Forums | Mahara Community

Developers /
Developer Meeting Guidelines

Stacey Walker's profile picture
Posts: 39

30 June 2011, 4:43

After my first (official) chairing of the meeting last night I made a couple of notes about how we potentially could improve these and cut back on wasted time and confusion.  I'd like to see what other attendees (past/future) think of these.

I think we should try and keep each meeting to an hour or under if possible.


  • if possible put an estimate of how long you think you'll need the floor next to your agenda item
  • if you think you might have to leave the meeting early put your item at the top of the list (and state the reasoning, so it doesn't get bumped out of the way by others)
  • we should collectively try and organise the meeting agenda by order of importance (this'll be slightly tricky but we can at least attempt it)
  • maybe put things like reviewer applications first on the list too so we can read in advance and get the voting done early (these really should only take a few minutes to get done anyway)
  • if possible prepare #link and #info statements that you'll use when you have the floor so that they go directly into the minutes (for both chairs and attendees)
  • at the start of each meeting the chair could #link both the agenda and the meeting guidelines and meetbot commands for attendees who aren't familiar with the process

There has been previous discussion about the use of a single . to denote when you have the floor and another one to indicate the end of your multi line sentences.  I personally found this slightly difficult to follow. :)

  • I'd like to suggest instead that we use keywords that can be #info 'd as well for the records.


<chair> #topic foo
<chair> #info floor username
<user1> yackity yackity yack
<user1> #link
<user1> #info salient yackity point/idea
<user1> #info end floor
<chair> #info questions?
<user2> question blah blah blah?
<user1> answer yackity yak!
  • questions and answers could be info'd if necessary.
  • the chair should try to keep an eye on the elapsed floor time based on the attendees estimated required time they noted on the agenda.   Inteject if they're running out of time.
  • if possible try to keep questions/answers to a 5-10 minute duration.
  • in the 'any other business' section attendees could revisit any items they didn't have time to question previously etc.
  • things that need further discussion could be #action'ed to forum topics for ongoing discussion

What does everyone think? This does mean a couple more things to type for the chair and the person having the floor but it might just help cut back on the cruft and mean that more important items are minuted and the irc log a bit easier to read late on.

François Marier's profile picture
Posts: 411

30 June 2011, 20:03

Thanks Stacey, that's a lot of really good advice for chairs. Do you want to add it to the wiki?

About the "." shortcut, it's actually a lot simpler :) All it is is a shorthand for "I'm done." It's not a "lock" that you have to acquire before you speak and release when you're done. It's just a quick indication that you're done and that you're not in the middle of typing anymore.

As far as sticking to a structured discussion format to make the minuting easier, I'm not entirely sure. I mean the main purpose of the meeting is to have a conversation about the topics that are on the agenda. It's great if the minutes are there for people who miss the meeting, but ultimately the meeting is for those who attend and I think we should try to "optimise" for them rather than for those who are absent.

Also, it's usually not clear until the end of a topic what is and what isn't important. In my opinion, I think that the minutes should be a summary (done mostly by the chair) of what each point was about. There's always the full log to go to if you want to see the full discussion for one of the topics and it's easy to refer to it because of the timestamps.

I like the idea of having a time limit (both for the whole meeting and perhaps per topic). What's a good time limit? So far, a lot of the meetings have been 2.5 hours. Should we aim for 2 or 1.5 for the next one?



Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3910

03 July 2011, 0:10

Hello Stacey,

Thanks for chairing the last meeting. The first time is quite scary. It's easier once you know the commands to use for bringing agenda items into the minutes. That's why I think everybody should chair a meeting ones. Then we all know about #info, #link etc. and can use them immediately ourselves when it is foreseeable that we want to use them, e.g. when you introduce a topic or an idea instead of having the chair repeat the line.

However, I agree with Francois that this is not always possible as you are discussing things and then it is better if the chair summarizes the discussion in a short #info for the minutes instead of everybody worrying whether their item should be one or not.

It would be great to cut down on the meeting time. With a meeting that long I feel I have to do something on the side and that of course distracts me from the meeting which adds to not responding quickly which makes the meeting longer...



3 results