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Northern Voice Post-Mortem

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years ago

Boris Mann hosted an informal Northern Voice Post-Mortem Saturday afternoon to get feedback for next year’s


(Blame Tod for the typos. I can't type fast.)



The Wiki

  • Maybe we need a wiki host? -- someone responsible for the wiki, like how Rebecca live-blogs (unofficially and generously).
  • Is it the most efficient way to do registrations?
  • There should be a screen-cast on how to use the wiki
  • Why are there TWO SITES?! (wiki and main site)
  • Wiki can be intimidating to newcomers?
  • Should we have an email list to promote the next (un-)conference? Non-bloggers probably won't follow the blogs or subscribe to the Moosecamp RSS feed.
  • Maybe get people to put a photo of themselves next to their name and blog on the attendees list.
  • Email list is a good idea, not everyone will follow the rss.
  • Perhaps a reference page will be useful to list the tags to use, banner images, where to subscribe to the central rss feed, as well as who to contact for what.



  • People want a single sign-up (not just one for the dinner, one for each day, blah blah...)


Human Graphing

  • Could have been publicized better
  • Maybe shouldn't have been done first thing in the morning?
  • This would be great to do right after lunch during the UNconference, when people have warmed up, are in the flow, are settled-in, and are expecting it.


Day One: BootCamp 101

  • Some BootCamp presenters seemed to just be "winging it" -- more work on the presentations needed
  • Podcasting 101 could have had more practical how-to content (e.g., how to use the Libsyn interface, etc.)
    • A "walk-through" isn't necessary per se, but at least some discussion on practicalities
  • Presenters should use the wiki more/better
    • Instructions or suggested expectations for using the wiki along with the presentations will be useful
  • "What's Next" presentation didn't really talk about what was next, but the topic that emerged was okay with everyone
  • Should we develop a ratings-system for expertise level? Seemed to be very different levels in the audiences.
    • Beginners/"Newbies": Dunce Cap?
    • Intermediate/"Normies": Star?
    • Advanced: "Alpha Nerds": Propeller Hat?
    • A "jargon-meter"?
  • Could botcamp presenters be aware of the audience inexperience throughout the presentation?
  • But, shouldn't apply to everything, especially those where breaking up the group into expertise levels might mean there'd only be a handful of each
  • Do we even NEED a BootCamp? Does it mean the conference is inaccessible and therefore needs a bootcamp?
    • Necessary to have - a lot of people are new and could be intimidated from Day Two.
    • I hope the people who could use the bootcamp track learned a lot; I personally loved the fact that the separate bootcamp track significantly raised and homogenized the geek level in the moosecamp sessions compared to previous years. I think "segregating" geeks and non-geeks meant less wasted time for both populations.
    • The BootCamp can be "marketed" for those new to personal blogging and social media to expand our community. It can be spread as being a safe place to learn and try new things.
  • The PowerBlogging session was a scam. It was advertised as instructional, but was really a marketing survey for the Flock browser. There were at least ten "Raise your hand if...".
  • Agreed. The powerblogging session should have been more honestly labelled as mainly a market research survey session. Market research spam. Audience wanted actual content. Flock spammed us.
  • How about a research / edublogging stream? This happens naturally, but perhaps a stream can be added with a call for suggestions?



  • Need to do a better job 'splaining the sessions (more descriptive abstracts)
    • I found myself tracking down the presenters to ask what exactly the sessions were about, some titles weren't obvious as to what they were covering
  • How are our day-to-day life culturally impacted by all this?
  • Titles and abstracts often sound too generic or acedemic.
  • with Moosecamp, we were actually pretty light on sessions this year, and we could work on the scheduling/slotting process. There were a few that would really have benefitted from longer sessions, some that flowed naturally from each other and some that either needed bigger or smaller rooms.
  • Maybe a few more minutes between sessions, there wasn't enough time to say a quick word to the leader/speaker and also get into the next session on time (mostly re: MooseCamp/Bootcamp)
  • Yes, we definitely need time (5 min or so) between sessions. Btw, I was very impressed by the punctuality of all the sessions I attended.
  • Post a big paper version of the program with abstracts/comments, etc. Basically an offline version of the wiki page (not everybody were online during the conference).
  • For more than just BootCamp 101, it would be good to have a "green circle"/blue square"/"black diamond" (or whatever -- one moose, two moose, three moose?) rating system to rank the amount of base technical or blogger/social media subcultural experience is necessary to get a lot out of it. Downside to this: the photo session appealed to a very broad cross-section of the conference, offering something to nontechnical and experienced photographers alike.
  • It would also be good to have a "who this is for" item in the description. "This session is for people who want to learn to place an Amazon widget on their blog." vs "this is for people who are looking for a good CAPTCHA solution for their comments." It could also include information on audience participation -- is it a lecture or a Q&A? A workshop or a presentation?
  • Mack D. Male puts it not-so-delicately in his feedback on his blog (see below "I decided to blog my comments": "The schedule sucks". His point is well taken: The session titles were fanciful and attention-getting, but not very descriptive, so we actually needed the abstracts to navigate our way through the conference day (hence the comments about a poster schedule etc.). Either print the abstracts on the program or make the session titles more descriptive.
  • A more organized way to list changes in the schudule after it is printed. Perhaps having somebody responsible for updating the website schedule itself as changes occur?


Steering Committee

  • We don't have anyone representing the "newbie" delegates... committee is all alpha-nerds
  • it might be nice to have a bit of rotation of committee members to give some other folks a chance too
  • How about taking volunteers from a distance to assist with the work? There does not seem to be a way to offer help in the preparation for the conference.


Non-Profit Tech Expo

  • Does anybody have thoughts on this, from an attendee's perspective?
  • Good idea to have them, maybe have more next year.


