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RIF Telecons and Zakim (IMPORTANT: Please Read before telecon)

In order to reduce the amount of time spent in administrivia in this enormous working group, we are strongly encouraging members to more actively take on simple administrative tasks on telecons. This requires being in the IRC session for each telecon and understanding at least the basics of how to use Zakim. READ ON.

In past WGs it was acceptable for most people to be fairly ignorant of Zakim, but this group is so large we lost track of who was joining in the initial deluge of incoming calls during the first telecon. Nearly a third of the ports were not identified correctly because we coulnd't keep up.

Zakim is an "agent" that sits on the IRC session and also monitors the teleconferencing system. It reports people joining and leaving the telecon, and can associate IRC nicknames with telecon ports. When there is noise on the line, Zakim can help us identify the source, and if your phone doesn't have a mute button (or even if it does), Zakim can handle muting, and helps us to manage the speaking queue. But in order for this to work properly, we have to know who is on each incoming phone line (port).

Telecon Procedure

Here is a simple strategy to help us keep this information (who is on each port) accurate, as well as maintain a record of who is on the call:

  1. BEFORE YOU DIAL IN, login to the IRC session for the telecon. Give yourself a meaningful nickname that obviously reflects your name, keeping in mind the distribution of names in the WG (initials are usually not enough).

  2. Dial in. Moments after you hear the "beep" that you have joined, you will see in the IRC channel that Zakim will report a new port has joined the telecon. Most likely that is you, so type the following into the IRC: "Zakim, ??P53 is me". If Zakim reports the port with a long string like "+44.456.334.aaff" you only need the last four characters, e.g. "Zakim, aaff is me" in these cases, you shoudl recognize the starting digits of your own telephone number). There are a few other variations, mostly intended to be informative, but if you can't figure it out, most likely someone on the chat will do it for you - WATCH AND LEARN and try to do it yourself the next time.

    Once the relationship between your IRC "nickname" and your dialin port is established, you can use commands like "Zakim, mute me". As mentioned in TeleconEtiquette, using zakim to mute you is in some cases more desirable than using a mute buttom on your phone, as the latter does not always eliminate echo.

If you haven't followed the simple procedure above, so that Zakim doesn' t know what line you are on, then "Zakim, mute me" will not work. Furthermore, if we find noise coming from a line we may mute it, and we may not know who is being muted, thus you will try to talk and not be able to.

Finally, if you call from the same number, Zakim will learn who you are. For this reason, it's possible at the next telecon when you dial in (and try to follow the procedure above) Zakim will think you are someone else (since we got some wrong this time)! If that happens, just correct it with the "Zakim, x is [really|temporarily] me" (where x is whoever zakim thinks you are - the optional "really" tells zakim to change its record permanently, the optional "temporarily" tells zakim its just for this call, e.g. "Zakim, BorisP is really me").

Hiding Zakim Commands from the Agenda

suggested by Jeremy []

At the end of the meeting, the scribe must take the notes produced in the IRC session and generate the meeting minutes. All the commands to Zakim typed by the participants must, in general, be deleted as noise. You can help the scribe by using the "/me note" command (which used to be known as "emote"). This command was intended to allow people in IRC sessions to describe what they are doing (as opposed to saying something), and has the feature for our purposes of being ignored in the log. For example, if your name is ChrisW and you type "/me yawns and stretches" into your IRC client, everyone will see "* ChrisW yawns and stretches" in the IRC session.

So if you have a thought (or joke) that you don't necessarily want to be recorded in the minutes you can use this command. For our purposes, you can use the "/me" command to prefix your Zakim commands. Zakim will still process them but they won't be recorded in the minutes. E.g. "/me Zakim, mute me" or "/me zakim, q+ to tell Chris what a great chair he is" (see below).

Managing the speaking queue

If you want a turn to speak during the phone call, use the "q+ [to note]" command. This adds you to the end of the speaking queue (which we actively monitor). The optional "to note" is a string that can be used to remind yourself what you wanted to talk about (very useful especially when the queue is long, as people can forget what they wanted to say!), e.g. "q+ to tell Chris what a great WG chair he is".

If someone else says what you wanted to say before your turn comes up, please just take yourself off the queue with the "q-" command. When it is time to speak, the "ack" command (e.g. "ack me") will unmute your port (if it was muted by Zakim) and take your off the queue.

For the full documentation on Zakim (you are strongly encouraged to read this), see []