23C/ What does Hybrid IIW Look Like?

From IIW

What Does Hybrid IIW Look Like?

Thursday 23C

Convener: Phil Windley

Notes-taker(s):  Lisa R. Horwitch

Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps

Transcript from Discussion:

Phil: By way of introduction, we believe that by Spring we will be in a position where we can be face-to-face again. Over half of the participants in April were new to IIW. And we’re faced with a large number who may not travel for an in person. For this IIW, we didn’t know how the travel would be from last April to October. So uur thought and thinking was how to make hybrid work?

Phil: There are a few challenges we face with Hybrid:

  1. WiFi in CHM is not great. They do have better WiFi, and are really proud of it, and charge a lot of money for it. If I remember right, they want something like $4-5,000 for the 3 day event (Heidi confirms - “at least that”). Which we just didn’t have in the budget in terms of what it was going to do.

    (Heidi: And that “better WiFi” is with a company that CHM contracts out for it)

    Phil: so obviously if we’re going to do Hybrid we probably need better WiFi, whether we have to pay for that or whether we can force CHM to do it because “it’s a brave new world!”

  2. The other challenge, of course, is that we need to have cameras in rooms, and probably not just people’s laptop cameras.

    So Mike, I’m looking for something in between people just adhoc’ing it with their laptop cameras and something like what EIC had; and probably closer to people adhocing with their laptop cameras. But I’m thinking we could possibly buy some meeting owls or something like that and put in at least some of the rooms at CHM to make that happen.

Phil: So those are the kind of challenges from just a technical standpoint.

Phil: One thought we had after attending EIC, it helped a lot to have people in the room (moderators for every session); then as speakers changed there was someone to help manage the change over between the physical speakers and the virtual speakers. So Joyce was thinking we could have a requirement (sounds too stringent for IIW) or I’ll say “strong request” - if you’re going to have a virtual session we could have a “strong request” for the virtual session - where the presenter is virtual - that they also have a physical counterpart in the room who is “co-hosting” essentially with them. This person in the room can manage the session and logistics on site (e.g. virtual hand raising, etc).

Terry Hayes: At the very least, you probably need somebody that’s managing the hand raising between the two environments.

Phil: Yeah, somebody has to moderate or facilitate that interaction. (Terry: Right)
Phil: Because one of my concerns has always been with hybrid is that the people who are remote/virtual are always like “second class citizens” and that’s in some ways what Dick was saying about his experience speaking - it didn’t feel like an “in room” experience at all.

Dick Hardt: What’s the driver for it being hybrid? I think it makes things really complicated.

Phil: It does make things really complicated and my first position was - No, we won’t go hybrid.
But unfortunately - well maybe fortunately - there’s strong strong interest from many people in being hybrid - in terms of people who have never been to IIW before.

Phil: In the four times we’ve been virtual we’ve had not just a few, but strong group of people who have never been to IIW before and many of whom would never travel to go to a conference.
(Heidi: probably 50% easily)

Phil: And so in the spirit of inclusivity, we want to say….make this more accessible.

Dick Hardt: Those are two sort of different things. Because at every IIW it seems like there’s 50% of the people who have never been before anyway.

Phil: Right, but these are people who won’t ever come. Right...because they won’t travel for one reason or another.

Dick Hardt: I get the lowering of the barrier. What about having virtual and live?. There’s no hybrid. Just switch between the two formats. I think the hybrid’s going to be problematic.

Phil: Yes, so that is an option - switching between them. So we do one face-to-face each year and one virtual.

Phil: There’s a couple of things I think are tough with that. (1) As I said earlier, I think even if you don’t do hybrid, people are going to do hybrid. They’re just going to fire up zoom on their laptops and start, ya know, inviting people into their session. And now you’ve got hybrid but their really not part of the event. Their just there sometimes.

Dick Hardt: Sure, but that’s been the case before, right. So who cares!

Phil: Yeah but we’re much more use to it now, right. So I think it would just happen in lots of sessions.

Dick Hardt: Are we!?! Are we used to hybrid?

Phil: We’re used to Zoom.

Dick Hardt: Right, we’re used to it virtual. I mean, I’m speaking somewhat on my experience in sort of “quasi-remote” teams. You’re either a remote first organization or not. And whenever it was kind of the “hybrid,” everybody remote was really considered second class. You knew that you were going to be taking a back seat in a mixed meeting if you weren’t there in person. And I know if I was trying to do something, I was going to be in that meeting - in person - no matter what! Because, dialed in, I just was not going to be able to participate.

Phil: Yeah. And that IS one of my concerns. Like I said, I don’t want the remote people to be “second class citizens (participants).”

Dick Hardt: And if I’m doing a presentation, I don’t want to try and look after the remote people either - if I’m doing a session, I’m live and I’m there. I don’t really want to have to deal with that (remote aspect), personally.

Other Participant: That even happened today, where the presenter is not paying attention to the raised hands and things. So even in the all virtual environment that happens.

Heidi: Speaking of which, I noticed Kyle that you’ve had your hand up for awhile and then you took it down. Do you have something to add...please?

