On 400 level sessions and scores

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On 400 level sessions and scores

Samer Ibrahim writes "I believe that a 400 level session should present 400 level material regardless of how many people have never wrote a single line of code in their entire life.  That's not my problem and that's not fair to those of us who are here to get an edge.  Find 100-200 level sessions instead."

My WEB404 session at TechEd US was probably a 500 because I really had lots (too much) of code. The downside of doing 400 level sessions at an event with a very broad audience spectrum is that you are getting killed in the feedback and scores after the talk, no matter what you do. Either you're too shallow for some or you are too deep down in the bits for others. Now, what needs to be understood is that speakers will often scale back on content if they feel that the content is too deep for the audience they have, just because it'll kill their average score. There's lots of competition behind the scenes on that.

What was new at this TechEd was that the written comments are now available to MS in "softcopy", which means that they get printed up with the numbers. And if you have only 10 people in an audience of 300 who write "Thank you, this session was really helpful for me", you feel like you have done your job right and MS sees that too, which is of much higher importance for "us" external speakers than the average score.

So, here's a hint: My understanding is that the scoring system is still open over the weekend at www.mymsevents.com. If you attended a session that you found helpful and on which you haven't given a score so far, do so and don't forget to write a comment stating what you liked or what you would like to see improved. That's especially true for sessions with deep and focused technical content and lots of people in the audience. These will typically get comparatively bad scores, because it's nearly impossible that the content is absolutely relevant for 400 or 600 people in a room at a conference like that. So, if you think that the speaker did a good job, say so. You'll be heard.

(I should add that I am fairly happy with my scores already and I am not begging ;)

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