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Suppose there is a conference scheduled for a future date, that might be of interest to many SE users.

It seems like there should be a way to use SE to prioritize questions for this conference.

The questions though, will in many cases be future oriented. Users are likely looking for a commitment from a vendor instead of a simple answer to their question.

Since future oriented questions in SE are frowned upon, is there some way for SE to facilitate questions for a conference? Users don't seem to be as receptive to posting questions in the chat room. Even if they did, and the answer was addressed by a conference attendee, posting in a chat room seems to lack the formality required by a commitment.

A question like "Q: When will ArcGIS be able to do XYZ?" doesn't seem like a very good question for SE, but certainly is appropriate at a conference. If someone at the conference asks an Esri rep this question and gets an answer like "A: Esri representative John Doe says ArcGIS will be able to do XYZ in version 10.1", then that becomes valuable information.

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    I don't understand the varying references to "commitment". "Commitments" from vendors (paragraph 3) are not our concern and cannot be. What exactly is this implicit "commitment" in a post (paragraph 4)? Are you saying that suggestions posted in a chat are not as good as the same suggestions posted in a CW reply? – whuber Jul 1 '11 at 17:44
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    It is my impression that chat doesn't get near as much exposure as answers to forum questions. If I'm developing a GIS tool, I would like to determine if the capability offered by the tool will be a feature of an upcoming release. SE is a social Q&A site. Meatspace conferences are social events that involve a lot of Q&A. The problem with meatspace conference Q&A is that it lacks a system to prioritize questions. Therefore it seems like SE could be used to prioritize conference questions. But with so many commitment-seeking questions there seems to be an impedance mismatch. – Kirk Kuykendall Jul 1 '11 at 18:10
  • In the past, on GIS@SE, chat has gotten little attention indeed. But with advertising and reminders, it can get much more, as efforts on other sites have shown. I would be glad to help out with that because I have been looking for a way to jump-start the GIS chat rooms after their long dormancy. Are you aware that stars in chat aren't just indicators? They accumulate counts. In effect they work like upvotes on comments or replies, while at the same time calling them out and arraying them at the side of the screen. There are even badges (talkative, outspoken) for getting them :-). – whuber Jul 1 '11 at 18:49
  • re: the edit. A good way to publicize information you get from a conference would be our nascent blog. If you're going to the conference, would you like to put up some official GIS@SE blog posts during or just afterwards? – whuber Jul 1 '11 at 18:53
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This is a continuation of a comment thread on our main site. There, I proposed using a dedicated chat room for this purpose:

  • The main site is not appropriate for temporally localized questions about conferences and events.

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  • This meta site is supposed to be about how the main site runs. It doesn't seem like a good mechanism to solicit questions from users. Many users ignore the meta site anyway.

  • Chat rooms contain mechanisms tantamount to upvoting ("starring") and for selecting multiple good answers ("pinning").

  • Chat rooms seem better suited to the more informal structure of such solicitations, as opposed to the formalized Q&A structure supported by the main site.

  • To prevent a chat from being ignored or marginalized, a moderator can advertise it with a system message, exactly the way the moderator elections were announced.

If, later, people obtain authoritative answers to questions that have been solicited on this site, we already have a mechanism to publicize them: ask the question on the main site and post the answer.

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    +1 for a special chat room - it's easier to reference than the general one – underdark Jul 1 '11 at 19:51
  • I think such questions belong in Meta rather than a chat room and was disappointed that the Question that led to this was removed through moderation: meta.gis.stackexchange.com/questions/518/… – PolyGeo Jun 11 '13 at 11:25
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Since future oriented questions in SE are frowned upon, is there some way for SE to facilitate questions for a conference? Users don't seem to be as receptive to posting questions in the chat room. Even if they did, and the answer was addressed by a conference attendee, posting in a chat room seems to lack the formality required by a commitment.

Why not just create a meta question calling for conference appropriate questions (hey! meta!) and have people solicit possible questions in the answers? That seems perfectly fine to me.

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    OK, I'll move the existing question from main to meta. That still leaves open the option of running an organized, dedicated chat: it's not an either/or proposition. – whuber Jul 1 '11 at 21:43
  • @whuber Thanks for putting a link to it in the marquis! (is that what it's called?). – Kirk Kuykendall Jul 3 '11 at 3:32
  • @Kirk I'm not sure what SE calls it, but "marquee" is a good choice. – whuber Jul 3 '11 at 14:21

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