Fedora – A peek into IRC meetings using meetbot data

Many Fedora projects and groups use  IRC channels on irc.freenode.net for their regular meetings. (Know more about IRC here) Generally, meetings take place in one of the three fedora-meeting channels, #fedora-meeting, #fedora-meeting-1 and #fedora-meeting-2. However, there is no requirement that a meeting take place in these channels only. Many ad-hoc or one-time meetings take place in other channels. Such meetings in IRC channels are normally logged. There is a Meetbot IRC bot in every channel to assist with running meetings, meeting summaries and logging. (Know more about meetbot here and check out the summaries and logs of past meetings on Fedoraproject Meetbot page here .)  To help meeting attendees, Meetbot provides a set of commands like #startmeeting , #endmeeting , #info , #help , #link etc.

With a aim to gather information about Fedora IRC meetings and especially understand about how Fedora contributors interact in these meetings, I turn towards Datagrepper. Datagrepper is a JSON API that lets you query the history of the Fedora Message bus or fedmsg for corresponding data. (Know more about Datagrepper here ). Here is a quick look of raw feed of Datagrepper from fedmsg bus with messages for topics like buildsys.rpm.sign and buildsys.task.state.change :

Screenshot from 2015-10-23 21:47:06

fedmsg has a few meetbot-related topics corresponding to meetbot commands using which I gather daily,weekly and monthly IRC meeting data. You can construct queries for a time period by specifying  by the start and end parameters for the query.Use count variable from JSON data dump to get total number of messages pertaining to our query. (Check out the meetbot-related fedmsg topics here and documentation for constructing queries for Datagrepper here ). You can also use Datagrepper Charts API for some basic visualizations. (Check it out here).

meetbot.meeting.start Messages on this topic get published when an IRC meeting starts.(using #startmeeting meetbot command)

meetbot.meeting.complete : Messages on this topic get published when an IRC meeting ends.(using #endmeeting meetbot command) .

mcomplete mstart

On an average, 99 IRC meetings take place in a month over different channels.(The mean #IRC meetings started monthly is 98 while mean #IRC meetings completed monthly is 100) During December – February, this value has dropped considerably. After looking at weekly #of IRC meetings started as well as completed, we can see that the drop in #IRC meetings in December can attributed due to two weeks during Christmas season( #IRC meetings started start dropping approximately week before Christmas and continue till after New Years).


Weekly mean for #IRC meetings started is 23.05(median 26 highest 33) while that for completed IRC meetings is 23.51.(Median 27 Highest 35) Also, #IRC meetings is particularly low(mostly zero IRC meetings started/completed per day) during Mar 11-18 2015 and Jan 28-Feb 1 and Feb 7-15 2015 ( Bot Outage?) .

dcomplete  dstart

On a normal weekday, generally 3-4 meetings are started/completed. Saturdays have lower values(~1-2) and no meetings are generally held on Sundays.(The average #IRC meetings per day started is 3 while that of #IRC meetings completed is 3.3 and the median for both is 4.) Highest value for #IRC meetings started as well as completed across different channels occurred on 23rd March 2015 (Started 11 Completed 14) – Monday(next working day) after a week with particularly low #IRC meetings. (Mar 11-18 2015)


Using daywise percentage stacked representation, we see that #IRC meetings started and completed is generally the same(started and completed have equal percentage) thus allowing us to conclude that meetings are generally of small durations(less than 24 hrs).The small delta in #IRC meetings started and completed can be attributed to the IRC meetings overlapping between two periods.Also, the deviations caused are during the weeks where #IRC meetings started/completed is very low and hence the large percentage value i.e. Mar 11-18 IRC meetings started is 1 ,but meetings completed is 0, hence 100% of total is due to meetings started(complete blue streak in the graph for such a case).

For visualizations generated using Datagrepper Charts API :

Check here for meetbot.meeting.start

Check  here for meetbot.meeting.complete

meetbot.meeting.topic.update : Messages on this topic get published when meeting topic is updated.(using #topic command)


This is correlated with #IRC meetings with very low values occur in December to March period and in the weeks where #IRC meetings(started/completed) is particularly low. The monthly average for topic update messages generated during IRC meetings is 556.16 (median value is 618 and highest no. of topic.update messages in a month is 708). Weekly mean is 130 messages(median value is 143 and highest no. of topic.update messages in a week is 202).


On an average, 18 topic.update messages are published per day(median value 20) with highest messages published on July 19, 2015(56 messages) .Plotting the daywise average topic.update messages per IRC meeting(we consider #topic.update messages/#IRC meetings started as meeting duration is generally less than a day), we can see that generally meeting topics are updated 4-5 times per meeting (mean 4.07, median 4.71) but there have also been 11-12 average topic updates per IRC meeting.

You can also find visualizations generated using Datagrepper Charts API for meetbot.meeting.topic.update here.

meetbot.meeting.item.help : Messages on this topic get published when attendees call for help on items.(using #help meetbot command). This topic was introduced in March end and hence previous values are not available.


The help command, as been by the graphs, is rarely used by IRC meeting attendees with only being used once per month in the past two months. 

For Visualizations generated using Datagrepper Charts API for meetbot.meeting.item.help , Check  here.

meetbot.meeting.item.link : Messages on this topic get published when attendees link information to an item(using #link meetbot command). This topic was introduced in March end and hence previous values are not available.


The monthly average number of items linked is 404(median 465) and highest number of items linked in the past year is 567.The weekly average number of items linked is 104.25(median 109) and highest number of items linked in the past year is 183.


On an average, 14 items are linked to in IRC meetings in a day with highest being 61 item linkings within a single day. Also, in an IRC meeting,generally 3-4 items are linked to with 14 being the highest number of items linked to in an IRC meeting.

For visualizations generated using Datagrepper Charts API for meetbot.meeting.item.link, Check here.

Meeting Attendees and Chairs : To get an overview of statistics related to the Fedora contributers attending IRC meetings(attendees and chairs both),I used the meetbot.meeting.complete messages(meetbot.meeting.start messages only show the initial attendees). I used the data for past three months(Aug-Oct 2015)


During the past 3 months, 337 IRC meetings have taken place.On an average, 10 people attended an IRC meeting including the chairs and the mean for size of group of chairs was 4.67 for an IRC meeting(mean 4.67 median 5). Also  the largest meeting in the past three months comprised of 27 attendees and the largest group of chairs included 10 Fedora contributors.

Other Questions to ask :

1.Is there any specific time period in day when IRC meetings generally occur ?

2.Are any channels specifically used? Especially what % of meetings are conducted on channels #fedora-meeting, #fedora-meeting-1 , #fedora-meeting-2 ? Is the distribution of meetings within this channel equal ?

3.Are item.link messages generated equivalently by both chairs and non-chairs or is the message generation partial ?

4.Are topic.help messages generated in the past only due to a specific set of users always using this command?

Also check out @threebean ‘s blog posts on Datagrepper here. He is one of the super awesome people behind fedmsg and Datagrepper.

Here is a fun word cloud visualization of IRC meeting attendees over past three months ( Fedora CommOps seems to be very active – can see a lot of CommOps members here @decause , @threebean , @mattdm , @lmacken and @jflory7 and @mailga too !! Yayy !! )



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