the wider group of participents
17:25:30 <apmon> Or perhaps put differently, what do ewg members percive the barriers are and can we include questions to check if those are actually the real barriers?
17:26:24 <zere> i'm guessing from the studious silence that, while they might be willing to comment, they don't want to "codify their subjective impressions".
17:27:30 <zere> apmon: are you happy with the questionnaire as it stands at the moment? do you think it would be useful as-is, or does it need more?
17:27:35 <apmon> well, if people comment, then perhaps as a group we can codify them together
17:27:42 <TomH> well I can't say I spoke to any newbies, or anybody much to be honest
17:27:56 <TomH> mostly everybody sat in front of their laptops and, presumably, did somethig
17:28:41 <apmon> Yes, that is my problem as well with SotM-US event. There appeared to be a lot of newbies (or at least people I didn't know from development) but I failed to talk to many of them
17:29:04 <zere> too busy energising your base! ;-)
17:29:18 <apmon> Which is probably something we should try to address for future events
17:29:31 <apmon> i.e. make sure to actually include new people
17:29:47 <TomH> well the problem is that whereas you used to have a dozen people all working together on api 0.6 or whatever now you have 50 people all doing their own individua thing
17:30:01 <zere> there's a "Did you feel welcomed and included in discussions?" question. does that cover it, or do we need more detail?
17:31:14 <apmon> Yes, I put that there to see if my impressions match up with others. Not sure how best to expand on it.
17:31:31 <zere> i think we have a lot more projects to work on, nowadays. which is a good thing, but we haven't really had a major "push" to release something. well, other than the license change, but there wasn't a hack day for that.
17:31:38 <apmon> But perhaps having a shorter initial questionair would be good and then expand on it depending on what we learn for future events
17:32:10 <apmon> perhaps that should be another question. Should these events be more focused
17:32:36 <apmon> I guess it was tried at SotM-US, where there were focus break out groups
17:32:53 <zere> i think that rather depends, and i'd prefer to leave that decision to the organisers / attendees.
17:33:06 <apmon> And I guess the "groups feature", which I didn't participate in worked out quite well?
17:33:31 <zere> it's not like we're so overflowing with development events that we can start trying to impose conditions on them...
17:34:08 <apmon> a) should EWG be more involved in organising and b) should we not at least offer organisers and attendees "lessons learnt from previous events" and "best practices" suggesstions?
17:34:40 <TomH> dunno about groups - think they achieved something in US but not UK
17:34:59 <TomH> on both occassions I basically wound up fiddling with bits and bobs to pass the tim
17:36:10 <apmon> my personal impression is still that those "thematically focused" events work best
17:36:31 <apmon> to give people structure and ensure that they don't just fiddle with bits to pass the time.
17:36:32 <zere> apmon: (b) yes. (a) depends rather on whether the organisers want EWG to be involved.
17:36:42 <TomH> obviously the UK was further hampered by the terrible network connection
17:36:54 <RichardF> yep, that was pretty much why I gave up
17:37:30 <zere> i wasn't at the post-SOTM-US event. how was it structured?
17:37:48 <apmon> RichardF: Was it general network, or just internet connectivity?
17:38:09 <RichardF> apmon: the wifi was seriously overloaded... very difficult to get to the outside world
17:38:16 <apmon> with the former, there is probably not much EWG can do, at least not on a level of 60 participents
17:38:38 <apmon> but with the latter, it is possible to improve it, by having local mirrors for the most important stuff
17:39:19 <apmon> e.g. someone has a clone of a local clone of the github repositories that people can pull instead of going out over the internet
17:39:40 <apmon> or someone has a local install of a test rails-port server
17:39:55 <apmon> Those are things the EWG could contribute to an ensure are present at hack-days
17:40:11 <RichardF> well, coding isn't much fun without an Internet connection anyway. easier just to make sure organisers sort out a good connection
17:40:57 <zere> yeah, also useful to have access to google^W some search engines for looking up weird errors, which inevitably happen at hackdays
17:41:02 <RichardF> yep
17:41:08 <zere> online docs, etc...
17:41:29 <apmon> Limiting the amount of data needing to go out of the internet by not having everyone pull planet files, would improve the use for essential things as well
17:41:32 <zere> what is it with wifi, anyway? some places it just works, and other places it's extremely flaky.
17:42:10 <apmon> I am not sure I have ever seen wifi really "just work" in big public spaces
17:43:05 <zere> bizarrely, the wifi they have on the tube platforms now (paid, virgin media) works awesomely
17:43:09 <iandees> how busy the spectrum is in the area, access point quality, number of access points, etc.
17:43:21 <apmon> It is still just no comparison to wired networks.
17:43:43 <zere> but i can't imagine a situation with less random interference than several meters underground.
17:44:39 <apmon> So perhaps that can be another recomendation. Try and move as much as possible onto wired networks and ensure that switches and network cables are available
17:44:51 <RichardF> zere: in this case, I think it just wasn't specced for the amount of people turning up, which was about three times as many as had said they were going to turn up...
17:46:16 <zere> the only problem with the wired solution is that many places (including my office) don't have the facility for "open" wired networks. the wired network is all locked down.
17:49:06 <TomH> RichardF: it was more than signed up yes, but still only at the level the venue had agreed to
17:50:11 <zere> apmon: would you be willing to take an action to get that hackpad doc into a state where we'd actually consider sending it to people?
17:50:33 <apmon> Yes, I can try it.
17:50:46 <apmon> But if anyone else has more questions to add, that would be great
17:51:19 <zere> #action apmon to get the questionnaire into a usable state.
17:51:23 <zere> apmon: great, thanks :-)
17:51:52 <zere> i'm sure people will offer their opinion once it's done, that's how it generally goes...
17:52:15 <apmon> Should it be sent out as an email questionair, or as something like a "google docs questionair"?
17:58:07 <zere> i think it might be most useful printed and handed out at the events... either that, or a link to a google questionnaire... i dunno.
18:01:14 <apmon> I think I will probably prepare it as an email (plane text) questionair for now, and then try and improve it before the next event
18:01:29 <zere> cool, sounds good
18:01:53 <zere> thanks to everyone for coming, and i hope to see you next week.