This list and our online video meetings, both past and tomorrow

Jonathan Fine jfine2358 at
Wed Sep 28 15:46:35 CEST 2022

Dear Community

This is about our online meetings. Since 2020 the online TeX Conference,
kindly organised by the TeX Users Group, has been widely recognized as a
good thing. I've certainly welcomed the opportunity to present and listen
to talks, and to watch and link to the video recordings afterwards. I thank
TUG and its volunteers for making this possible.

I have organised an online video meeting that brings together 3 past
speakers to the TeX Conference, on the theme of rethinking the role of TeX
in STEM subjects. I've made this a 2-hour meeting with presentations first
followed by small group workshop discussions. I think it is important that
we meet in small groups during the year, between the large TeX conferences
organised by TUG.

On Monday I sent an announcement of the TeX in STEM meeting to this list.
The response surprised and disappointed me.

Someone, I will mention no names, criticized the meeting in very strong
terms for using Zoom rather than an open source alternative. This is a
legitimate point of view. I contacted that person off-list inviting them to
discuss with me moving future such events to an open source platform. By
the way TUG has for 3 years used Zoom for its annual TeX Conference.

There then followed a mostly heated and often bad-tempered discussion of
video conferencing software and off-topic social and political issues.
There was no discussion at all of rethinking the role of TeX in STEM, in a
time when HTML rivals PDF even for technical material. [Not all of the
messages were sent to this list - see the PS.]

I kept out of that discussion. No-one seemed to notice that a thread
started for one purpose had been completely taken over by another purpose,
at best only peripherally related to TeX. This was detrimental to
discussion of topics presented by 3 speakers at TeX Conferences, including
this year's opening keynote Peter Williams.

It saddens me that this has happened. The health of your community requires
us as a group to discuss and understand present and future challenges, as
well as celebrate past successes. Details of the TeX in STEM meeting, which
happens tomorrow (Thursday), are at:

I do look forward to improved sharing of mathematical content in video
meetings. Surely we can do better than sending a video bitmap image of a
Beamer presentation.

wishing you happy TeXing


PS: You can read all of the discussion that surprised by starting at:
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