This page drafts proposed poster sessions for DebConf. A "poster" is printed information in a form capable of being posted on a wall, telling about some piece of research or work.
Currently, this is only brainstorming, and not decided upon or used at any DebConf. Please add your thoughts here
The primary goal is to promote interaction in two ways:
- Hanging posters in a common area, such as a hacklab, where people can browse the contents at their leisure. They can find the author and ask questions if they are interested.
- Having a "poster session", where all presenters stand by their posters and people walk around and talk to the authors.
Secondary goals include:
- Show visitors the excellent work performed in Debian and by its people.
- Allow attendees in academics to count DebConf as part of their work (and perhaps get funding for attending by calling it an "academic" rate).
- Same goes for students: students can present their work.
- Possibly allowing companies to attend and show their wares, in return for some amount of sponsorship.
A typical academic poster is a large printout on A0 (80x110cm) paper conveying information about research. For examples, search "computer science poster". This can require significant layout work, significant printing cost (> 50 USD), and hassle in transportation. Anyone who wanted to give one of these certainly could, but we shouldn't expect this from most attendees.
More feasible is the "slides format", where one prints out a series of A4 sheets of paper with their ideas and posts them in a grid. This makes it easy to turn any talk into a poster - which is good, since we can easily get speakers to contribute a poster. This can be easily carried, cheap to print, and can be done on-site. It also requires a lot less work for layout.
Just having slides from talks posted would help promote discussion about the talks, and allow people to learn about talks they missed. This would allow every speaker to present something with minimal extra effort and get us closer to a critical mass.
We could do a twist on the traditional format by having attendees write feedback right on the poster. We could also provide blank paper for people to make a poster and write ideas on, and see if people work together to flesh out ideas (a real-life wiki).
Poster content can include:
- Schematics and descriptions of utilities or infrastructure - get more users
- Information on teams and their working - help recruit members
- Future plans - to get feedback.
- Independent research performed by attendees
- Promotional information from sponsors (they could send a representative, or ship us something to post(/print?) ourselves)
 Making it happen
Somewhere to hang posters: a room with enough wall space and tape. Most conferences will have some sort of easels and foamboard and thumbtacks for hanging the posters, but that is more equipment than DebConf can reliably find. DebConf should just plan on hanging the posters on walls. This can be in hacklabs, the cafeteria, or hallways.
We would need a large quantity of non-marking tape (or thumbtacks, if the surface would allow holes in it).
If we are really organized, posters would be grouped by general topic. We would make an index of all posters being presented and make a handout with titles, abstracts, and locations in the room. (darst wouldn't recommend this, since it requires presenters to sign up in advance and we want to encourage spontaneous contributions. It also increases the logistics work by several times.)
Someone will need to announce this to attendees and prod people into preparing things. Someone will need to prod speakers to print their slides and post them (they can use our printer for this).
We would have people post posters at the beginning of the week and allow attendees to browse the posters at their leisure. If they want to talk to the author, they can find em themselves, or go to their talk. This would be an "ongoing" poster session.
We can have a formal poster session, where the poster authors stand by their posters at the same time, and encourage attendees to walk by each other. This would allow a chance for bystanders to hear of the poster directly from the author, and ask questions.
- Some conferences have a contest for "best poster", but this has some downsides: you can either judge on prettyness (which isn't the DebConf way) or on the quality of the ideas (which just seems sort of odd for Debian).
- Save a talk slot or two for the "best posters" to give a 25 or 50 minute talk.
- Use posters as a perk for sponsors - big plus!
- Combine poster session with something like the cheese&wine party
- Hmmm... I'm (gwolf) not sure the C&W party is the right setting. Yes, it gathers mostly everybody in the conf, but it is often 1) too crowdy, 2) too loud, 3) people want to jump from cheese from cheese, from $liquid to $liquid, and not stay for their single position, 4) explaining a poster after $number $units of $liquid can be quite challenging...
 Thoughts on this idea
Please add you thoughts (suggestions / like idea / dislike idea / should do it / shouldn't do it)