Friday, May 23, 2008

Discussion/dissent thread for the open letter to the presidential candidates

The first step of Dear Potus 08 is an open letter from CFP attendees and our allies to the presidential candidates, asking for their help in sparking a national discussion. The current version of the letter is here.
Update, May 27:
see the press coverage by Elise Ackerman in the San Jose Mercury News

Please use this "discussion and dissent" thread for additional discussion -- and if you choose not to sign on, please let us know why!

If you'd like to sign on to the letter, please use the signature thread or add your name directly to the letter on the CFP community wiki.


Kent Pitman said...

I appreciate the interest, energy, goodwill, friendliness, etc. of the organizers this year. I and my family had a great time at CFP, even though I was there for only the tutorials and first conference day.

It might seem that my short stay at the conference doesn't give me a right to claim a proper view, but I'll turn that around and suggest just the opposite: that one view of the conference's output is what can be seen from outside, and since I was watching part of it from the outside, I have a unique perspective on that. (And yes, certainly, some of the output will be the individual effects of people inspired by it, and I don't discount that. I just mean to say that there can and should be more than that--the technology part that we all seem to believe in.)

I have definite and specific reservations about the effectiveness of the process as it worked out. My main concern is that I really don't think the outcome in terms of the written record (the wikia site, the Dar Potus letter, the essay contest, and probably other parts I wasn't there to see) reflects the depth of understanding and potential contribution that could have been brought to bear by people of the caliber who attended the conference. I would like to see certain things done differently in the future.

At my user page of the CFP wikia site, I have posted some comments about things I would like to see done better in this process for subsequent years.

The aforementioned thoughts are not intended for inclusion in the final report; I wrote my remarks for inclusion in the report on the signature thread of this blog. Rather, things I hope future conference planners will take seriously as suggestions for improvement.

jon said...

Great feedback, Kent, and thanks much for taking the time. I set up another thread here on the blog for feedback on CFP08 and thoughts about CFP09 to continue this discussion.

I totally agree that the written record doesn't come close to reflecting discussions we had, let alone what could have been. [We do have audio or video for many of the sessions, and will be working to get those up.] On the other hand, some of these initial experiments were quite successful -- for example capturing the results from almost all the tables at the Wednesday evening session. The communication was imperfect, but it existed, which is a big step forward.

Agreed, though: more to do, and lots of good stuff to keep in mind for next year.