Adding little nudges to help on the EmacsConf wiki

| emacs, emacsconf

A number of people helped capture the talks for EmacsConf 2021, which was fantastic because we were able to stream all of the first day's talks with open captions and most of the second day's talks too. Right now, in fact, there are only two talks left that haven't been captioned. After the conference, a couple of other people volunteered to help out as well. Whee!

I want to figure out a good way to help people work on the things that they're interested in without necessarily burdening them with too much work, too little work, too much coordination, not enough coordination. Before the conference, one of the perks we had offered was that captioners got early access to the videos. I had a password-protected directory on a web server and an index that I made using Emacs Lisp to display the the talks that still need to be captioned. People e-mailed me to call dibs on the talk they wanted to caption, and that was how we avoided duplicating work. Now that all the videos are public, of course, people can just go to the regular wiki.

The other thing to think about is that in addition to captioning the two remaining talks (not essential, but it would be nice), there are also different levels of things that we can do. It would be nice to have chapter markers for some of the longer Q&A sessions. It would be fantastic to cross reference those with the questions and answers so that so that people can jump to the section they're interested in. It'd be incredible if somebody actually wrote down the answers. And it'd be even more awesome if people actually captioned the Q&A sessions as well, which were in many cases much longer than the actual sessions. So this is a fair bit of work, but people can probably pick a level that matches their interest and time available.

I'm not entirely sure how to coordinate this especially since I've got limited computer time. So my goal is to have something where volunteers can basically just wander around looking for talks that they're interested in and see ways to help out, or see a list of things that could use some work. So for example, while they're browsing the maintainers talk, they might say, "Oh, this one needs some chapter markers. I want to help with that. How do I do that? How do I get started?" And then they go down that path. On the other hand, you might have somebody sitting down saying, "I've got an hour and I want to go help out. What can I do?"

I don't want to keep data in many different places. I wonder if I can use the wiki for a lot of this coordination. Now that the videos are public, I've started tagging the pages that need extra help, like long Q&A session that need chapter markers.

With a little bit more work, I think people will be able to follow the instructions from there, especially if they've done this kind of captioning before, or email us to ask for help and then we can get them started.

I also thought about using Etherpad to do that kind of coordination where people would put their name next to a thing to reserve it, but then that's one more step. I don't know. At the moment, editing the wiki is a bit of an involved process. Worst-case scenario (best-case, actually, if we have lots of people wanting to help? =) ), people can call dibs by emailing us at and one of us organizers will add a little note there in the volunteer attribute. It's probably a good start, so we'll see where we can take it.

You can comment with Disqus or you can e-mail me at