Meeting Format and Guidelines

Because of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our hobby, the OpSIG started hosting virtual meetups. The format is simple: 

  • 5 minutes: announcements
  • 20 minutes: presenter #1
  • 5 minutes: questions
  • 20 minutes: presenter #2
  • 5 minutes: questions

After the two presenters, the virtual meeting is opened for general discussion. For each scheduled event, we plan for two presenters and a backup presenter, since technology sometimes prevents connections, etc. 

We are also hosting separate Q&A sessions that are open forums with no scheduled presenters. 

In terms of content, we want to stay focused on operations. That said, some things just don't work on Zoom:

  • Playing a video through Zoom is painful. It's best to share that video URL in advance or after the fact and we'll link to it from this page. If you do have video to stream, make sure that when you show the video, check the box that says Optimize for video when you choose which screen to share.
  • Layout tours are best done as prerecorded video that can be shared. If you want to do live video of particular parts of your layout, that's fine, but keep the focus on operations.
  • You may want to have a second person acting as your camera person if you're going to be moving around.

If you're interested in presenting, please contact Eric Smith at Eric can also do a test meeting if you want to try out your video capabilities. 

Because of the large number of participants, we have to put a few extra rules into place:

  • All participants will remain muted until the host unmutes them.
  • If you have a question, you can either type it in the chat window or you can raise your hand. To get to the Raise Hand feature, click the Participants button to see a list of other participants.
  • At the lower right hand corner of this list, there is a button with an ellipsis (...) on it. Click there and you can choose Raise Hand. This will notify the host that you want to talk and the host will unmute you.
  • A final rule that I am sad to have to list - if you're going to turn your video on, put clothes on. Apparently there was someone shirtless in the last call that I didn't see and let's just say he was not exactly runway supermodel caliber.

Also, since we don't have time to introduce everyone, you can change your name for just this meeting to show your name, location, and/or favorite railroads, if you like. For instance, I might set mine to this:

Eric Smith, Fishers IN, Canadian Pacific/BNSF

To do this, you can click the More button next to your name in the Participants panel and choose Rename.