RE: XML 2001 conference proceedings online?
> Balisage isn't going to create video of the conference, > mostly because in my opinion it changes the nature of the > event. Pointing a video camera at people tends to reduce the > number and quality of questions from the floor and is likely > to stifle the interactive discussion we prize at Balisage. > (Also we don't have the money.) I might have been inclined to agree with you, but it actually worked very well in Prague. The filming was very unobtrusive, and I think its only impact on the live conference was to force speakers (or the chair) to repeat questions from the floor, which is probably good discipline anyway in a room whose architecture is a lot more impressive than its acoustic. Having said that, the organizers were probably wise not to announce that the feed would be available in advance! - not that watching it remotely could come close to the experience of actually being there. I think there's an atmosphere you can get at a single-stream conference that bigger events simply cannot reproduce. People talk about the talks at lunch, speakers refer back to previous talks, even change their slides to refer to them, in the knowledge that everyone is sharing the same learning experience. Perhaps it's also like modern multi-channel TV - the more channels there are, the lower the quality. I don't know what proportion of papers were invited or what proportion of submitted papers were accepted, but every single talk was well worth listening to, and that's unusual. Balisage last year (which I missed through family illness, but which all reports said was excellent) went into two streams for part of the time, which does give one the opportunity to select some papers of more specialized interest, but I hope it will always resist the temptation to provide a platform for more and more speakers with less and less to say. The emphasis at the two conferences is different, with Balisage perhaps giving a little more room to speculative ideas rather than proven ideas, but I'm sure that it will leave the same feeling that one has spent several very intensive days talking to old friends and new but still regrets not quite getting around to talking to everyone. The great strength of both events is that there's a good mix of researchers, product developers, and users, and it's easy to forget that there are many fields of computing where those communities never come together. They all need each other. Michael Kay
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