[openstack-dev] [ptg] ptgbot: how to make "what's currently happening" emerge

Jay Bryant jungleboyj at gmail.com
Sat May 20 19:13:14 UTC 2017

On 5/18/2017 4:57 AM, Thierry Carrez wrote:
> Hi again,
> For the PTG events we have, by design, a pretty loose schedule. Each
> room is free to organize their agenda in whatever way they see fit, and
> take breaks whenever they need. This flexibility is key to keep our
> productivity at those events at a maximum. In Atlanta, most teams ended
> up dynamically building a loose agenda on a room etherpad.
> This approach is optimized for team meetups and people who strongly
> identify with one team in particular. In Atlanta during the first two
> days, where a lot of vertical team contributors did not really know
> which room to go to, it was very difficult to get a feel of what is
> currently being discussed and where they could go. Looking into 20
> etherpads and trying to figure out what is currently being discussed is
> just not practical. In the feedback we received, the need to expose the
> schedule more visibly was the #1 request.
> It is a thin line to walk on. We clearly don't want to publish a
> schedule in advance or be tied to pre-established timeboxes for every
> topic. We want it to be pretty fluid and natural, but we still need to
> somehow make "what's currently happening" (and "what will be discussed
> next") emerge globally.
> One lightweight solution I've been working on is an IRC bot ("ptgbot")
> that would produce a static webpage. Room leaders would update it on
> #openstack-ptg using commands like:
> #swift now discussing ring placement optimizations
> #swift next at 14:00 we plan to discuss better #keystone integration
> and the bot would collect all those "now" and "next" items and publish a
> single (mobile-friendly) webpage, (which would also include
> ethercalc-scheduled things, if we keep any).
> The IRC commands double as natural language announcements for those that
> are following activity on the IRC channel. Hashtags can be used to
> attract other teams attention. You can announce later discussions, but
> the commitment on exact timing is limited. Every "now" command would
> clear "next" entries, so that there wouldn't be any stale entries and
> the command interface would be kept dead simple (at the cost of a bit of
> repetition).
> I have POC code for this bot already. Before I publish it (and start
> work to make infra support it), I just wanted to see if this is the
> right direction and if I should continue to work on it :) I feel like
> it's an incremental improvement that preserves the flexibility and
> self-scheduling while addressing the main visibility concern. If you
> have better ideas, please let me know !

I like this idea and it is consistent with what Cinder tried to do in 
the PTG channel at the last event.  I think formalizing it would be great.


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