Kyle den Hartog: Yeah, so there’s two things: (1) the first time I raised my hand - the practical reality that I wanted to point out here -- My visia situation prevents me from being able to come - in a lot of cases. So if I go back to the United States - I’m a US Citizen but I’m living in New Zealand right now - I can’t return back to New Zealand. Which means that I’m having to make a choice between attending an in person event or upending my life. And so, I’m going to choose to not attend the event, is the realistic scenario if that happens. Phil: Why does NZ hate you? :-)

Kyle den Hartog: They’re closing their borders, is really what it comes down to. And even if I can get back in, I have to spend on the tune of about $7,000 to get back in, to pay for quarantine and stuff. [Phil: Wow] And so there’s a cost prohibitive aspect that comes into play that, I mean, if I’m paying for myself, I’m likely not to do that. But, if my company’s paying for it, that’s their own decision. So that’s one aspect that I think is going to come into play. Come next April, we’re not going to have any guarantees of being able to come and go between countries for people outside the US.

Phil: Yup. Well, and that’s why we didn’t do it this time, exactly the reason.

Kyle den Hartog: Yeah, and I appreciate that. Because I was actually able to attend because of this.

Phil: Yeah. Okay. Other thoughts? Other thinking?

Lisa: Hang on one second - Kyle you said you had two things. Or was that two combined into one?
Kyle den Hartog: That was the first thing. I’ve forgotten the second, so no worries. Lisa: Okay, we’re here when you remember.

Kyle den Hartog: It may have been, because I was just thinking about it - the facilitator aspect at play. What if we put a requirement to have a facilitator just like we have a requirement for a note-taker? It’s an independent person, like the note-taker is rarely the convener. Well that’s not true. I sometimes write my notes at the end.

Lisa: Right. And, for example, I’m taking notes now and different people take notes at different sessions. So while it’s highly encouraged, and we do a strong follow-up to get notes, if we were going to do a facilitator for each session, it would be either a situation where we add to the “Facilitation Team” or try to limit the number of sessions/rooms that would have remote access/opportunity.

Phil: (referring to the Facilitator) I think they would just be assigned already.

Heidi: It would be along the lines of Joyce’s idea, which is really the best if you’re going to do it: there’s someone in relationship to the remote person and the one who is live. And the two are doing it together. [Phil: yeah] So it’s somebody that’s actually involved in the session, not a person who doesn’t know what’s going on with that topic (not part of the IIW Facilitation Team).

Mike Jones: Yeah, and I think ITF kind of does that. But they try to do remote participation using their own custom tool. But, one of the things is …. they won’t start until they have a note-taker and what they call a “jabber scribe” - which is somebody reading the online comments, who will then walk up to the microphone and ask questions for the remote people.

Phil: Yeah, that’s interesting. And our rooms are probably not big enough that they need to walk up to the microphone, but it’s the same idea. [Mike: Yeah]

Dick Hardt: Yeah, and it’s a whole bunch of extra overhead. [Mike: it is] Having been chair in a number of meetings, and having to go and deal with remote people and having machine and looking at that, trying to manage all this stuff - it’s just a lot.

Phi: It is overhead. And I guess it’s the cost for the inclusivity if that’s the direction you go. But yeah, it’s overhead. And it’s more cost, right. I mean running hybrid is definitely more expensive - just from a business standpoint - because you’ve got to have the CHM and we’ve got to have Qiqo Chat.

Now we’ve talked about how it might be interesting to have Qiqo Chat, just in general; but, that’s a separate issue. But you’ve got to have both of them. It’s a lot more overhead. A lot more work. Which is why Lisa, Heidi, and Dounia came and said “no, we’re going to protect ourselves from all the extra work that Phil’s going to agree to.” [Heidi/Lisa: chuckles]

Dick Hardt: It’s not just the cost to you running the event, it’s the cost to everybody attending.

Phil: Yeah, yeah! I’m acknowledging that, and saying there’s other costs as well.

Dick Hardt: Yeah. And as I mentioned to you Phil, I don’t find the virtual ones nearly as useful as the in person.

Nathan George: Well, one of the things we have to acknowledge is that the virtual plus in person does create kind of a tiered access approach. I mean especially when we talk about a scribe who might read out a question. Someone in person has an easier time speaking up or interrupting, than someone who’s over the video conferencing tool (or whatever happens to be). It’s important we set whatever the expectations we need to set around that before we do it. Because in my experience, in the past, those who are online feel like they get to be observers, but they don’t necessarily get to participate fully - in the same sense as those who are there in person.

Heidi: Also, given the nature of IIW and the type of conversations that happens, it’s very different than an event that’s hybrid - where it’s a speaker, and an audience, and maybe there’s Q&A. Because most of IIW - with the exception of someone who may share their slide deck at the beginning of a session and then we’re going to talk - are active conversations. Which is a different thing to try and encompass, in my mind, than Dick showing up and speaking to a room that’s just receiving the speech or talk, and maybe there’s Q&A. That’s the piece I’ve wondered, just from being around IIW for so long. There’s something that happens in the chemistry and with the people all sitting in the same room. That would be hard to create virtually/hybrid - unless you had those little robot things that people’s faces showed up.

