SemanticWeb collaborators love getting together face-to-face; the codepiction demo is a celebration of these events. CambridgeSemanticWebGatherings have started as of Jan 2007. But we do it enough to understand the costs. We rely heavily on email (especially MailingLists) and http (e.g. this WikiWikiWeb) for rich, reliable, asynchronous communication; and weekly teleconferences have a significant role in W3C culture. InternetRelayChat opens the possibility of cheap 24x7 synchronous communication. But who has 24 hours to spend chatting in IRC?
Scheduled topic chats have been reasonably successful for RdfCalendar and RDFQueryTestCases. 2001-2004 we mostly used the #rdfig IRC channel in irc.freenode.net. From Nov 2004, the SemanticWebInterestGroup chat has migrated from #rdfig to #swig
The pattern seems to work like this
- Folks meet and discover mutual interests; e.g. at the RDF IG meeting Feb 2001 a number of us were interested in attacking the PersonalInformationDisaster using RdfCalendar. (While people do form relationships in InternetRelayChat, ScheduledTopicChat's have not been successfully used to build new groups from scratch.) Relevant MailingLists are identified or created.
- A few folks figure out a time they can reserve in their calendars and announce it, along with some agenda/goals, to the relevant mailing lists. A week of advance notice seems to work well. Give pointers to background materials as well as exact logistics details: the address of the IRC channel, the time in several timezones (fixed time world clock is a great help), expected duration, expectation about MeetingRecords, etc.
- Convene the "meeting" in IRC by chumping (LinkMe) the meeting call/agenda.
- Encourage folks to register their attendance as comments on the meeting chump item, with links to their homepage or work in progress.
- Make an effort to record any significant agreements reached in the meeting; e.g. any decision to meet again, and when.
- Help folks remember to follow up by recording ActionItems.
- Perhaps send a summary of the meeting to the relevant mailing lists. Be sensitive to putting words in other people's mouths and all that.
older scheduled topic chats:
- W3C XML Activity chat before XML '99 CFP, log
- W3C Chat before XTech 2000: XHTML - a bridge to the Web of the future CFP, log, log of xml-protocol break-out
Finding Upcoming Scheduled Topic Chats
Spending too much time finding the scheduled topics would defeat the purpose; so let's use MailingLists as the primary announcement mechanism (other redundant mechanisms, such as the RdfIg weblog/scratchpad, are just fine, of course). If you want to know when there's a scheduled topic chat on X, just read mailing list X (or its http archive) once or twice a week, or keep in touch with somebody who does.
hmm... some have grumbled about using the #rdfig channel this way; should we introduce a bit more due process for reservations? Perhaps ideally we'd use different channels, but the chump and logger services don't work that way yet (Aug2003)