Chris Misa, Dennis Guse, Oliver Hohlfeld, Ramakrishnan Durairajan, Anna Sperotto, Alberto Dainotti, Reza Rejaie
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizing committee of the 2020 edition of the Passive and Active Measurement (PAM) conference decided to organize it as a virtual event. Unfortunately, little is known about designing and organizing virtual academic conferences in the networking domain and their impacts on the participants’ experience. In this editorial note, we first provide challenges and rationale for various organizational decisions we made in designing the virtual format of PAM 2020. We then illustrate the key results from a questionnaire-based survey of participants’ experience showing that, while virtual conferences have the potential to broaden participation and strengthen focus on technical content, they face serious challenges in promoting social interactions and broadening the scope of discussions. We conclude with key takeaways, lessons learned, and suggestions for future virtual conferences distilled from this experience.