Conference etiquette and wifi

Simon Wistow simon at
Tue Dec 12 01:15:57 GMT 2006

On Sun, Dec 10, 2006 at 03:29:07PM +0000, Tim Sweetman said:
> An acquaintance, with the somewhat unpronouncable name of 
>, tells me that it's "rude to type 
> during talks". 

Since I wrote the offending FAQ I feel I should comment.

So, the whole FAQ is fairly lighthearted in tone. The line about WiFi is 
mostly because, at the venues we go to for the LPW, getting permission 
to have an open Wifi network has, in the past been fairly hard and 
represents an additional hassle which I (we) could do without.

However, that said, personally as a speaker, I find it really annoying 
to look up and see everyone's head down hunched over a keyboard. In my 
opinion the best talks are always the one that represent a dialogue with 
the audience, even if one side is (mostly) silent. this is why I'm in 
favour of Takahashi style slides rather than endless lists of bullet 
points - the more the speaker is looking at the audience the better.

So, in short - yes, personally I think it's rude to have a back channel 
in a talk (or a meeting for that matter) no matter how ADHD one is. This 
is doubly true for a small conference like the LPW or a tehc talk. 

Also, I happen to find that the best things at conferences happen when 
the wifi inevitably goes down and people start actually talkinbg rathe 
rthan checking their email, updating their blog, reading Slahsdot. 
playing WoW etc etc.

Again, thus is just me so if you *really* disagree then organise your 
own conference with WiFi as a USP :)

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