Decentralized debriefing of 2019 edition

  1. First, thanks for the handfull members here that made 80% of the work.
  2. Then, it was an overall success, we got the room full most of the time.
  3. Enforcing an “everyone stays sit until the end” was a success and I share this opinion : Thank you message from Tom Hacohen I think it needs to be reminded at each begining and had been greatly done.
  4. A “no entrance in between” policy has also been used with success. The room have been displayed as full even if a few seats where still available, in order to avoid noise during a speech.
  5. Short slots (of half an hour) allowed those policies and were also a success from my point of view. With such a short timeframe, speakers had to sum up their views.

What to improve:

  1. We can keep the same computer connected to the beamer all the time, as USB keys are easier to use under stress than screen parameters. We should explain this to speakers in advance for them to check in advance that their slides are working from USB key. In case of live demo, the demo would start by the screen switch (when the speaker is less stressed and naturally understands who belongs the lost time).
  2. We did prepare a presence planning, but did not respect it (me first, being at the task also the morning). I think we would have been more efficient with identified roles and fresh persons all day long (instead of the tired version of me at the end for instance). Whom took care of the video recording interface after @Aleks ? I myself explained the door role to only one person, and I had more things to tell than time planned for it.
  3. We kept well the time tables, except by the action of one speaker which succeeded to disturb 3 speeches (her’s, the one before and the one after). I think all the team have been astonished by her violent manners, which got us unprepared [link to private part of the forum edited].
  4. We might introduce each speech using the questions-mic : « Now XXX Yyy will present us Zzz ». It could be the same person that shows the time tracking panels. This would give him more authority : the same person open the speech and closes it if needed. And I felt that I missed each time a reminder of the next speech title.
  5. Reading the manuals before the session. While handling the time tracking panels, I discovered some plastic covered sheets with a lot of information about how to handle the room. We should have read it together at the beginning I think (it might have been done before my arrival).
  6. The two round tables were a deceitful to me. I think that the idea was great, but with only two participants at the 1st one, its not a round table, nor a debate (and with no slides and a my nerves because of bad feedback from the 1st speaker I did not focus enough to follow what was said), and the second round table, awaited by many persons all day long, was better but unprepared and turned out to be a tribune for Chris’ ideas.
  7. A great regret I keep is having witnessed only the release of 2 “secret slides” among 11 during the YUNoHost speech ! The demo was a bold move, and was greatly prepared (with results already available). I was very happy to see some software pieces again (I think only Local Sheriff showed real interfaces).
  8. With the distance, I wonder if our choice was right to invite Dark Peak Co-op. I had the feeling that it was not a piece of the puzzle of the day. Still, if it can motivate developers to work like “Freelance” but with friends and ethics, it was not really a bad choice.


Hey there !

I too thanks all the member of the organisation comitee and volunteers that made this devroom happen ! I ended up only helping the first third of the day so didn’t help so much :sweat_smile:

My two cents :

  • Totally agree with the “everyone stays sit until the end” and "no entrance in between” policies.

  • Agreed also with the use of a single, common computer. This would avoid the stressful situation with HDMI converters :s. In my case, for the demo, ideally I would have like to have a thunderbird installed on the machine (even tho I ended up not using it in my talk :stuck_out_tongue: ) The rest of the web-based demo could have been achieved just using a browser. So maybe advertise the use of a single, common computer well in advance and ask speakers if they have specific need in terms of software installed ?

  • About coordination, an improvement could be to have a “coordination meeting” at T minus 30 minutes before the very first talk with every volunteers (including people who have a shift later in the day) ? So that everybody have a clear idea of what task he/she’ll be doing and when and how and rotation can be smooth (considering there’s no real break to re-coordinate all the team)

  • I’m a bit surprised about the speaker who disturbed 3 talks o.O I wasn’t there during those but uh o.O

  • @Siltaar : My other “secret” slides are available with the other slides which you can download from the fosdem page of the talk or here :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

  • It seems to me that Decentralization and privacy is such an important topic, I feel sad that there wasn’t some more time for formal and informal discussions to happen between projects (I guess there’s never enough time :wink:)). FOSDEM schedule is pretty tight but I’m wondering if there would be options like having a special gathering on monday, or something like booking a “chatroom” during sunday. Imho that could significantly increase the value of FOSDEM for the whole decentralization/privacy community ?

Overall my understanding is that it was a first time for many of the volunteers (?) and it seems to me that the result is pretty nice ! (though was there all the day and pretty stressed by my own talk) So next year can only be even better :wink:


To inform the larger organisation of the devroom I decided to explain here what my perception of the devroom has been as a newcomer, and being thankful of all the benevolent energies that where involved in making this great event happen.

I feel it is important to explain things to the speakers, I know people from decentralized room are a group that knows eachother and have many unsaid rules, however when newcomers arrive they do not know this traditions and should be introduced in the ways things are organised. It is difficult to be on stage and people should be informed with care of what is happening, for example,

Usually in conferences is that when there is a technical problem, the organisers pause the talks, even if it should cause delays, because they want presenters to speak in good conditions.
Apparently Fosdem is a machine that functions differently, I did not know this, and still find this very dysfunctional.
When I spent some minuts trying to resolve the projection problem, in order to be able to present our slides, I did not know it would be taken out from our speaking time, and no-one told me.
Hence after I said a few words, when someone raised a panel saying 10mns (half of the speaking time), I received this as an aggression and said this is impossible,I would not comply,

Then, when organisers started taking questions all the room started going out at the same time and we did not hear the questions, furthermore the next speaker stepped onstage and started talking to me preventing me again from listening, then someone came to give us back our coats and bags as we were answering the questions. I understand it was time out, but again from the stage position this is not obvious, from the stage all you see is someone asking a question and you need to answer it, and when you get interruptions you do not understand the reason for them, you only feel aggression.

