Over the past four meetings, we have experimented with different approaches to chatrooms as a way of providing remote participants with an opportunity to interact in real time with a meeting.
There have been pluses and minuses to each approach. With some, slow responses times; others, heavy server loads. We have tried different types: PHP, Flash, ICQ. In each case some people can’t get into them whether because of technical knowledge or operating system or browser software.
Last time around, people told us that having to go to a particular webpage in order to get into the chatroom for that meeting was adding a step and so reducing their likelihood of joining.
So we are testing another approach in Cairo for the Improving Institutional Confidence session on Thursday 6 November at 2pm: embedded chatrooms.
This time, we have used a third-party provider that runs the chatrooms on its servers, and allows people to embed Flash code on people’s sites that point to the same chatroom. So, the idea is that ICANN sets up chatrooms, provides the community with the code and you can all embed the chatroom wherever you wish online – our main hope is your blogs.
This means multiple entry points to the same chatroom. Which would ideally mean that particular meetings that people are interested will see them posting that meeting’s chatroom to their own pages. We don’t know if this will work well, or if people will find it valuable, it’s an experiment. But for anyone interested in improving remote participation, please do try it out and get back to us.
You should be able to see the chatroom for the IIC session below. To grab the code for the chatroom to embed into your site, just click on “Embed Chatroom!” on the bottom left of the chatroom below, and it will show up. Incidentally, the Cairo meeting page for the IIC meeting is here: http://cai.icann.org/en/6nov08/iic.