Dick Hardt: Unless somebody is going into the meeting or in a conference room that has the audio and everything set up to really capture everybody. Otherwise the people remote aren’t going to hear the questions, aren’t going to be able to participate in the dialogue or…. Like what happens in ITF, everybody goes up to the mic. So the remote people hear it. So you have to set up a mic. Here in a virtual world we all have our setup, so we can all participate in a way. But the sitting around in a room, it’s really hard to envision how that’s gonna work hybrid.

Mike Jones: Let me just say, especially after being at EMC last month, and I’ve talked to Phil about it - in person. In person is so completely richer than what we are doing now. Particularly for the kind of interactions we try to do at IIW, where it’s multi-participatory….it’s just crippled this way. If you’re in the room you can look around the room and read people’s body language. You can know what they are thinking. You can know if they're even paying attention.

Phil: Yeah, so like Dick always turns his camera off in these virtual settings and then it’s his smiling Avatar. So I look at him/Avatar, and think “oh, Dick’s really happy with what Mike’s saying!” But he might hate what you’re saying! I don’t know….right! :-)

Mike Jones: I’m fine making accommodations for people who choose to be or have to be remote.

But there is no substitute for being in the same place, where I can choose the bull room or I can choose any other room and actually see people. If we just admit that people are going to turn on their laptop camera sometimes, that may be ok. If we want to be more structured we could experiment with that. But there’s a lot of back channel. The energy is really low at this IIW. And I think it’s people are tired of all these Zoom calls.

Phil: I agree.

Mike Jones: I can’t wait to be back in person and maybe we find a way to include people like Kyle who might not be able to come otherwise.

Phil: Yeah, and to be clear, I don’t care if people turn on their laptops and have a session on Zoom with other people. That’s not really the point. It’s just that if we’re going to be doing that with lots of people who are forced to be remote for whatever reason, can we make that situation better? I think that’s the question. Or should we just say “no, it’s face-to-face” and that’s what you get.

Heidi: And then the next time it’s online.

Phil: Or we do the interstitial events like we did this summer, that are online. That’s something else we’ve done.

Kyle den Hartog: As somebody who would likely not be able to attend all of them, I know for next year, I probably will because I have to be back there for a wedding, and my residency aspect is changing as well…. So as somebody who’d like to be able to attend all of them, I’d much rather see in person events with king of intermediary catch ups online. Than what we’ve had here with Zoom. And that’s recognizing that my situation at hand here would probably be one of the more affected ones. Because, as other people have pointed out here, it’s difficult to do the Zoom. Half the time I’m listening to the conversation at hand. And then the other half the time I’m working on stuff for like writing code or stuff like that. I don’t put my full presence in, when I’m just on a Zoom call. And that’s just out of natural habit of having things available to me that I don’t think I encounter when I’m in person. Which forces me to focus on only the event and whatever session I’m physically sitting in.

Mike Jones: I was going to say, if I have any input at all….we should not have anymore virtual events unless we’re forced to by health circumstances. A lot of people probably just won’t come, and that might include me. They’re so much worse. And you guys do the best job of virtual events of anybody, and I tell people that. But it’s so much worse. It’s not easy to make the case that it’s a good use of my time.

Phil: You know, it’s funny because I went home yesterday, and I was just beat. I’m sure you all felt the same way. And my wife said “well, so did you enjoy IIW?” And I said, you know, I don’t know! (chuckles a bit) There were some parts of it that were really good; but man, it was hard. And so I acknowledge what you’re saying Mike. I think you’re exactly right.

Heidi: There’s also a difference - Kaliya, Dounia and I did the one day, focused topic events. And it’s very different because it’s five hours and that’s it. There’s an opening. There’s three sessions. And then there’s a closing. And there’s notes and everything that at IIW; but it’s not even a full day. And if it’s, you know we had 50-60 people Kaliya (?) or 40-55...that was a good number. You have plenty of sessions. A lot of different sessions on the same topic. And….it wasn’t as tiring. And work got done in teh same format that happens at IIW - it was open space. In terms of considering interim events that people could broadly attend, 1 day is way different than 3 days. Now you don’t get that great thing that happens over 3 consecutive days, where topics evolve and stuff.

Nathan George: As someone who has a team - and I have a bunch of people who want to go to these events - when there’s a lot of those special purpose 1 day events, we often can’t afford the time to send everybody to all of them. So when they’re very purpose driven, or have a very narrow focus where I can say “this is the person on the team that gets to go to that one,” it helps bring that energy of IIW into kind of a more regular process without having to be like - “we’re going to shut everything down for 3 days” because everybody wants to go. Now, I don’t want to lose that kind of cross functional/cross pollination that happens in the in person IIW - where I go to a philosophical discussion, followed by a deep crypto discussion, followed by the more user business case discussion. I think that’s part of the value of what we get out of the in person IIW. But I feel like virtually, that happens a lot less than it happened in person.

