Make results of Openmod workshops findable and accessible

For me it is almost impossible to get any information out of past Openmod conferences. I searched quite a lot, but I was not able to find for example the lightning talks/ presentations / posters for Aarhus and Zurich. I do not think, all was interactive, without any message for people which did not attend.

For many normal conferences presentation/ posters are easy to find and to access! (e.g.

It is a real pitty that Openmod workshops have almost no findable and accessible results.

Thats the contrary to open.

I hope for the future workshop this can be improved. In my view, there should be a clear and easily finable starting page from where there are links to the agenda and the presentations / posters. This starting page should not contain discussion posts which are irrelevant lateron.

The presentations / posters and other outcomes should easily accessible to people which did not attend the workshops and maybe are not familiar with Openmod workshops/terminology.


Hi @GerhardTotschnig I completely agree with your sentiments. What might be useful is to agree a staged game-plan. So I am going to diverge from your view that this forum is not an appropriate place and suggest that we do utilize this forum as a staging post for posters, presentations, and videos from prior workshops — using locked topics so that no discussion can ensue. Until a better solution is developed, that is.

But I am going to be more controversial. :slight_smile:   I think this community should abandon its wiki and migrate the content from there to this forum. I think the wiki has largely been deserted in any case — aside from coordinating periodic workshops.

The discourse software that runs this forum is flexible and can be configured to serve different roles. It can act more or less act as a mailing list if default notifications are set high. And it can come close to acting as a wiki — but edited using markdown.

Discourse also supports a lot of organizational features. As a site moderator, I try to add or adjust categories and tags to the new topics as they arise. Tags offer a really useful filtering mechanism.

But returning to the staging post idea, the forum software is not intended to replace a file server or a media server. And in the medium term, I personally would like to see that functionality added. But in the short term we can collect and store files here — given that they have appropriate open licenses.

FOSDEM’20, the big open source conference in Brussels, had several sessions and keynotes on open source community building and suitable communication channels. I caught up with several presentations and here is my take on what was discussed:

in vogue

  • anything GitHub
  • modern chat (regrettably too often slack which is proprietary)
  • discourse
  • emailed newsletters


  • IRC chat
  • wikis


  • video conferencing

One breakout session at the Berlin 2020 workshop (which I did not attend) looked at making the openmod materials more user friendly, particularly for new people. That is certainly an unmet need. Perhaps the time has come to form a working group to coordinate and focus these activities. It can be disbanded once complete, at least for this particular iteration. Thoughts?

Perhaps GerhardTotschnig is thinking that a free conference has the dedicated staff to post professionally produced videos and curated content like the many hugely expensive for-profit conferences. But that sort of ‘value-add’ is very labor intensive and definitely not free, so I don’t see that happening for openmod.

In my limited experience (leading one do-a-thon), after the conference there is a choice between a Wiki entry (high bar) and adding to the forum post (low bar). I opted for just adding to the forum post via a PDF file. This is not optimal, but a Wiki post implies a definitive summary instead of a bunch of links.

So, the problem - as I see it - is the very wide range of information from a session does not fit into a tidy Wiki entry or easily consumable ‘sound-bite’ that new users are looking for, nor is the time-sequential thread of a forum post capable of generating a summary of the content contained therein - even after someone puts some effort into curation.

It’s definitely a problem - with no easy solution.

Speaking off-the-cuff, perhaps a Wiki solution is possible, with the the ‘owners’ of a conference session being responsible to upload an overview - as short or as long as they feel necessary, but at least something. These could be arranged by conference schedule (via a link from the conference’s main page) to at least provide a single entry point for someone who wants to find out what happened at the conference. The problems, as I see it, are twofold:

  • it’s not the optimum interaction should somebody want to riff of it and expand on it - talk pages are rarely looked at and Wiki pages are predominantly stiffly organized
  • it adds yet another burden and barrier to entry for session ‘owners’ (like, I opted to keep radio silence before the Berlin conference to avoid being roped into holding a session)

Of course, this doesn’t mention the keynotes, lightning talks, poster sessions (which I guess could also be linked as PDFs) or other activities - like field trips.

There is just a big value in beeing able to find presentations and posters after a event:
This “vergangene-treffen” List of presentations is really great. I can be informed even I could not attend the strommarkttreffen meeting.

I do not think it is complicated to make this possible for open mod meetings.

@GerhardTotschnig, many thanks for rising a topic! As a new openmod person, I may confirm that it would be very helpful to have an access to content of the previous openmod meetings for better understanding what is the community about.

Management of do-a-thorn outputs referred by @derrickoswald is indeed a huge work. But upload a presentation or a poster is quite simple. Moreover, I highly suspect, many presenters would be happy to do so. A possible obstacle may be a need for some additional efforts to ensure that the uploaded materials satisfy the community standards.

Maybe, it makes sense to prepare a call for post-conference contributions combined with a short upload check-list and some simple recommendations (e.g., how to attach a proper open license)? What do you think, @robbie.morrison? I would be glad to contribute to such an how-to-upload documentation, if it looks reasonable.

As for the choice between wiki and forum, we have agreed during the recent wiki-do-a-thon that the forum is a good place to discuss work-in-progress whilst wiki is intended to serve as a long-term knowledge storage. The presentations usually focus on some ongoing work and seem to fit perfectly for storage as a part of the forum. Probably, @berit.mueller could correct me.

First, to respond to @GerhardTotschnig The entire list of services offered by the openmod run on donated admin and moderation time, hosting services, and annual domain fees. It might be about time to apply for grant assistance to develop some of these services further. But that would require that someone find a legally incorporated organization through which to apply and then write and agree a funding application with the community at large. Until that point, everything that happens necessarily relies on volunteer labor. I should add that quite a lot of work goes on behind the scenes already, be it developing GDPR privacy policy, screening forum applicants that lack institutional email addresses (we have had several malicious accounts recently, possibly for sock puppets), fixing small annoyances, updating software, running offsite backups, and filing bug reports.

Second, much the same sentiment arose following the 2019 NREL workshop:

Third, to answer @ekatef I don’t think there are any community standards for uploads beyond suitable open licensing. I usually favor Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (SPDX abbreviation CC‑BY‑4.0) because numerical and text data in tables is generally reusable and diagrams can be uploaded to Wikipedia. However, others may prefer Creative Commons Sharealike 4.0 (CC‑BY‑SA‑4.0) and that’s fine too.

For those that are not aware, discourse supports “wiki posts” as described here. The functionality falls well short of a full wiki but it does:

  • allow multiple authors
  • record the edit history

Fourth, regarding the openmod wiki and more persistent information. That could also be addressed by creating a Core category on this forum, using wiki postings, and suppressing discussion. I am a big fan of wikis but I think they are being eclipsed by platforms that support markdown. I nearly always have to look up the syntax for wiki markup whenever I edit Wikipedia these days. The fact that persistent information and discussion occur on the same platform doesn’t seem particularly detrimental to either role? Do others agree or not?

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