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Experiences from NLNOG Day 2017

Vesna Manojlovic — 14 Sep 2017
The Dutch Network Operators Group had its annual conference on 8 September 2017 in Amsterdam. I was there to collect feedback about RIPE NCC services, talk about increasing diversity, organising hackathons and cross-connecting between communities.

I've enjoyed the annual “NLNOG Day” for the past three years. Network operator groups (NOGs) are important for enabling inter-connections between ISPs by fostering cooperation between engineers who work for these organisations. Participants also benefit from experience sharing and learning from guest presenters in related fields (law, security, software development, etc.).  

I've seen the progress within the community: more participants, more international speakers and better goodies (a canvas goodie bag and a beautiful blue t-shirt!) 

NLNOG goodie bags 

Some of the great things have stayed the same, I already wrote about the last year’s event: superb logistical organisation, impressive speakers, interesting topics,  "the quiz", the volunteers in “orga”, and many sponsors that make it possible to have “free” tickets available. 

NLNOG keeps improving year after year and this time around and I experienced the event with my own goals in my mind: increasing diversity, organising hackathons and cross-connecting between various communities.   

Diversity (the lack thereof) 

Many technical communities are doing more to improve diversity and inclusion. NLNOG has just introduced the Code of Conduct, summarised by Job Snijders during the opening speech. (video). NLNOG also appointed two "trusted persons" for during and after the event. These are people that are instructed on how to deal with undesired behaviour and report back to the organisation.

Having a Code of Conduct for events is one of the items on the elusive checklist for increasing gender diversity, as pointed out here.

In my opinion, gender diversity is lacking at NLNOG: out of ten presenters there were ZERO female presenters, and out of ~150 participants, there were about 10-15 women. I had a talk and a brainstorm with some attendees on what can we do to make the next event more interesting (or more safe) for our female colleagues. There were a lot of ideas: reach out to university students, invite female speakers in order to provide role models, provide contact for babysitters during evening activities, open fellowship for women on parental leave, etc,.  But what's key to remember is that actions take time and effort and energy, and it again places the burden on the minority to try to improve the situation.


The typical NLnog participants

NLNOG can learn from the activities within RIPE community: there is a “Diversity Task Force” that has an active mailing list: please join us! We have published a list of ideas and actions that can be inspirational. Improving the situation in one community has the effect on other overlapping communities too!  

More hackathons 

I was happy to see one of our hackathons projects being presented on the big stage! 

Blast from the past: winners of the stroopwafels for Bird's Eye / Alice Looking Glass at IXP Tools Hackathon

We will have stroopwafels as prizes also for our next IPv6-themed event, on 4-5 November in Copenhagen - “Hackathon Version 6” (part of “Danish IPv6 Week”). Therefore the presentation about IPv6-controlled lights on the Christmas tree was very interesting: a fun project that could be an example for the hackathon participants! 

I did not get time to announce our hackathon, so let me use this opportunity to invite you to apply here if you are interested in joining us in Copenhagen.  

Next year, we are planning to two more RIPE NCC-organised hackathons and we'll help a few other organisations that want to organise one too. We are already in discussion with iNOG about the potential for an event and the APRICOT and QuTech cooperations are coming up. There are important topics such as “the health of the Internet” or “sustainable technologies” that are of interest to the RIPE community too. 

Other NOGs 

It was good to see such an international crowd at a Dutch event, this fitted nicely with the new activity on RIPE Labs: coordinating NOG organisers worldwide. We have published a list of NOGs, the calendar with the dates of their conferences, and a map. The RIPE NCC is maintaining a mailing list of the organisers so they can exchange experiences and learn from each other on how to make even better events and even more successful communities. It was good to meet people that I saw at DENOG, SWINOG and UKNOF and I am looking forward to meet new contacts at Irish NOG and SANOG next year! 

If you would like to write about the experiences from your NOG, we would be happy to publish it on our NOG pages on RIPE Labs:

Most useful presentations

Part of my job as community builder is to collect feedback from our members and the community and there were two presentations of particular interest to me: handling abuse and data protection laws.

  • Jurrian van Iersel talked about his experiences reporting network-related abuse to ISPs. He had several suggestions for RIRs: to standardise formats of their "whois" databases where contact details are stored and to start periodic validation of the existing contact details.





This year, there were ten more colleagues from the RIPE NCC at NLNOG Day, and they covered other topics and collected more feedback: about RIPE Atlas ambassadors, distributing probes, doing research on measurements data, DNS, DevOps and other operational practices, and address policy. Together, we make sure that the RIPE NCC is part of the Dutch Network Operators community, and in return, improve our services to the members.  


Job says:
14 Sep, 2017 11:55 AM
Hey Vesna, thank you for the feedback. Can you believe that the re-usable canvas goodie bag are _cheaper_ than the paper bags we had last year? :-)

I agree with your comments on lack of diversity, but I'm happy to observe a rising line in female attendance year over year. This appears to be a long game. Please drop me a private note if you have specific suggestions for speakers next year, we'd be happy to consider your input!
Donal O Duibhir says:
14 Sep, 2017 12:05 PM
Hiya, great write up...! Feel free to delete this comment once read, but just wondering if you'd consider linking the word "iNOG" in the blogpost to so people can potentially find us to get involved in either day to day, events, or a prospective hackathon as mentioned :)

Thanks a mil,

Donal @inognet
Mirjam Kühne says:
14 Sep, 2017 12:28 PM
Of course. Good idea. Thanks, Donal.
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