Ask an Expert Booth

  • Was this a good idea? How can we do it better next year? Of course, if you needed the booth, you may not have sufficient wiki-fu to be able to post your answer here.
  • Where was the booth hidden? Read about it but didn't see it.
  • The Booth was too hidden as the signage was reaaaaaaally small. Also, the Voxant people didn't realize the booth went longer than 3pm, so, after that point, the booth was half dismantled and gone by 4. Perhaps it needs to run shorter and in a centralized location where it won't be ignored. Otherwise, I think it is a good idea since the conference does have a lot of new bloggers running around.
  • I think the booth is a good idea. But, in the afternoon, the Expert booth looked like a Voxant vendor booth. I was surrounded by three yellow shirts, one of which sat at the table on her computer directly in front of where people should ask questions. I asked if they were sponsors and they said "yes". If this is true - please do not have live sponsors for the booth - (or any other permanent by-standers) - it limits interaction. What are they sponsoring exactly?
  • Voxant was liveblogging at the Vendor booth - except at lunchtime we had only one person from our team there. We did leave at 4pm to catch our flight back - it was the last one to the east coast. Only a half dozen questions we asked all day. To get more participation we recommend publicizing better and also limiting time to breaks and lunch. The sessions were so good, most people were not milling around in between.
    • I agree with that too. Not many people outside the sessions - which is a good thing! :)
  • I don't see why Voxant was there, confusing as to where the "Expert" was suppose to be.


Random Comments

  • "Sheriffs" a cool idea
    • I must've missed the announcement of this. I saw a few sheriff stars on Saturday but didn't know what they meant
    • maybe use some term more obvious for the helper than sherriffs, plus bigger more noticeable badges, especially if you're going to only mention what they do one time.
    • I read about this toward the end of the conference, but did not see it or know anything about it before it began.
  • We should have a place where people can answer questions from newcomers in advance of the event (on the wiki?)
  • Food was AWESOME! Thanks for providing the yummy lunches, it gave all of us that much more time together to talk. EXCEPT that it ran out whilethere was still a long line up (saturday) and it took a long time for replenishmnet to arrive.
  • Coffee was poor. It must be possible to get a better supplier and delivery method
    • I thought the coffee was fine. I was happy to have some that I did not have to miss a session since I was standing in line someplace else.
  • Plus have coffee and tea during the whole day, and water, maybe somewhere in the corner
  • Somewhere to hang coats and check bags is needed
  • Possible expanded role for sheriffs — as "translators," which some helpful people were doing already. (Example, I didn't know that "enterprise social" meant "using social media inside a company" until someone said that Bonnie's topic on the Ambulance Service was the same topic. A-ha! - LJ)
  • Human Graphing is a good ice breaker. Doing it early in the day before sessions start insures maximum participation. Next year a question can be: "How many years have you been attending Northern Voice?" Handout sheets would remove some of the confusion among people data points.
  • Maybe have a piece of paper next to each room used with the names of the sessions and the times.
  • Overall very informative, fun and useful conference. Kudos to the organizers.
  • Great Pork at the party. Would be nice to have a place closer to the conference and cheaper beer though next time.
  • How about guidelines for sponsors and others who have commercial interests? "This is how it's cool to talk about your product/service, and this is how you might garner criticism" - something like that.
  • If possible, improve wireless access which was very slow/spotty due to number of people online.
  • I'm a newbie and I really did love this event - best money I've spent in a long time! I was able to take lots in and just tuned out when it got too geeky. Was actually surprised how much was I could understand. Maybe I'm extra-naive, but I was intimidated by the wiki (hard to figure out how to use if you've never done it before) so would have appreciated directions somewhere that I could find easily! Bootcamp sessions were helpful and I got something from all presenters. So easy to meet people and ask questions. Amazed by community (leave your laptop and walk away) feeling. Great job, organizers!
  • Noticing emerging sub cultures within NVoice, which is interesting, cool and may, in the future, beg some attention about how we weave together if and when appropriate
  • Really glad there was some closure to the session.
  • How about an evaluation or electronic poll afterward to begin aggregating comments and feedback?
  • Though I'm an experienced blogger, I wandered into a morning bootcamp session and noticed that part-way through the session, the presenter and a few experienced audience members ended up talking amongst themselves at a relatively rapid rate about relatively in-vogue techniques, and a few of the audience members mentioned it to me later; they didn't want to seem the like only clueless ones in the room so kept quiet, but felt like it had been over their heads. So it's worth keeping that in mind.
  • It was my first time at Northern Voice and I'm very glad I went - gave me a lot to think about, and I went back to my office and started revamping my blog.
  • Decided to blog my comments.
  • I will be blogging about NV 08 but in the meantime, it's been two weeks and there is very little content posted for the Saturday sessions - this should be obligatory for presenters, not a community-generated initiative if you're going to run three sessions at once. Either that or start handing out the little cloning pills SVP. :) I saw those sheriff stars and thought they were a fashion statement - y'all are way too subtle for me sometimes. Great party, and what a huge difference having the catered lunches made.


Suggestions for Next Year

  • A track about analog (and its relationship to our digital lives) - Dave (Olson?), Nancy (White?) and Isabella Mori are interested. Who else?
  • A board for leaving notes and announcements and changes (bulletin board or white board or the like). Not everybody has a laptop with them and on at all times.
  • An email list for email blasts during the conference if there is a need to communicate changes or developments.
  • More involvement in the planning outside the same core group (the conference keeps growing, and that should be reflected in the planning which is getting to be a lot of work for the same people)
  • Perhaps a list of those who organize the session? The picture there is a bit old (outdated?). 

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