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Versions: (draft-saintandre-chatroom-relay) 00 01 02 03 04 05 RFC 7649

Network Working Group                                     P. Saint-Andre
Internet-Draft                                                      &yet
Intended status: Informational                                   D. York
Expires: October 17, 2015                               Internet Society
                                                          April 15, 2015

                The Jabber Scribe Role at IETF Meetings


   During IETF meetings, individual volunteers often help sessions run
   more smoothly by relaying information back and forth between the
   physical meeting room and an associated textual chatroom.  Such
   volunteers, commonly called "Jabber scribes", might benefit from the
   suggestions provided in this document.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on October 17, 2015.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2015 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of

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   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Know Your Users . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Know Yourself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Primary Tasks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  Additional Tasks  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   6.  Suggestions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     6.1.  Getting Set Up with Jabber  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     6.2.  Before the Session Begins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     6.3.  As the Session Is Starting  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     6.4.  During the Session  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     6.5.  As the Session Is Ending  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   7.  Reporting Problems  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   8.  Advanced Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   9.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   10. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   11. Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   Appendix A.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10

1.  Introduction

   During IETF meetings, individual volunteers often help sessions run
   more smoothly by relaying information back and forth between the
   physical meeting room and an associated textual chatroom.  Because
   these chatrooms are currently implemented using Jabber/XMPP
   technologies (see [RFC6120] and [XEP-0045]) the role is commonly
   referred to as that of a "Jabber scribe".

   This role is important because it is the primary way for a remote
   attendee to provide feedback or comments back into most IETF meeting
   sessions.  Although there are multiple ways that a remote attendee
   can listen and follow along, the chatroom provides a method of
   returning feedback to the physical meeting in something close to real
   time.  These methods hold true for IETF working group sessions, IRTF
   research group sessions, IETF "birds of a feather" (BoF) sessions,
   and similar sessions at IETF meetings.

   This document provides suggestions for fulfilling the role of a
   Jabber scribe, based on the authors' personal experience as well as
   input from other individuals who frequently volunteer as Jabber

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2.  Know Your Users

   The participants in a chatroom typically fall into three categories,
   labelled here for ease of understanding:

   o  Remote Participants

      Remote attendees who are listening to the audio stream or in some
      cases following the proceedings using a real-collaboration system
      (currently exemplified by the Meetecho service).  These
      participants might wish to send questions or feedback to the
      physical room.

   o  Observers

      IETF meeting attendees who are in another simultaneous session in
      a different physical room.  These participants often monitor the
      chatroom to find out when a particular topic is being discussed or
      to observe what is being discussed in the chatroom.  Typically
      they are not able to listen to the audio stream and sometimes they
      ask for a higher level of commentary so that they can know when
      they might need to change locations to participate in the
      session's physical room.

   o  Local Participants

      IETF meeting attendees who are in the same physical room.
      Sometimes these participants like to follow the discussions in the
      physical room and the chatroom at the same time.  They can also
      provide some assistance to Jabber scribes.

   Chatroom participants are usually identified by a "nickname" or
   "handle" rather than a full name.  This can be confusing to scribes,
   because they don't always know who is providing questions or comments
   to be relayed.  A scribe should feel free to ask for clarification so
   that the identity of the remote participant can be communicated at
   the microphone.

3.  Know Yourself

   Different people have different aptitudes and skills.  Although some
   people who volunteer to act as Jabber scribes are able to provide a
   fairly complete transcription of what is said and done in the
   physical meeting room, that is not the expectation for most
   volunteers (don't be scared off by the word "scribe").  Fulfilling
   the primary tasks described in the next section is not a significant
   burden for most volunteers, and can be an enjoyable way to
   participate in a session.  This document attempts to describe the

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   experience and provide some helpful guidance, but if you are thinking
   about volunteering then you might also ask other volunteers about
   their experience.  Knowing your aptitudes and skills (e.g., perhaps
   you are not a great typist) can help you understand the level of
   involvement you are comfortable with.

4.  Primary Tasks

   The primary "customers" for a Jabber scribe are the remote
   participants, and those customers are served in real time.  A scribe
   can assume that remote participants have access to at least the audio
   stream and perhaps also video for a session (except in extraordinary
   circumstances, such as when technical problems occur with the
   streaming facilities).  Even though chatroom sessions are logged
   during IETF meetings and these public logs can be a useful adjunct to
   the historical record, a scribe is not expected to transcribe what is
   said and done during the session.  Instead, the primary role of a
   scribe is to act as a relay between the physical room and the remote

   In particular, individuals who volunteer for the role of Jabber
   scribe usually complete the following tasks:

   o  Relay questions and comments from the chatroom to the physical
      room.  This typically involves going to the microphone to relay
      the comment from the remote participant.

   o  Count the number of chatroom participants who virtually "hum",
      raise their hands, volunteer to review documents, etc., and feed
      that information back to the physical room.

   o  Relay information about hums and similar interactions from the
      physical room to the chatroom (preferably after receiving a
      "readout" from the session chairs).

