I’ve read the discussion again and took a look at our ring list hackmd document. It seems to me that people are not really filling in the rings document (I see only 3 participants signing up)… Maybe I am wrong but, ever since they were proposed in Berlin we have this problem of keeping the rings going. What I mean is, there are only a handful of individuals relatively devoted to keeping rings going. Majority of people just want to show up and discuss.
Also, I don’t see people really voting on these topic proposals.
How do we achieve more engagement of people in making the gathering better?
How do we achieve a greater impact without repelling people with responsibilities?
We have to keep in mind that whatever the formats we choose, the gathering should enable lively discussions and facilitate our passion for solving common problems.
We have done our best to find the fitting format for our gatherings, and I believe rings are ultimately it. But if people are not eager to sign up and take on the responsibility of a ring (which are greater than the ones of the one-off ad hoc discussions), we might have to continue adapting. Having well defined and repeating structure will make a lot of sense once we have a well-oiled machine running. But we are not there yet.
There is an issue with one-off discussions. They have less impact than rings. Their biggest benefit might be that they bring people’s understanding together and open their perspective but they lack the immediate means for creating a lasting impact.
This is all theoretical. Maybe the ETH2.0 discussion from Prague had a bigger impact than any of the rings. We might never know.
The structure and the content of our agenda will have the biggest impact on the successfulness of this gathering and we need to take that into consideration when making these decisions.
I hope I am just stating the obvious.
We can’t really stop people from having off-topic discussions, and we really shouldn’t. The most lively and lasting discussion at the first FEM gathering in Paris last year happened in the yard, quasi-spontaneously. If we don’t include it on the agenda, people we find ways to do it anyways, and if there is no designated time for this, they might skip ring sessions to do it.