For talks with live Q&A sessions:

  • Start the recording
  • Ask the speaker questions from the pad and read out feedback if you want
  • (optional) Monitor IRC for questions as well
  • (optional) Let the other organizers know when you're ready for conference participants to join the Q&A; moderate the discussion as needed
  • Handle technical issues that turn up
  • Give the speaker time warnings
  • Keep things cool

Many speakers find it easier to reply to questions that are spoken aloud, and this also ensures that the questions get into the recording. As the host, you can help shape the Q&A session by choosing the order of questions to ask (unless the speaker wants to address a different question). You can also help rephrase unclear questions or help the speaker feel more comfortable by reminding them that they don't have to answer all the questions.


We will give you a list of talks with the times, speaker info, pad URL, and URL for the live Q&A session. Please keep the Q&A URLs secret until you are ready for everyone to join the Q&A session.

We will also add you as a moderator to the rooms for the talks in your shift. You may want to practice muting people in BBB.

We strongly recommend using a headset or earphones to minimize audio feedback. Using a headset microphone or an external microphone can also improve your sound quality.


This year we are experimenting with per-talk pads in order to simplify the experience for the speakers, since many speakers found it difficult to find and focus on their section in a long pad.

At least 5 minutes before the Q&A session starts, go to the provided URL. If BBB shows you a list of meetings, you can click on Join to join the selected one. If you do not have moderator access, let us know in #emacsconf-org and we can add you.

Have another window for the pad for the current talk.

Have another window or two for IRC. You may want to set up your windows so that you can quickly glance at #emacsconf-org. Optionally, you can also monitor the chat channel for your track (optional). Ideally, an IRC volunteer will monitor that channel and copy the questions into the pad for you, so you can focus on just the pad if you like.

Make sure you do not have another window watching the stream, or you may get audio feedback whenever you unmute yourself. If you notice audio feedback when other people unmute, you can ask them to make sure they aren't watching the stream in a different window and that they haven't accidentally joined twice.

To minimize background noise, keep your mic on mute unless you're speaking. You can optionally turn on your webcam.

The streamer will join the BBB meeting shortly after the prerecorded video ends. When the streamer gives you the go-ahead, turn on recording and confirm that it is on. Double-check that recording is on by seeing whether the button at the top has changed to a red button with a timer.

The Q&A will start out closed; just you and the speaker. Depending on your comfort level and how the discussion goes, you can let us know when you would like it to be opened up to general participation by inviting people out loud (and possibly quickly posting in #emacsconf-org). Then we will update the public BBB redirect URL to point to the BBB room so that people can join. This should take less than a minute to update. People will then be able to join using the Q&A URL that will be in the talk page and in IRC. That way, participants can join the Q&A session and ask directly. You can then shift to be more of a moderator, reminding people to stay on mute unless it's their turn to speak and muting people as needed.

BBB sometimes has issues if there are lots of participants with webcams on. If you notice that things are getting slow or choppy, you can ask participants to turn their webcams off.

Please give the speaker a 5-minute warning and a 2-minute warning before the end of their streamed Q&A session. If you've decided to open up the Q&A session, it can continue off-stream for as long as the speaker likes while you move on to the next Q&A session to host. If the speaker would like to wrap up, they can leave the meeting whenever they want. You can then thank everyone and move on to the next presentation.

In case of...

  • Incidents: If someone isn't keeping the guidelines for conduct in mind, you can moderate using BBB's tools (muting or removing participants), or let us know in #emacsconf-org and we'll figure out how to deal with the situation.


Q&A sessions are what make EmacsConf more fun than a playlist. =) Thanks for helping make EmacsConf awesome!

Check out other ways to volunteer