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future of IRC meetings

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sigblips
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The prospect of canceling the weekly community IRC meetings was mentioned during the last IRC meeting. I don't know the motivation behind this desire but my guess is the time-sink aspect and that the SETI Institute doesn't feel it's getting any value from the meetings. What are the SETI Institute's thoughts on the future of the weekly community IRC meetings?

My thoughts:

* The IRC meetings are some peoples only method of communication with the setiQuest project. Canceling the IRC meetings would effectively cut them off from the project.

* Without an official SETI Institute representative, do the IRC meetings lose all significance? Probably yes.

* The IRC meetings are the heartbeat of the setiQuest project. They are the main conduit of new information and future plans. The weekly posting of the meeting transcripts are a major source of volume in the setiQuest forum. The forum would be stagnant without them.

* Check out the http://irc.sigblips.com/setiQuest/activity/ pages and see how active the IRC channel has been, the popularity of the meetings over time, and the weekly meeting attendance reports.

What are your thoughts? Have the weekly IRC community meetings been valuable to you? Or have they been a waste of time and resources? Vote in the poll and please discuss here.

Dave Robinson
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IRC meeting

Although I have never attended a meeting (my sphere of expertise doesn't match what is usually being discussed), I religiously read through the meeting report every week - currently it is the only pulse that indicates that SETIQuest is still alive (albeit only just). To cancel it is like switching its life support system off.

I must admit that the discussions on detecting the Voyager that went on in this weeks 'episode' was particularly interesting, and was particularly interesting to note that this week there was no SETI Institute representative there.

Several times I have noted that when there is no agenda, and the discussion just free wheels, really good exchanges take place. Does this mean that perhaps the meetings should continue even if the SETI Institute pull the plug?

Regards

Dave Robinson

sigblips
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Hello Dave. You should give

Hello Dave. You should give the community IRC meetings a try.  The first bunch of meetings were crazy with everyone talking at the same time and no one listening but they aren't that bad now.

I agree with you that my favorite IRC meetings are several of the ones that didn't have an agenda. Some extremely interesting conversations took place that no one could have anticipated. I think a huge mistake of Avinash's was constantly talking about infrastructure items and not focusing on SETI (the science & technology). That probably drove a lot of people away from the project.

Using the meeting activity over time log I calculated that the community IRC meetings have consumed 535 people-hours! (505 people-hours before the switch from 60 to 30 minute meetings on May 15 2012 and 30 people-hours after. This is a low estimate because many meetings went over the allotted time.) It is a fair question to ask "what do we have to show for such a large expenditure of time?"

At this point I can only speculate the SETI Institute's motivations for wanting to cancel the meetings. If it's a combined lack of perceived value and a time sink issue then they can just choose not to participate. If they are concerned about it being a liability that can hurt the SETI Institute's image then we just need to make sure that setiQuest doesn't transform into an angry vortex of negativity which it has been at times in the past. Maybe it is something else?

sigblips
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The outcome from last weeks

The outcome from last weeks chat was that the weekly community IRC meetings have been granted a reprieve, for now. The SETI Institute management had asked "why are we still having the IRC chats?" The concern was that the IRC meetings are a "time sink."

The scope of the weekly meetings may be expanded to include SETI Live but that depends a lot on Lou's commitment to attending future meetings. This IMO would be a good thing since historically the communications for these types of setiQuest initiatives have been very closed. Not a good way to build community ...

sigblips
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8 months ago we discussed if
8 months ago we discussed if we should continue our weekly setiQuest community IRC meetings.  Let's revisit this question and reflect on what we have accomplished.
 
What have we accomplished?
Not much. For the past 8 months the primary topic of every IRC meeting has been SETI Live.  This constant discussion of SETI Live problems has done nothing to help the progress of the setiQuest project.  It actually has sucked all the oxygen out of the room for other setiQuest topics.  The SETI Institute has also retreated away from discussing the details of it's internal projects.  What is going on with the SonATA and the machine learning initiatives?  I have no idea.  Jill and Gerry have also disappeared.  None of this is what I had hoped for when I supported the continuation of the weekly community meetings 8 months ago.
 
What do we need to do?
We need to decide.  Should we cancel or continue?  If we decide to continue then the future success of the community meetings depends on doing the following:
 
  • Less talk about SETI Live and more talk about SETI.
  • More people need to participate in both the IRC meetings and in the forum discussions.
  • Posting the meeting agenda 5 minutes before the meeting serves no purpose. We need to post the agenda a day or two before the meeting so to give people the opportunity to add topics and engage in some pre-discussion.
  • The 30 minute meetings do not work.  As proof of this look back at the past 8 months worth of meetings.  Almost all of them have ballooned to a one hour duration.  
  • We need to find a purpose to rally behind.  The return of the data stream could serve this purpose but the chances of that happening seem low.  What other things could we rally behind?
It may be time to discontinue the weekly community IRC meetings.  The time saved by canceling the meetings may be better spent focusing on discussion in the setiQuest forum.  What are your thoughts?  Please comment.
Dave Robinson
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Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

I have thought for quite a number of weeks that the discussion of the SETI Live stuff should be somewhere on the SETI Live site, not here on the SETI Quest site. After convincing myself that the SETI Live operation just wasn't what I wanted in life, although I always thoroughly read through the weeks minutes I find that the discussions there are particularly annoying, especially when someone is trying to ask a SETI Quest related problem virtually gets shouted down to continue with a discussion on 'Live' retries, and code debugging progress etc.

