Glossary of Terms
This page contains a glossary of terms for Debconf. It is useful for clarifying and providing us with a shared terminology.
- Track is a thematic grouping around a particular subject. A track has a coordinator, who coordinates that track. A track can be small, or large. A track contains one or more events. All tracks report back to the larger group at a pre-determined time. An example track could be: Packaging: it includes several tutorials (Making udebs; Migrating to debhelper 7; CDBS; dpkg v3 format; Beginning packaging; Advanced Packaging), a couple talks (The Future of Lintian; Rebuilding the Archive for Fun and Profit), a debate (Debhelper vs. CDBS: Smackdown, may the best win!) and a couple discussions and a few BOFs.
- Coordinator is a single individual who is coordinating a track. The coordinator decides how large a track is, a full day, half day, etc. The coordinator is a moderator and a coordinator of the people who are talking in their track. The coordinator makes sure that the individual people come to their sessions, they introduce talks, they moderate panels and discussions, and generally keep a track organized. The coordinator for a track is responsible for reporting back to the larger group the highlights, decisions, or other interesting bits from their track.
- Time slot is a chunk of time on a given day. A time slot is always preceded and followed by a break. For example Slot A is a timeslot which is between 9-10am on Monday.
- Event is one of: tutorial, talk, panel, discussion, lightning talk, BoF, debate
- Session is a sequence of one or more events from a track within a given time slot and generally in the same room; specifically a session does not run parallel with anything else from the same track. A session must be interesting enough so that everyone in your track will want to attend. For example, the session "Social and Legal Issues Surrounding Free Software" will be a single panel held in a big room. There may be three sessions to work with (room 14 in time slots A,B,C) and you will have two events in the A time slot, three in the B time slot and one in the C time slot.
- Tutorial is a hands-on, walk-through on a particular subject. A tutorial is going to show you how to do something, or how something works.
- Talk is one individual (or sometimes a small group) presenting material on a particular subject.
- Panel is multiple people giving brief talks on a particular subject, from different perspectives or angles, usually followed by a discussion. Typically each person involved in a panel is given equal amount of time. A coordinator would be responsible for introducing the panel members and discussion and may provide a response or summary after a panel has completed, facilitate Q&A, etc.
- Discussion is not a talk by one or more individuals, but rather a group discussion around a particular subject, for example, "Debian's Future: where do we want to be in the next 10 years?" A discussion needs to be focused in some way by a track coordinator.
- lightning talk is a talk given in a very short amount of time. Typically multiple lightning talks are given one after another, the amount of time for each is pre-determined and strictly kept. A lightning talk is a good way to present something that you are working on, do something humorous, or get your talk finished quickly.
- BOF stands for: Birds of a Feather. This is typically a loosely organized gathering of people interested in a particular subject. Often called the hallway tracks at other conferences. A BOF is similar to a discussion, in that it is not a talk, or a panel, but a loosely organized discussion amongst like-minded individuals working on a particular subject. A BOF should be lead by someone who coordinates the time and place, and keeps the discussion going. The person leading a BOF is not responsible for giving a talk, in fact is discouraged from doing so, it is not a BOF if one person talks to a group of people, that is a talk.
- Debate is meant to be a fun discussion of differing viewpoints, it is where different sides are advocated by individuals who hold opposing viewpoints. A debate is not a public flame-war, a rant, or a thrashing of any individual; a debate is a healthy, civil discussion that leaves personal issues aside.