In the past few years, I've been the main organizer of the LLVM dev room at FOSDEM, together with a number of other volunteers.
This year, it's looking like I will not have the time available to be the main organizer on the day itself. Furthermore, with the conference moving to an online event, it looks like at least 10 volunteers are needed to be able to run the dev room, covering various roles as described below.
I've decided to not be the main organizer for the LLVM dev room at FOSDEM myself for the 2021 edition.
That being said, I am more than happy to support a new main organizer if someone steps up. If you're interested, please let me know.
If you're interested in any of the other volunteer support roles (described below), please let me know too so that we can have a guess of whether enough volunteers are available.
The deadline for proposing the dev room is really nearby: this coming Friday. So if you're interested, please do reach out by Thursday at the latest.
Please note that it should be expected that the dev room will run roughly during day time Brussels time zone (CET).
PS. Please see the below notes from the FOSDEM organizers on the volunteer roles they expect are needed.
Our basic strategy is to replicate the various elements of the physical event as closely as we can in an online environment. (Well, except for the overcrowding!)
The main thing to appreciate is that the volunteer input required to produce a professional online event will be significantly higher than you may be used to. We expect a typical devroom to need at least 10 volunteers during the event so that people can take breaks.
Devroom managers will be responsible for finding and scheduling volunteers to perform the various roles needed for an online conference.
Until the end of this year, the input required will be similar to normal - selecting and scheduling talks. One thing to note here is that use of our systems (e.g. pentabarf) will be compulsory and this includes calls for papers. Systems will change and adapt and we need to be able to contact all speakers directly whenever necessary.
The changes will be noticeable in January, when devroom managers will need to assign specific volunteers to work 1:1 with individual speakers to prepare recordings of their talks. All presentations will need to be pre-recorded and put into our system at least a couple of weeks before the event. We expect live presentations to be a rarity, but even if a speaker intends to deliver their session live, there must be a recording available to use as a fallback if something goes wrong and the live presentation can't be delivered for any reason.
As regards the features for devrooms, we are thinking along the following lines:
- A main stream for each devroom. Talks here will be pre-recorded, but questions will be taken live.
- A second stream for each devroom representing hallway discussions that may follow each talk.
- A facility for people watching to submit questions.
- A facility for people watching to chat between themselves.
As such, we're thinking of the following volunteer roles:
Prior to the event: - A devroom manager and a deputy responsible for everything below. This includes finding, assigning and scheduling all the volunteer roles required.
- A programme committee to select and schedule the talks. This is the same as a normal year. Timeline: November/December
- Reviewers to help the speakers produce their pre-recorded content. This is a new role. Each speaker will need to be assigned to a reviewer who will be responsible for ensuring the content is put into our system and ready to be broadcast. Timeline: January.
During the event itself: - Stream controllers, one per stream, responsible for the content of the outgoing stream at all times. They will switch between inputs (live video rooms, recordings) according to the schedule and intervene (sometimes on video) and make decisions if there are problems.
- Chat moderators. They will be responsible for monitoring the content of the chat and dealing with any problems that arise (including banning people if necessary). There might also be people assigned to answering questions about the devroom content.
- Session moderators. Every speaker will be assigned a moderator who will be responsible for accompanying that speaker's session, including all the preparation and hallway chat afterwards, including checking the speaker's video connection is working, monitoring the chat and submitted questions and asking them on video to the speaker. The moderator will have the speaker's private contact details and make sure they have established contact with them about an hour before their session. A separate video room will be created for each session. The moderator will meet the speaker (say) 15 minutes before the pre-recorded talk is played, discuss the chat and selection of questions privately with the speaker during the playback, perform the live Q&A by asking the questions on video, then remain in the room for the 'hallway' afterwards where they may, if they wish, invite other people directly into the video chat for deeper discussions on the hallway stream. Once the hallway broadcast ends, if participants want to continue the conversation for longer, the video room will remain available (but not streamed or recorded) and the session moderator can close the room, or stay with it for longer, or hand over moderation to the speaker or someone else they trust.
Ideally the Session moderator for any particular speaker would also be the Reviewer in January so a relationship can be established.
Volunteers and speakers will also need to make time available prior to the event to test that they can connect and use (with training) the systems they will need according to their role(s).