And I don’t know that I can explain why. But I feel like I end up in more thematic sessions. And I get less of the hallway track of… “oh, Doc’s doing a session on this, and you really need to be there!” type thing... than I would get in an in person IIW.

Mike Jones: I can say why! Because in the Computer History Museum we have all these tables in the middle where people find each other. And they talk about stuff out of session. And then they’ll sometimes say, “well, do you want to call a session on this thing we’ve been talking about?” or… “Did you know that this think Kaliya is doing is actually really pertinent, and we should go to that now” or… etc. It’s the cross talk that in a scheduled set of or sequence of zoom calls there’s no cross talk occurring at all. (Phil: Yeah). (Heidi: Even with the unsession - I’m making a joke. We’ve tried hard but it just doesn’t work)

Kyle den Hartog: The interesting thing about it, I used to say this joke when we would actually have to fly to in person IIW events. The joke was - my day job doesn’t start until I hit the bar when I go to IIW. And what I was actually implying was this: I have much better success of hearing out somebody’s position, or convincing somebody of my position, when sitting in a conversation at the bar with them to move a standard forward; than I do with the actual in person events in a lot of cases. Because that’s where the one-on-one conversations are occurring. The other side of it is being able to sit down at the table. And that’s all lost with this Zoom aspect at play. We don’t have the dinners. And we don’t have the sidebar conversations that occur. Because it’s pick which place you want to be. And I think, as Mike points out, the those are the important points that we were trying to emphasize by way of doing the unconference. It was facilitating a space where it’s possible to have more of those conversations. The Zoom has really kind of disabled that capability and made it almost like back to a conference style system of sorts.

Another Participant: And that’s even with the spaces that you’ve created that are supposedly not presentations or discussions. Right? They’re supposed to be just community. But I would wager nobody goes there. I certainly don’t.

Phil: Very few people. I popped into one yesterday that had a couple of people - it was the coffee cart chat. And I thought “oh!, it looks like it might be interesting. I popped in, we had a nice little conversation. But yeah...it doesn’t happen like the tables (at the CHM). It’s definitely not the same thing.

Heidi: No (it’s not). And at the end of the event, where you can gather energy to go and have your drink and dinner together, we’re all so sick of Zoom we don’t want to hang out in another Zoom room even with our drink. I know I’m tired. (Other Participant: same!)

Chris Kelly: I think, on a practical level, I haven’t ever been to an in person IIW. Hopefully one day. But it’s the practicalities of going to get a coffee or going to have lunch you can bring someone with you and continue the conversation. Where as here, I know I could put on bluetooth headphones and stay in a session and keep listening; while I go make a sandwich. But I need a break. I need to walk away from the formalized sessions. But it’s tough to try and take someone on a conversation with me on a one-on-one basis for that.

Lisa: I think Chris is also adding to what you just said. One of the challenges I think that everyone has faced in the last two years, being online, is part of the culture of IIW...right. Culturally, we break bread with each other. When you think about it, around the world that’s really where a lot of connections are made - is breaking bread with people. And I can’t remember who it was yesterday that was saying - maybe Sam Smith - was saying there’s parts of Asia where if you’re not having a meal together and you start to have a business conversation it’s considered rude. You need to bring food to the situation so that you can have that human dynamic. So it’s definitely a challenge.

Phil: Yes. Food has always been an important part of IIW

Terry Hayes: No business until the third cup of tea.

Phil: Are there other thoughts or have we exhausted this and we should all go to different sessions?

Lisa: I will say this, Phil...Oh, I’m sorry, go ahead Kyle.

Kyle den Hartog: I was going to say that I feel like I’m convinced that in person is just irreplaceable. You guys have done an excellent job of facilitating; but, in person just remains irreplaceable. I get some of the IIW magic (virtually). But I feel energized when I’m done with an in person event. Whereas when I’m done with the virtual one, I just feel tired. I feel like I need to take a nap.

Dick Hardt: Yeah, I was wondering what/how you guys are going to summarize what you took away from this? I was interested in hearing.

Phil (smiling/joking): “Dick hates all of the remote people and doesn’t want us to accommodate them.” That’s basically my report out. (everyone laughs) Phil Continues: No, no…. I think my report-out would be: We had a good discussion about this. And the strong feeling is - face-to-face is so much superior to remote. And hybrid introduces enough friction that it may not be worth the effort or the cost in terms of both people and other things. Now I’m sure that what will happen after that report is I’ll get lots of email from people saying “Oh, I can’t come please, please, please, please, please…”, so…

Dick Hardt: I think there is some value in…. The hybrid one is the one I am concerned about. The remote can work for people who want to work remote; but trying to mix the two is problematic.

Phil: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Nathan George: I was going to say, the remote does work for certain things. And it works quite well for certain things. And the in person is also kind of a necessity. We’re seeing across the open source contribution side, that the communities work a lot better when they have touch points of being in person. It helps reduce a lot of the friction, a lot of tension, between personalities when there is an in person touch point. So as we consider doing an in person event, one thing to consider is how can we make sure and bring some of those communities in? Because a lot of the normal, in person, events that those communities naturally have on their own - like the different block chain conventions or conferences; or the different W3C events - a lot of those have gone a lot more virtual. And if we can bring some of those folks (some of those communities) in to have some kind of a touch point as subsets of our community, I think they would find and see IIW as more important to them. If they felt like they had place for that or if we could convince them to prioritize that.

