[EuroPython] Computers off during sessions.

Anna Ravenscroft rev_anna_r at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 20 19:18:07 CET 2005

On Jan 20, 2005, at 13:55, M.-A. Lemburg wrote:
> BTW, I've always wondered why people at a conference use
> IRC to talk to each other... isn't the whole purpose of
> a conference to meet each other face to face ? ;-)

Sure. Next time I have a question during a talk, I should get up, walk 
over to wherever the person I want to ask is sitting, and ask them the 
question. Or walk out to the next room where they're attending a 
different talk, ask the question, then return. Right? Or do you think 
that maybe IRC would be a quieter, less disruptive route... Or should I 
just go along in the dark because I didn't understand something the 
speaker was talking about? I've had a couple of situations where, with 
one simple IM, I was able to clear up some minor confusion that made a 
major difference in how well I understood the rest of the talk.

Personally, I'd rather everyone be able to get the most out of the 
talks - after all, people paid to attend this conference, and 
presumably would like to use their laptops for just the kinds of things 
Harald mentioned. Yeah. Keyboards click. I have a hard time believing 
that at a *TECHNICAL* conference, that anyone is seriously put out by 
the sound of laptop keyboards. If it's an interactive, 
experiential-based session (such as a roleplay), then the speaker is 
welcome to tell folks that taking notes (regardless of method!) is not 
appropriate for the session. But there are very darn few of those at 
EuroPython. Anything else, I really consider laptops to be far less 
obtrusive than folks chatting (even quietly), tapping their feet or 
fingers or pens, flipping through the program or a book, etc etc (all 
of which I've seen and consider far more inconsiderate than someone 
simply using their laptop).

Personally, I think the complaints about people using their laptops are 
based (consciously or subconsciously) on "moral" grounds - after all, 
the original comment was about it being "disrespectful", and the 
complaint was about checking email or doing irc, not about people 
taking notes. (BTW - how did they know whether I was checking email or 
taking notes unless they were reading over my shoulder?)

Mind you - I absolutely agree with making sure mobile phones and 
laptops are set to "silent" mode. But, are you really proposing to 
forbid folks from taking notes? (remember that many folks have severe 
difficulty with taking notes by hand.) Just curious...


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