How to do remote participation at IGF 2017

Ideally, there should be links to all the remote participation modes on each IGF 2017 session page, as ICANN meetings have, but there aren’t. You’d think that 12 years into IGF’s existence, we’d have remote participation well and truly sorted by now. But it’s not.

Don’t blame the Secretariat for this. They’re doing the best they can with limited resources and an overly large “to-do” list. The remote participation difficulties are a good example of how IGF suffers because it doesn’t have enough resources to do everything that’s asked of it as well as we would all like.

For those of you who are still trying to figure out how to participate remotely, or for those onsite who want some sense of how complicated it is to participate remotely, here’s a guide on how to conquer the IGF 2017 remote participation challenge!

Step 1. Go to the IGF schedule.

Ideally, be logged in to IGF 2017 Sched so you can select what you want to see. But in reality, you’ll often find that when you enter a session you thought looked of relevance to you, it actually isn’t, so you have to go back to the full Sched outline anyway to find another session.

Look at the particular session that you want to participate in remotely. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, past the list of speakers… (keep scrolling…) the outline of the session… (keep scrolling…)…

Just before the circles containing all the pics of the people who are attending the session, you’ll find the details of the room that the session is being held in, sandwiched between a line of time details and line of content tags associated with the session. That’s the most important piece of information for remote participation. Remember the room number!

Step 2. Choose how you want to follow the meeting:

You have three options. And you can do all three at once if you have the bandwidth and ability to follow multiple windows simultaneously!

  1. Online participation (aka Cisco’s WebEx system)
  2. Live captions (aka live transcripts)
  3. Webcast (which is split into a further two options: webcast streaming with transcript beneath, or link directly to the IGF’s Youtube live video homepage, without transcripts)

IGF 2017 Sched also has a page that links to all of these options, too.

Step 2.1. If you choose “online participation”, do the following:

Open another tab in your browser and go to the online participation page.

If you aren’t already signed into the IGF website, you will first be presented with a sign in page. Complete that hurdle.

Find the room number that matches the room number of your session and click on that.

Enter your name and email and submit that.

The WebEx app will open separately and you will be offered a choice of how you want to connect to audio:

  1. Phone
  2. Computer speakers & mic

Choose one.

Make sure your mic isn’t on unless you really want others in the WebEx room to hear what you’re saying/laughing hysterically at.

Make sure your webcam isn’t on the whole time unless you really want other people in the webex room to see that you’re watching in your pajamas/have yet to shave or brush your hair/are breastfeeding your baby.

There is a video displayed under the “participants” tab on the right side of the window, which is not of the same quality as that available from the streaming webcast. For the workshop rooms, it is not a shot of the front of the room with speakers and presentation screen. From the sessions I’ve watched so far, it’s generally a view of the audience, or a low angle, “up-nose” shot of panellists. Or sometimes the ceiling.

If you have low bandwidth, close the “participants” tab so the video goes away.

Don’t forget to turn you mic back on if you want to ask a question or give a statement to the room.

Alternatively, you can use the chat facility, and the remote participation moderator in the room will read it out.

Step 2.2. If you choose “live captions”, do the following:

Open another tab in your browser and go to the live captions page.

Find the room number that matches the room number of your session and click on that.

You can only see the transcript from the point you have accessed the live transcript page. (The transcript module has the ability to have a button that allows you to see from the start of the session, but it’s not enabled at IGF).

Step 2.3. If you choose “webcast”, do the following:

Choose between:

  1. Webcast streaming
    Webcast Streaming will take you to the “Assembly Hall (floor)” webcast, with live transcript underneath.
    If you want to view the webcast of a workshop or open forum, click on the “workshop rooms” link at the top of the page.
    When on the workshop rooms page, look to the “Workshop rooms” navigation list on the right hand side of the page, find the room number that matches the room number of your session and click on that.
  2. IGF’s live video homepage on YouTube.
    I’m just going to assume here that everyone is well versed in how YouTube works.

Step 3. Switch between the various windows for an hour or so, then repeat the whole process when you need to swap to the next session.

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