So please when you want a talk to stop in the middle of the questioning round, clearly say so, people will then understand, do not presume they know rules that have not been told to them, if not letting people respond will only take one minute, I personnally find it is the best solution, as most probably if there are questions they need to be answered, this is just minimum respect.

Then I will narrate my perception of what you perceived as disturbing and violent: after the unohost presentation, there was a transperson who had raised her hand since the beginning of the question time because she had something important to ask and she was (involuntary) not seen by the organisers. Kathia (who also organizes the largest community room: “communa” at the CCC) protested because she rightly thinks that it is important to foster diversity and let the women a voice, I joined her because I agree, a couple other friends joined also. You only remember me because I am the only one you knew, but we were a number if us to be disturbances. I must say that if the situation would happen again I would have the same attitude, because I have as a principle to voice out important issues in order to transform existing situations, sometimes if you do not make trouble things do not change.

Also and to finish, there seems to have been problems about our talk, some stuff about a bag that I do not understand, I did not personally carry a bag, maybe I turned my back on someone and did not realised, if I did sot it was from not noticing and being solicited elsewhere after the presentation, if I did so I present my excuses.


I you are talking about me, is this right?
If so I have made a longer post that explains what happened from my expenrience, as there are always 2 sides of a coin, and I feel when there is a problem, conversation and discussions are always more useful then backchanelling.

I also make a few suggestion to avoid such situations, and welcome newcomers. Also I would like to make terms very clear: violence is a threat or an action that harms another living being, being angry and refuse unjustified situations without threatening or hurting anyone is not being violent.

  1. @natacha, yes I’m refering to you, and I apologize having not been able to discover your name before (there were 2 speakers for this slot).
  2. FOSDEM main organization sent to all devrooms an email called : « [devroom-managers] Timekeeping - please aim for perfection! »
  3. FOSDEM 2019 was the first edition for this benevolent organizational team of decentralize internet devroom, most of us met for the 1st time during this session. So the rules are not unspoken between our group, but came from FOSDEM.
  4. On other conferences, like at the CCC (at least 34C3 and 35C3 main tracks), if a speaker don’t play the game and takes longer than it’s speaking time slot, an org. member explains to the audience that there will be no question round at all. And we’ll have to learn doing this, because it happens.
  5. We were all stressed because the FOSDEM beamer did not work for the speakers of 3 slots.
  6. Among all the public, speakers and org. team members of the devroom, I noticed only one person during all the day whom were not supportive to others but committed vocal aggressions against 3 of the benevolent org. team members.
  7. One of them already resigned since, by the consequences of it.
  8. I understande the motivations of @natacha for the public part of her interventions (the recorded ones), but my opinion is that the same result should have been reached in an acceptable-for-all manner.
  9. We were proud that our efforts toward diversity allowed 5 feminine speakers this year. It required more efforts to make it happen than what would have been enough get a good self-perception of us but no results. (disclaimer : I was not among the people whom made those efforts (I still have big margins of possible improvement))

Now we will have to deal with the consequences:

  1. Maybe a team-speaker to introduce the speakers (I would have learn @natacha’s name this way at least :slight_smile: ), and cut the questions when needed.
  2. New team members for next year…


no problem

Indeed this is on the forum, but I am not a devroom organiser and was not informed

Still this doesn’t change anything to the fact that I was not informed of “the rules and no one explained them to us”

Agree you should learn to do that anouncing thing is important because when you do not do it no one can know, and if someone asks a question when no one announced the end of the talk,
it seems obvious to the speaker that she has to answer.

not only this but the talk was not recorded

The consequences of what? he would need to be more clear and precise about this for me to understand, up to now I really do not see what @loic is talking about, the fact that I inadvertently turned my back on him (for which I excused myself), or the fact that I said let her answer the question, really!!! This is what he considers violence… there must be something that he does not speak about.

Yes certainly this is why taking some time to bridge communication between humans is very important to do something proper

no indeed you were not, but yes the team did a great work @loic @how @Natouille and most probably others worked on this, I hope you appreciated what those new people bring, but given the feedback that is sent I am afraid that you did not. But there is still space to try I guess most probably with other because me a bit burnt here.

Good idea


I post another message to get more feedback from @natacha in this thread:

Hi all, a little note to thank you all from your great work, more particularly @how with whom we have worked to reach activity pub developers, so that the final roundtable would happen.

It seems from our talk, not only the slides are missing but also the recording and the video, not really sure what the possibilities are to recover from this, and I think it is very problematic.

My only comment on this, is of course everyone did a lot, maybe even to much, and I feel maybe it would be needed to rethink the way the devroom is organised in order to have more time to attend the speakers, make sure speakers meet with the organisers and between themselves, make sure they have proper technical support, and that they feel comfortable to speak, make sure there is enough space for questions, if this means hosting 1 or 2 talks less I think it still needs to be considered.

In all cases lots of congratulations to you all and many thanks for all the great work

For the use of all I will post a report from the perception I had during my presentation, as a newcomer to this room, who was not informed about the ways things are organised, hopefully it will give food for thoughts for the next editions, comments welcome.

From : About the video recordings from the devroom