First, let me thank Richard and all the organizers for creating this 10-day event for all us! The forum is a nice idea to start the discussions early and get to know people.
Some thoughts I have on the language exchange rooms … I have seen posts that say they are almost always empty, and I’ve experienced the same. I think the problem is there are not enough attendees to keep the rooms filled all of the time, and if someone sees a room being empty, he or she would just hop to another room. I understand the idea is to meet on the forum and set up a time, but it’s hard to do that (co-ordinating a time among multiple people from multiple time zones with multiple posts, and the large number of posts to scroll and find the right thread, even with filtering).
One thing that worked well at the Polyglot Gathering was, rather than having 24 hour rooms for specific languages, there were one-hour slots for each language sprinkled throughout the day in several rooms (e.g. for the more popular languages, maybe 4 or more per day). Attendees could see the schedule and find a session at a time convenient to them and go. In other words, rather than only relying on attendees organizing themselves, set some up for them.
Not sure if it’s still possible to implement this (e.g. in the program schedule) … if so it’d be great.