   It is the convention in most sessions that the Jabber scribe has the
   privilege to go to the front of the microphone line to relay
   information from remote participants.  Some Jabber scribes choose to
   exercise that privilege while others choose to wait in line along
   with the participants in the physical meeting rooom.  However, be
   aware that because of lag (often 20 seconds or more) between in-room
   discussions and the audio stream (as well as the inevitable delay
   while a remote participant types a question or comment to be
   relayed), it can be helpful for the scribe to "jump the queue" so
   that such questions and comments are not stale by the time they are
   relayed to the microphone.

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5.  Additional Tasks

   Additionally some Jabber scribes often complete the following tasks:

   o  Relay the names of people speaking in the physical room to the
      chatroom.  (To save typing the full names of people who speak
      frequently, scribes often use initials, but should expand the
      initials on first use.)

   o  Relay the slide numbers or slide titles so that it is easier for
      chatroom participants to follow along.

   o  Query remote participants about audio streaming quality, and relay
      such information to the session chairs.

   o  Relay to the chatroom participants any logistical or procedural
      issues related to the meeting (e.g., known technical glitches at
      the physical meeting or delays in starting the session).

   o  Provide links to the current set of slides and the document being
      discussed so that chatroom participants can easily follow along.

   Although Jabber scribes are not generally expected to transcribe the
   complete contents of conversations that happen in the physical room
   to the chatroom, they sometimes relay the gist of such conversations,
   especially during ad-hoc discussions for which slides are not
   available.  (By prior arrangement between the session chairs and the
   Jabber scribe, actual transcription might be expected for particular

6.  Suggestions

   Experience has shown that the following behaviors make it easier to
   act as a Jabber scribe.

6.1.  Getting Set Up with Jabber

   An overview of the IETF Jabber service can be found at <http://
   www.ietf.org/jabber/>.  Many common instant messaging clients support
   the Jabber/XMPP protocols, and at the time of writing a list of such
   clients can be found at <http://xmpp.org/xmpp-software/clients/>.
   Because the IETF Jabber service provides chatrooms only and does not
   enable direct registration of user accounts, you will need to create
   a user account at another service; one list of such services can be
   found at <https://xmpp.net/directory.php>.  Not all clients support
   the ability to join a chatroom, so you might want to test your
   preferred software in advance of the meeting (the
   hallway@jabber.ietf.org room is a good place to test).  Although the

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   exact user interface for joining a chatroom depends on the software
   you are using, typically such software will have a "join room" option
   that prompts you to provide the entire room address (e.g.,
   "hallway@jabber.ietf.org") or separately provide the name of the room
   (e.g., "hallway") and the domain of the chatroom service (e.g.,
   "jabber.ietf.org").  Asking your fellow IETF participants about their
   preferred software applications can be a good way to learn about
   Jabber/XMPP clients that you might want to use.

6.2.  Before the Session Begins

   If you have volunteered before the session:

   o  Coordinate with the chairs to ensure that remote participants have
      received information about where to find the meeting materials,
      agenda, audio stream, etc. (e.g., this information can be sent to
      a working group discussion list so that remote participants do not
      need to ask about it on entering the chatroom).

   o  Coordinate with the chairs to see if they have any special
      expectations for the Jabber scribe (e.g., some chairs might want
      you to transcribe more detailed information about the session
      proceedings into the chatroom).

   o  Ask the session chairs whether it is acceptable for you to advance
      to the front of the microphone line with time-sensitive comments
      from remote participants.

6.3.  As the Session Is Starting

   As you are getting settled and ready for the meeting to start:

   o  Seat yourself near the microphone most likely to be used for
      discussions in the physical room, so that you can more easily
      capture the names of people who come to the microphone.  Typically
      this will be a seat near the end of a row or in some location
      where you can easily get up out of your seat to go to the

   o  Start up your preferred Jabber client, log into your server, and
      join the chatroom for your session; the addresses are of the form
      group-name@jabber.ietf.org or bof-name@jabber.ietf.org.

   o  It can be helpful to open several browser windows or tabs for:

      *  the agenda page for the session

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      *  the overall agenda page for the IETF meeting (the "tools-style
         agenda" can be especially helpful for copying links for
         session-specific resources such as the audio stream)

      *  the materials page so that you can relay links to slides if
         necessary (at the time of this writing, URLs for materials
         related to IETF working groups are of the form "https://
         datatracker.ietf.org/meeting/<nn>/materials.html#<name>", where
         "nn" is the meeting number and "name" is the acronym for the
         working group, research group, or BoF)

      *  the documents page for the working group or research group (or
         BoF wiki page) in case you want easy access to documents
         mentioned but not in the agenda page

      *  the meeting registration system page (see below)

      *  the overall remote participation page for the IETF meeting in
         question (at the time of this writing, the URL for this page is
         of the form "http://www.ietf.org/meeting/<nn>/remote-
         participation.html", where "nn" is the meeting number

   o  Determine if the session will be streamed via a realtime
      collaboration system such as Meetecho.  If so, you can also point
      remote participants to that system for interaction.

   o  If the session is large or is expected to be especially active
      (e.g., a controversial BoF), find an assistant who can help you by
      sitting at another microphone, taking turns relaying information,

   Identifying one or more assistants is particularly useful if you want
   to go up to the microphone to speak as an individual or if you need
   to take a break or step out of the physical room at some point.