Lisa: I’d just like to add a couple of things: (1) in the last two years, the notes forms, keeping the notes form online and having people access and complete on their laptops, even if they’re in person, that has jumped exponentially in people contributing/completing notes from sessions. That’s been a real positive; and it can still happen even with an in person event. But it would require improved/boosted WiFi. (2) the other notion is this - rather than calling it a hybrid event - you focus in for the Spring and attempt to do a few things well. So maybe you have 3 sessions or a few that are sprinkled throughout that are specific topics which can be accessed both live and remote - rather than trying to do it bigger chunk. Test it out with just a few and see if it can work and be successful.

Kaliya: One of the nuggets that I’m taking away is - face-to-face is super important and hybrid is very hard. I basically totally agree with what Dick said. I also think that there’s a shift to more remote for several of the things that used to only be in person. Like I think W3C Tags and other people are naming things that are sort of within things that people attend within our community. So, IIW has always been a cross pollination place. And if we hold that, then we sort of invite key people from all these key constituencies, that we want to cross pollinate, to come to the in person IIW; but, we also perhaps think about what Kyle and others have suggested - these special topic events in between which are virtual. And we try to balance it out between the two, for the sake of cohesion in the community. And, potentially also work with…. You know, DIF used to hots its face-to-face meetings the day before IIW. Well maybe they keep hosting those virtually instead of…. What’s our relationship to other things that are within our community but also their own entities? And so that’s something I think we should talk more explicitly about. Because if DIF also pushes it’s in person thing, only to IIW, then it’s losing that connection to the virtual, right. So there’s some things to balance out. That’s kind of my takeaway.

Kyle den Hartog: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned that Kaliya. Because that’s sort of the idea I wanted to put forth too. I don’t want to lose the two in person events. But I wanted to ask the question to the Facilitation team: Is it too much to add a third interim virtual event - such as like in July, where we do one of these virtual IIW’s? And that’s kind of an interim event that allows us to be able to allow more people to be brought in. Kind of to pick it up. And maybe make it like a 2 day event instead. And then use that as a kind of jumping off/springboard point to bring new people into the in person events. And catch the quality that exists in those.

Phil: We did a little bit, this past summer. Kaliya and Heidi ran these two interstitial events. One on business processes; and the other on UX - user experience. And I think that did help. Heidi was mentioning yesterday that some of those people, who’d never come before, came and ran sessions on business processes. They were just 1 day events, as Heidi was saying earlier. But yeah, that’s an option for bringing remote people in.

Heidi: And doing a 1 day, in terms of getting it organized, is way less involved than the 3 day IIW for sure. Because we weren’t soliciting sponsors, what needed to be tended to was much smaller. We were creating a good event space and doing notes and that part of IIW and doing open space. So, it’s much less work for a 1 day event. Easy enough to show up and do it.

Kyle den Hartog: That’s quite interesting because I knew about those two events, but I didn’t attend them. What I find very interesting about that is they were almost diversity events, of sorts. There are ways for us to target specific targeted markets and say - here’s what we do at IIW; and then to be able to use them as springboard things to bring the cross pollination that occurs there. Because I’m already convinced I want to attend IIW. But what’s interesting about it, maybe these UX developers, or maybe these business people who are just finding out about the identity stuff, it’s a good way for us to be able to target these things. So maybe we do something like, IIW for Asia Day. Or something like that where somebody who is in the Asia region is facilitating that; and it’s an interim event to be able to try and get more people from Asia regions to come to the actual in person IIW events.

Heidi: I know for me, handling the schedule etc, one of the hardest things about the online event is dealing with all the time zones. And when I think about going back to CHM, and only needing to worry about the people that are there, and in one time zone; and, that we’re only having five sessions a day and 15 sessions total not 24...even with all the other stuff that has to be dealt with - does Rich still have a coffee cart? And all those things - the span of what I’m holding immediately feels easier. Because when we’re virtual, you want to attend to all the people in different time zones and make sure that you’re communicating that correctly etc. So the interim events, having them be okay, Kaliya and I have talked about whether we orient them towards the East coast or West coast? Because whatever side of the US, then people from those other countries could come. But we weren’t trying to be inclusive of the whole globe (for these interim events). And that made it easier too.

Dick Hardt: One of my thoughts was, maybe there’a a virtual session scheduled during the live one that’s like a one hour session that virtual people can sign up for. Something like that. That’s then configured for it just to be virtual. Although, it’s hard to think about how you’re going to have that at any kind of scale with a bunch of different presenters. So as I thought about that suggestion, it didn’t seem like such a great suggestion anymore. And then, the other idea….I find that 3 days of virtual is like Wow! That’s a huge amount of time for the value I get out of it. Whereas, a half day….
I think there’s a huge value that you guys have found in being able to tap into people that normally couldn’t go. But, maybe just making it a small time frame, and having that maybe on a quarterly basis? or, maybe it’s only half a day? Or something like that. So it gives people a taste of it. And then they say “Hey, I got a lot of value out of that, and I want to go to the in person one.” Just tossing ideas out there.