However, my feelings are that if the 'Live' stuff were actually moved to where it belongs, the Institute would use it as an excuse to close down the weekly meeting, and on most weeks that is the only sign that the Quest is only just alive.

Speaking personally I don't think that would worry me, providing we could get some of our 19,000 members onto their keyboards and generating interesting threads on the Forum. But try as we might, no one but us few regular contributors seem to be bothered. Maybe we aught to just give up, declare the Quest dead as a result of member apathy and and find something more interesting to do with our lives. (Methinks I might have a Wife somewhere I could stop neglecting)

Regards

Dave Robinson

sigblips
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My original thought was to

My original thought was to attempt to make the best of the SETI Live situation and try to help.  In retrospect this was a mistake.  While all the SETI Live discussion has kept the community meetings alive, it hasn't done a thing to help the setiQuest project.  Like you said, it's had the impact of crushing other SETI topics.

At this point I think it is in the best interests of the setiQuest project to cancel the weekly meetings and focus on the forum.  The forum just hit 20,000 registered users.

jrseti
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Sigblips, Yes I ageee - we

Sigblips,
Yes I ageee - we will cancel the weekly IRC meetings. Other than SETILive there has not been much other real discussion. The forum will be more useful.
So we will cancel the IRC chat today and the future and only have IRC chats on an adhoc basis, if a need ever arises.
Thanks for all your efforts!

-jrseti

sigblips
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The setiQuest forum just hit

The setiQuest forum just hit 30,000 users.  Woohoo!

Dave Robinson
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Impressive Number -- but

Yes this is a really impressive number - but are they real people? I can well believe there are 30K people in the world that are interested in communicating with our cosmic next door neighbours, but once they have joined the quest what do they do? They don't ask questions, They don't voice opinions. Before we consider interstellar communication, maybe, just maybe, we aught to try to start communicating with like minded people who also joined the Quest.

Regards

Dave Robinson

sigblips
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40K registered setiQuest users!

The setiQuest forum just hit 40,000 users. Woohoo!  That's 10K new registered users in the past 2 months. This works out to a sign up rate of about 167 users/day or 7 users/hour. Those sign ups all require correctly answering the captcha.

Are they real people or are they bots?  I don't know but the forum spam rate actually seems lower.  If they are bots then what are they doing?  What are they waiting for?

Could this be analogous to the theoretical SETI problem of the galaxy being filled with an incredible number of civilizations that are listening and no one is transmitting?

Dave Robinson
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50K users

Well we have now reached 50K users, and still the Forum is dead. Why are so many people jumping into the grave of a completely dead project? It reminds me of a response I got from a very wise man, when I commented that " a new broom sweeps clean" - he responded in a flash " No, a new broom soon get tired and falls onto the pile of dead wood, making it even more difficult for the next new broom to make any headway". Seems exactly like the situation we have here.

Regards

Dave Robinson

sigblips
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60K users

The forum just hit 60K registered users.   It took a little more than 2 months to add 10K users.  So that's a 5K user per month growth rate which works out to a new setiQuest user every 9 minutes!

powessy
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A differnt approach

I know this is not in the right place but I only wish to incourage an idea. I believe that life exist through out our galaxy and the billions of other galaxies. I want to perhaps propse an alternate method of searching for ets. 

I believe that the earth is being constantly hit with vibrational frequencies from within this galaxy I believe there are 16 frequencies of which 9 are acessable at differnt solar cycles at any given time.

I have had out of body experiences all my life (now dont run away let me explaine) durring preperation for out of body travel I can hear voices around me I am in a heavy trance then music of all types are heard. I have found that if I request a differnt frequency durring this phase bordering vibrational lift, I can change the music or the way the obe is precieved.

I have had experiences on other worlds and planets where I have seen maps of all sorts showing land masses that have never occured here on earth. 

Now I just want someone to perhaps look into this idea, is it possable that through some human(liquid h2o level) fraquency vibrational state there is perhaps a fine tuned instrument for finding the communications through out the cosmos, not through radio frequencies.

I feel that there is some human ability to pick up these signals that your equipment is just not capable of picking up at the frequencies that they are currently traveling in, and at the proper vibration sustained by the reciever.  this is my thought, sorry for posting it here just a therory.  

Benh12601
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Love SETI

Love SETI, you are the unit of perceptive senses for navigating the universe. You add great perception to our interpretations. Maybe our intelligent buddies are just really far away, hopefully we will reach them in time. However, discovering an entire society of intelligent lifeforms, as the sole intelligent inhabitants of our own universe composed of basically countless evolving deadly environments, animals & elements seems too diplomatically optimistic.