[RFC] meeting minutes

Mathias Gug mathiaz at ubuntu.com
Fri Apr 23 19:10:36 UTC 2010

Hi Dustin,

On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 09:13:28AM -0500, Dustin Kirkland wrote:
> Steps 1a-1c are fine.  But step 1d can take a very long time.  It takes me
> at least 1 hour to write the minutes for a 1 hour meeting.  I've
> confirmed that it takes Thierry about the same as well.

Ok - seems like a worthwhile goal: reduce the amount of time it takes to write
the minutes.

I'd also mention that the target audience of the minutes are people not
attending the meeting.

> I suggest refining this step to consist of the following two simple
> processes:
>   i) Extract the ACTION items to a section near the top of the
> MeetingLog page listing all ACTIONs
>   ii) When pasting the full log into the {{{ }}} section, quickly scan
> the log and indent the line or lines where "important things were said"
> or "decisions were made".  (Ideally, we would bold the text or
> something, but the {{{ }}} tags say "render this literally)
> I believe that these two key points will maintain the usefulness of the
> minutes, by tracking the actions that should be carried over from
> meeting to meeting and highlighting the key points in the meeting.  This
> should probably consume less than 10 minutes of time.

I agree on the information that should be carried in the minutes.

I'm not sure that ii) is the best way to highlight the key points in the
meeting for people not attending the meeting (which is the target audience of
the minutes) as they would have to scan through the meeting logs. How about
pasting the highlights in each paragraph covering a topic?

IOW we could drop copy-editing and making the minutes enjoyable to read (ie
adding prose, etc...) to just cut'n pasting important points (or may be
summarizing them in less then two sentences).

I think that this is what Chuck and Scott tend to do when writing up the

> As for step 2, Publishing the minutes, personally I do not see the value
> in duplicating the text in 4 locations:
>  * the ubuntu-server@ list
>  * the ubuntu-devel@ list
>  * the ubuntuserver blog
>  * the wiki MeetingLogs

The goal is to reach as many people as possible. Some read only the planet
(ubuntuserver blog), other only ubuntu-devel@ or ubuntu-server at . Unfortunately
for a small number of people (like us) we'll see the minutes three times in
addition to attending the meetings - well we're not the primary target audience
of the minutes.

The workflow outlined in the Knowledge Base focuses on writing the minutes once
(in the wiki MeetingLogs) and then publish everywhere (via the
generate_server_minutes script). Pushing the minutes to the blog and the
mailing lists should take less then a minute once they've been written.

> I think that the minutes should be published in the MeetingLogs wiki,
> and a hyperlink shared on the two mailing list and the blog.

Given that they're just copy'n paste (with some formating) I'd rather have them
publish in the original content so that people don't have to go somewhere else
to read them (which lowers the probability that the minutes are *actually*

> Alternatively, I came across this:
>  * https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ScribesTeam/SubmitMeeting
> Looks like there's an active team in the Ubuntu Community that processes
> the output of MootBot and generates minutes.  What do we think about
> enlisting their services?

I tried to use the Scribes team a couple of years ago. The main issue I ran
into what that minutes were not published on time. I'd like to have the minutes
published within 24 hours of the meeting as it contains information about what
the meeting is doing right now.

Mathias Gug
Ubuntu Developer  http://www.ubuntu.com
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