Heidi: My imagination too is that - from some of the conversations of this event - for people who’ve been to the live event, that when we finally get to be in person again, everybody’s going to want to be in person. All of our attention is going to be running in person again (from the IIW team to all the participants). And so the focus will be there. Even if the note taking is set up in QiqoChat and they can go get their pre-set notes forms and stuff like that. It’s not trying to communicate virtually, in addition to being with people. Personally, as the main Producer with great helpers, to be there in person and then to also need to be attending to the logistics of “is the equipment working? And how many people registered today? And are the people who are remote having a good time?” I would find that challenging, at least initially.

Dounia: Yes, what you’re saying is resonating. In the sense that...at first I was so adamant about hybrid being a good idea. And I’m realizing that there’s also something about honoring being back in person, after two years. And so, I can’t imagine how having virtual components to be a net positive. Especially if there is those satellite events that are designed for welcoming broader community. And then how these two weave in I think is something that we learn as it happens. Because some of these people might want to go to an in person IIW, but might never be able to. But I think it’s too premature to think that through at this point. What I’m trying to say - perhaps serving people who want to attend but aren’t able to, or looking at how to welcome more people into the community is not best done by having a hybrid element at the in person IIW without compromising the importance of being back together in person.

Mike Jones: I like the thought of honoring being back in person.

Kyle den Hartog:: Yeah, I found myself nodding my head when you put it in that way. I’d much rather miss an IIW because it’s in person and I can’t attend, than to lose the quality of having to consider all the other aspects when I’m trying to host something and trying to go find Heidi because the webcam isn’t working; or because I couldn’t find a facilitator. That just sounds like a logistical nightmare for you guys. You’ve already got enough to do as is with facilitating in a place like CHM and trying to deal with WiFi problems there. Adding more doesn’t sound like fun, if I were putting myself in your shoes.

Michel Plante: I just want to bring up the fact that I have been attending IIW for the past 3 or 4 times, since the beginning of the pandemic. Because, for me, I’m based in Montreal. So taking a plane and going to CA plus hotels, restaurants, plust travel time plus everything...adds up quite fast. And at the same time, I realize fully that in person must be totally different. And on line I can do 20 things at a time. I can attend or not sessions. And when I don’t attend sessions, I can go back to my real day job. I just don’t know how I will be able to manage if it goes back to in person. On top of the fact that it’s 10x the amount of money. I will have to make a difficult choice of actually not going or maybe going only once every two or three IIW’s because of that. So in terms of diversity, I am diversity for the group. I’m also assuming that people from Europe, from India, from Brazil...all those guys that have been connecting online, won’t find it as easy to go in person as it is to go online. So I would even be prepared to pay my entry ticket, a higher price point, let’s say $1000 instead of $450. It would still cost me a lot less money than to take a plane and go there. So with the extra money from online only people like me, maybe we can higher a firm or somebody else to help out in the overall organization in logistics of hosting a hybrid environment?

Heidi: One thing, and I know it’s not a huge cost Michel, but one thing just to be aware, is that the cost of the ticket for the in person event includes breakfast and lunch all 3 days; and, two dinners. And the most expensive ticket for the in person, that we have right now, is like the late corporate ticket. And that’s not even $600 or something. So the structure of the event does include meals. I know that’s not hotels and that’s not the plane. But that’s our in person way of trying to make sure that everybody who comes can earth together, etc. I know you haven’t been to an in person IIW, so I just wanted to share that piece with you.

Michel Plante: I’m not that far away. Montreal is not that far away from California. But it’s still close to a six hour flight, plus a 3 hour time zone difference. So I have to fly in a day early; adn fly out a day later.

So for me, it’s minimum 4 nights at a hotel. [Phil: Yeah, as for me. Heidi: Yeah, and our European people, and those from Japan…]

Michel Plante: Yes, and for those from Europe it’s even worse. It’s probably 2 days, maybe not.

So it all adds up very quickly. And if I go there physically, I have to take 4 days off my job to attend. But I do want to attend. For me, this is invaluable. So invaluable. Everything that I’m learning is just incredible. And I”m now being an advocate within the company that I consult for, about everything digital identity and with everything that I’ve learned about.

Chris Kelly: Yeah, I just want to +1 on this. I am based in Germany. It would be an undertaking to make the trip over to attend in person. Something I would love to do one day. But also, just to pull it out of the chat, Kaliya also mentioned, trying to liaise with some organizations like the Engine Room to make in person events more accessible for people who maybe could not afford participation. In the name of inclusion and diversity, I think Kaliya’s idea of cost saving guide is also a really great tip. Particularly for out of towners - where is cheap to stay, or how to reduce the general costs of your trip. I think digital events are a really accessible way for people to get involved. Not only in terms of geographical diversity, but also smaller businesses, freelancers who don’t necessarily have the financial resources to dedicate to buying a ticket or travel costs.

