SMWCon Fall 2011 retrospect

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As usual in SMWCon, there has been a feedback session at SMWCon Fall 2011 where general impressions and suggestions related to the event have been gathered. This page lists the main discussion points and initial conclusions on each of them.

SMWCon technical program

  • Lightning talks
    • maybe more sessions for this
    • have them early on to act as teasers; allow longer slots on the topics if desired
  • Encourage more talks
    • more, shorter talks (e.g. 30min instead of 45; have some lightning talks as full talks)
    • explicitly invite speakers
  • Tutorial day
    • generally positive feedback
    • improve preparation in some cases (e.g. do not rely on ad hoc demos where you do not know upfront what aspects to show)
    • avoid technical issues in tutorials
  • Cluster talks by topics
    • have sessions that roughly cluster the topics
    • helps people select what they care about
    • maybe ask for short abstracts to further clarify what a talk will be about
    • keep the one-track structure of SMWcon
  • Level of presentations
    • perceived to be just right according to audience poll (not too hard/not too easy)

SMWCon organisation

  • Organisational improvements
    • nominate program chair to be responsible of the program
    • have session chairs to help keeping the time
    • possibly have sponsorship or publicity chairs as well
  • Development activities
    • co-location with tutorials not ideal
    • maybe add a hackathon at the end (to be attended only for actual development)
  • Community building
    • initial individual introductions would be too long, not desired
    • but having a sentence per person in the wiki as a short introduction would be nice
  • Follow-up feedback survey
    • Should be done
  • Cost of participation
    • no strong opinions, seems to be acceptable
  • Preferred time for the event
    • during week is preferred for professionals, keep it like this
    • maybe have hackathon (day 4) on a Saturday
  • Marketing/publicity
    • do a press release, esp. to reach business participants
    • nominate a publicity chair for taking care of this
    • further distribute call for participations
    • have speakers advertise SMWCon at other conferences, maybe add some incentive for reduced registration for those who do this
    • consider distributing flyers, stickers etc. at other events
  • Location/co-location
    • future organisers wanted
    • visiting the same/a similar location twice not perceived as a disadvantage by participants
      • (but note that there is a bias when asking the locally present participants if they like the location)
    • co-location with other events not favoured by most (parallel events would make it harder to follow both events; sequential events would take a longer total time most likely including a weekend, perceived as too inconvenient by many)
    • most attendees favour an attractive, well-connected location over a remote one that may be cheaper/easier to get
    • discussion for locations of SMWCon Spring 2012: US west coast or Vancouver? To be decided.
  • Further improve community interaction
    • live remote participation? (live video/audio seems clearly out of reach)
  • SMWCon 2011 Fall organisation
    • very smooth and professional
    • pleasant rooms
    • plenty of good food
    • Many thanks to the organisers!