In just 3 days (September 8th), it will be 5 years since I started to look at and work with Open edX. My answers to the questions then would have been so different than the answers to the same questions now.
I believe it is hard to get “newbies” to join the hangouts.
There are a few operators, like us at EDUlib, but if you check who is attending the “Configuration Hangout”, it is the usual suspects most of the time. Maybe people are afraid to join or come and ask their question because they are too much at beginner level? 5 years ago I would have loved to have a hangout where people could come and ask questions like we regularly saw on the mailing lists, Slack and now Discourse. Maybe questions should be sent more in advance. I know that you’ve always asked to add topics to the agenda. Maybe participants, or future participants, should be made aware of a hangout coming more often so that they can prepare their questions in advance.
About time zones. It’s always difficult to get people from all around the world to check-in at the same time. I know you have tried to run the Community Hangout at different time of the day. Luckily, recording the Hangouts can help alleviate the need to be present “live”. Maybe the recordings need to be more publicized on social media, Slack and Discourse.
One thing I would like to see, maybe it’s because I have been an early adopter for Insights and ecommerce, are sessions with the different “product” teams or other teams (i18n for example). This could be at a low level or at a high level. Just based on questions being asked over and over again, something is missing or misunderstood by the people trying to install these features. Or people could be simply looking for a feature and have no idea something exists at edX or in the community to help them achieve their goal.
The Architecture Hangout was a really good addition to the list. Even if I do not consider myself a developer, it is good to know in advance what is coming up, how it will be implemented and how it will interact with the platform.
I do not have more to contribute to the discussion right now, but if I think of anything, I’ll be back