Kaliya: I have a couple of thoughts that are arising. One thought is about perhaps we’re reaching a stage collectively that, across the board, we need to communicate better outwardly. So folks like Michel and those who are remote, have better access to the educational materials that would be helpful to them. I think our communities have been weak on that. It doesn’t solve the richness of the learning in these groups, but we also can’t just have that it’s the only place you got rich learning from our community. I also think we could be better at explaining where different work activities happen on an ongoing basis. There’s probably 15 working groups a week that meet within this community. And I can barely keep track of it, and I’m like super primed! And so, how do we support folks like you, Michel? Whether you come to an in person IIW, I’m just kind of curious where you participate when you’re not at an IIW, if anywhere? And then I had another thought, which is like a possibility of….we’ve taken feedback early on from folks like Mike Jones and others who gave us very strong feedback that we needed to keep IIW, “IIW,” and not dilute it with having satellite events. We have had a few in person events that are not main IIW and it was made very clear to us - early on - we had to label them as satellites and explain that they were “like IIW” but not the “real IIW” that was in Mountain View. And I hear that.
And I also think that there may be a bridging place. Our universe of people participating is growing. So are there other things?

Like I’ve had this idea of hosting “identity camp” in the summer. We’d say “we’re all going to fun place x. If you’re in the community, come hang out for a week.” And maybe we do 2 sessions a day, but the rest of the time we’re being social and hanging out. But those could happen on different continents. Like there could be a Europe one - like Chaos Computing Camp happened - or there could be….you know how do we support…

There is a super value for in person. But if we say the only way you get in person is to come to IIW, that may be hurting ourselves. Those were just some thoughts that arose from that. But Michel would you be willing to answer my question about where else you participate?

Michel Plante: Yeah, I’m involved in Sovereign, in Trust over IP in the States. And, in Canada, I’m involved in CIO Strategy Council, and DIACC. So I’m already spending a lot of my time, like 12 months of the year on those events. And now, obviously, like IdentityNorth and DIACC, we used to be in. We used to have in person meetings and that all stopped when the pandemic started. And they are starting, as well, to think just like you are - about going in person again. But at some point, there’s only 24 hours in a day. So I’m sure I’m not the only one in this situation. But it’s not going to be feasible for me to go to Vancouver, Toronto, and Halifax to attend DIACC, or CIO Strategy Council. So I’m going to have to drop out from a couple of events, if all those go back to being only in person. And I’m with you, Kaliya, when you say there’s so much going on! Just for Trust over IP, I think there’s 65 or 68 working groups! I’m only observing in about 3 or 4 of them. I just can’t keep up. (Kaliya: Thanks.)

So what about if the decision is to go back to in person only, is there a way that you can systematically record all sessions? Because right now we’re always asking, our participants if their comfortable with recording sessions. And I’ve never heard anyone say “no, I don’t want this to be recorded.” So why don’t we take the default position that we record everything. No?

Kyle Den Hartog (shared an example of a conversation/session at a recent IIW with a group of people who did not want to be “on the record” because of the affect their comments might have on how they represent their clients, etc. in other settings.): This is a perfect example of, we wouldn’t have had those conversations and had good crossroads with that group if we had to require the recording.

Heidi: And you use a good word, Kyle. Most of IIW are conversations. They’re not presentations. Recording a presentation is different than a group of people getting together and jumping into the mosh pit of “how do we really think this should work?” And there are Books of Proceedings going back all the way to IIW 7, when I showed up to start people to take notes.

Kaliya: You can actually find notes from IIW 1 & 2 on the Internet Archive Wikis.

Heidi: I also think it’s the nature of IIW and that it’s Open Space. It’s meant for the people that are participating, mostly. And it has generously, since the 7th IIW, generated notes which it shares publicly to the world. Anybody can go find them. And we do let people know “these notes are going out into the world, so don’t put anything in them that you don’t want out in public.” It’s kind of a fine line. But as a non-identity person, but a person who’s been co-producing and facilitating, it’s people like it. It’s not the standard event format.

Kaliya: I was going to ask - what thoughts do people have about the idea of supporting regional in person things, perhaps in collaboration with other organizations, to meet in person needs for people who can’t travel very far?

Phil: So the prototype of that was probably the London event that you did Kaliya, years ago. And then we went and did India. Kaliya: Right, we did do India. Heidi: We did 2 in D.C.

Phil: And it is interesting. You do get a different group of people when you move around. CHM is our home and we love it. But it does bias the conversation in certain ways. When we were in DC there were a lot more policy discussions, for example.

Kyle den Hartog: Yeah, who attend the events makes a big difference. And like where I was trying to go with the previous statement I said about “my work gets done at the bar” - the in person events, they fill the gap that aren’t filled already by working group calls that we have weekly. Like the DID Com working group as an example - we discuss what we’re going to discuss at IIW, the same way as we discussed what we are going to discuss next week on the working group call. Whereas like the in person event allows for you to breakdown the tension that builds up - in between the events - because you get to see the human side of people. You don’t have to focus on the work side only and keep it bound to a 1 hr call or something. I think that’s where the experience in person is priceless. That’s why I’m willing to justify it. But then again, I have to acknowledge my bias that I don’t have to pay for my plane tickets, I don’t have to pay for my hotel. Whereas many consultants who offer different opinions do have to take those things into consideration. And that’s where it changes the conversation in a way, because we lose them.