6.4.  During the Session

   As you perform your role during the session:

   o  Identify yourself in both the physical room and the chatroom so
      that participants in both venues know you are a Jabber scribe.

   o  Ask chatroom participants what level of information they need
      relayed into the chatroom.  For example if all chatroom
      participants are listening via audio or a system like Meetecho
      they might need less information relayed from the room.

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   o  Ask chatroom participants to prepend statements they would like
      you to relay with "RELAY" or "MIC" (the former term is less

   o  When relaying a question or comment from the chatroom to the
      physical room, say "this is X relaying for Y from the chatroom" so
      that people know you are not speaking for yourself.

   o  It's not expected that you will know the names of everyone who
      comes to the microphone.  If you don't know the name of a person
      at the microphone, you have several options:

      *  look at their name badge if you are seated nearby

      *  query them directly (calling out "state your name, please" is

      *  ask in the chatroom or type something like "?? at the mic",
         since it is likely that a local participant will be able to
         identify the person for you

      *  look up the name of the attendee in the meeting registration
         system (this is typically found at a URL of the form "https://
         www.ietf.org/registration/<meeting>/attendance.py", such as
         "https://www.ietf.org/registration/ietf90/attendance.py"); you
         can quickly look up a name using this system if you are in

   o  Be aware that lag happens between the time when something is said
      in the physical room and the time when someone provides a response
      in the chatroom, and take this into account when the interaction
      is time-sensitive (e.g., during a hum or a show of hands).

   o  Because of the potential lag time, ask remote participants who are
      doing a hum to indicate what choice their hum is for rather than
      just typing "hum" into the chat room.  For example, "hum yes" or
      "hum for option 1".  You can then more easily tally the results
      and report them to the physical room.

6.5.  As the Session Is Ending

   As you wrap up your scribing at the end of the session:

   o  Post a message into the chatroom informing all of the participants
      that the session is finishing up, and ask for any final comments
      to be relayed.

   o  When the session is done, say so in the chatroom.

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   o  Indicate that you are leaving the Jabber room and that no one will
      be available relay further comments.

7.  Reporting Problems

   If you need to report a problem during an IETF meeting (e.g.,
   problems with media streaming), at the time of this writing there are
   several ways to do so:

   o  For network and media streaming issues, send email to

   o  For all other issues, send email to the "Meeting Trouble Desk" via

   o  To chat with members of the Network Operations Center (NOC), join
      the noc@jabber.ietf.org chatroom.

   o  To report a problem in person, visit the help desk in the Terminal

8.  Advanced Tips

   It can be helpful to run two separate Jabber clients connected to two
   separate Jabber servers, in order to prevent delays if one of the
   servers experiences an outage during the session (yes, it has

   If you have a chance to do so, you may want to measure the lag time
   between when something is said in the physical room and when it is
   heard on the audio stream and then let the remote participants know
   the length of the delay.  This could be accomplished by either
   listening to the audio stream yourself or working with a remote
   participant who you know is on the audio stream.

9.  IANA Considerations

   This document requests no actions from the IANA.

10.  Security Considerations

   Although XMPP multi-user chat rooms [XEP-0045] can be configured to
   lock down nicknames and require registration with the chatroom in
   order to join, at the time of this writing IETF chatrooms are not so
   configured.  This introduces the possibility of social engineering
   attacks on discussions held in IETF chatrooms.  It can be helpful for
   Jabber scribes to be aware of this possibility.

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   In addition, denial of service (DoS) attacks of various kinds are
   possible, e.g., flooding a chatroom with unwanted or automated

11.  Informative References

   [RFC6120]  Saint-Andre, P., "Extensible Messaging and Presence
              Protocol (XMPP): Core", RFC 6120, March 2011.

              Saint-Andre, P., "Multi-User Chat", XSF XEP 0045, February

Appendix A.  Acknowledgements

   Thanks to Dan Burnett, Dave Crocker, Wes George, Janet Gunn, Joel
   Halpern, Jelte Jansen, Michael Jenkins, Olle Johansson, Warren
   Kumari, Jonathan Lennox, Alexandre Petrescu, Melinda Shore, Hugo
   Salgado, Yaakov Stein, and Greg Wood for their helpful comments and

Authors' Addresses

   Peter Saint-Andre

   Email: peter@andyet.com
   URI:   https://andyet.com/

   Dan York
   Internet Society

   Email: york@isoc.org
   URI:   https://www.internetsociety.org/

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