M3AAWG in Philly This Week


Today marks the training day for M3AAWG 37 in Philly. With all the traveling and speaking I’ve been doing lately we’re not going to be there. So no tweeting from me about the conference.
We’ve been attending various M3AAWG meetings since way early on – 2004? 2005? in San Diego. The organization has grown and matured and really come a long way since the early days. One of the challenges of M3AAWG is that it is a true working group. This isn’t like the various conferences I’ve been attending recently. I think there are two things that makes M3AAWG different from other conferences.
One of the most obvious things is the lack of a vendor floor. Sure, there are vendors and sponsors but vendors don’t bring in displays and have sales people stand around them to talk to folks. The conference does have demos and negotiations and meetings, but done differently than other events.
The other difference I’ve noticed is that M3AAWG is much more about participation. As the name says, this is a working group. Everyone is encouraged to get involved in things they’re interested in or that they think they can contribute to. Other conferences are a lot more about information being shared by speakers and panels. But during M3AAWG conferences, there are 2 mornings devoted to round tables.
The round tables are a true community effort, and probably deserve some discussion for people who’ve never been to the conference. Before the conference, members of the community submit ideas for things they think M3AAWG should discuss. These suggestions are reviewed by the board and leadership and ones that fall within M3AAWG’s purview are taken to the conference.
The first day of roundtables each topic is discussed in small groups. Volunteers facilitate a 20 – 30 minute discussion on the topic at hand with attendees. After time is called, attendees go to another topic and discuss that one. Part of what is discussed is not just the issue (say, how to get off a blacklist) but also what the final work product looks like. Is this a document for M3AAWG members? A panel at a future conference? A public document?
The second day is refinement of the roundtable topics and commitment from people to move the project forward. Champion is the person who is project managing this. Other roles depend on the work product. For presentation or panels, there is one set of roles. For documents there are roles as writers and editors and contributor.
M3AAWG has written and produced some useful resources and information over the years. Many of those resources are public, like best practice documents and metric reports. Other docs and reports are specifically for members.
The working group part of M3AAWG in one of its real strengths. Experts on all sides of the business of email get together to keep email useable and workable. Early on it there were a few barriers and some suspicion about various participant groups. But, as the industry as grown things have changed. Many folks have moved from ISPs to ESPs and back. There’s also a bigger place for companies that provide services to ESPs and ISPs, like us here at Word to the Wise. We’ve built bridges and technology and have been a positive force on the world.

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