Heidi: The group of people talking here today, 16 years after this thing started, is absolutely because it’s been meeting in person. And you’ve had the drinks, and dinners, and coffees etc. The personal relationships have been developed.

Dick Hardt: I agree. And that’s why I go. A lot of work happened on a lot of Standards at IIWs. OAuth2, Open ID...less now that the world is moving to DID. Maybe all the DID people are doing stuff and I’m not tracking all of that. So I’m sure there’s a lot of DID work going. One thought, one of the things that ITF does, is they have 3 events a year. And each of them is in a different geography. So there’s one in North or South America, and one in Asia, and one in Europe for a year. This lowers the barrier for people who can’t travel, as well. So there’s one that’s easier for them to get to. It spreads the effort around as opposed to everybody having to go to the CHM.

And while I’m throwing out crazy ideas - what if you were to tie one of the IIW to being saved before or after EIC? Where you’ve got a number of identity people in Europe already. And now, people can make one trip and make it a bit longer if they want to for both of those things. There are a number of things that tie into IIW, right. There’s Open ID Foundation has a kickoff the day before. Like a number of other people tie things around. So IIW could tie to other identity related events at other times.

Kaliya: We did do those… we called them “Identity Open Space” things, one day pre…. This was even before there was IIW - there was a formal identity conference and the day before we hosted an open space in association with them. So I like that you’re resurfacing this as a potential path to support in person connections across the community using open space. It’s an interesting thought to reach out to EIC and sort of explicitly talk with them about maybe doing a day of open space next door.

Phil: This was very very useful. It’s good to hear all that. So thanks everyone.


From Kyle Den Hartog to Everyone:

Could we pay for a few prepaid broadband hotspots to solve that wifi problem?

From Scott Mace to Everyone:

Would CHM allow that?

From Windley to Everyone:

CHM is pretty flexible (especially with us)

From Dick Hardt to Everyone:


From Kyle Den Hartog to Everyone:

Stone wall name over here :)

From Scott Mace to Everyone:

The audio capture situation for remote attendees is untenable for those breakout spaces that

don't have their own physical room (the tented-off spaces in the big room)

From Kaliya Identity Woman to Everyone:

A day being 5 hours

From Dick Hardt to Lisa Horwitch (Facilitation Team)(Direct Message):

You are now the host :)

From Scott Mace to Everyone:

What about having a couple of time slots for virtual-friendly sessions, maybe one near the start

and one at the end? Or sprinkled throughout the conference? Might need to survey remote-only

folks to see if they would still participate.

From Scott Mace to Everyone:

Must run, good luck all

From Nathan_George to Everyone:

While we appreciate the opportunity to express our opinions. This summary of “what has

worked well” and “which improvements should we never give up” are probably the most

important learnings from the session. (We need ways to make this work better over time if we

are going to help the community get more globally inclusive)

From Kaliya Identity Woman to Everyone:

like a 2 day?

Business of SSI & UX and SSI

From ChrisKelly to Everyone:

+1 for smaller online satellite events

From Kaliya Identity Woman to Everyone:

have the interim virtual event not be on pacific time.

From ChrisKelly to Everyone:

+1 :D

From Kyle Den Hartog to Everyone:


A major factor

I rarely wake up in time on the 3rd day when virtual

From Michel Plante to Everyone:

sorry I just got in so I missed the start

From Kyle Den Hartog to Everyone:

Absolutely! That’s what I’m most looking forward to

From Kaliya Identity Woman to Everyone:

On a different thread of focusing on inclusion - building more relationships with organizations

who do work on identity in the global south and getting funding from funders to support them

being able to attend in person - I’m thinking of the folks at an organization like The Engine Room

From Michel Plante to Everyone:

Money problem. Online = $500, In-Person = $5000 (airfare, hotel, restaurants, travel time, etc.

From ChrisKelly to Everyone:

+1 kaliyah

From Kaliya Identity Woman to Everyone:

I also think we need to work on writing up more about how to reduce costs when attending - like

renting a bike :)

From Kaliya Identity Woman to Everyone:

or renting a camper van and staying in the hotel parking lot

From Dounia (Facilitation Team) to Everyone:

@michel - would you go to a 1 day event on more focused topics?

From Dounia (Facilitation Team) to Everyone:


From Kyle Den Hartog to Everyone:

It’s worth acknowledging my bias may come from the fact much of my costs are typically

covered by my company

From Scott Mace to Everyone:

  1. SickBurn

From Michael Jones to Everyone:

I need to run. Thanks for having this discussion.

From Windley to Everyone:

Thanks Mike

From Kyle Den Hartog to Everyone:


From Dick Hardt to Everyone:

It was

I did


Working for me!